State Lawmakers Mull Electoral College

By ROBERT TANNER
.c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (Nov. 10) - Amid calls in Congress to scrap the Electoral College system, some state legislators are looking to see if they can change their state laws to better reflect the popular vote.

The nation focused on the recount in Florida, but lawmakers on Thursday already were calling advisers and considering steps they could take to change the electoral system - now that there's a very real chance a loser of the popular vote could end up with the presidency.

``The inescapable reality is that it doesn't reflect the premise upon which our country was founded - one person, one vote,'' said Pennsylvania Rep. T.J. Rooney, a Democrat. ``It's an important conversation that we need to have in legislative chambers.''

Some also worried about the possibility of so-called ``faithless electors'' - where an elector casts a vote for a candidate that failed to win the state's popular vote.

That happened in 1988 when a Michael Dukakis elector from West Virginia voted for Lloyd Bentsen, his running mate - and in 1976, when an elector for Gerald Ford in Washington state voted for Ronald Reagan. In 1968, a Richard Nixon elector chose George Wallace.

But with Republican George W. Bush nominally the winner of the electoral vote (pending recounts in Florida) and Democrat Al Gore the apparent popular vote winner who could lose the White House, few Republicans liked the idea of change.

``This is a system that's worked and is an integral part of our democracy for centuries,'' said South Carolina GOP House Speaker David Wilkins. ``Just because there's a close vote now I don't think there's any reason to turn about and change the system.''

Abolishing the Electoral College would take a constitutional amendment, which requires approval by two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate and ratification by 38 states.

But each state could also change how they choose electors and divide their electoral votes. Though few legislative bills to do that were filed last year, phone calls on the subject were already coming into the National Conference of State Legislatures in the two days since the election.

``It's going to generate a great deal of heat and debate,'' Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Bob Jauch said.

For those looking to change, a model is already running in Maine and Nebraska, where each state allocates one elector to the winner of each congressional district and two electors for the winner of the state overall.

So in Maine, three of its electoral votes could theoretically go to one candidate, with one vote to another. (This year, Maine's four electoral votes go to Gore).

Now, in a presidential election, voters cast ballots for 538 electors, not directly for the president and his vice presidential candidate. The electors, distributed according to each state's number of House and Senate members, meet in December officially to complete the state-by-state electoral process.

In 24 states and the District of Columbia, electors are not bound by any state law or regulation that they vote for their state's popular-vote winner.

And though others try to force electors to toe the line (it's a felony in New Mexico to cast an errant vote), most constitutional scholars agree that those laws are unenforceable, NCSL said.

Except for Nebraska and Maine, all states use a winner-take-all system.

A proposed constitutional amendment in Congress would abolish the system, but Congress has considered and rejected some 700 proposals to change the system over the years.

After George Bush won election in 1988 following eight years of Ronald Reagan's presidency, there were several failed attempts at the state level to change the system, said Ron Faucheux, editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine.

``Because it was partisan-driven, it had limited effect,'' he said.

And while many Democrats railed that the latest results left voters disenfranchised, Republicans, and some Democrats, said the Electoral College works just fine - especially for smaller states who otherwise would be ignored.

``I support the Electoral College,'' said Rusty Hills, Michigan GOP chairman. ``If you went to a popular system, these candidates would never leave Texas, New York, Florida and California.''

AP-NY-11-10-00 0209EST

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Race For The Electoral College

It's 12 hours since the last polls closed, and we still don't have a winner. The results in Florida are being contested and a recount currently is underway. No one has projected a winner in Oregon's vote-by-mail election, but it won't matter anyway. As of 12 pm Wednesday, November 8, here is where we stand:

States EVs
George W. Bush 29 246
Al Gore 20 260
In Dispute FL 25
Too Close OR 7
Note: The networks pulled their Florida predictions and presidential call due to a tightening race too close to call. Florida is currently conducting a recount.



Percent Electors
Raw Vote Vote Precincts Bush Gore
-------------------------------------------------------
AL Bush 902,424 56 99 9
Gore 690,754 43
Nader 17,983 1
-------------------------------------------------------
AK Bush 131,955 59 87 3
Gore 61,382 28
Nader 22,212 10
-------------------------------------------------------
AZ Bush 672,220 50 99 8
Gore 608,693 45
Nader 40,024 3
-------------------------------------------------------
AR Bush 435,654 50 95 6
Gore 395,929 46
Nader 12,340 1
-------------------------------------------------------
CA Bush 4,047,056 41 99 54
Gore 5,249,070 54
Nader 372,312 4
-------------------------------------------------------
CO Bush 866,688 51 99 8
Gore 723,301 42
Nader 89,871 5
-------------------------------------------------------
CT Bush 533,250 39 97 8
Gore 767,357 56
Nader 59,161 4
-------------------------------------------------------
DE Bush 137,081 42 100 3
Gore 180,638 55
Nader 8,288 3
-------------------------------------------------------
DC Bush 17,020 9 100 3
Gore 162,004 85
Nader 9,925 5
-------------------------------------------------------
FL Bush 2,909,199 49 99.99999999999999999
Gore 2,907,544 49
Nader 96,896 2
-------------------------------------------------------
GA Bush 1,393,745 55 99 13
Gore 1,096,005 43
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
HI Bush 135,906 38 100 4
Gore 202,670 56
Nader 21,413 6
-------------------------------------------------------
ID Bush 335,590 68 100 4
Gore 137,911 28
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
IL Bush 1,991,525 43 99 22
Gore 2,551,733 55
Nader 102,537 2
-------------------------------------------------------
IN Bush 1,222,651 57 99 12
Gore 882,334 41
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
IA Bush 628,813 48 99 7
Gore 633,981 49
Nader 27,566 2
-------------------------------------------------------
KS Bush 603,339 57 98 6
Gore 407,704 38
Nader 34,880 3
-------------------------------------------------------
KY Bush 862,699 57 99 8
Gore 631,353 41
Nader 22,756 1
-------------------------------------------------------
LA Bush 925,502 5 100 9
Gore 790,171 45
Nader 20,417 1
-------------------------------------------------------
ME Bush 312,821 44 99 4
Gore 281,369 49
Nader 37,402 6
-------------------------------------------------------
MD Bush 770,904 40 100 10
Gore 1,093,344 57
Nader 51,078 3
-------------------------------------------------------
MA Bush 830,522 33 91 12
Gore 1,485,114 59
Nader 155,686 6
-------------------------------------------------------
MI Bush 1,931,757 46 99 18
Gore 2,137,372 51
Nader 83,144 2
-------------------------------------------------------
MN Bush 1,096,267 46 98 12
Gore 1,155,492 48
Nader 126,378 2
-------------------------------------------------------
MS Bush 536,660 58 98 7
Gore 380,638 41
Nader 7,665 1
-------------------------------------------------------
MO Bush 1,178,578 51 97 11
Gore 1,090,705 47
Nader 37,963 2
-------------------------------------------------------
MT Bush 237,235 59 98 3
Gore 135,318 33
Nader 24,271 6
-------------------------------------------------------
NE Bush 405,017 62 100 5
Gore 213,795 33
Nader 22,813 4
-------------------------------------------------------
NV Bush 299,716 49 99 4
Gore 278,592 46
Nader 14,901 2
-------------------------------------------------------
NH Bush 273,026 48 99 4
Gore 265,807 47
Nader 22,151 4
-------------------------------------------------------
NJ Bush 1,244,793 40 99 15
Gore 1,722,841 56
Nader 92,308 3
-------------------------------------------------------
NM Bush 239,426 47 99 5
Gore 244,439 48
Nader 18,355 4
-------------------------------------------------------
NY Bush 2,210,142 35 99 33
Gore 3,736,036 60
Nader 221,953 4
-------------------------------------------------------
NC Bush 1,502,566 56 98 14
Gore 1,155,561 43
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
ND Bush 167,633 61 91 3
Gore 92,257 33
Nader 9,221 3
-------------------------------------------------------
OH Bush 2,282,063 50 99 21
Gore 2,110,226 46
Nader 114,006 3
-------------------------------------------------------
OK Bush 774,335 60 100 8
Gore 474,326 38
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
OR Bush 576,647 48 81
Gore 554,269 46
Nader 53,954 5
-------------------------------------------------------
PA Bush 2,257,009 46 99 23
Gore 2,452,252 51
Nader 102,248 2
-------------------------------------------------------
RI Bush 132,212 32 100 4
Gore 252,844 61
Nader 24,115 6
-------------------------------------------------------
SC Bush 751,604 55 99 8
Gore 540,770 40
Nader 26,420 2
-------------------------------------------------------
SD Bush 183,274 61 97 3
Gore 112,548 37
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------
TN Bush 1,014,884 51 99 11
Gore 953,274 48
Nader 19,059 1
-------------------------------------------------------
TX Bush 3,790,387 59 99 32
Gore 2,424,061 38
Nader 137,531 2
-------------------------------------------------------
UT Bush 512,161 67 100 5
Gore 201,732 26
Nader 36,245 5
-------------------------------------------------------
VT Bush 116,457 41 98 3
Gore 144,622 51
Nader 19,543 7
-------------------------------------------------------
VA Bush 1,405,313 52 99 13
Gore 1,197,768 45
Nader 57,433 2
-------------------------------------------------------
WA Bush 795,679 45 99 11
Gore 884,363 50
Nader 69,737 4
-------------------------------------------------------
WV Bush 331,871 52 100 5
Gore 291,204 46
Nader 10,455 2
-------------------------------------------------------
WI Bush 1,234,167 48 100 11
Gore 1,240,266 48
Nader 93,167 4
-------------------------------------------------------
WY Bush 147,453 69 99 3
Gore 60,420 28
Nader n/a
-------------------------------------------------------

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Presidential Returns by State

.c The Associated Press


Here are the latest, unofficial returns in the presidential race in each state.

This table includes the popular vote and electoral vote for each candidate listed. The percentage of precincts reporting in each state is given in the column headed 'PR'. The popular vote for the candidates is listed next, with the percentage of the v

The electoral votes are listed next. A 'W' next to the electoral votes indicates the candidate has won the state. Electoral votes listed without the 'W' show the candidate is leading in the state.

The total reflects electoral votes in states candidates have won or in which they are leading.

States PR Gore-P Bush-P Gore-E Bush-E

Ala. 99 690,754-43 902,424-56 0 W 9

Alaska 87 61,203-28 131,664-59 0 W 3

Ariz. 99 608,693-45 672,220-50 0 W 8

Ark. 96 400,176-46 439,252-50 0 W 6

Calif. 99 5,242,816-54 4,052,422-41 W54 0

Colo. 99 732,409-42 877,764-51 0 W 8

Conn. 95 753,304-56 523,417-39 W 8 0

Del. 100 180,638-55 137,081-42 W 3 0

D.C. 100 162,004-85 17,020-09 W 3 0

Fla. 100 2,907,544-49 2,909,199-49 0 25

Ga. 99 1,095,611-43 1,393,307-55 0 W13

Hawaii 100 202,670-56 135,906-37 W 4 0

Idaho 100 137,911-28 335,590-68 0 W 4

Ill. 99 2,551,733-55 1,991,525-43 W22 0

Ind. 99 882,334-41 1,222,651-57 0 W12

Iowa 99 634,475-49 629,521-48 W 7 0

Kans. 98 410,985-38 609,119-57 0 W 6

Ky. 99 631,353-41 862,699-57 0 W 8

La. 100 789,555-45 923,949-52 0 W 9

Maine 97 305,103-49 274,567-44 W 4 0

Md. 100 1,093,344-57 770,904-40 W10 0

Mass. 92 1,497,769-59 838,114-33 W12 0

Mich. 99 2,136,787-51 1,931,058-46 W18 0

Minn. 98 1,155,492-48 1,096,267-45 W10 0

Miss. 98 380,903-41 537,426-58 0 W 7

Mo. 97 1,090,705-47 1,178,578-51 0 W11

Mont. 95 129,412-33 233,228-59 0 W 3

Neb. 100 215,127-33 407,806-63 0 W 5

Nev. 100 279,749-46 301,539-50 0 W 4

N.H. 99 265,807-47 273,026-48 0 W 4

N.J. 99 1,722,841-56 1,244,793-40 W15 0

N.M. 99 244,439-48 239,426-47 5 0

N.Y. 99 3,736,036-60 2,210,142-35 W33 0

N.C. 99 1,186,442-43 1,545,949-56 0 W14

N.D. 89 86,656-33 157,840-61 0 W 3

Ohio 99 2,111,313-46 2,284,087-50 0 W21

Okla. 100 474,326-38 744,338-60 0 W 8

Ore. 102 550,295-46 572,181-48 0 7

Pa. 99 2,452,252-51 2,257,009-46 W23 0

R.I. 100 252,844-61 132,212-32 W 4 0

S.C. 98 540,770-40 751,604-55 0 W 8

S.D. 97 112,548-37 183,274-61 0 W 3

Tenn. 100 980,353-47 1,059,842-51 0 W11

Texas 99 2,410,359-38 3,779,401-59 0 W32

Utah 100 201,732-26 512,161-67 0 W 5

Vt. 98 144,622-51 116,457-41 W 3 0

Va. 99 1,197,768-45 1,405,313-52 0 W13

Wash. 99 884,363-50 795,679-45 W11 0

W.Va. 100 291,204-46 331,871-52 0 W 5

Wis. 100 1,240,266-48 1,234,167-48 W11 0

Wyo. 99 60,420-28 147,453-69 0 W 3

Totals 48,508,215-50 48,314,442-50 260 278

AP-NY-11-08-00 0927EST

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But why, if the electoral votes in New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, and
Oregon are being counted in Gore's tally of 262 electors, even though
there is considerable question about who may carry these states, are
the 25 electoral votes of Florida not being counted in Bush's total?
He is on all the news services and networks being given only 246
electors. It can only be that these 'impartial' journalists do not want
to create the image in the minds of Americans that Bush has won.
But he has.