Electoral college reform is an issue that becomes popular every four years, but then disappears for the intervening three. The frustration voters feel is often centered on states with large cities that control the electors, leaving the rest of the state out of the process. Illinois is just such a state. But I want to make it perfectly clear, it is not about city dwellers versus downstate farmers. This is about how the two major parties have perverted the intent of the Constitution and use it to maintain political control.
The electoral college is a problem, but not for the reasons that we typically hear about. Because most states throw their complete slate of electors behind the candidate with the most popular vote, the one political party now has control over the whole state. A true representation of popular will is missing because the electoral slate is made up of only one party's electors. In this way, the parties have hijacked the process. What should be a chance to put Constitutional ideals into action has become a chance for two parties to run roughshod over the national debate. Not only is the minority party disbarred from representation, but both of the major parties have made it nearly impossible for a third party or candidate to be represented.
Now to further distance us from fairness, Illinois has joined a number of states who say they will choose their electors, not from the popular vote in the state, but from the most popular candidate across the country. The current law, signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich, won't take affect until a majority of other states join in. But it says that the candidate receives the most votes in the general election will get Illinois' electors regardless of the popular vote in the state. This further assures that third parties will have no representation in the national election. The sovereignty of the state of Illinois has been diminished even more.
There is a better choice than abolishing the electoral college, as is proposed by many, or giving up state sovereignty as the National Popular Vote law dictates. A simple reform can restore sanity to the process. We need to remove the Popular Vote law, and reform the selection of electors fairly.
We need to base our elector selection on the congressional districts. This is already done in Maine and Nebraska. These states allocate two Electoral Votes to the popular vote winner, and then one each to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district. If we do this, all parties will get fair representation while avoiding the winner take all pitfall of the current method.
This more fairly represents the state. If all states participate, then we reduce the likelihood of a President being elected without the most popular vote without further eroding state sovereignty. Even if Illinois joined Nebraska and Maine as the only states to do this, the election would still be fairer. This is reform that can be done by the state without the need for Constitutional amendment.