Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB 2948, the bill that would have effectively done away with the Electoral College in favor of direct election of the president, once enough states passed similar bills (and they overcame the inevitable court challenges).
Schwarzenegger’s veto message reads,
To the Members of the California State Assembly:
I am returning Assembly Bill 2948 without my signature.
I believe strongly in democracy and in honoring the will of the people. While this bill honors the
will of the majority of people voting for the office of President of the United States across the
country, it disregards the will of a majority of Californians.
I appreciate the intent of this measure to make California more relevant in the presidential
campaign, but I cannot support doing it by giving all our electoral votes to the candidate that a
majority of Californians did not support.
This is counter to the tradition of our great nation which honor states rights and the unique pride
and identity of each state.
The message is either dishonest or disingenuous. If this mechanism had been in place the last time there was a discrepancy between the popular and Electoral College votes—2000—, the result would have been the election of the candidate that the majority of Californian (and American) voters did support, rather than what we got.
Then why the veto? Most likely because the Republican Party has an advantage over the Democrats in the Electoral College, largely because of demographics. Republicans do better in small states, and small states are disproportionately represented in the College.
I’m not so foolish as to believe that the Democrats aren’t equally dishonest when it serves their purpose, or that this back-door approach to abolishing the Electoral College had much chance of gathering enough support nationwide to take effect. But it would have been nice to try.