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Letters to the Editor: Why should Wyoming voters have more power than Californians?

Brock Ervin demonstrates outside the Indiana House chamber.
Brock Ervin demonstrates outside the Indiana House chamber before the state’s eleven electors cast ballots for president and vice president.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

To the editor: One of Jonah Goldberg’s objections to electing presidents by popular vote (which would have spared us both George W. Bush and Donald Trump, by the way) is that candidates could rack up majorities by appealing to a “handful of large highly urbanized states.” As opposed to what, the way they currently pingpong between a handful of battleground states? You don’t see many candidates making appearances in Arkansas or Wyoming these days.

And speaking of the Cowboy State, my real objection to the electoral college is the way it allocates absurdly disproportionate weight to voters in small states. An elector in Wyoming represents around 150,000 voters, whereas a California elector represents the votes of some 500,000 residents. That makes their votes over 3 times more powerful than ours. Please explain how that makes any sense.

Timothy Paine, Burbank

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To the editor: Jonah Goldberg’s arguments are unconvincing. As someone who lives in California, I want my vote to count as much as anyone else in our country. The electoral college has allowed the Republicans to win the presidency three times this century even though they have won the popular vote for president only one time since 1988! This directly led to the war in Iraq, one of America’s worst foreign policy blunders, and Trump’s disastrous presidency.

I do agree that the best way to remove the electoral college’s negative impact is to have a compact between the states. Many states, including California, have signed on to this agreement already.

David Bendall, Aliso Viejo

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To the editor: While Goldberg may be correct that direct voting without the electoral college would pressure candidates to cater to the largest population centers at the expense of less densely populated regions, the opposite happens now. Battleground states get the lion’s share of political advertising and campaign events while large populated states like California and New York get ignored. The electoral college also tends to over-value rural voters.

If democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others, as Churchill is reported to have said, then it must be because it is the only system that allows for the widest participation of its citizens through the process of voting. The logical extension of that is one person, one vote.

Chris Fite, Spring Valley

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To the editor: Jonah Goldberg’s op-ed reminded me of a conversation I had with a Canadian farmer in 2018. He wondered how Americans could have elected Trump. When I asked, he said he didn’t know about the electoral college. So I explained the process. I then mentioned something else he didn’t know: Although Trump won the electoral vote, Hillary Clinton actually received about 3 million more individual votes than Trump did.

“And that’s supposed to be the shining example of democracy to the world,” he said.

John Tabor, Torrance


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