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.1
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 primaries2 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.
- 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. [↩]
- Not an idea I am fond of, but worth a look. [↩]