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Campaign to change presidential election system targets Oklahoma, other states

Proposed change would base election of president on the national popular vote.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: February 23, 2011

Supporters say a national popular vote would change the dynamics of presidential campaigns, which divide the country up into battleground states and those that get little or no attention because the outcome isn't in doubt.

They also contend that the change would increase voter turnout and prevent what has happened four times in the nation's history, most recently in 2000: A candidate who won the popular vote lost the election.

Critics say the change would harm the geographic balance inherent in the current system. Moreover, they say a national popular vote system would simply change which states have influence in elections rather than increasing the influence of all states.

Golisano, who founded the company Paychex and ran unsuccessfully for governor in New York, said the National Popular Vote campaign will be active in 43 states, pushing its message on college campuses and through social networking.

The group's goal, he said, is success in states with a total of 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — by 2012 to effect the change for the 2016 election.