Calling the Governator

Frustrated that “non-battleground” states like California, New York or Texas are being ignored by both Presidential candidates? Well, now you can do something about it.

If you live in California, please tell Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign SB 37 — the “National Popular Vote” bill that will make all 50 states count in Presidential elections.

As we know all too well, we do not directly elect our President. Instead, our votes only decide which candidate will receive our state’s Electoral College votes. Whoever wins a majority of the Electoral College receives a four-year lease to the White House.

In 2000, George W. Bush lost the national popular vote, but nevertheless seized Florida and the Electoral College. In 2004, if John Kerry had received 60,000 more votes in Ohio, he too would have won the Electoral College (despite losing the national popular vote).

Currently, Presidential nominees only campaign in a handful of hotly contested “battleground states” like Florida, Iowa, or Ohio — excluding 85 percent of Asian Americans, 79 percent of African Americans, and 72 percent of Latinos that live elsewhere.

Hardly any Asian Americans live in battleground states: most live in California, Texas, Hawaii, and New York. As a result, Presidential nominees have scant electoral incentive to court our community’s vote.

Fortunately, we can change our system so that our votes will finally matter — by adopting the National Popular Vote. In a nutshell, each state promises to award all of its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But this promise will only kick in on one condition: that states adding up to an Electoral College majority have also made the same promise. (Roughly, that amounts to about 20 to 25 states.) Thus, the winner of the National Popular Vote will automatically win the Electoral College — and the keys to the White House.

AAA-Fund is proud to have been the first Asian American organization to endorse the National Popular Vote. To date, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey have signed on to the National Popular Vote. With your help, California may soon follow in their farsighted footsteps.

Please call Gov. Schwarzenegger and tell him to sign SB 37 (the National Popular Vote bill):

Governor’s office phone: (916) 445-2841
You must call between 9am and 5pm. When you call you’ll get an automated system:
> Press 1 for English
> Press 2 to “Voice your opinion on legislation”
> Press 0 to “Speak to an operator” and tell them you support SB 37.

Asian Americans can play a critical role in making our Presidential elections truly democratic.

All it takes is a phone call (info above) or an email (via California Common Cause’s web portal).

Update (Oct. 5):  Unfortunately, the Governator vetoed the National Popular Vote bill last week.  We may now have to wait till 2011, when a new California Governor takes office.

— Gautam Dutta

Note: The AAA-Fund welcomes a diversity of views and voices. In that spirit, the views expressed in this article are the author's own. Unless an article states that it was written by the AAA-Fund or its Board of Directors, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the AAA-Fund.

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