Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Majority of Californians would abolish electoral college, poll finds

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote, but lost the election.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote, but lost the election. The Associated Press

Perhaps it’s no surprise coming from the state that helped deliver a popular vote victory to Hillary Clinton even as she lost the presidential election: A majority of Californians would like to do away with the electoral college.

A post-election survey of California voters by Sacramento State’s CALSPEAKS Opinion Reseasrch Center and KP Public Affairs found that 57 percent of respondents would prefer a national popular vote, more than twice as many as would keep the current system.

It’s not likely that the United States will ever move away from the electoral college, which gives disproportionate weight to less populous states. But that hasn’t stopped California from trying.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown approved a compact that will give California’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote when states comprising a majority of the electoral college sign on. Organizers are nearly two-thirds of the way there, though no additional states have joined the compact since New York in 2014.

WORTH REPEATING: “Fascinating times – @Uber’s launch in San Francisco today proves once again that innovation is in California’s DNA.” - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, tweeting on Wednesday, before the self-driving cars were ordered off the road by the DMV

AWAY IN THE MANGER: A group seeking to put a nativity scene in every statehouse in the country is coming next to Sacramento. The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based nonprofit law firm, and local volunteers will unveil a crèche on the north steps of the Capitol, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., with a blessing by Sacramento’s auxiliary Bishop Myron J. Cotta. It will be on display through Dec. 26. These sorts of religious exhibits on public grounds often cause controversy and legal battles over the limits of the separation of church and state, but California seems to have avoided the uproar.

WON’T BACK DOWN: California lawmakers are ready to fight President-elect Donald Trump to protect immigrants who live in the state illegally, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is among those leading the charge. He’ll join the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and other community groups for a march and rally to “demand respect for our constitutional rights from our elected officials and the incoming Trump administration,” Sunday at Pershing Square in Los Angeles. The United Nations has designated Dec. 18 International Migrants Day.

TAKING CHARGE: Newly sworn-in as Sacramento’s 56th mayor, former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg has officially begun his civic tour of duty as the face of the capital city. One of his first appearances comes as the community speaker at Sacramento State’s College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies winter commencement, 11:30 a.m. at Sleep Train Arena.

FAREWELLS: After more than three decades as president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, C. Duane Dauner announced Thursday that he will retire when his current term finishes at the end of 2018.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, who turns 50 on Saturday.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff