In DC, Asa Gordon to teach class on “Democratizing the Electoral College”

Asa Gordon is Chair of the D.C Statehood Green Party Electoral College Task Force; a member of the Green Party Black Caucus Organizing Committee; and is the founder and Executive Director of the Douglass Institute of Government (DIG).

Asa Gordon will be presenting the class “Democratizing the Electoral College” on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 6:45 pm through the Social Action & Leadership School for Activists (SALSA) of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, DC. The class description at the SALSA website is: here.

Asa Gordon of the Douglas Institute of Government

Asa Gordon of the Douglass Institute of Government

From the class description:

When we vote for the President of the United States, we are actually voting for a slate of our state’s presidential electors that have pledged to cast their votes for a Presidential Candidate. Each state’s presidential electors are equal to the number of representatives it is entitled to in Congress. All but two states, award all of their presidential electors to the party candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast in the state on a “winner take all” basis. This means, unless a vote is for the candidate receiving the most votes within a state, that vote is effectively disregarded as null and void and does not help in a national tally the candidate for whom it was cast. “Winner take All” is not required by the constitution, and in nearly half of the states where it is applied, it is not even based on state law. This lecture will provide a historical context and report on recent developments in a Civil Action to reform and “Democratize the Electoral College”. The Civil Action seeks a Federal court order for proportional allocation of a state’s presidential electors to reflect the popular vote split for presidential candidates in states without a “Winner take all” provision in the state’s election law.

For questions, or to register for the class, you may call (202)234-9382, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to netfa at hotsalsa dot org

Background – Asa Gordon’s work as noted at the SALSA website instructor’s page:

The Civil Action Gordon vs Cheney was filed on July 28th, 2008, to commemorate the Century and Two Score years anniversary of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Gordon’s work has been celebrated by officials such as Rep. John Conyers, who in response to a proposed solution brought forward by Gordon on voting rights remedy declared, “This is the most amazing proposition that has ever been brought forward, and if it is accurate, it could change the whole outcome of the voting process in the United States.”

Background – A quotation from the pro se lawsuit Asa filed, Gordon vs. Cheney/Biden:

“[T]abulation in the Hall of the House of Representatives of majority polled presidential electors from unbounded southern states ungrounded in either state or federal law, constitutes a discriminatory abridgment of the voting rights of minority polled presidential electors based on race and/or party affiliation in violation of the mal-apportionment penalty clause pursuant to the United States Constitution (Amend. XIV§2) and statutory Code (2U.S.C.§6)”,
Gordon vs Cheney/Biden. More information at Gordon’s web-site: here.

25 thoughts on “In DC, Asa Gordon to teach class on “Democratizing the Electoral College”

  1. Levon Helm

    Will Asa be on the ballot as Green Party candidate in 2010?

    DC has a big election in 2010.

    Will Asa be a Green Party candidate for one of these?

    1) U.S. House
    2) Mayor
    3) City Council Chair
    4) City Council At Large
    5) City Council Ward 1
    6) Ward 3
    7) Ward 5
    8) Ward 6
    9) U.S. Shadow Representative
    10) President Board of Education
    11) Board of Education District 3
    12) Board of Education District 4

    Area Neighborhood Council also elects almost 400 people to various districts?

    The Statehood Green Party – Washington D.C. second largest party could field almost 500 candidates in the 2010 elections.

  2. Melty

    It’s a good idea for states to do like Nebraska and Maine, and an easy enough switchover for some. Good cause. Better to think in terms of congressional district than state. Small progress though it would be, it could get people thinking about better voting and bring momentum for bigger steps.

  3. paulie

    Will Asa be on the ballot as Green Party candidate in 2010?

    DC has a big election in 2010.

    Will Asa be a Green Party candidate for one of these?

    1) U.S. House
    2) Mayor
    3) City Council Chair
    4) City Council At Large
    5) City Council Ward 1
    6) Ward 3
    7) Ward 5
    8) Ward 6
    9) U.S. Shadow Representative
    10) President Board of Education
    11) Board of Education District 3
    12) Board of Education District 4

    Area Neighborhood Council also elects almost 400 people to various districts?

    The Statehood Green Party – Washington D.C. second largest party could field almost 500 candidates in the 2010 elections.

    That’s good news. I think the LP there should organize along similar lines, but work for independence rather than statehood. (See Puerto Rico for parallels).

  4. paulie

    I keep thinking about running for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in my neighborhood…

    Good idea. DC has one advantage in having a formal citywide structure at such a local level..

  5. Dale Sheldon

    Of course it’s better for everyone if every state does this.

    But it’s worse for any one state that does this. That’s why Nebraska is considering going back to winner-takes-all.

    It’s the Prisoner’s Dilemma with 51 players.

    And even if you DID convince every state to split its electors proportionately, since it’s a single-winner plurality election, Duverger’s Law tells us that third parties will still have ZERO practical chance of winning.

  6. paulie

    paulie,
    D.C. independence v statehood? Say what? I have no problem with P.R. independence. But D.C.?

    Why not?

  7. Donald Raymond Lake

    paulie, once again, stupid comments in totally unnecessary sitution[s]…….

    and you wonder why I label you belligerent?

    Nay, you do not wonder at all, you knew all along, Mister Agent Provocateur…….

    Duh: Mister Room Temperature IQ, DC physically contains the three branches of the Federal Government. Oh, you knew that!

  8. Steve Trinward

    Been pushing this idea for years myself; more and more it;s getting so all a Pres candidate has to do is hit the six biggest cities in the country, win them by enough to overcome the rest of their respective states, and prepare to take the throne. Just getting CA, NY and MI to go along with this plan would make the “swing state” nonsense obsolete; add FL and OH, maybe … it opens the whole process

  9. John Famularo

    Electoral college change must pass the Senate. The small states control the senate. They will see this as a first step in diminishing their power. They will never go for it.

  10. Michael Cavlan

    John

    Interesting point.

    THAT has been precisely the point of those of us who have left the Green Party.

    We base it on experience. I wonder if Asa Gordon will cover that point? Or indeed the Green Party Watch or the Green Party newspaper?

    nahhhhhhhh..

    //:-)>————

    Fortunately, you do not have a Committee To End Free Speech here..

  11. Donald Raymond Lake

    Ending free speech is also a reform movement thing! In 2005 both the national blog and the monthly print house organ were sacrificed to blunt a USS Liberty article.

  12. paulie

    Our purpose should be to liberate the colonized and oppressed workers and people of the District from the imperialist Euro-American yoke.

    Independence now!

  13. mvymvy

    A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

    Every vote would not be equal under the proportional approach. The proportional approach would perpetuate the inequality of votes among states due to each state’s bonus of two electoral votes. It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

    Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

  14. mvymvy

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  15. paulie

    Yeah, we’ve been over that already. It’s a bad idea and helps destroy what little power is not yet federal level or above.

    Instead, we need proportional allocation of electoral votes within each state.

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