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Electoral College Debates Continue

Electoral College Debates Continue

Posted - Nov. 3, 2004 at 4:55 p.m.



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Kimberly Houk ReportingUtah has voted overwhelmingly to send our five Republican electors back to the booths again in December to cast the state's five electoral votes for President Bush.

The five electors are selected during the Republican Party's state convention. They're people the party trusts to cast their vote for George Bush in December. But should one decide to stray in Utah, there's no way they’ll succeed.

Gov. Walker: “Under our law, if they defect they’re replaced.”

And they're replaced immediately with someone who will cast a Republican vote.

Governor Olene Walker is one of Utah's five Republican Electors. She still believes the Electoral College is the way to go.

Olene Walker, Governor of Utah: “I think it’s a formula that works. And if you start tampering with it, then I think it moves away from the equality of the states.”

But there's been a growing fear in some states that Electors may defect when it comes time to cast their votes, the only votes that count in the presidential election. And if that's the case, should elector's votes be the only votes that count?

Scott Simpson, Republican Elector: “I think that the technology is advanced enough that we could probably turn this over to the electorate.”

A supporter of amending the Constitution and changing to a "popular vote" system is Scott Simpson, a local businessman and another one of Utah's Republican electors. The other electors are Lt. Governor Gayle McKeachnie, State Republican Party Chair Joe Cannon, and Provo Mayor Lewis Billings. It's their votes that will count when it comes to re-electing George W. Bush.

Republican Electors have been going to the polls as Utah's voters in the presidential elections since the 1960s. The last Democratic President Utah supported was Lyndon B. Johnson. It's been a long time for Utah's Democrats, and for that reason Donald Dunn, who is one of the state's five democratic electors, says it's time for the system to change.

Donald Dunn, Democratic Elector: “I think we ought to take the electoral college, wrap it up in a box, and throw it in the garbage.”

One state that tried to move to a more representative electoral vote was Colorado. Voters there got the chance to vote on whether they wanted to split the state's nine electoral votes to match the popular vote. The people voted against doing that yesterday.

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