In an effort to force presidential candidates to court California voters instead of focusing on battleground states, Assemblymen Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, introduced Assembly Bill 459 this week.
The legislation calls for awarding all of the state's 55 electoral votes to whichever candidate wins a majority of the popular vote nationally.
“This isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue, it’s a California issue,’’ Nestande said. “This is a way to make sure California is a relevant state in presidential politics instead of just a fundraising stop."
If adopted, the legislation would end the state’s winner-take-all policy of awarding its 55 electoral votes.
Hill said the bill would make sure candidates come to California.
“Candidates do not run television advertisements in California, they do not send direct mail, make phone calls or conduct field operations here, but they sure do a lot of fund raising here,’’ Hill said.
The National Popular Vote legislation has already been adopted by seven states and is under consideration across the country, according to both lawmakers.
AB 459 would remain inactive until enough states join the movement to ensure that a majority of electoral votes -- 270 -- would go to the presidential contender who wins a majority of the popular vote nationwide, according to Nestande’s office.
In four out of 56 presidential elections, a candidate has been elected without having the highest number of popular votes, according to Nestande.
Article I and Amendment 12 of the U.S. Constitution require that electors be appointed in each state -- in proportion to the number of representatives -- for the purpose of choosing a president and vice president. The electors are generally obligated to follow the will of the state's voters, but don't always.
The California Legislature approved National Popular Vote bills in 2006 and 2008, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both of them.