This week, the City of Oakland unanimously passed a resolution calling for reform to abolish the electoral college. The resolution was introduced by Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb, and was co-sponsored by At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.
The resolution directs the City Administrator and City Lobbyist to work with relevant state and federal elected officials to develop and ratify an amendment to the United States Constitution to replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote for President, such as the legislation recently introduced by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California. In the alternative, the resolution asks to approve the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
FairVote California supports this resolution and testified on its behalf because it would bolster support for fair and meaningful electoral representation. All voters should be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live. Our current Electoral College system, grounded in state laws which allocate electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, leads presidential candidates to concentrate their resources on voters in a handful of unrepresentative swing states, relegating the vast majority of states and voters to spectator status. Instead, our election system should elect the president by a national popular vote where every vote counts equally, no matter where it is cast. Further, FairVote has been at the forefront in increasing appreciation of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that is supported in the resolution.
"Americans in every city and state are affected by how we elect the President. And cities like Oakland need to stand up to be counted when antiquated and undemocratic rules effectively disenfranchise us," said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, the resolution’s lead sponsor. "With public financing of elections, modern voter registration, fairly drawn districts and ranked choice voting, Oakland leads by example. And I hope that by our example and with this Resolution, this message will spread far and wide."
We would like to thank Councilmember Kalb and the rest of the Oakland City Council for their continued support of fair representation systems. Since 2010, Oakland has been using ranked choice voting to elected its local officials, an election system that allows voters greater choice in electing its officials. We hope that other cities follow Oakland’s lead to enhance voter participation and make elections more fair and representative.