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Richardson allies push for national vote initiative

Some of Gov. Bill Richardson’s former campaign higher-ups were spotted in downtown Santa Fe by Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican — not planning another presidential run for the two-term New Mexico governor, but planning on how to push for an initiative to abolish the electoral college and elect a president by the national popular vote.

The former Richardson staffers include Dave Contarino, Amanda Cooper, and Jim Noel.

New Mexico, like most other states, uses the winner-take-all system to determine who gets our five electoral votes. So, if a candidate wins the state by one vote — or, say, by 366 votes, which was Al Gore’s margin over George W. Bush in 2000 — he or she gets all five electoral votes.

During the past state legislative session, the New Mexico House passed a memorial asking the secretary of state and the attorney general to “study and compare the current electoral college system and the national popular vote system” and to report their findings to the Legislative Council by November.

But, as Barry Massey of The Associated Press pointed out in a story published Wednesday, the proposal to join a compact with other states won’t get much traction with the current administration in Santa Fe.

Any such change to the election of presidents wouldn’t go into effect until states representing a majority if the votes in the electoral college, or 270, signed on to the legislation. Currently, each state receives an electoral vote for each representative to Congress and each senator — so each state has three electoral votes. The District of Columbia also receives three electoral votes because of the 23rd Amendment.

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