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Thu Jun 22, 2017, 01:16 PM

 

Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote Could Be Soon

The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it, including four small jurisdictions (RI, VT, HI, DC), three medium- size states (MD, MA, WA), and four big states (NJ, IL, NY, CA). The bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers in 22 states—most recently by a bipartisan 40–16 vote in the Arizona House, a 28–18 vote in the Oklahoma Senate, a 57–4 vote in New York Senate, and a 37–21 vote in Oregon House. A total of 3,055 state legislators have either sponsored or cast a recorded vote for the bill.

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from state winner-take-all statutes (i.e., state laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each separate state).

Because of these state winner-take-all statutes, presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion. As shown on the map, two-thirds of the 2012 general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were in just 4 states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa). Thirty-eight states were ignored.

State winner-take-all statutes adversely affect governance. “Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

Also, state winner-take-all statutes have allowed candidates to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in four of our 57 presidential elections—1 in 14 times. A shift of 59,393 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected John Kerry despite President Bush’s nationwide lead of over 3,000,000 votes. A shift of 214,393 votes in 2012 would have elected Mitt Romney despite President Obama’s nationwide lead of almost 5,000,000 votes.

The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors....” The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would not take effect until enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). Under the compact, the national popular vote winner would be the candidate who received the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) on Election Day. When the Electoral College meets in mid-December, the national popular vote winner would receive all of the electoral votes of the enacting states.

The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.

The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections.

http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/written-explanation


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Reply Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote Could Be Soon (Original post)
vkkv Jun 2017 OP
Gothmog Jun 2017 #1
Raster Jun 2017 #3
HughBeaumont Jun 2017 #2
mvymvy Jun 2017 #7
IphengeniaBlumgarten Jun 2017 #4
mvymvy Jun 2017 #5
mvymvy Jun 2017 #6

Response to vkkv (Original post)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 01:19 PM

1. I strongly support the National Popular Vote movement and plan

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 01:28 PM

3. Yes! Yes! Yes!

This is long past due.

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Response to vkkv (Original post)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 01:28 PM

2. PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT.

I'm on board with it, obviously, but good luck getting the South and Midwest to accept that.

When 16% of the population gets to control 50% of the vote, they're not taking THAT bullet. It's almost as if they're gearing to put someone WORSE than Trump in office next time.

Democrats have to automatically concede 135 electoral votes from jump because someone's vote in Wyoming weighs far heavier than a California vote, even though more people live in Columbus, OH than Wyoming.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 03:41 PM

7. Support

Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range - in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

The National Popular Vote bill in 2017 has passed in the New Mexico Senate and Oregon House.
It was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
Since 2006, the bill has passed 35 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 261 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia, Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), North Carolina (15), Oklahoma (7), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California, Colorado (9), Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico (5), New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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Response to vkkv (Original post)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 01:35 PM

4. The devil is in the details

The name of the plan is probably the best thing about it. But notice that it is an agreement (compact) about how the various states will operate. If a state government changes its mind and backs out, the recourse is for the other states to take it to the courts. This could be a very slow and complex procedure, even more frustrating than the Gore v Bush case. I dimly recall that there is some legal concern about the status of such an interstate agreement, too.

It also seems that it lacks transparency to the voters. Imagine how the voters of a solidly blue state will react, when their state gives all its electoral votes to the red candidate, in order to match the national vote.

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Response to IphengeniaBlumgarten (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 03:37 PM

5. The details

The National Popular Vote bill says: "Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term."

This six-month “blackout” period includes six important events relating to presidential elections, namely the
● national nominating conventions,
● fall general election campaign period,
● Election Day on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,
● meeting of the Electoral College on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December,
● counting of the electoral votes by Congress on January 6, and
● scheduled inauguration of the President and Vice President for the new term on January 20.

Any attempt by a state to pull out of the compact in violation of its terms would violate the Impairments Clause of the U.S. Constitution and would be void. Such an attempt would also violate existing federal law. Compliance would be enforced by Federal court action

The National Popular Vote compact is, first of all, a state law. It is a state law that would govern the manner of choosing presidential electors. A Secretary of State may not ignore or override the National Popular Vote law any more than he or she may ignore or override the winner-take-all method that is currently the law in 48 states.

There has never been a court decision allowing a state to withdraw from an interstate compact without following the procedure for withdrawal specified by the compact. Indeed, courts have consistently rebuffed the occasional (sometimes creative) attempts by states to evade their obligations under interstate compacts.

In 1976, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stated in Hellmuth and Associates v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

“When enacted, a compact constitutes not only law, but a contract which may not be amended, modified, or otherwise altered without the consent of all parties.”

In 1999, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania stated in Aveline v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole:
“A compact takes precedence over the subsequent statutes of signatory states and, as such, a state may not unilaterally nullify, revoke, or amend one of its compacts if the compact does not so provide.”

In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court very succinctly addressed the issue in Petty v. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Commission:
“A compact is, after all, a contract.”

The important point is that an interstate compact is not a mere “handshake” agreement. If a state wants to rely on the goodwill and graciousness of other states to follow certain policies, it can simply enact its own state law and hope that other states decide to act in an identical manner. If a state wants a legally binding and enforceable mechanism by which it agrees to undertake certain specified actions only if other states agree to take other specified actions, it enters into an interstate compact.

Interstate compacts are supported by over two centuries of settled law guaranteeing enforceability. Interstate compacts exist because the states are sovereign. If there were no Compacts Clause in the U.S. Constitution, a state would have no way to enter into a legally binding contract with another state. The Compacts Clause, supported by the Impairments Clause, provides a way for a state to enter into a contract with other states and be assured of the enforceability of the obligations undertaken by its sister states. The enforceability of interstate compacts under the Impairments Clause is precisely the reason why sovereign states enter into interstate compacts. Without the Compacts Clause and the Impairments Clause, any contractual agreement among the states would be, in fact, no more than a handshake.

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Response to IphengeniaBlumgarten (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 22, 2017, 03:39 PM

6. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count

All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.
Candidates, as in other elections, would allocate their time, money, polling, organizing, and ad buys roughly in proportion to the population

Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.

In Gallup polls since 1944 until before this election, 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 has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 now shown on divisive maps as red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range - in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

In state polls of voters each with a second question that specifically emphasized that their state's electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states, not necessarily their state's winner, there was only a 4-8% decrease of support.

Question 1: "How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?"

Question 2: "Do you think it more important that a state's electoral votes be cast for the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state, or is it more important to guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states becomes president?"

Support for a National Popular Vote
South Dakota -- 75% for Question 1, 67% for Question 2.
Connecticut -- 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2,
Utah -- 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2
NationalPopularVote

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