Comment: Republican Votes Would No Longer be Wasted

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Republican Votes Would No Longer be Wasted

National Popular Vote bill debuted on February 23, 2006. The National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in all 50 state legislatures. More than 2,110 state legislators have either sponsored the National Popular Vote compact in their state legislatures or cast a recorded vote in favor of it.

Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

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.

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 in the periods between elections.

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.

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).

Republicans could take advantage of their wasted votes from the small states under National Popular Vote. Red states are more red than blue states are blue. In a nationwide election, a vote in Idaho or Utah would become as important as a vote in Ohio or Florida.

Specifically, the popular-vote margins in the reliably Republican six small states in 2004 were uniformly overwhelming:
● Alaska–64%,
● Idaho–69%,
● Montana–61%,
● North Dakota–64%,
● South Dakota–61%, and
● Wyoming–70%.

In contrast, the Democrats won three of their small states (Delaware, Hawaii, and Maine) with just 54% of the vote. In addition, the Democrats carried two of their small states (Vermont and Rhode Island) with only 60% of the vote—a margin smaller than the percentage by which the Republicans carried any of their six small states. The District of Columbia (with three electoral votes) is the only small jurisdiction where the Democrats won by an overwhelming margin. The Democrats won the battleground state of New Hampshire by a 2% margin in 2004.

Overall, an enormous number of Republican votes in the small states were wasted because of the overwhelming victory margins in the six reliably Republican small states, compared to the Democrat’s modest victory margins in their states. This can be seen by pairing each of the six Republican states with one of the Democratic states.
● Wyoming’s 96,509-vote Republican margin exceeded Vermont’s 62,911-vote Democratic margin.
● Alaska’s 65,812-vote Republican margin exceeded Delaware’s 28,356-vote Democratic margin.
● North Dakota’s 85,336-vote Republican margin exceeded Hawaii’s 37,209-vote Democratic margin.
● Montana’s 92,110-vote Republican margin exceeded Rhode Island’s 85,753-vote Democratic margin.
● South Dakota’s 83,320-vote Republican margin exceeded Maine’s 65,017-vote Democratic margin.
● Idaho’s 227,334-vote Republican margin exceeded the District of Columbia’s 164,869-vote Democratic margin.

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.

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!