Electoral College Update

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some time ago, I noted that Massachusetts had joined an effort to bypass the Electoral College. Dick Morris provides an update:

So far, nine states and D.C. have joined, casting 136 electoral votes, halfway to the 270 needed to put the compact into effect. The ratifying states are Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, California and Rhode Island.

Both houses in New York have passed it, and it's on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk. And it has already passed one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon. These states, plus New York, represent 107 votes.

Combined with the others, that's 243 votes.
Morris notes that a group funded by George Soros is behind this effort and that Barack Obama carried all but two of these states. In my earlier posts, I elaborated on why this is a terrible idea, but Morris gives a few additional reasons I hadn't considered:
Under the electoral vote system, they figure why beat the drums to get a high turnout in New York City when the state will go Democratic anyway? But if it's the popular vote that matters, the big-city machines can do their thing -- with devastating impact.

And think of the chances for voter fraud! Right now, the biggest cities, the ones most firmly in Democratic control -- Washington, D.C., New York City, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco -- are all solidly in blue states. Not only does this make it unnecessary to maximize turnouts there, but it also makes it unnecessary to promote double voting, fraudulent voting, and all the other tricks of the trade at which Democrats excel.
Morris correctly calls this an "end-run around the regular constitutional amending process" and notes that a simple majority of the states ratifying this arrangement (vice two-thirds of Congress and three quarters of the states) will be enough to put it into effect.

We are dangerously close to losing yet another of the checks on unlimited majority rule that our Founding Fathers wisely put into place.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

The scariest part? The fact that so many supposed adults in this country believe this to be a good thing.

Philosophy is crucial, but as I’ve brought up on previous occasions, some basic knowledge of history and how the world works doesn’t hurt. Even asking the very simple question; ‘why are we trying to change this now, which has worked for so long and so well?’ would be a step in the right direction for most people.

Gus Van Horn said...

True. Hopefully, it is not a step beyond what most people are capable of, but then the Democrats do run the government schools.

toto said...

Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "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.

With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power.

The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential election. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans.

Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections

The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College.

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 College votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

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.

Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national 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).

toto said...

The 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.

Gus Van Horn said...


You may well be correct that, the states choosing to form an agreement with each other regarding selection of electors is not unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, the agreement clearly subverts the intent of the Founding Fathers who, if they intended the President to be selected by popular vote, could have just made that the method of selection. So, sure, this may be fine by the letter of the constitution, but it plainly is at odds with the clear intent that the states neither dominate the process due to large population nor have only one vote apiece.

Regarding method of selection, I think the idea of the states choosing or electing people to select the President (rather than the current custom of a state's popular vote being used to bind electors to the candidate of a given party is superior, but there are merits even to the current system, as my earlier posts clearly indicate.

I appreciate your attempt to clarify the constitutionality of this agreement, but cannot disagree more with your contention that basically abolishing the Electoral College will make every individual vote count more. (The opposite has been mathematically proven, and that was without the massive electoral fraud that Democrat machines are famous for.)