Skip to main content

A nationwide plan to abolish the electoral college is quickly making serious progress. Already, states with 132 electors have pledged their electoral votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote. States with 62 more electors have now introduced legislation to join them, with more states within reach. And the Oregon house has now passed that legislation, with a Democratic senate and Democratic governor expected to support it. All these electoral votes will be awarded to the national popular vote winner once states representing 270 electoral votes join the plan, and with Oregon added to the total, we're about to pass the halfway point. With 270 electoral votes automatically going to the winner of the national popular vote, the electoral college will, for all intents and purposes, be over as the system by which we vote for president. The winner of the national popular vote will win the White House. This doesn't take a constitutional amendment: All states have the authority to decide how to award their electors.

The new activity has been prompted in response to a multi-state Republican effort, endorsed by the head of the RNC, to split the electoral votes of Democratic states while retaining winner-take-all in Republican states, blocking Democratic candidates from gaining an electoral majority. Under the new scheme, Obama would have lost the last election despite winning nearly 5 million more votes. After causing an uproar, Republicans went silent on their plans, but nothing has happened to stop the GOP from moving forward in the months prior to the next presidential election, when there conveniently won't be any time left for referendums and repeals.

The only real way to stop the Republican plan is to act first. And you can help make that happen.

The following 132 EVs worth of states have passed the National Popular Vote plan:

• California (55 EVs)
• Illinois (20)
• New Jersey (14)
• Washington (12)
• Massachusetts (11)
• Maryland (10)
• Hawaii (4)
• Vermont (3)
• DC (3)

And 62 EVs worth states have introduced new legislation so far this year:

• New York (bills A4422 and S3149) (29 EVs)
• Minnesota (HF799, SF585) (10)
• Connecticut (HB6163, SB432) (7)
• Oregon (HB3077, SB624) (7)
• West Virginia (SB199) (5)
• Rhode Island (H5575, S346) (4)

The characteristic all these states have in common is that they're Democratically controlled, or they were when the law passed. It shouldn't be this way, as "one person, one vote" is as bipartisan as possible, but when Republicans are promoting "half-states for thee, whole states for me," you can see how "the candidate with the most votes wins" could lack Republican support. 12 more EVs worth of states are Democratically controlled, but haven't yet introduced legislation:

• Colorado (9 EVs)
• Delaware (3)

There's one more possible state, with a Democratic governor, overwhelmingly Democratic house, and the barest possible majority for Republicans in the senate:

• New Hampshire (4 EVs)

You might think New Hampshire is unlikely because it has outsized status in presidential elections under the current system, but that's only in the primary, which has nothing to do with the electoral college. New Hampshire used to be considered a swing state in general elections, but it's gone increasingly blue, and doesn't see much love from the candidates after the primary anymore.

Adding these states with the exception of New Hampshire would get us to 206 EVs with 64 to go. It's possible that there are enough Republicans in other states who could be persuaded that a national popular vote will make their state matter in presidential elections again, or that it's simply a fairer system. But to get to 270, in all likelihood, will take ballot initiatives. Fortunately, polling shows Democrats, Republicans and independents all want to abolish the electoral college, by 66-30%, 61-30% and 63-29% margins, respectively. But we can expect Republican voters to change their minds once Fox News and the GOP echo chamber tell them it's an unconstitutional, undemocratic, anti-American liberal plot. We can also hope Democratic and independent support rises once voters see what Republicans are up to. Here, then, are five more states, the states Obama won that have workable initiative processes:

• Florida (29 EVs)
• Ohio (18)
• Michigan (16)
• Nevada (6)
• Maine (4)

Adding these states and their 73 EVs would total 279 EVs, 9 EVs past the goal.

There are also some long-shot states — red states with constitutional initiative processes — that we can fall back on in case some blue states prove intractable. Here they are, in order of narrowest 2012 loss for Obama:

• Arizona (11 EVs) -9% margin
• Missouri (10) -9%
• Mississippi (6) -12%
• Montana (3) -14%
• South Dakota (3) -18%
• North Dakota (3) -20%
• Nebraska (5) -22%
• Arkansas (6) -24%
• Oklahoma (7) -34%

What you can do to help is to contact governors, legislatures and state Democratic parties and get them on board. We also need to contact the DNC to get them organizing with the states on NPV. We're already seeing so much progress. This really is possible.

TALKING POINT FOR DEMOCRATIC CONTACTS:

Hi! As you may know, the national Republican party has endorsed an effort to make it all but impossible for Democrats to win the White House, by splitting up the electoral votes of Democratic states, while keeping Republican states winner-take-all. Under the plan, Obama would have lost to Romney despite winning nearly 5 million more votes. ( tinyurl.com/gopscheme ) But there's one way to prevent this from happening, which is to switch from the electoral college to a national popular vote. It doesn't take a constitutional amendment: Several states have already made the switch to a national popular vote. ( nationalpopularvote.com ) I'm urging you to please read about and support the national popular vote in order to prevent Republicans from exploiting loopholes in the electoral college. Thank you very much!

TALKING POINT FOR REPUBLICAN CONTACTS:

Did you know that several states are passing legislation to replace the electoral college with a national popular vote? This would ensure our state always matters in presidential elections, meaning candidates would have to pay attention to our issues, the billions spent on presidential campaigns would flow through our state, and we, the voters, would feel like our voices matter. It doesn't take a constitutional amendment, because each state gets to decide for itself how to award its electoral votes. ( nationalpopularvote.com ) I'm urging you to please read about and support the national popular vote plan. Thank you very much!

TAKE ACTION!

EVERYONE: Contact the DNC and urge them to support the National Popular Vote project.

COLORADO: Contact Governor Hickenlooper, the Colorado Democratic Party, and your state senator and representative and urge them to support and ensure a vote for National Popular Vote legislation.

CONNECTICUT: Contact Governor Malloy, the Democratic Party of Connecticut and your state senator and representative (scroll down after submitting) and urge them to support and ensure a vote for HB6163 and SB432, the state's National Popular Vote legislation.

DELAWARE: Contact Governor Markell, the Delaware Democratic Party, and your state senator and representative and urge them to support and ensure a vote for National Popular Vote legislation.

FLORIDA: Contact the Florida Democratic Party and urge them to support a National Popular Vote amendment.

MAINE: Contact the Maine Democratic Party and urge them to support a National Popular Vote initiative.

MICHIGAN: Contact the Michigan Democratic Party and urge them to support a National Popular Vote amendment.

MINNESOTA: Contact Governor Dayton, the Minnesota DFL Party, and your state senator and representative and urge them to support and ensure a vote for HF799 and SF585, the state's National Popular Vote legislation.

NEW YORK: Contact Governor Cuomo, the New York State Democratic Committee, and your state senator and assembly member and urge them to support and ensure a vote for A4422 and S3149, the state's National Popular Vote legislation.

NEVADA: Contact the Nevada Democratic Party and urge them to support a National Popular Vote initiative.

New Hampshire: Contact Governor Hassan, the New Hampshire Democratic Party, and your state senator and representative and urge them to support and ensure a vote for National Popular Vote legislation.

OHIO: Contact the Ohio Democratic Party and urge them to support a National Popular Vote amendment.

OREGON: Contact Governor Kitzhaber and your state senator and urge them to support and ensure a vote for SB624, the senate's National Popular Vote legislation, which already passed the house.

RHODE ISLAND: Contact the Rhode Island Democratic Party and your state senator and representative and urge them to support and ensure a vote for H5575 and S346, the state's National Popular Vote legislation.

WEST VIRGINIA: Contact Governor Tomblin, the West Virginia Democratic Party and your state senator and delegate and urge them to support and ensure a vote for SB199, the senate's National Popular Vote legislation, as well as a house version.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  It's Gerrymandering the Electoral College (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, bronte17, trumpeter

    I think in most cases, not abolishing it.

    What they're talking about at least in my state and PA is keeping the college but choosing the electors by the majority Presidential vote of gerrymandered House districts.

    The effect is to make both the House and the WH permanently unwinnable for Democrats almost no matter how big our majority votes are.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:26:47 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps you're misreading? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js, Odysseus

      Republicans want to gerrymander the electoral college, but haven't moved on it yet. What's happening here is that Democrats are preempting the gerrymander by eliminating the electoral college's interference outright. The electoral college will just rubber-stamp the national popular vote.

    •  this plan... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antooo, Wisper, erush1345, trumpeter

      forces states like New York, Illinois, and California to give their electoral votes to a Republican candidate that wins 50.1% of the national popular vote even if the electorate of those individual states overwhelming voted for the Democratic candidate. It baffles me that people think this is a good idea.

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:32:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You must have missed the election in 2000 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cynndara, Odysseus

        Because that election would have fine the opposite way under this. The fact that "the republicans may win with a national popular vote" is the most common defense of the status quo to me speaks volumes about why this is a good idea. A national popular vote is more fair, it's as simple as that. It makes it harder to cheat and steal an election.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:54:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're still thinking in terms of "winning states" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, AoT

        Candidates will no longer win states. States will no longer vote. Candidates will win people and people will vote. California's electoral votes will only go to a Republican if most Americans vote for the Republican. And the Republican will rightly become president in that case. The reason will be because we've eliminated the whole idea that electors should be middlemen who change the national popular vote to something else. We will no longer vote for statewide teams that then vote for president, we'll just vote for president, like every other presidential democracy. The electoral college will just become the obscure technical mechanism that rubber-stamps the national popular vote so that the candidate with the most votes wins.

        •  and if the national... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Wisper, erush1345, trumpeter

          popular vote is sufficiently close, all 50 votes will have to do recounts, even if most individual states had one candidate easily defeating the other...

          "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

          by JackND on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 08:49:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh, I hadn't even though of the recount issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345

            ugh... that is ugly.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Expect a Recount once in 640 years (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            Elections carry the risk of conflicts over recounts.

            The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.

            The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

            The current presidential election system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely, not less likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida would not have been an issue.

            The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

            Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

            The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

            We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

            The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
            “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

            Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

            The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

            No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 57 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

            The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

          •  That's how every other country does it. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            I'm sure we'll manage.

      •  Most Americans Support a National Popular Vote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        Most Americans don't care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate.  Most Americans think it's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

        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%.

        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.
        see http://tinyurl.com/...

        Connecticut -- 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2.
        see http://tinyurl.com/...

        Utah -- 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2.
        see http://tinyurl.com/...

  •  There is still a legal hurdle to be crossed (5+ / 0-)

    Once this actually takes off, someone is going to challenge this as an "Intrastate Compact" that requires Congressional approval, per the Constitution,

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:49:21 AM PDT

    •  Compact Clause (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Odysseus

      The Supreme Court, though a series of rulings culminating with U.S. Steel v. Multistate Tax Commission, has found that interstate compacts do not require congressional approval unless they infringe on an exclusive power of the federal government, such as if they collectively sign a treaty with another country. If they only make an agreement to each carry out a power that each state already has, no congressional approval is required. Choosing who to award your electors to is a clearly assigned state power. Merely being of federal interest is explicitly not sufficient to require congressional approval, under U.S. Steel. The states must be in violation of the supremacy of the federal government, it states.

      •  Here's a lengthy PDF all about it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        If you're interested in the National Popular Vote and the Compact Clause, here you go.

      •  I am very aware (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345

        and I think this particular case is very grey

        The electoral college is explicitly spelled out in the Constitution itself, to have an intrastate compact serving to undermine that may present a problem.

        Essentially you are getting a portion of the states to agree to act in unison to ignore a clearly provisioned process of the US Constitution.

        I will look forward to seeing this argued in Federal court.  I honestly don't know which way it will go and people that think its a clear case either way are obvious advocates for one position and no objective analysts.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:52:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's no ignoring the electoral college (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          The electoral college will still choose the winner. It will just contain a majority of electors who vote for the winner of the national popular vote, because their states have directed them to, per their authority to do so under the Constitution.

          Do you believe that if the states update their laws to remove the "when states representing 270 electoral votes" part, it would be legal? That is, that the states each have the power to choose how to award their electoral votes, independent of whatever other states do?

          •  But you have a majority (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345

            nominally representing states, willing to ignore and reverse the election decision of their represented state in accordance with an interstate compact.

            It is an overt attempt (hence the name) to nullify the electoral college and ensure a National Popular Vote.  The fact that we would still use the mechanism of the Electoral College to somehow legitimize a pre-arranged outcome determined by an Interstate Compact rather then true results of state-by-state electors, I think, presents a legitimate Constitutional question.

            There is also legitimate risk of a Constitutional Crisis in the event of another Presidential election with divergent popular and electoral results.  It is in the best interest of the country not to have an elected president's legitimacy in question, nor is it feasible to hash this out in real time given the hard-coded January 20th expiration for an existing Administration.

            I actually hope the Congress rejects this compact and the states sue to bring the case to court.  I would like to hear the legality of this hashed out and settled BEFORE the next Bush v Gore situation.

            Compact clause issues aside, the first time this happens any person that voted for the candidate that won their state but lost the national popular vote is going to have a legitimate case regarding disenfranchisement.  There is a potential for a significant amount of apparent "vote changing" whereby a candidate, by means of this accord, will appear to have won a LANDSLIDE of Electoral Votes when in actuality the state-by-state decision might actually be very close.  That seems wrong to me on some level.  I suppose it could be argued that it doesn't matter, but it seems to me that it would.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:08:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're assuming that there legally (0+ / 0-)

              needs to be an election at all, which is simply not true. Legally the states have the power to apportion their electors as they see fit. Currently that means that they have decided to apportion the representatives to the electoral college based on a majority vote of the state's electorate. There's no constitutional necessity that they apportion their electors this way.

              I actually hope the Congress rejects this compact and the states sue to bring the case to court. I would like to hear the legality of this hashed out and settled BEFORE the next Bush v Gore situation.
              I don't see how congress comes into it at all. They certainly don't have a say in how the states apportion electors. I would expect another party to bring case however, and I agree that it is important that it be litigated before the following presidential election. And regardless of how cut and dry I think it is, very cut and dry, I'm sure the "conservatives" on the court will do everything to stop it as it will currently hurt republicans' election chances.
              Compact clause issues aside, the first time this happens any person that voted for the candidate that won their state but lost the national popular vote is going to have a legitimate case regarding disenfranchisement.
              No more than they do now. Currently anyone who votes republican in California is effectively disenfranchised in the same way as they would be under this plan. At best they would be able to bring case under the state law, but then the state law says that this is how electors are apportioned, so there's no where to go with that. The possible exception being if the state that suit is brought included this in their laws but not their constitution and there was something in the constitution that guaranteed their right to vote for electors to the electoral college. I would hope that the people in charge of this campaign have taken that into account.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:30:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why do NPV supporters always play this card? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT
                You're assuming that there legally needs to be an election at all, which is simply not true. Legally the states have the power to apportion their electors as they see fit.
                That's like saying that there is no Constitutional right to vote since its not listed in the Bill of Rights.  

                Elections are absolutely required and any state attempt to abolish them would be found Unconstitutional on first review.

                Not only that, for Senators (which at one time were chosen by legislative representatives) the Constitution now makes clear in Amendment XVII:

                The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

                When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

                Congress comes into this because they have the authority to rule on any interstate compact. Even with the historical jurisprudence that curtailed this somewhat, the courts have still made clear that Congressional approval is required for any compact that "increases the political power of the States".  Having a compact whereby states can act collectively to ensure a National Popular Vote (heretofore politically meaningless) will now universally supersede the State-apportioned Electoral College (heretofore a matter of Constitutional law) is either an "increase in political power" or else that phrase has no meaning.

                To be clear, I am not saying that the NPV case could not prevail in court; I am simply saying that there is no way in hell this is some open and shut case whereby the Compact Clause is not dragged out front and center in front of the Supreme Court of the United States.

                It will be an interesting case to watch if this gets enough signatories.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is no right to vote (0+ / 0-)

                  This is established fairly securely. If it were in the constitution then we wouldn't need the voter rights act. If there were a right to vote then we would see cases against the various states who are disenfranchising people based on that right, which we aren't seeing. We are seeing cases based on equal protection, but that wouldn't work in this case. If anything one could argue that the current system violates the equal protection clause more than NPV would.

                  Elections are absolutely required and any state attempt to abolish them would be found Unconstitutional on first review.

                  Not only that, for Senators (which at one time were chosen by legislative representatives) the Constitution now makes clear in Amendment XVII:

                  We aren't talking about senators. And the constitution explicitly states that the states have the power to decide how they will apportion electors. As the constitution says:
                  Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
                  This isn't the senate and as far as the constitution is concerned the legislature of Wyoming could simply decide that they will always send the same three people every year with no statewide vote and it would be completely constitutional. Unless there is an amendment explicitly stating that there has to be an election then there doesn't have to be one.
                  To be clear, I am not saying that the NPV case could not prevail in court; I am simply saying that there is no way in hell this is some open and shut case whereby the Compact Clause is not dragged out front and center in front of the Supreme Court of the United States.
                  Can't disagree in practical terms. Although I think it would likely not be as bad as you seem to be expecting. Some of the issues are open and shut. The compact issue would probably be fairly easily decided unless Scalia and friends decided that they didn't like states' "rights" any more.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:01:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  In 1789, People Had No Pres Vote in Most States (0+ / 0-)

                  In the nation's first election in 1789, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors  by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet.  Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

                  Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

                  In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

                  The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

                •  Also, I disagree that this in any way (0+ / 0-)

                  would "increase in political power" the various states. It simply changes how the power states currently have is used.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:06:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  80% of States and Voters Politically Irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

                    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.

                •  States Have the Responsibility and Power (0+ / 0-)

                  With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power.

                  States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

                  Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ."   The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

                  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.

                  The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government.  The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

            •  State Laws Determine How to Award Electors (0+ / 0-)

              The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). There could no longer be a divergent popular and electoral result.  The President's legitimacy would be from winning both the popular and electoral votes.

              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.

              The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

              Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

              The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected.  Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet).  Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

              Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

              In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

              The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

              The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

              As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

            •  Every Vote Would Count, Matter, and Be Equal (0+ / 0-)

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

              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, as in virtually every other election in the country.

              •  Jesus Christ..whatever... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                No need to spam the same rambling responses to every single comment.

                You are an advocate not an analyst.  I weary of the pre-canned talking points.

                Whatever.  The mere fact that NPVers so diligently attempt to preempt the most obvious criticism is patent recognition that there is a major legal question to be settled.

                These arguments are all so one-sided with obvious omissions but I'll simply wait for the issue to become relevant rather then subject myself to the tiresome Death-by-1000-Blogs counterattack that seem to be its supporter's standard procedure.

                Good luck with your cause mvymvy

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:44:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  When you consider the voter suppression in (0+ / 0-)

    states dominated by Republicans, is this a good idea?

    •  That makes it a good idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Q Tip, Odysseus

      Under the electoral college method voter suppression, such as the voter suppression that won bush the election in Florida in 2000, can more easily affect the outcome of an election. With a national popular vote that suppression will be a tiny drop in a giant sea, instead of a bunch of buckets in various lakes. Think of it this way, if the gop can organize voter suppression broadly enough to throw a national popular vote then there's nothing stopping them from doing the same underthe electoral college.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The National Popular Vote Bill (0+ / 0-)

    To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

    Instead, The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC), by state laws.

    The National Popular Vote bill would change current state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

    The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    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.

    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.

  •  The merits of the Electoral College. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smileycreek

    For a thoughtful and subtle analysis of the merits of the Electoral College, see this article by Tara Ross:

    http://www.heritage.org/...

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site