Ever since the founding of the United States, the Electoral College system has been used to decide the winner of Presidential elections.
But if a plan quickly making its way through state legislatures across the country gets enough support, the Electoral College – as we’ve known it throughout history – would be scrapped, and the winner would be based only on the national popular vote.
It may seem difficult to imagine, but here’s how the proposed plan would work.
This proposal – known as the Popular Vote Movement – involves an Interstate Compact where states would commit to select electors pledged to vote for the national popular vote winner, regardless of how their own state voted. Nine states and the District of Columbia (which cast a combined 136 electoral votes) have joined this compact: Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island.
Both houses in New York have passed this bill and it’s on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. It’s already passed in the House in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. These states and New York represent 107 votes; combined with the others they add up to 242 votes.
If enough states pass this law to get at least 270 electoral votes (the majority of the Electoral College, and the number necessary to win a Presidential election), it will take effect.
Although this legislation is close to becoming reality, it’s not quite a done deal. It’s passed in the House in Arkansas and North Carolina (both red states), but not the Senate.
This bill is an end run around the regular constitutional amending process. Instead of requiring a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and three-quarters of the states, this proposal would take effect when a simple majority approve it.
And the Electoral College system, which has been part of our representative republic, will be modified and converted to a pure democracy.
Who’s behind this bill and movement? It’s funded, in part, by the Center for Voting and Democracy – a George Soros-funded election group.
This proposal would encourage even more voter fraud in more populated (and left-leaning) states; and provide more incentive to allow illegal immigrants to vote.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.
National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.
The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.
For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election–and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself. Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
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 and
● John R. Koza who is a pro-choice, registered Democratic businessman residing in California. The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote includes former Congressmen John Buchanan (R–Alabama), Tom Campbell (R–California), and Tom Downey (D–New York), and former Senators Birch Bayh (D–Indiana), 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), former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), and Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The Nebraska GOP State Chairman, Mark Fahleson,Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, who wrote “A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”
The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.
The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists, who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. In the current presidential election system, 48 states award all of their electors to the winners of their state. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended.
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.
A majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the methods rejected by the Founders 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.
The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the
Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.
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: “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 constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state’s electoral votes
The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote.
National Popular Vote has nothing to do with pure democracy. Pure 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.
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%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win. The National Popular Vote bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, and large 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. .