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The Democrats’ Plan to Destroy Our Electoral System

While most people aren’t aware of it, there’s a movement afoot to completely change the way we elect our president — and its success would have serious consequences for our nation’s future.

The plan is a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that would neuter the Electoral College and give the presidency to the winner of the popular vote. Under this agreement, your state would award its electors to the candidate winning the most votes nationally — even if a majority of your state’s residents voted for a different candidate.

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This Initiative May be Struck Down by the Federal Courts

The main issue of the National Popular Vote Proposal is this; should the entire national eligible voter population across State lines be the sole determiner of the president and vice president as opposed to individual State popular votes as cast by their State electors? Is this leading America away from the republic and down the dangerous road of direct democracy?

Background:

The U.S. Constitution requires electors to be appointed by the State legislature (see: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/p... ).

The 12th Amendment mandates the electors to cast one vote for a Presidential candidate and a separate vote for a Vice Presidential candidate. The number of electors for each State are based on the total number of representatives and senators in Congress per State. For example in the year 2000, there were 31 congressional districts in New York plus 2 senators for a total of 33 State electors. Nationally there is a total of 538 State electors including 3 for the District of Columbia that vote for the executives. The people indirectly vote for the electors and the electors choose the executives. The electors have voted for the executives in alignment with the popular vote of their respective States in almost all presidential elections throughout history.

The Interstate National Popular Vote Compact (“Compact”) becomes effective after enough States enact this legislation in their respective legislatures reach a total of 270 electoral votes.

One premise for the national popular vote proposal is based on a misunderstanding of the Constitution (see: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/ ). They wrote that, "Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives states the authority to determine how their electoral votes will be awarded ..." I believe this interpretation to be incorrect. The Constitutional reference simply says the States will appoint electors for the purpose of casting votes for the two executives. It says nothing about how the electoral votes will be awarded nor does it prohibit the States from establishing procedures or rules that directly or indirectly influence or control how electors cast their vote. Today, the awarding of electoral votes is determined by State authority alone to appoint electors under the auspices of political party allegiance. About half the States require their electors to pledge to vote for the party candidate
(see: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/e...).

The claim by the national popular vote supporters is the Electoral College denies voters equal influence in the Presidential election. The details of the Compact is that State electors will cast their vote for the candidate/incumbent based upon the total national popular vote not just the popular vote of the State itself. The Electoral College would remain intact under the Compact. The Compact would simply change the Electoral College from an institution that reflects the voters’ state-by-state choices (or, in the case of Maine and Nebraska, district-by-district choices) into a body that reflects the voters’ nationwide choice.

I think this could lead to a further eroding of State sovereignty for States with smaller populations in capitulation to the larger States with this proposal. It is somewhat analogous to the 17th Amendment that changed the appointment of senators by their respective State legislatures to now being elected by popular vote.

The function of the Electoral College is aligned with the apportionment principles of Congressional representation. Because some States have greater populations they therefore have greater influence in the House of Representatives. However the number of senators in each State is the same which gives the smaller populated States an equal footing in the senate. But the majority of electors are appointed based upon the number of congressional districts within their State. Which means if smaller populated states who are members of the Compact vote against a presidential candidate their State electors could be forced under the Compact to cast their vote for the national popular winner which is not reflective of the majority vote of the citizens of their State.

The details of the National Popular Vote proposal can be found here
(see: http://www.every-vote-equal.com/tableofcontents.htm ). Chapter 6 titled, “The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote” is the devil in the details.

What I found disturbing is described in section III-7 and I suspect would be a reason why this section might be struck down as unconstitutional by the federal courts, which says:

“III-7. If, for any reason, the number of presidential electors nominated in a member state in association with the national popular vote winner is less than or greater than that state’s number of electoral votes, the presidential candidate on the presidential slate that has been designated as the national popular vote winner shall have the power to nominate the presidential electors for that state and that state’s presidential elector certifying official shall certify the appointment of such nominees.”

Here this section grants the authority of the presidential popular vote winner to nominate the presidential electors for that state. The Constitution specifically says in Article II, Section 1 that only the State legislature is empowered to appoint the State electors, not some presidential candidate.

In summary I have negative connotations about this consolidation of electoral power and I am opposed to it.

The Republic is not in any

The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote.
National Popular Vote has nothing to do with direct democracy. Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of 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).

Opponents remain stuck on a misconception that the plan would “force” states to give their electoral votes to a candidate that may not have won their state, but this misses the point entirely. The National Popular Vote plan changes the Electoral College from an obstruction of the popular will to a ratifier in that it would always elect the candidate who has won the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Rather than states throwing their votes away, the actual voters themselves are empowered, as each and every one of us would have an equal vote for president – something we are sorely lacking under the Electoral College.

III-7 is a contingency that grants the authority of the presidential popular vote winner to nominate the presidential electors for a state where the state legislature has enacted the bill that awards its electors to the winner of the national popular vote.

The purpose of the seventh clause of article III of the compact is a contingency clause designed to ensure that the presidential slate receiving the most popular votes nationwide gets what it is entitled to—namely 100% of the electoral votes of each member state.

This clause addresses at least six potential situations that might prevent the national popular vote winner from receiving all of the electoral votes from a member state. These situations arise because of gaps and ambiguities in the widely varying language of state election laws concerning presidential elections.

An explanation of the clause begins on page 269 of "Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote"

The States Elect the President Not the People

You wrote, "The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote. National Popular Vote has nothing to do with direct democracy. Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly."

Casting a vote directly for a political office other than the peoples' representatives in Congress or in the rare case where a referendum is on the national ballot makes it a de facto act of direct democracy and not a republican form of government. The people are prohibited by the Constitution from electing the president and vice president, only the State electors can perform that duty as required by Article II.

You wrote, "Opponents remain stuck on a misconception that the plan would “force” states to give their electoral votes to a candidate that may not have won their state, but this misses the point entirely."

No it doesn't miss the point, it is the point and not a misconception. The State Elector's elect the president not the people. That is in the U.S. Constitution.

The State citizenry who vote for the majority candidate in their State are given the right by the State Legislature to have their vote cast for that candidate by their State elector. The National Popular vote proposal ("Compact") would strip that away from the citizen as the electors would have to switch their vote to the candidate who won the national popular vote if it was not the State's majority winner. That is in effect subverting the intent of Article II which gives the authority to the States for deciding how votes are cast for the president and vice president not the winner of the national popular vote.

You wrote, "III-7 is a contingency that grants the authority of the presidential popular vote winner to nominate the presidential electors for a state where the state legislature has enacted the bill that awards its electors to the winner of the national popular vote."

That violates the U.S. Constitution as it specifically says in Article II, Section 1 that only the State legislature is empowered to appoint the State electors, not some presidential popular vote winner.

This does not matter in the slightest

Stop trying to vote for people to control other people... if the majority of your neighbors voted to take your car, would that make it right?

The only way to stop this system is to ignore it, whenever possible. Stop voting, stop participating... it is all a show, the Bank of International Settlements doesn't care which side you choose... stop choosing...

Government is a religion that you have to believe in for it to exist... wake up.

The only reasons Democrats want this crap

The only reason that Democrats want this National Popular Vote is because their party has a stranglehold of strength in the largest population centers in the United States. I had hoped this movement would have died down a bit with Obama winning in 2008 and 2012, but obviously it hadn't.

I have no doubt in my mind that if Republicans dominated the major population centers politically, and the Democrats didn't, the GOP would want this, too.

Instead of leaving the system as-is, or switching to an NPV, I believe the best method would be for all states to adopt a system similar to what Maine and Nebraska have. Compete for each congressional district individually instead of whole states.

It probably won't vary the outcomes too much, but at least it would be more interesting watching the returns on election night. I think, anyways.

Maine and Nebraska voters

Maine and Nebraska voters support a national popular vote.

A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
* 71% favored a national popular vote;
* 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).
***

A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
* 60% favored a national popular vote;
* 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Nationwide, there are now only 35 "battleground" districts that were competitive in the 2012 presidential election. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 92% of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

In Maine, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine's 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored). In 2012, the whole state was ignored.

In Nebraska, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska's reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) 2/3rds of the state were irrelevant. In 2012, the whole state was ignored.

Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in no candidate winning the needed majority of electoral votes. That would throw the process into Congress to decide.

Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

In Gallup polls since 1944,

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).

In a recent Gallup poll, support for a national popular vote, by political affiliation, was:
53% among Republicans, 61% among Independents, and 71% among Democrats.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/150245/americans-swap-electoral-c...

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

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

Alaska (3) -- 66% among (Republicans), 70% among Nonpartisan voters, 82% among Alaska Independent Party voters
Arkansas (6) -- 71% (R), 79% (Independents).
California (55) – 61% (R), 74% (I)
Colorado (9) -- 56% (R), 70% (I).
Connecticut (7) -- 67% (R)
Delaware (3) -- 69% (R), 76% (I)
DC (3) -- 48% (R), 74% of (I)
Florida (29) -- 68% (R)
Idaho(4) - 75% (R)
Iowa (6) -- 63% (R)
Kentucky (8) -- 71% (R), 70% (I)
Maine (4) - 70% (R)
Massachusetts (11) -- 54% (R)
Michigan (16) -- 68% (R), 73% (I)
Minnesota (10) -- 69% (R)
Montana (3)- 67% (R)
Mississippi (6) -- 75% (R)
Nebraska (5) -- 70% (R)
Nevada (5) -- 66% (R)
New Hampshire (4) -- 57% (R), 69% (I)
New Mexico (5) -- 64% (R), 68% (I)
New York (29) - 66% (R), 78% Independence, 50% Conservative
North Carolina (15) -- 89% liberal (R), 62% moderate (R) , 70% conservative (R), 80% (I)
Ohio (18) -- 65% (R)
Oklahoma (7) -- 75% (R)
Oregon (7) -- 70% (R), 72% (I)
Pennsylvania (20) -- 68% (R), 76% (I)
Rhode Island (4) -- 71% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 35% conservative (R), 78% (I),
South Carolina (8) -- 64% (R)
South Dakota (3) -- 67% (R)
Tennessee (11) -- 73% (R)
Utah (6) -- 66% (R)
Vermont (3) -- 61% (R)
Virginia (13) -- 76% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 54% conservative (R)
Washington (12) -- 65% (R)
West Virginia (5) -- 75% (R)
Wisconsin (10) -- 63% (R), 67% (I)
Wyoming (3) –66% (R), 72% (I)
NationalPopularVote

serious consequences for our nation’s future

The problem lies in that 'we' are trying to solve the problems of a 'Nation' vs solving the problems of a Federal Republic.

We're trying to fix problems with an electoral system, that our Gov't was not designed to fix. Electing the Right people to fix problems using a system that wasn't designed to fix those problems will only serve to exacerbate those problems.

Something that few seem to recognize is that 'our' Leaders, who are supposed to be Representatives are operating a Nationalistic Oligarchy on the backbone of a Gov't designed to be a Federal Republic.

OF COURSE it will be messed up, no matter who is at the wheel!

Centrally Planning the lives of millions will ALWAYS produce results as we experiencing no matter who we elect. Unless those that we elect reverse the trend of being led from so far away. We must take control of and responsibility for the health of our own communities.

They would be late.

Deibold machines, rigging the caucuses, shady last minute rule changes, MSM shutouts, hand picked debate participants, zero accountability for electoral officials and can anyone tell me what, if any good the electoral college is doing us at this point?

The whole popular vote for POTUS is a sham in and of itself. Nothing more and nothing less.

Tell me what this "system" is but a pile of junk at this point anyways.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

we would

actually be better represented that way. When a liberal place like California has something like 55 delegates, and other states have 3, you can obviously see who is getting the shaft. The state with 3 will never even see a candidate in their state. However, that said, I don't believe we have honest elections anyway. So it probably won't matter much. As long as the electronic voting machines are used, the "man in the middle" attacks are going to continue to switch votes.

“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”
- Ron Paul

We Would NOT

We would not be better represented that way. That same logic applies to the popular vote as well, in fact it's even worse for the people.

There would be less attention to the smaller states under popular vote, and then in the bigger states like California, candidates will only have to "win" the big cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento, and so the rest of the state will receive less attention.

The Electoral College is not a perfect system, but it is the best system for how this country is constructed. The Electoral College is the reason why places like Iowa and New Hampshire generate so much interest among candidates. In a close race, 1 electoral vote can make a difference. So even those swing states with small populations get national attention. And that's a good thing. Iowa will be forgotten under popular vote and the big cities will dominate.

tasmlab's picture

Straight up popular vote sounds more fair to me

Straight up popular vote sounds more fair to me than all the confusing electorate stuff.

But either way, it's just another wrinkle in the bad idea that is democracy. It's kind of nitpicking to worry about which technicalities we use to give a stranger the gun.

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

you have Ron Paul in your avatar?

And you say these things? Seriously?!?

tasmlab's picture

Here's some Ron Paul for you

"People should not be able to vote to take way the rights of others. And yet this is what the slogan democracy has come to mean domestically. It does not mean that the people prevail over the government; it means that the government prevails over the people by claiming the blessing of mass opinion. This form of government has no limit. Tyranny is not ruled out. Nothing is ruled out."

Ron Paul, Liberty Defined, Page 63.

I only spent a few minutes looking this up. Dr. Paul is very critical of Democracy.

Unless I missed your point?

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

egapele's picture

"blessing of mass opinion"

is what I think Ron Paul meant by the popular vote.

It is why we have state senators / congressmen or else California, New York, Texas and Florida would rule the country.

So no, going by the popular vote is not good and not represenative of a Republic.

"Plan To"????

How do you destroy something that is already destroyed?

Exactly

We already don't get to choose.

I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy
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