Electoral College in danger as Progressive Movement seeks Popular Vote

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Jun 28, 2014 6 Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

Gradually, progressives are chipping away at various protections and separations of power that were given to us by the Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution. Now, they have a plan to use a simple majority to kill off the Electoral College. They would do it with a simple vote of states, avoiding the process of amending the Constitution as provided for in Article Five.

It’s called the “National Popular Vote Compact,” and here’s how it works.

Liberal-minded states that want to do this would simply select electors pledged to vote for whichever candidate receives the popular vote in a presidential election – regardless of how their states vote. Take Arkansas, for example. If the voters there chose the Republican candidate – but the Democratic candidate won the popular vote, then all of Arkansas’ electoral votes would go to the Democrat.

So why haven’t you heard about this and where does it stand?

Well, the movement is partially funded by a George Soros-affiliated election group, and it’s being run kind of under the radar. With President Obama using his “pen and his phone” so often, and the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups, this movement has been conducted in a stealth manner. But it’s on the move.

So far, ten states and the District of Columbia are pledged to participate.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently boosted the effort by adding the Empire State to the list that includes Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island. These are all Democratic states that voted for Obama. The politicians there know that under this system Al Gore would have been president.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Video Music Box)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Video Music Box)

But the Framers wanted it the way it is.

They believed in separation of powers, checks and balances, and ways to avoid the “tyranny of the majority.” They set up the Electoral College because they knew that some states would grow large like Texas and California and other states would not. The Electoral College forces candidates and the government to take notice of smaller states that would otherwise be irrelevant. Without the Electoral College, all presidential campaigning would be concentrated in the big states.

Likewise, the Framers deemed that the House of Representatives would be the people’s house, elected by direct vote. The Senate would be beholden to the states and senators would be chosen by state legislatures. (The 17th Amendment changed this and transferred a vast amount of power from the states to Washington.) The Judiciary was set up to be named by the president with advice and consent of the Senate.

Four separate parts of government; four distinct ways to choose it.

We have tampered before and progressives are doing it again. But why? Take the city of New York. It will always vote for the Democrat for president. But if the president is selected by popular vote, the Democrats can have massive get-out-the-vote campaigns that could, and likely would, change an outcome.

The Electoral College is a protection given to us by the Framers that is now in great danger.

The National Popular Vote Compact is already approved in one chamber of the legislatures in ten additional states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. Once enough states approve it to reach 270 electoral votes, the Electoral College is dead, and the Constitution is sorely wounded.

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based radio talk show host. He blogs at www.WBDaily.com.

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  1. Oil Field Guy says:

    I’m all for the populous vote, let’s just do it by congressional districts and get rid of the winner take all that some states have. Sure we’ll lose a few electoral in the great state of Texas but we’ll gain in many other states. Give each congressional district a voice!

  2. otto says:

    Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state. . . 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 equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be 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 or past 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%.

    A survey of Arkansas voters, for example, showed 80% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 88% among Democrats, 71% among Republicans, and 79% among independents.
    By age, support was 89% among 18-29 year olds, 76% among 30-45 year olds, 80% among 46-65 year olds, and 80% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 88% among women and 71% among men.

    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

    Since its origination in 2006, the National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in legislatures in all 50 states. The website has been up for more than 8 years. The 1st Edition of “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote” was published in February 2006, and the 4th Edition was published in February 2013. The book has been sent to state legislators in every state. More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill. The bill has been publicly debated and passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Republican, Democratic, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.


  3. otto says:

    National Popular Vote is based on Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state legislature the right to decide how to appoint its own electors. Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in Article II, Section 1:
    “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 Constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected.

    The current statewide winner-take-all rule (used by 48 of the 50 states) is not in the Constitution. It was not the Founders’ choice (having been used by only three states in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789). It was not debated at the Constitutional Convention, and it was not mentioned in the Federalist Papers. It is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method. The Founders were dead for decades before the winner-take-all rule became prevalent.

    The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding a 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 have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

    The National Popular Vote bill would replace 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 later 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 voter 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 voter, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    When states with a combined total of at least 270 electoral votes enact the bill, the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed majority of 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes.

  4. otto says:

    With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only 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!

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

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

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

  5. otto says:

    From 1932-2008 the combined popular vote for Presidential candidates added up to Democrats: 745,407,082 and Republican: 745,297,123 — a virtual tie. Republicans have done very well in the national popular vote.

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

    On February 12, 2014, the Oklahoma Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill by a 28–18 margin.

    On March 25, in the New York Senate, Republicans supported the bill 27-2; Republicans endorsed by the Conservative Party by 26-2; The Conservative Party of New York endorsed the bill.
    In the New York Assembly, Republicans supported the bill 21–18; Republicans endorsed by the Conservative party supported the bill 18–16.

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

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

    The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote includes former Congressman John Buchanan (R–Alabama), and former Senators David Durenberger (R–Minnesota), and Jake Garn (R–Utah).

    Supporters include former Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Governor Jim Edgar (R–IL), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA)

    Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the NPV plan would not help either party over the other.

    The Nebraska GOP State Chairman, Mark Fahleson

    Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State

    Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:”A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”

    Some other supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote” include:

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

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

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

    Over 90% of the contributions supporting the National Popular Vote effort have come—in about equal total amounts—from
    ● Tom Golisano, who has funded about 45% of National Popular Vote, is a pro-life, registered Republican businessman , living in Florida, and a founding member of the Independence Party of New York who ran on its ticket for governor of New York in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
    ● John R. Koza who is a pro-choice, registered Democratic businessman residing in California. He is the originator of the National Popular Vote plan.

  6. kohler says:

    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.
    More than 99% of polling, organizing, ad spending and visits was showered on voters in just the ten states in 2012 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.
    Only 3 of the 27 smallest states receive any attention.
    None of the 10 most rural states is a battleground state.
    24 of the 27 lowest population states, and 16 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX are ignored.
    That’s over 85 million voters, more than 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 voter 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 Ohio and 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.

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