SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Supporters of a California proposition asking if the president should be elected by popular vote have cleared the first hurdle to getting on the ballot.
The California secretary of state’s office announced Monday that proponents of the measure can begin gathering signatures from registered voters. They must submit nearly 366,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office by Aug. 30 to put the issue on the ballot.
The initiative would not change any laws. It would simply ask voters if California elected officials should advocate for reforms such as a federal constitutional amendment to end or change the Electoral College process.
Interest in issues surrounding the Electoral College surged last year when Donald Trump won the presidency but lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, the largest margin by which a candidate has lost the popular vote and still won the election. In California, only 31 percent of voters cast their ballots for Trump.
The state is already part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would require Electoral College voters to cast ballots for the winner of the national popular vote if enough states to represent an electoral majority join. So far, states that have signed on represent 165 of the 270 electoral votes needed.
The popular vote initiative is the second to be cleared to begin gathering signatures this election cycle. The first, which is backed by supporters of a campaign for California to secede from the United States, would repeal parts of the state constitution that say California is an inseparable part of the country and that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.