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Jerry Brown OKs potential change in awarding electoral votes

August 8, 2011 | 12:44 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown took action Monday aimed at giving California more influence in presidential elections.

Brown signed legislation that would allow California to join other states in awarding electoral votes to the presidential ticket that receives the most popular votes nationwide in a general election.

California awards all of its 55 electoral votes to the ticket that receives the most votes in the state. Because the state is heavily Democratic, presidential contenders often slight the state as a place to campaign, focusing instead on states where the vote is more competitive.

"For too long, presidential candidates have ignored California and our issues while pandering exclusively to the battleground states," said Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) who sponsored AB 459.  Hill said the change would make California and its large population more relevant in the election, forcing candidates to campaign more for votes here.

The change approved by Brown will occur only if it is adopted by states with a majority of the electoral votes in the country. California is the eighth state to approve the new system.

The governor also signed legislation Monday that will allow Yolo County to hold all-mail elections as an experiment to see whether the idea should be tried in larger counties. Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) sponsored that bill, AB 413.

-- Patrick McGreevy