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National Popular Vote Initiative Makes Its Way Back Into Public Discourse

National Popular Vote Initiative Makes Its Way Back Into Public Discourse

“So far 165 electoral votes from 11 states have been secured. Of the remaining 105 required, 82 are seriously in play”

The National Popular Vote movement’s primary function is to bypass the Electoral College (EC) by getting states to change their allocation of EC votes, automatically awarding them to whomever wins the national popular vote in a general presidential election.

This allocation is based on national popular vote and completely subsumes party affiliation.  Therefore, Florida (my state) which narrowly went, along with its 29 EC votes, to Trump in 2016 would instead have gone to Hillary, who won the national popular vote and 227 of the 270 EC votes needed to win the election.

In light of the 2016 election, this proposal takes on a whole new element of horror.  With Democrats having a lock on urban, heavily-populated areas, this could be catastrophic for the average American voter who does not live in—or share the ideology of—large concentrations of regressives and assorted leftists.  That’s the whole point, of course.

Deciding that getting rid of the Electoral College, as was pushed with particular fervor after both the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections, was an uphill battle they were unlikely to win, the left landed on a quite ingenious idea:  work within the system to overthrow and nullify it.  Don’t like the Electoral College?  Tired of those deplorables in flyover country having a say in . . . . anything?  No problem!  Just get states to change the way they allocate their Electoral College votes, and the Electoral College effectively disappears.

In 2011, Professor Jacobson laid out his objections to the National Popular Vote initiative.

1.  The NPV compact prejudices large population centers over the rest of the country.  One of the beauties of the current system is that it forces candidates to compete nationwide, not just on the coasts and industrial Midwest. This is not a partisan issue.  I think one could make a good argument that the current system usually favors Democrats, because Democrats are guaranteed a large bloc of electoral votes (all of the states which have signed on so far are heavily Democratic).  Nonetheless, our national cohesiveness is served by candidates having to compete in Nevada, Arizona, the Carolinas and elsewhere trying to pick up electoral votes which have more significance than the mere number of votes.  So on the merits, regardless of the procedure, I’m not convinced that the current system is broken and needs fixing.

2.  If successful, the constitution will have been usurped not because states cannot choose this method (they can), but because the method effectively eliminates the electoral system through a voting compact among the states holding an electoral majority rather than through the Congressional vote and the three-fourths of states needed to amend the constitution.  If we want a popular vote (and there are good arguments for and against), then let’s change the constitution to do away with the electoral system, rather than through this tortured hybrid in which states still vote electors but undermine that system through a block voting agreement.

3.  Recounts will be a disaster.  While the advocates say that statistically a recount would be less likely, if such an event took place, the following mess would result: “In event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, the presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment of the elector slate nominated in association with the presidential slate receiving the largest number of popular votes within that official’s own state.”

4.  The NPV compact moves the vote fraud issue nationwide; right now, frankly, vote fraud only matters in swing states, which can be more carefully monitored.  Under the NPV compact, vote fraud anywhere could be a tiebreaker in a close national popular vote.

5.  What is to prevent a state from backing out if it doesn’t like the person elected by the popular vote?  The compact provides as follows:  “Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.”  How will this agreement be enforced?

6.  This movement has taken place under the radar.  I had not heard about this until recently, even though it apparently has passed the legislature in my home state of Rhode Island.  A constitutional amendment requires a national debate, including a vote in Congress and a super-majority of states.

7.  There is at least superficial national support for a popular vote mechanism according to Gallup, so if the arguments in favor are so strong, proponents should go about it the right way.  But support for a popular vote mechanism is not the same thing as support for the NPV block voting compact.

Each still stands today, but as our cultural winds shift, and more and more Americans support a popular vote as more democratic and “fair,” the fears that our Founders had of mob rule become all the more likely to manifest.

Writing in 2014, Newt Gingrich expressed sentiments that might be shared by many on the right.

According to their website, the National Popular Vote initiative has currently amassed 165 electoral votes; their goal is the magic 270 needed to win the presidency.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. . . .   CADCHIILMAMDNJNYRIVTWA


Following is the map provided by the National Popular Vote website:

On the map, each square represents one electoral vote (out of 538).

  1. Green indicates that the National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law
  2. Orange indicates passage by one legislative chamber
  3. Yellow indicates passage by both legislative chambers (but in different years, and hence not enacted)
  4. Blue indicates a hearing by at least one legislative committee
  5. Gray indicates no hearing.

Over at Salon, they are celebrating being “incredibly close” to “replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote” and appear to be attempting to channel some of the “resist we much” energy into pushing the effort across the line.

Salon writes:

So far 165 electoral votes from 11 states have been secured. Of the remaining 105 required, 82 are seriously in play, having passed at least one legislative chamber in 10 states. Optimistically, we’re 23 new electoral votes away from ridding ourselves of the Electoral College. It’s something that could be managed through strategically pressuring a handful of state representatives.

For any cynic who thinks the people can’t course-correct our own disenfranchisement, this is about as feasible as it gets.

Concluding his post about the National Popular Vote movement, the prof wrote:

While there are good arguments on either side of the NPV initiative, something about this smells bad.  A multistate block voting agreement is too cute by half, a back door way to accomplish what cannot be accomplished through the constitutional front door.

Before we tinker with the way in which the nation elects a president, and engage in what amounts to an experiment in block electoral voting, we need the type of national debate which has not taken place so far.

This is a discussion that definitely needs to take place, and we need to ensure that we have a voice in that discussion.  The left is absolutely knocking, softly and on the down low, on the back door to accomplish their decades-old dream of using their large, motivated, and concentrated urban numbers to usher in an era in which they believe they, and they alone, will control the outcome of presidential elections.

Even if this initiative passed, they got their 270 electoral votes locked, it’s not clear that presidential campaigns wouldn’t change to accommodate that new playing field, but the fears that Gingrich expressed about 12 states being of prime importance would be compounded.  Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia would be pushed aside in favor of the loud and clamoring voices in urban centers—New York, Miami, Los Angeles—on the coasts and in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore.

If we think the GOP is often indistinguishable from the Democrats now, just wait until they are competing for the votes of New Yorkers and other coastal and urban elites.


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The whole point to the EC was so that large populous states couldn’t dominate smaller states. That is the major problem with Europe – the popular vote lets Paris, for example, decide national elections.

    That is probably why voter turnout was so low over the weekend. Macron reportedly had 93% of the vote in Paris. Why even bother voting? It’s like in CA, people just stay home. City of LA routinely sees 15% voter turnout for local elections.

    If elections don’t mean anything, let’s stop wasting our time pretending that they do.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

      The U.S. founding mothers and fathers were very wise about human nature (also about inhuman nature I think too).

    pfg in reply to rabidfox. | May 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I’m not a constitutional lawyer, nor do I play one on TV or the internet. Still, consider this point.

    Isn’t this Democrat-designed method of getting around the EC itself unconstitutional because it seeks to change the very structure/design of the Constitution itself? That structure of course could be changed, but such change could only come through the methods stated in Article V.

    Changing the results of how the EC results are tallied would be, it seems to me, a violation of Article VI, section 4, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”

    That is to say, indirect changes to the operation/structure of the Constitution would not be recognized by the mechanism of simple changes to state law. These state law changes in some states would adversely effect the political choices of other states.

      I would also agree with JohnMcKenna below that it DOES violate the Compact Clause. (Sorry Fuzzy but then I’m not an expert on this either).

      Also, I don’t see how this is comparable to the Article V Convention effort. That effort is calling on the states to hold a convention for the purpose of PROPOSING amendments. NPV calls on the states to make changes by collusion without a vote of any kind! Any state government that signs on to this is in fact colluding against their own voters.

      Each state should have singular veto power over this. This goes beyond the tyranny of the majority. It’s a tyranny of corrupt elites for the benefit of the most powerful of special interests! It’s just clever lawyers deluding everyone to ignore the obvious!

      And CA is about to legalize card-carrying communists holding public office so we can lose it all if we don’t stop talking and start doing. We ARE losing it all. We just won a landslide populist election and it still wasn’t enough. We are beyond voting our way back to freedom. When does the shooting start? Who starts it? Us or them?

      Milhouse in reply to pfg. | May 10, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      No, it’s not unconstitutional. The constitution deliberately leaves it entirely up to each state’s legislature to decide how that state’s electors should be chosen. A state legislature could provide that they should be chosen by lottery, or by public auction. It could decide to give those electorships to the n tallest or the n oldest people in the state. Or it could just outright delegate their selection to the Democratic National Committee. All of these would be perfectly constitutional, though legislators who passed such measures would probably be defeated at the next election. So there’s no reason they can’t say the state’s electors shall be the slate which is loyal to whoever got the most votes nationally. No constitutional reason, that is. There are plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t, but that’s a different question.

I believe changing a citizen’s vote from a representative delegate to a candidate winning some where else DISENFRANCHISES my vote.

what’s the SCotUS precedents on these vote changing schemes??

    I’m not a lawyer or judge, nor do I play one on TV, but as far as I know this kind of scheme (an interstate compact assigning electoral votes by anything other than a state’s own voters) has never been challenged, probably because it’s never been enacted.

    If it is enacted it will be challenged, and if it’s challenged I believe it would be ruled unconstitutional and overturned. The Founders wrote in the EC for a reason, and we can’t get rid of it so easily — without amending the Constitution.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Archer. | May 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      That may be a matter of standing, since its never been enacted it has never “harmed” anyone.

    Milhouse in reply to mathewsjw. | May 10, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    mathewsjw: I believe changing a citizen’s vote from a representative delegate to a candidate winning some where else DISENFRANCHISES my vote.

    You have no right to a vote on the presidency. Seriously, you don’t. You get to vote only because your state legislature is kind enough to let you. Therefore your complaint has no legal basis and would be thrown out of court.

    what’s the SCotUS precedents on these vote changing schemes??

    The precedent is that state legislatures have plenary power to decide how their state’s electors are chosen. Including this way.

    Archer: If it is enacted it will be challenged, and if it’s challenged I believe it would be ruled unconstitutional and overturned.

    On what grounds? None exist, and the challenge would be dismissed by the district courts as frivolous. It would never even make it to SCOTUS.

    The Founders wrote in the EC for a reason, and we can’t get rid of it so easily — without amending the Constitution.

    This doesn’t get rid of the EC, so your objection is irrelevant. The founders did not intend electors to be chosen by the current system, but that’s what our state legislators have gone with, so it’s OK; if they choose a different system that will be equally OK. I don’t think they should do this, and I don’t think they will do this, but legally there is no doubt that they can.

Bitterlyclinging | May 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Increasing the incentive to pack the urban areas with more illegals.
“If you vote, you’re a citizen.” BHO
The Constitution was never an impediment during his entire 8 years in office.

Yet another reason why we MUST have the Article V Convention and soon.

That’s insane, how can Republican held states agree to this ? Oklahoma?
What can we do, this really scares me.
Would this end up in the SCOTUS?

    Tom Servo in reply to gonzotx. | May 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    It’s dead in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Senate got all excited because they decided it would make candidates visit Oklahoma more (it won’t). The Oklahoma House said “that’s idiotic” and refused to even hold any hearings on it.

    And that was the end of it. Although this author is following Salon’s cheerleading, the efforts appear to be dead in Arkansas, and probably Michigan, too.

    And it’s proponents ignore it’s biggest weakness – do they really think California would cast it’s votes for Trump in 2020 if he lost the electoral college, but narrowly won the popular vote? Of course they wouldn’t, and no other state will ever actually vote against the way their states voted.
    It’s an idiotic idea guaranteed to blow up the first time it is ever tried.

      Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | May 10, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      Tom Servo: do they really think California would cast it’s votes for Trump in 2020 if he lost the electoral college, but narrowly won the popular vote?

      Well, the law the CA legislature passed says that in such an event the Republican slate of electoral candidates would automatically become the state’s electors, and they certainly would have voted for Trump since they were all loyal GOP activists. The legislature could quickly change the law after the election, and appoint the Democrat slate instead, but then Congress would refuse to count their votes, thus giving Trump the victory anyway.

      Fuzzy Slippers: One way it might (might) make its way to the Supremes is if in enforcing their state’s compact to assign all ECs to the winner of the popular vote, the state eliminated each elector’s Constitutional right to change his (or her) EC vote.

      Yes, that would be unconstitutional, exactly as are all the current laws that purport to bind electors. But it wouldn’t be challenged for the exact same reason that all those laws have not been: All electors are party loyalists who would never vote against their party’s choice if it actually mattered; they only go “faithless” when they know it doesn’t matter, and they want to make a point to their fellow party members.

    Liz in reply to gonzotx. | May 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I checked the OK leg website –

    The bill did pass the Senate, but was rejected in committee in the House in 2014. So the bill is dead. What I didn’t know was that OK reuses bill numbers…

    The bill activity related to NPV was in 2013/4. Now, the House is 72R and 26D and the Senate is 40R and 6D. There are a few vacancies – 3 house and 2 senate. Everyone in Congress is Republican.


    I don’t see how SCOTUS gets involved since each state is free to make its own laws and rules regarding its EC and the way its votes are cast.

    One way it might (might) make its way to the Supremes is if in enforcing their state’s compact to assign all ECs to the winner of the popular vote, the state eliminated each elector’s Constitutional right to change his (or her) EC vote. In this instance, the case can be made that the state law conflicts with Article II in terms of the requirement that each elector have the freedom to exercise their own judgment in casting their vote.

    However, since states decide how electors are chosen, there’s some wiggle room there to ensure that electors who support/pledge to uphold the NPV are appointed.

    how can Republican held states agree to this ?

    To be clear, I think doing away with the electoral college is a terrible idea.

    That said, answering your question, imagine the advantage a GOP candidate would have in the EC if they won the popular vote…

    … and ALL of California’s, New York’s, Illinois’, New Jersey’s, and Maryland’s electors suddenly had to go red. Instead of the Democrat candidate starting off half-way to 270 by default, he/she faces an uphill battle, having to win BOTH the popular vote AND the electoral college votes.

    As I said, it’s a terrible idea, but I can see the attraction for the GOP (even if it’s just a way to “stick it to ’em”).

There are some even bigger problems with this idea than those listed.

By effectively nationalizing the vote based on popular vote, doesn’t this open up potential challenges based on the equal protection clause (whether justified or not) due to states having different election laws including differences in early/absentee voting and even who can vote (e.g. felons)?

This would invite the Federal government to take over the elections and create an actual nationwide election system rather than the 50+1 we have now? Just image a President Hillary or President Warren running national elections in all 50 states.

The bigger problem is in who gets to vote. Right now it is largely up to the states with few exceptions (e.g. can’t deny on basis of race or sex), but states could bulk up their numbers by not only allowing felons to vote, but non-citizens including illegals.

IIRC, San Francisco already allows for illegal alien parents to vote in school board races, and this would allow foreign nationals to control the outcome of our elections. Heck, in a nightmare scenario, a single state could allow anyone anywhere around the world to to vote… which they might be able to get away with with an agreeable Presidential Administration and courts.

    “Heck, in a nightmare scenario, a single state could allow anyone anywhere around the world to to vote…”

    I would argue there exists a much more probable and nightmarish scenario that we could call Florida50. Imagine a national election where the popular vote difference *before* counting absentee ballots was as narrow as a few hundred (or a few thousand if the R is ahead). National hand recounts, bales of ballots found in trunks of cars, dangling chads, mysterious numbers changing as every partisan Dem election officer goes into full panic mode in an attempt to get The Most Recent Promised One across the finish line, while they spike, spoil and trash every military ballot they can find.

    By effectively nationalizing the vote based on popular vote, doesn’t this open up potential challenges based on the equal protection clause (whether justified or not) due to states having different election laws including differences in early/absentee voting and even who can vote (e.g. felons)?

    No, because there is no right to vote in presidential elections in the first place. The equal protection argument that SCOTUS upheld in 2000 was that a single county, or perhaps even a single state, having chosen to let people vote on the presidency, has to apply the same rule to all voters. Different states, and perhaps even different counties within a state, can have different rules.

Ragspierre | May 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

An excellent notion if you want to break the Union.

People do not understand the Founders of this nation or the purpose of the constitution. It was all about balance and the Founders were brilliant.

Initially, the House of Representatives was the people’s house. Its members were elected by popular vote by the people living in a specific congressional district. These district were delineated based upon population to fairly represent all the people of the country. The Senate was the state’s house. 2 members of the Senate were appointed by the legislature of each state according to rules set up within the state for these appointments. This was changed by the 17th Amendment to require the appointment to be based upon popular vote within the states. This effectively undermined one of the balances achieved by the Constitution. The Electoral College was set up to achieve balance between the populous states and the less populous states in the election of the President, as well as to remove the influence of the Congress from such an election, to a large degree. It eliminated the tyranny of the majority, as represented by the populous states, and the tyranny of the minority, as represented by Congress and State Legislatures. It is a brilliant way to achieve the widest representation of the population from a single elective office. To remove it will remove another safeguard against tyranny.

But, tyranny is the objective of many people, it seems.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Mac45. | May 9, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    The “check and balance” between the House and the Senate was already as dead as a doornail by the time most (all? Rags might be old enough to remember it) of us went to school, so it wasn’t even mentioned as part of the Framer’s intent. The Republic died with the 17th Amendment. Everything since then has been nothing but death throes.

      Mac45 in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Actually, the Republic died during Reconstruction. This is when Federalism trumped States Rights. The 17th Amendment was ratified near the beginning of the Progressive Era and was designed to stimulate populism and reduce the power of the state governments to allow Progressives to gain more control of the countrhy. This has been the objective ever since. And, the NPV is just more of the same. It will gain steam during the Trump administration as it would benefit the Progressive Establishment.

Um, Gingrich is shown as a supporter of NPV. His letter is supportive and posted on the NPV website.

Never gonna happen. It violates the Compact Clause in that pesky Constitution we have.

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

    Great point, but as I understand this initiative, it’s not a compact between states; it’s calling for each state to individually change its laws regarding the awarding of EC votes.

    In that way, it’s the same mechanism as is being used by the Article V initiative. Neither is a compact with other states; both are initiated and voted on only in the given state.

    Ragspierre in reply to [email protected]. | May 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    But 10 points and an “attaboy” for even MENTIONING the “compact clause”…!!!

    Good on ya…

    You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. In 1893 the Supreme Court decided that the compact clause only applies to compacts that encroach on federal power, and are therefore Congress’s business, but if states agree among themselves on something that doesn’t affect Congress then it’s none of its business and they don’t need its permission.

    There are many matters upon which different states may agree that can in no respect concern the United States. If, for instance, Virginia should come into possession and ownership of a small parcel of land in New York, which the latter state might desire to acquire as a site for a public building, it would hardly be deemed essential for the latter state to obtain the consent of Congress before it could make a valid agreement with Virginia for the purchase of the land. If Massachusetts, in forwarding its exhibits to the World’s Fair at Chicago, should desire to transport them a part of the distance over the Erie Canal, it would hardly be deemed essential for that state to obtain the consent of Congress before it could contract with New York for the transportation of the exhibits through that state in that way. If the bordering line of two states should cross some malarious and disease-producing district, there could be no possible reason, on any conceivable public grounds, to obtain the consent of Congress for the bordering states to agree to unite in draining the district, and thus removing the cause of disease. So, in case of threatened invasion of cholera, plague, or other causes of sickness and death, it would be the height of absurdity to hold that the threatened states could not unite in providing means to prevent and repel the invasion of the pestilence without obtaining the consent of Congress, which might not be at the time in session.


    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. Story, in his Commentaries (§ 1403) [writes…] “In such cases, the consent of Congress may be properly required, in order to check any infringement of the rights of the national government, and at the same time, a total prohibition to enter any compact or agreement might be attended with permanent inconvenience or public mischief.”

Bucky Barkingham | May 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Just for a minute assume that Trump wins the popular vote in 2020 even with the LibDem strongholds voting for his opponent. Under this scheme California would then have to award all of it’s EC votes to Trump. That scenario would throw cold water on this plan real quick. Just a thought experiment.

inspectorudy | May 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I can understand a national popular vote from the logic of it but this system makes no sense. Why would a state that voted one way be compelled to change its vote for someone else? The founders were a lot smarter than the modern day libs think and our system has worked well. The only time this comes up is when the Dem crybabies lose.

    Why would a state that voted one way be compelled to change its vote for someone else?

    The states are enacting this themselves, as they are free to do; any state can assign its electoral votes as it sees fit.

    It’s not so much “changing a state’s votes” as it is rendering that state’s votes meaningless in the name of “whatever you all think”.

Albigensian | May 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Vermont got three electoral votes out of 538, or about 0.56% of the total.

Yet Vermont has a population of about 626,000 out of about 324 million in the USA, or about 0.19% of the total.

Assuming the number of eligable voters is roughly proportional to population, Vermont gets almost three times as much representation in an electoral college system as it would get in a popular vote system.

Why then, would Vermont favor eliminating the electoral college?

Further, how can one favor popular vote for President without also demanding proportional representation in the U.S. Senate? Surely it’s not fair that Vermont and California should have the same representation there, even though California has over sixty times the population of Vermont?

Why would Vermonters want to diminish the (already small) influence their state has in national politics?

buckeyeminuteman | May 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Popular vote isn’t even a thing. It isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and it shouldn’t even be tallied up as it doesn’t exist.

This would make every election 538-0…when does the shooting begin?

    What’s more, the country is made up of 50 states, each sovereign, each with its own interests. For purposes of elections, it is not one country; it’s 50 independent states voting at the same time. Each one of the 50 is a popular vote for that state.

    Milhouse in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | May 11, 2017 at 12:29 am

    That the national popular vote is not mentioned in the constitution is no reason not to count it, if people want to. 48 states currently award their electors to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote, and that isn’t mentioned in the constitution either.

Do they have the consent of congress for this inter-state compact, as required by the constitution?

I don’t understand why these states want to open up their EC votes to be decided by other states. This sort of system would last about one election before the suckers in a state that goes the opposite of their own voters decisions revolt (figuratively revolt).

All of these states that want to make the EC vote more democratic could just change their states allocation system to the Maine/Nebraska system. Have each Congressional district winner decide an EC vote and have their state’s overall vote determine the two senatorial EC votes.

    The problem with this plan is the states listed don’t want their EC votes to be more democratic, they want their EC votes to be more Democratic. The probability of California (for example) going away from Winner Take All is zero. But they would love to see that happen in Texas.

      “Winner Take All” is a primary election designation.

      The NPV is for the general Presidential election. I don’t know of any state that partitions up its electoral college votes; they’re ALL “Winner Take All”.

      And CA’s votes are as likely as not to go to the GOP candidate under the NPV rules. (Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if the electors from ultra-blue California have to vote for Donald J. Trump in 2020! Ditto for New York!)

      As I said above, I think NPV is a terrible idea, but I can see why red states might like it. However, I don’t see how blue states can support it (except that they’re still butt-hurt from HRC’s loss), as it makes it that much harder for Democrat candidates to win.

        Well, Vermont is not “winner take all” in terms of the EC, nor is Nebraska. We don’t hear about it much because they have so few EC votes, but there are states that do not auto-award EC votes based on the state’s popular vote, and as I note in this post, 11 already require the EC to vote with the national popular vote (so far, that means little because the NPV states are all blue anyway).

        And, of course, any individual elector can vote however he or she chooses; this was highlighted in 2016 by “faithless” electors (or maybe it was just that one guy) who voted against Trump although their states had gone for him.

          buckeyeminuteman in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 10, 2017 at 8:26 am

          Me remembers Colin Powell, Ron Paul and Faith Spotted Eagle each winning an electoral vote in 2016 along with John Kasich and Bernie Sanders. Hillary won the record for most faithless electors with 4 compared to Trump’s 3.

        Close The Fed in reply to Archer. | May 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm

        Maine partitions their EC votes.

      The NPV already has California:

      “On August 8, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the National Popular Vote bill, making California the 9th jurisdiction to enact the bill. On January 13, 2012, the Department of Justice cleared the National Popular Vote bill under the Voting Rights Act.”

      More on this:

      Now, the question is, would California’s electors vote accordingly if a Republican won the popular vote (at this time, hugely unlikely)? To do so, they would break state law, but the Constitution says they can vote their own judgment. And here come the Supremes …

        Milhouse in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 11, 2017 at 12:38 am

        Now, the question is, would California’s electors vote accordingly if a Republican won the popular vote (at this time, hugely unlikely)?

        Of course they would, because they’d all be Republicans. Why do you imagine they would not vote for their party’s candidate?

        To do so, they would break state law,

        No, they wouldn’t. This would be state law.

          You lost me on that one, Milhouse. In what parallel universe are, or would, all of California’s electors be Republicans?

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | May 12, 2017 at 2:02 am

          In a universe where this compact went into effect, and a Republican won the national popular vote. Under this compact, that would mean California’s electorships would go to the Republicans. How can you not understand that? What did you think the compact did?

          Heh. I guess I am just skeptical about the purpose of this effort and about the loopholes the state has in implementing it.

    plauer in reply to Xmas. | May 9, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    But if all the states used the Maine / Nebraska system, large parts of New York and California would turn red and lord knows we cannot permit that.

Close The Fed | May 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm

One thing I’ve read before and find compelling about our current system is that it focuses the incentive to cheat on a few small areas that are easier to monitor.

I assume most of you know about the 1982 case which expires this year on December 31st, wherein the GOP and Democrats entered into a decree that forbids the GOP from investigating voter fraud. I do not recall the name of the case; sorry.

In any event, with the electoral college votes going all for one candidate, there is no point in a party putting out extra effort to criminally produce extra votes in California for example. Since there are only a few swing states that matter, and in those states probably not too many close districts, the voter fraud to be useful has to be concentrated in a few places. This will make it easier to detect voter fraud, because it will be concentrated.

If you have the popular vote counting, that makes additional fraudulent votes ANYWHERE able to help swing the election so much more widely dispersed and much harder therefore to ferret out.

EC is a safety. I’m disappointed in Newt Gingrich again. No question he’s an effective leader, but sometimes he just jumps the shark.

    Sam in Texas in reply to Close The Fed. | May 9, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I have that in here somewhere. But, if I remember correctly, it would have expired quite some time ago, but the Republicans agreed to extend it. If I remember correctly, the Stupid Party may very well do that again.

Gremlin1974 | May 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm

I have spoken to several people about this recently and what I mainly see is a misunderstanding of what this would do, IE basically award every EC vote to one candidate. Most people these days are so uneducated about our electoral system that they think this change just means the state gives its EC’s to the winner of the state popular vote, which is the current system in most places and don’t realize that doing this would mean that basically this would remove representation from 90% of the country.

Sonnys Mom | May 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Passage of NPV by a state legislature effectively nullifies that state’s election. How can a state vote to disenfranchise its own citizens?

    Sam in Texas in reply to Sonnys Mom. | May 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Majority vote in the state lege and goober’s signature?

    We have a saying in Texas: No man’s liberty or property is safe while the lege is in session.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Sonnys Mom. | May 9, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    That is a very good question.

    Milhouse in reply to Sonnys Mom. | May 11, 2017 at 12:41 am

    No, it’s a silly question. A state has no obligation to enfranchise its citizens in the first place, so it has every right to disenfranchise them if it likes. You have no right to vote for president. That you do so every four years is only by the courtesy of your state’s legislature, which can withdraw that courtesy whenever it likes.

Sam in Texas | May 9, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Do this and California and New York City determine who is president.

BrokeGopher | May 10, 2017 at 2:04 am

Let Mississippi pass a bill that every citizen gets 50 votes apiece. Trump wins the “popular vote” in a landslide. All the deep blue states have to appoint his electors. Game, set, match.

I live in rural fly-over country. Me and my neighbors pay large amounts in taxes, grow crops (huge amounts of corn, wheat, soy beans, sugar beets, and so forth), provide huge amounts of meat (beef, pork, chickens, lamb) as well as livestock products (eggs, milk and so forth) and now these liberal states overrun by welfare recipients, who refuse to work while living off of our efforts, are telling us that our votes should no longer really count because these lazy vermine are more populous than us rural workers?

We will all be New Yorkers, like it or not.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the states do have the power to do this foolish thing, just as they have the power to do many foolish things. But they won’t. The Salon writer who imagines it’s close is only displaying his ignorance of a very important fact: a bill that fails to pass both houses of a legislature dies when that legislature dies. The next legislature has to start from scratch, and pass it in both houses. So all those states where one house passed it before the last election are irrelevant.

Just one question: if members of a state feel that the count was incorrect how do they get a recount.

It’s not just for checks and balances that the EC was enacted.

    Each state has its own recount rules and procedures, so it will vary by state.

    How recounts affect EC votes: they shouldn’t. By the time the EC votes, most recounts will be resolved.