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May 01, 2013 11:00 AM Reform Wars: The Two Different Projects to Fix the Electoral College

By James P. Rooney

With the race for president a fading memory, Americans might think they wouldn’t have to hear about swing states again until the next election. But the reason we had to hear so much about such states during the presidential campaign - their outsized influence - has generated calls for reform. Two ideas are competing. One would benefit Republicans by splitting the electoral vote in swing states that voted Democratic in the last election. The other, a non-partisan effort, would simply tie electoral votes to the national popular vote. The first is a flash in the pan; the second is a long shot, but is the most interesting and promising reform plan to the way we select presidents that the country has seen in the last 150 years.

The GOP Plan

Because the losing party in an election wants to change the rules to avoid the same result in the future, it is no surprise that Republicans are considering changes in the winner-take-all system of allocating presidential electors in states President Barack Obama won where Republicans dominate state government. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, legislators have introduced bills to divide state electors proportionately so that a candidate receiving 60 percent of the vote would get 60 percent of the electors. Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin are considering bills that would grant electoral votes by congressional district.

The proposals could change elections dramatically. In Virginia, for example, under current winner-take-all rules, President Obama won all of the state’s 13 electoral votes. Under a strictly proportional approach, he would have won only seven electors, and under a proposal by Republican State Senator Charles “Bill” Carrico to choose one elector in each Congressional district and give the remaining two electors to the candidate who won the most districts, Mitt Romney would have won the state.

But these partisan efforts are doomed to fail because they eliminate the power swing states now enjoy. Each of the states considering district or proportional voting is a swing state. Adopting a district or proportional vote might guarantee one party a few more electoral votes. But the cost would be a precipitous decline in state influence; no longer would a presidential candidate have a shot at winning all the state’s electors. Any Republican tempted to adopt either scheme would be simultaneously thumbing his nose at local voters and conceding that his party could not win the state.

The Popular Vote Plan

A better proposal comes from outside either party structure. In 2006, John Koza, a computer scientist who had developed an Electoral College game in graduate school, formed an organization called National Popular Vote. Under Koza’s plan, states would agree among themselves to cast all their electoral votes to the country’s popular vote winner. The plan will be implemented once enough states join to reach 270 electoral votes - the total needed for Electoral College victory.

So far, eight states - Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, and California - and the District of Columbia have joined. Their 132 combined electoral votes put the plan nearly halfway to the total needed for implementation. Notably, none of them are among the nine swing states in the last election. It is the sidelining of non-swing states that convinced legislators to vote for a change. According to Pam Wilmot, who led the lobbying effort in Massachusetts for the National Popular Vote, the state representatives with whom she spoke were convinced because they knew the state had become politically irrelevant in presidential elections.

All the states that have joined so far have voted Democratic in presidential elections for the last 20 years. The popular vote change will not happen unless some Republican-leaning states sign up. Notable Republicans do support the proposal, including former Senators Fred Thompson and Jake Garn, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, and former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar. Some 250 Republican legislators from across the country have also signed on as sponsors of National Popular Vote bills in their legislatures. Polls show that two-thirds of Republicans (and over 70 percent of the entire population) support it. But the 2012 Republican Party platform came out against the National Popular Vote because it “would be a mortal threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the presidency.”

That’s one take, but the Constitution allows states to pick electors as they chose and there’s no reason to think fraud would be any more likely under a national popular vote than under the present system. But reasoned argument alone will not counter the suspicion that the early success of the national popular vote movement in Democratic-leaning states shows that Democrats will obtain an advantage under this proposal. To begin to make any headway with Republicans, proponents of a national popular probably need a victory in a Republican-dominated legislative body.

They achieved a partial win in 2011 when the Republican-led New York State Senate passed a National Popular Vote bill by 47 to 13. But what they need is a Republican governor to sign into law a popular vote bill passed by a Republican legislature. Saul Anuzis, a member of the Republican National Committee and the former head of the Michigan Republican party, believes that Republican legislators will be convinced not by national party positions, but by a feeling that a national popular vote would make a positive difference on their states. Anuzis supports a national popular vote because of the 2008 election, in which John McCain pulled out of Michigan when it became clear he could not win there, to the detriment, Anuzis believes, of other Republican candidates in that state.

Next Steps

Have recent elections made it more likely that Republicans in non-swing states will see the need for a change? Maybe; immediately after the election, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, annoyed that presidential candidates ignored her state in the election, declared her support for picking the president by popular vote.

But there is little likelihood that any swing states will drop the winner-take-all system and give up their influential positions in the near future. The action will be in the 41 non-swing states and in efforts to convince legislators that picking a president by the national popular vote will accord with the public’s desires, not hurt their party, and might increase their state’s influence along the way. The most likely movement is in the twelve states in which at least one house of the legislature has passed a national popular vote bill in recent years. The latest is the Oregon House of Representatives, which passed a bill on April 18, 2013. Who’s next?

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James P. Rooney is an administrative law judge in Boston.

Comments

  • oldgulph on May 01, 2013 2:47 PM:

    In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, and then-Senator Bob Dole.

    On June 7, 2011, the Republican-controlled New York Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill by a 47–13 margin, with Republicans favoring the bill by 21–11. Republicans endorsed by the Conservative Party favored the bill 17–7.

    In May 2011, Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: "I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
    It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States [that then existed in 2011].
    National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it."

    Some other supporters who wrote forewords to "Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote " http://www.every-vote-equal.com/ include:

    Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She was the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

    James Brulte served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

    Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

    Dean Murray is a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

    Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.

  • oldgulph on May 01, 2013 2:54 PM:

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large population states with 243 electoral votes, including one house in Arkansas(6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), New York (29), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in Colorado (9), and Rhode Island (4).

    NationalPopularVote

  • oldgulph on May 01, 2013 2:57 PM:

    By state (electoral college votes), by political affiliation, support for a national popular vote in recent polls has been:

    Alaska (3)- 78% among (Democrats), 66% among (Republicans), 70% among Nonpartisan voters, 82% among Alaska Independent Party voters, and 69% among others.
    Arkansas (6)- 88% (D), 71% (R), and 79% (Independents).
    Arizona - 60% (R), 79% (D), and 57% others
    California (55)– 76% (D), 61% (R), and 74% (I)
    Colorado (9)- 79% (D), 56% (R), and 70% (I).
    Connecticut (7)- 80% (D), 67% (R), and 71% others
    Delaware (3)- 79% (D), 69% (R), and 76% (I)
    District of Columbia (3)- 80% (D), 48% (R), and 74% of (I)
    Florida (29)- 88% (D), 68% (R), and 76% others
    Idaho(4) - 84% (D), 75% (R), and 75% others
    Iowa (6)- 82% (D), 63% (R), and 77% others
    Kentucky (8)- 88% (D), 71% (R), and 70% (I)
    Maine (4) - 85% (D), 70% (R), and 73% others
    Massachusetts (11)- 86% (D), 54% (R), and 68% others
    Michigan (16)- 78% (D), 68% (R), and 73% (I)
    Minnesota (10)- 84% (D), 69% (R), and 68% others
    Mississippi (6)- 79% (D), 75% (R), and 75% Others
    Montana – 67% (R), 80% (D), and 70% others
    Nebraska (5)- 79% (D), 70% (R), and 75% Others
    Nevada (5)- 80% (D), 66% (R), and 68% Others
    New Hampshire (4)- 80% (D), 57% (R), and 69% (I)
    New Mexico (5)- 84% (D), 64% (R), and 68% (I)
    New York (29) - 86% (D), 66% (R), 78% Independence Party members, 50% Conservative Party members, 100% Working Families Party members, and 70% Others
    North Carolina (15)- 75% liberal (D), 78% moderate (D), 76% conservative (D), 89% liberal (R), 62% moderate (R) , 70% conservative (R), and 80% (I)
    Ohio (18)- 81% (D), 65% (R), and 61% Others
    Oklahoma (7)- 84% (D), 75% (R), and 75% others
    Oregon (7)- 82% (D), 70% (R), and 72% (I)
    Pennsylvania (20)- 87% (D), 68% (R), and 76% (I)
    Rhode Island (4)- 86% liberal (D), 85% moderate (D), 60% conservative (D), 71% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 35% conservative (R), and 78% (I),
    South Carolina - 64% (R), 81% (D), and 68% others
    South Dakota (3)- 84% (D), 67% (R), and 75% others
    Tennessee 73% (R), 78% (D)
    Utah (6)- 82% (D), 66% (R), and 75% others
    Vermont (3)- 86% (D); 61% (R), and 74% Others
    Virginia (13)- 79% liberal (D), 86% moderate (D), 79% conservative (D), 76% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), and 54% conservative (R), and 79% Others
    Washington (12)- 88% (D), 65% (R), and 73% others
    West Virginia (5)- 87% (D), 75% (R), and 73% others
    Wisconsin (10)- 81% (D), 63% (R), and 67% (I)
    Wyoming (3) – 77% (D), 66% (R), and 72% (I)
    http://nationalpopularvote.com/pages/polls.php

  • Cugel on May 02, 2013 10:08 AM:

    Both plans are completely stupid and dangerous. Take the "independent" one. What would be the result?

    Since only national vote totals matter, and how many votes you got in any one state would be immaterial, who would campaign in any small state?

    Democratic candidates would spend all their time trying to maximize their turn-out in biggest blue states (CA, NY, NJ), while Republicans would try to maximize their turnout in the biggest red states (TX, GA, LA, MO).

    Then sophisticated computer models would be used to figure out how to generate 1% extra turn-out in smaller deep red or deep blue states (OK or MA for instance).

    NOBODY would spend much time or dollars campaigning in Ohio or Virginia, Colorado or Florida. Why?

    Because for all the money spent winning Ohio, the vote total was less than 200,000. Florida was even closer, so there's not much "bang for the buck" spending money to compete there. Both sides would only match what the other was doing to avoid losing by a big margin.

    Under the "reformed" system, only a handful of big states would have any "clout" in Presidential elections.

    If you live in any small state you'd get nothing out of this.

  • oldgulph on May 03, 2013 12:14 PM:

    Anyone concerned about the relative power of big states and small states should realize that the current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in the current handful of big states.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote counts equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn't be about winning a handful of battleground states.

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaigns.

    Winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaigns and to presidents once in office.

    In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states - NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) - got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

    In 2012, 24 of the nation's 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.- including not a single dollar in presidential campaign ad money after Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee on April 11. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don't matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Kerry won more electoral votes than Bush (21 versus 19) in the 12 least-populous non-battleground states, despite the fact that Bush won 650,421 popular votes compared to Kerry’s 444,115 votes. The reason is that the red states are redder than the blue states are blue. If the boundaries of the 13 least-populous states had been drawn recently, there would be accusations that they were a Democratic gerrymander.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE --75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%, NE - 74%, NH--69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

  • oldgulph on May 03, 2013 12:17 PM:

    With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, winning a bare plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population, could win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes!

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
    * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
    * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
    * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
    * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
    * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
    * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 -- larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

  • oldgulph on May 03, 2013 12:22 PM:

    The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate. In 2012, 56,256,178 (44%) of the 128,954,498 voters had their vote diverted by the winner-take-all rule to a candidate they opposed (namely, their state’s first-place candidate).


    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    When and where voters matter, then so do the issues they care about most.

    Now, policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states - that include 10 of the original 13 states - are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing

    Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
    “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling 18 battleground states.”

    Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
    “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

  • Eric Hodgdon on May 04, 2013 12:17 AM:

    This is a pointless topic when two private groups control the federal government and exclude the rest.

    Moreover, without proper representation in the House to be at 6,435 members, and then disbursed into 7 Regional Congresses, the People will suffer the dictatorship.

  • William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. on May 04, 2013 4:26 PM:

    James's discussion is based on state self-interest politics. But there are Constitutional issues that eventually SCOTUS would pronounce upon. Here's one paper on that,
    http://ssrn.com/abstract=1121483

    Also, this NPV idea seems to me to be stunningly foolhardy. It advocates that some states conspire against the others so that the conspirators can gain advantage over the currently advantaged states.
    Is that how we want our states to relate to each other? I'm reminded of wolves in a feeding frenzy.

    Doesn't anybody remember the Civil War?

    Its probably unconstitutional, too. Art 1, sec 10 - "No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation ..." or, "enter into any agreement or compact with another state ... without the consent of Congress" We fought a Civil War over this.

    The people behind this idea profit from the contributions their "nonprofit" gets, but their "reform" will and should never happen. 1st Congress won't consent. 2d the Supreme Court will surely kill it. One virtue of having a Republic is that it has checks against the self-destructive urges of the unwise.

  • oldgulph on May 05, 2013 1:05 AM:

    Congressional consent is not required for the National Popular Vote compact under prevailing U.S. Supreme Court rulings. However, because there would undoubtedly be time-consuming litigation about this aspect of the compact, National Popular Vote is working to introduce a bill in Congress for congressional consent.

    The U.S. Constitution provides:

    "No state shall, without the consent of Congress,… enter into any agreement or compact with another state…."

    Although this language may seem straight forward, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, in 1893 and again in 1978, that the Compacts Clause can "not be read literally." In deciding the 1978 case of U.S. Steel Corporation v. Multistate Tax Commission, the Court wrote:

    "Read literally, the Compact Clause would require the States to obtain congressional approval before entering into any agreement among themselves, irrespective of form, subject, duration, or interest to the United States.

    "The difficulties with such an interpretation were identified by Mr. Justice Field in his opinion for the Court in [the 1893 case] Virginia v. Tennessee. His conclusion [was] that the Clause could not be read literally [and this 1893 conclusion has been] approved in subsequent dicta."

    Specifically, the Court's 1893 ruling in Virginia v. Tennessee stated:

    "Looking at the clause in which the terms 'compact' or 'agreement' appear, it is evident that the prohibition is directed to the formation of any combination tending to the increase of political power in the states, which may encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States."

    The state power involved in the National Popular Vote compact is specified in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 the U.S. Constitution:

    "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…."

    In the 1892 case of McPherson v. Blacker (146 U.S. 1), the Court wrote:

    "The appointment and mode of appointment of electors belong exclusively to the states under the constitution of the United States"

    The National Popular Vote compact would not "encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States" because there is simply no federal power -- much less federal supremacy -- in the area of awarding of electoral votes in the first place.

    In the 1978 case of U.S. Steel Corporation v. Multistate Tax Commission, the compact at issue specified that it would come into force when seven or more states enacted it. The compact was silent as to the role of Congress. The compact was submitted to Congress for its consent. After encountering fierce political opposition from various business interests concerned about the more stringent tax audits anticipated under the compact, the compacting states proceeded with the implementation of the compact without congressional consent. U.S. Steel challenged the states' action. In upholding the constitutionality of the implementation of the compact by the states without congressional consent, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the interpretation of the Compacts Clause from its 1893 holding in Virginia v. Tennessee, writing that:

    "the test is whether the Compact enhances state power quaod [with regard to] the National Government."

    The Court also noted that the compact did not

    "authorize the member states to exercise any powers they could not exercise in its absence."

  • oldgulph on May 05, 2013 1:09 AM:

    In May 2011, Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: "I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
    It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States [that then existed in 2011].

    National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it."

  • oldgulph on May 05, 2013 1:13 AM:

    A “conspiracy” is an agreement to commit a crime.

    An interstate compact is not a “conspiracy,” but, instead, a mechanism provided by the U.S. Constitution that enables sovereign states to enter voluntarily into binding contractual arrangements with one another.

    The National Popular Vote compact is based on the exclusive and plenary power of the states to choose the manner of awarding their electoral votes (as provided by section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution).

    Anyone who supports the current presidential election system, believing it is what the Founders intended and that it is in the Constitution, is mistaken. The current presidential election system does not function, at all, the way that the Founders thought that it would.

    Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse the current electoral system where 80% of the states and voters now are completely politically irrelevant. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. In 2008, presidential campaigns spent 98% of their resources in just 15 battleground states, where they were not hopelessly behind or safely ahead, and could win the bare plurality of the vote to win all of the state’s electoral votes. Now the majority of Americans, in small, medium-small, average, and large states are ignored. Virtually none of the small states receive any attention. None of the 10 most rural states is a battleground state. 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX are ignored. That’s over 85 million voters, 200 million Americans. Once the conventions are over, presidential candidates now don’t visit or spend resources in 80% of the states. Candidates know the Republican is going to win in safe red states, and the Democrat will win in safe blue states, so they are ignored. States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election.

    With National Popular Vote, with every vote equal, candidates will truly have to care about the issues and voters in all 50 states and DC. A vote in any state will be as sought after as a vote in Florida. Part of the genius of the Founding Fathers was allowing for change as needed. When they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t give us the right to vote, or establish state-by-state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes, or establish any method, for how states should award electoral votes. Fortunately, the Constitution allowed state legislatures to enact laws allowing people to vote and how to award electoral votes.

    Because each state has independent power to award its electoral votes in the manner it sees fit, it is difficult to see what "adverse effect" might be claimed by one state from the decision of another state to award its electoral votes in a particular way. It is especially unclear what adverse "political" effect might be claimed, given that the National Popular Vote compact would treat votes cast in all 50 states and the District of Columbia equally. A vote cast in a compacting state is, in every way, equal to a vote cast in a non-compacting state. The National Popular Vote compact does not confer any advantage on states belonging to the compact as compared to non-compacting states. A vote cast in a compacting state would be, in every way, equal to a vote cast in a non-compacting state. The National Popular Vote compact certainly would not reduce the voice of voters in non-compacting states relative to the voice of voters in member states.

    Words, such as “conspiracy,” “collusion,” and “scheme,” do not change the fact that the

  • oldgulph on May 05, 2013 1:16 AM:

    Over 90% of the contributions supporting the National Popular Vote effort have come—in about equal total amounts—from
    ● Tom Golisano (author of a foreword to this book and a pro-life, anti-Buffett-rule, registered Republican businessman residing in Florida) and
    ● John R. Koza (lead author of this book and a pro-choice, pro-Buffett-rule, registered Democratic businessman residing in California).

  • oldgulph on May 05, 2013 1:29 AM:

    Keep in mind:

    More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

    In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, and then-Senator Bob Dole.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium, and large states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes.

    More and fuller responses to commonly thrown around myths about National Popular Vote can be found in Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote. It is available to read for free online at www.NationalPopularVote.com.