Why Courts, Part 1: The Court Has To Give Us An Answer

Jason Harrow @ Medium Sep 19, 2017

Equal Votes is the first public campaign that has attempted to change the way the electoral college functions through multiple coordinated lawsuits. The stakes are huge: two out of the last three Presidents received fewer overall votes than their opponents, but Presidents Bush and Trump nonetheless became president because of the unfair and undemocratic way that states currently allocate their electors. If we want to stop this unfair result from happening again, we have to somehow convince states to allocate their electors in a manner that corresponds to the actual popular vote. In this post and a subsequent post, I want to explain why attempting to make this necessary change via the court system — rather than by asking Congress or state legislatures to change existing law, or by advocating for a constitutional amendment — is a good idea, now more than ever.

A primary advantage of filing lawsuits in federal court is that judges have to give us a reasoned response to our arguments. There are wonderful organizations that are attempting to get state legislatures to pass laws that will make a popular vote more likely, but no state legislature has to listen to these advocates. In fact, no matter how many citizens or advocates want to move to a system that more accurately reflects the will of the people, no state legislature has to vote on any bill that will change the status quo. That’s just the way legislatures work: they choose what issues they want to address.

The same is true of a constitutional amendment or a Congressional law. As many people know, inaction is the default mode in our polarized system. Every constituent in every state could write to their senators asking them to take this issue up, but our Senators are still allowed to say nothing and do nothing. Don’t get me wrong: you should write to your elected officials about this critical issue and advocate for legislative change. But don’t expect to get a reasoned answer about what their position is, and don’t expect an immediate vote in the legislature on a prospective constitutional amendment. Congress doesn’t have to act, and it likely won’t.

Jason Harrow @ Medium: The Road To The Supreme Court

The Road To The Supreme Court Jason Harrow @ Medium Oct 5, 2017 The ultimate goal of the Equal Votes project is to have the U.S. Supreme Court find that the winner-take-all method of allocating electoral college votes violates the core “one person, one vote” principle...

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Lawrence Lessig @ Medium: “Selective constitutionalism”

"Selective Constitutionalism" Lawrence Lessig @ Medium Sep 16, 2017 Last week, we launched a campaign to raise the funds we need to bring an Equal Protection challenge to the winner-take-all system for allocating electoral college votes. Tons were really excited about...

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