Equal Citizens Launches “Equal Votes” Campaign to Make
Presidential Elections More Democratic
Sep 14, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Equal Citizens Launches “Equal Votes” Campaign to Make Presidential Elections More Democratic
~ Will sue to change how states allot Electoral College votes ~
BOSTON, MA – In an effort to make the election of the U.S. President “more democratic” by assuring that every vote cast counts equally, Equal Citizens today announced the launch of its Equal Votes campaign to prohibit states from using a winner-take-all method for allocating Electoral College votes. The not-for-profit will file two lawsuits that claim winner-take-all violates the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote,” as any vote for a candidate who did not win the particular state in which the vote was cast is effectively ignored.
“It’s crazy that our nation’s least democratic election is the one for President,” said Equal Citizens founder Lawrence Lessig. “Imagine if American Idol counted votes from some states more than others, or ignored votes from certain states entirely. Viewers would be justifiably outraged. If it’s not good enough for a reality show, why should we accept it in our presidential elections?”
“Over 52 million votes were thrown out in the 2016 election because they were cast for a candidate who did not win in that state,” Lessig added. “Winner-take-all has led to two of our last three presidents taking office without having won the popular vote. It has focused presidential campaigns on a small part of America — the so-called ‘battleground states’ — that does not represent America. This fails every definition of ‘democratic’ or ‘equal’ I can think of.”
Equal Votes will file lawsuits on behalf of Democratic voters in a solidly red state, and Republican voters in solidly blue state. Equal Citizens is starting a 30-day fundraising drive Thursday, September 14, to begin to cover the costs associated with the lawsuits.
“Winner-take-all is not part of our Constitution,” Lessig said. “It has been imposed upon our system for electing the President by the states. Forty-eight states adopted winner-take-all because they felt it gives them more sway in the election. But instead, it has reduced our presidential election to a fight for a handful of battleground states instead of a national referendum—in which every vote counts equally—on who should lead our nation. It has taken the vote away from tens of millions of Americans.”
Equal Citizens will ask the courts to invalidate state rules that obligate electors to vote in any way other than proportionally. “Proportional allocation of electors at the state level won’t eliminate the inequality produced by the Electoral College,” Lessig noted, “but it would reduce it substantially. We believe the courts should step in to reduce the inequality of the current system as much as possible.”
The goal of the campaign is to get a case heard by the Supreme Court in time to effect the 2020 election.
Equal Citizens is a nonprofit founded by Professor Lawrence Lessig at Harvard Law School, trying to establish—finally— the core principle of any representative democracy: that citizens are equal, and that their votes should count equally. More information can be found at EqualCitizens.US.