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15 December 2008

Democratic Lawmakers Call For National Popular Vote

While fifteen electors were meeting in the Georgia State Capitol to fulfill their constitutional duties, four state lawmakers were renewing the call for the nation to abandon the Electoral College and instead elect the president by direct popular vote.

State Senators Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) and Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and Representatives Billy Mitchell (D-Decatur) and Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) called today for Georgia to adopt legislation leading to a national popular vote for President.

"The current system of electing the President is outdated and needs to be changed," said Senator Orrock, who is sponsoring legislation to move to a national popular vote. "It should be very simple; the candidate who receives the most votes throughout all 50 states should always win the presidential election."

State Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, another co-sponsor of the legislation, said the current system allows the needs and interests of Georgia to be ignored.

"If we had a national popular vote then every vote would be equal and candidates would campaign for every vote. The days of Ohio, Florida, and a handful of other battleground states dominating the election at the expense of everyone else would be finished."

Benfield pointed to a recent report by Fair Vote.org that said 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states.

This means that two thirds of the states, including Georgia, were ignored by the presidential campaigns, the report says.

The National Popular Vote bill that Benfield, Orrock and others are championing would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all fifty states. Simply put, the legislation states that whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote nationwide would be guaranteed enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

The National Popular Vote bill would only come into effect states representing 270 electoral votes pass the law in identical form. Currently, four states representing fifty electoral votes have enacted the law.