Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat (and pro-Clinton delegate) of Florida, speaking today before his state’s legislature:
A year ago, you passed a bill to move Florida’s presidential primary to an early date on the national election calendar. Your thinking was to give our large and diverse state â€“ a microcosm of America – more of a say in the selection of the presidential nominees.
And we all know what happened: Both national parties decided to punish Florida, because their rules reserved early presidential contests to a handful of other states.
Having failed to get an agreement on a mail-in re-vote, he is now proposing that his party:
divvy up the equivalent of half of Florida’s delegates from the Jan. 29 results. This is allowed by the Democratic rules and was done by the GOP. ((This seems like a reasonable idea to me, even as an Obama supporter, and even coming from a Clinton delegate. But what about Michigan? There, unlike Florida, Obama (and let’s not forget Edwards) were not on the ballot, and the turnout was minuscule.))
But he is thinking bigger:
If nothing else, this election has provided further evidence that our system is broken…
Last fall, I filed legislation in the U.S. Senate requiring that no vote for federal office be cast on a touch-screen voting machine starting in 2012. I also joined the senior senator from Michigan, Carl Levin, to propose a system of six rotating primaries from March to June in each presidential election year.
And very soon I will file a broader-based election-reform bill.
This new legislation will abolish the Electoral College and give citizens direct election of their president by popular vote. Additionally, six, rotating interregional primaries ((Not an idea I am fond of, but worth a look.)) will give large and small states a fair say in the nomination process. The legislation will establish early voting in every state. It will eliminate machines that donâ€™t produce a voting paper trail. It will allow every qualified voter in every state to cast an absentee ballot, if they want. And it will give grants to states that develop mail-in balloting and secure Internet voting.
Naturally, that was me emphasizing the most important part. It has been a while since a Senator has raised this issue. It is about time.
Yet the more promising path than a bill in Congress (which, for the electoral college, would have to be a constitutional amendment) is one on which he missed an opportunity today: advocating that this own state’s legislature join the National Popular Vote compact.