March 27th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
11 years ago

Nelson calls for banning Electoral College

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Nelson is calling for regional primaries."](CNN) - Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, on Thursday proposed an overhaul of America's presidential election laws, saying the current dispute over delegates in Florida and Michigan has exposed a flawed nominating system in need of reform.

In a speech on the floor of the Florida State Senate Thursday morning, Nelson said he will formally introduce legislation that will attempt to fix many of the problems exposed by this cycle's round of presidential primaries, adding the "time for reform is now.”

"This country cannot afford to wait that long, before we fix the flaws we still see in our election system," Nelson said. "The blessings of liberty cannot wait."

Specifically, Nelson said he will propose six rotating interregional primaries that "will give large and small states a fair say in the nomination process." The regional primaries would be conducted on dates ranging from March to June, Nelson also said, taking the place of the current early-voting states Iowa and New Hampshire - states which critics have long argued are not representative of the American electorate. The dates would initially be set by a lottery system for the 2012 election and would rotate positions in successive elections.

Nelson called for early voting in every state and the elimination of voting machines that do not produce a paper trail. The Florida Democrat also said all citizens should be allowed to vote absentee if they so choose, and is pushing for a federal grant incentive program to help develop voting by mail and via the Internet.

Nelson will also formally seek award the presidency based on the popular vote result, instead of via the Electoral College – a reform that will require a stand-alone bill since it would require an amendment to he Constitution.

"The goal is simple: one person, one vote," Nelson said in his speech Thursday.

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. DJ in TX

    Good ideas, but it will never happen. While I agree the primary season needs a 100% overhaul, unfortunately, it will be a great undertaking for a popular vote presidential election vs the electorial college. The DNC needs to CLOSE their primaries to registered Democrats and Independents AND each state needs to have something in place saying that if you voted Dem in the primary, you need to vote Dem in the general election. That will stop people from crossing over just to try and get a perceived weaker candidate against their actual candidate of choice. We may also think about having Democrat and Republican primaries at the same time to help prevent that as well. Just a thought.

    March 27, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Betsy

    I love this man.

    Wow, someone with some common sense!

    March 27, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. maynard

    Sen Nelson: we need the popular vote and do away with the electoral
    vote or collage. i would like very much to see this i.m 62 years old and my vote has never been counted. its about time change is good and this system needs changing.


    March 27, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Matt

    You know what the flaw in the nominating system is Bill? Arrogant and impudent politicians like yourself that ignore national democratic rules and then have the audacity to fully place the blame of "Florida disenfranchisement" on anyone but the Florida Legislature that is truly responsible. I hope no one even considers your pipe-dream plan, mostly because you're an unashamed hypocrite and taking election advice from someone in Florida is laughable.

    March 27, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Jerry

    This is a fix it Idea from some one from Florida? You got to be kidding.
    They have not gotton an election right the last 2 times, what makes this fool think the rest of the country wants anything to do with a voiting idea out of Florida

    March 27, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Jim in CT

    Thank you! It would be great to finally get rid of caucuses and the Electoral College, both at one time!!! This would end all of the craziness going on in the two parties and let the average American finally have a real say in who our leaders are.

    March 27, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Gary

    I agree with the person who stated that Bill Nelson does not understand our Constitution. As a Floridian, I cannot vote for Bill Nelson again. Our founding fathers created a republic, not a democracy. They saw the dangers of a democracy. Hence the Electoral College and not just a popular vote.

    Within our republic, we have democracy; that is our voices can be heard. Changing the primaries are fine. That can be done without legislation. The DNC and RNC can change their rules as to when and how they are held. FYI, primaries are not in the Constitution. That is something that has developed over the years as a way for parties to select their candidate. Changing those can and should be done as needed. However, the only people that are complaining that the primaries need to change are the ones that broke the rules.

    March 27, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Iamwmd

    This Nelson character along with the democrats responsible for the mess in Florida and Michigan should have nothing to do with the voting process ever again. It would be like the fox guarding the hen house.

    Obama 08

    March 27, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. North Carolina

    Unfortunately, while I agree that some kind of change is in order, the effect of moving to 6 regional primaries would be to make sure my vote had no meaning except once every 24 yrs. As a NC voter it already holds no meaning: all the candidates are long gone by the time I vote; nevertheless, once in 24 years isn't exactly what I had in mind to better the situation. Why don't we all vote on the same day? Or randomize the order of state primaries between elections? Either would be fairer than what we've got or what is now proposed. Also, the Electoral college has decided the presidency only 5 times in our nation's history . Caucuses, voter intimidation, and ballot fraud are bigger issues.

    March 27, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Change?

    It would be great to dump the electoral college and the super delegates. I've been around a long time and remember that prior to each election, then often right after each election, the politicians have these conversations, but nothing ever changes.

    The electoral college was originally created when communications from outlying states would literally take weeks to get back to the capitol. Representatives in the capitol would vote to get the new president seated more quickly. These days, the college isn't necessary. The problem is that the electoral college also gives states who don't have as large a population as others more weight in the election process. Those states won't give this power up easily. it will take a change to the Constitution to disband the electoral college. That will require each state to vote to do it. There are enough states around that WANT the college that this change won't take place easily.

    Don't hold your breath to see the college disappear....

    March 27, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Renee

    I just heard on Ed Shultz's show that a Obama pledged delegate for the caucus got an email from Hillary to attend a call today with Hillary at 4:30. She's trying to convert pledged delegates. This has to be stopped. This process is messed up and she's trying to do anything to win. She'll never have my vote and I won't come back to her if she steals the nomination.

    March 27, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. George

    The Electoral College disenfranchizes voters and should have been done away with a long time ago. The primaries should be a Caucus system, limited to registered members of their respective parties. This would prevent shenanigans like Republicans crossing party lines to vote for candidates who they think are beatable in the general elections.

    March 27, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. RFB

    I hope he will add that caucuses be dropped from the election process. These only allow a small percentage of the population to voice their votes.

    March 27, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Ben

    truth be told & Joe,

    You don't think the small states get marginalized already. This thing becomes about the populous states who are roughly divided equally between Dem & Rep or Dem, Rep, & independents. Those are Florida, Missouri, Ohio, & Pennsylvania. There are probably some others, but everyone knows about the ones I named.

    I'd prefer to see there be some way to equalize the difference between big states and little states that has a similar effect to the current electoral college where they count total # of representatives to Congress, but if there isn't a workable solution, then the increase in voter participation which will also impact issues down ballot is more than worth it.

    March 27, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Dan

    You think Florida was bad, with the State margin being just a few hundred votes.

    Try having a national election where is a margin is that small, and every county in the country has to recount.

    I'm laughing just thinking about it.

    The Electoral College is here to stay, and hurray for that.

    March 27, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. willis

    More rhetoric from the Clinton Camp!!

    Florida cannot be thought of any serious manner - they can't even manage to "vote" period - speaking of years 2000/2004 and 2008!

    Nelson should be giving tutorials to Foridans on how to vote and leave the politics to the "real" politicians.

    March 27, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Larry from LA

    This Senator Nelson guy not only looks scary, but he is scary. What is amazing is how did he get the senate seat in Florida. Every time I see him he gives me the willy's.

    March 27, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. fred

    Go Hillary!!!

    Hey George, have you caucused??? It is a joke!!

    I agree about the Republicans crossing party lines. That should be stopped. That is one of Carl Roves and Rush's brilliant ideas.

    If they register Democrat then they should be handed a ballot with only the Democrats on it in the General Election. That would stop the BS.

    March 27, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Herman

    Yep just like in the O.J. Simpson trial, it's time to change the laws once a black & white person clashes.

    Domestic violence was never introduced as legislation until the O.J. Simpson trial.

    Just like Tiger Woods the changed the golf course at the Masters was made longer just so Tiger could lose but he with stood the challenge and won the torment.

    Barack will with stand the challenge as well and come out on top as the winner.

    You wonder why blacks all ways feel there is no justice in America.

    March 27, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Art, Port Tobacco, MD

    Ever wonder why they make rules and guidelines? Florida and Michigan obiously don't because they don't seem to be able to follow them. I think that it is perfectly fair what the democratic and repulican national committees did though I do feel sorry for the people of the state. I also think that Florida and Michigan should really consider who they elect in their upcoming elections (whenever that may be) and ensure someone that is there for the people and not the limelight is elected.

    March 27, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. RFB

    Rick, Huckabee still got no where!

    March 27, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. PA

    He will make a good VP.

    March 27, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Dody

    I don't care who you support, it should be painfully obvious by now to everyone that our election system is broken. If the system was reformed as Nelson proposes, the regional primaries would allow smaller states to have their say without being marginalized, bigger states would no longer unfairly set the tone for or discourage voters next in line, the candidates might play better together and "one person, one vote" might actually mean something. Other countries around the world do it all the time. Let's discard the outdated bureaucracy and red tape, and have a real election with meaningful results that truly represent the people of this country, each and every one.

    Concerning the Electoral College, there are still laws on the books in many U.S. cities about where you can and can't tie your horse up in town. Just because they exist and had a real purpose and effect when they were enacted doesn't mean we should keep them unaltered until the end of time. The writers of The Constitution were wise, brave and learned men. They were also very forward looking men with bold, new ideas. Do Americans really think they would not be willing to give the Electoral College a second look if they were here today?

    March 27, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. percy

    How does someone get elected to the Senate without ever reading the Constitutiion?

    March 27, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. RFB

    Renee - She is giving a speach in Raleigh and throughout NC I doubt she can be in two places at one time. Get you info straight.

    March 27, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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