SACRAMENTO (CBS) — Come November 2012, voters in California could make their voices heard at the ballot box much more loudly.
That’s because Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law awarding all of the state’s 55 electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in presidential elections.
The move is the culmination of an effort led by National Popular Vote, a group which aims to avoid a repeat of the 2000 election when Democrat Al Gore lost the electoral vote — despite winning the popular vote — to Republican opponent and then-Governor George W. Bush.
Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, told KNX 1070 California is joining several other states passing similar legislation.
“The states are going to enter into a compact and if enough states do it for the majority of electoral votes, they argue that everybody’s vote will count and the person who gets the most popular votes wins the election despite what the electoral college says,” said Stern.
Brown’s signature makes California the eighth state to join the effort and brings the total electoral votes to 132 out of the 270 required to make the agreement effective.
But with its history of voting primarily Democratic, critics argue that California is marginalizing its Republican constituency — a fear that Stern said is unfounded.
“The ironic thing would if the rest of the country decided to vote for a Republican, under this proposal California’s electoral votes would go for the Republican even though California voted for the Democrat,” he said.
California along with the vast majority of states have winner-take-all systems that award all the electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in that state, according to the Associated Press.