A Republican push to change America's historic voting system is faltering after a fightback by Democrats fearful that it could cost them the 2008 presidential election.
Republican activists in California, the most populous state in the country, have set in motion a proposal to change the law to end the winner-takes-all electoral college system.
The change, if it went through, would effectively hand the next election to the Republicans.
California has gone Democratic in every election since 1992, providing a bloc of 55 electoral votes, about one fifth of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
The Republicans are proposing that instead of all the electoral votes going to the winner, the 55 votes be allocated on a Congressional district basis, which would give the Republicans around 20, almost certainly enough to secure the White House.
The electoral college system, in use for more than 200 years, has become increasingly contentious, particularly since 2000, when George Bush won the presidency in spite of Al Gore securing a majority of the popular vote.
Political scientists and historians are divided over the pros and cons of the system. Sympathisers argue that it provides a degree of stability while opponents claim it can run counter to the wishes of the electorate.
The Republicans have filed to have their proposal put to a ballot in June next year. But first they have to collect 434,000 signatures by November 29 this year.
If Californians then voted in the ballot for the change, the new rules would apply in November's presidential election.
I am not a big fan of this. I would like to keep this country the way the founders intended.
It would hurt the Dems a lot though, wouldn't it?