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Six Reasons to Reject National Popular Vote

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Scrapping electoral system would not serve Louisiana’s interests

On Monday, Louisiana’s House of Representatives is expected to vote on HB 1095. This bill would make Louisiana party to the National Popular Vote (NPV) “compact” whereby state electors would pledge to cast their votes to the presidential candidate receiving the most votes nationwide, regardless of the results in Louisiana. Here are six reasons why legislators should reject this attempt to jettison our electoral system:

1.  Louisiana voters should decide who receives Louisiana’s electoral votes. Our state will likely vote overwhelmingly for the Republican challenger to Barack Obama in November. But NPV could force our electors to disregard the wishes of the citizens they represent and vote instead for President Obama. Louisianans should decide where their electoral votes go, not voters in New York, Illinois or California.

2.  National elections will encourage widespread voter fraud and increase the likelihood of nationwide recounts. Supporters of NPV claim that controversial recounts like Florida in 2000 would be a thing of the past. This is untrue. In fact, by making “every vote count” NPV would incentivize voter fraud in every city and state. Political machines would swing into action and squeeze every possible vote out of each district in hopes of swinging a national election. Further, a competitive election would produce a replay of Florida 2000, but on a national scale. Recounts would take place across the United States, along with endless litigation and doubts about the legitimacy of the eventual winner.

3.  State autonomy will be threatened as elections are nationalized. While a system with state-by-state guidelines for voter eligibility, candidate qualification and electoral selection has drawbacks, it is consistent with our respect for state sovereignty. This tradition of state autonomy will be threatened as elections are nationalized and pressure for uniform standards grows. Standards for voter eligibility or certifying ballots will be seen as national rather than state questions and pressure will mount for a universal approach requiring central control. It will become one more transfer of power from the states to the federal government. This is not a development most Louisianans would support.

4.  Smaller states like Louisiana will not benefit because national campaigns will focus on major media markets. While NPV supporters claim that states like Louisiana will become more relevant to national campaigns, in fact the candidates will logically focus on major media markets across the country. New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles might benefit from this change but Louisiana would not. It is a fact that the significance of individual states will wax and wane over the years. Louisiana was an important swing state in the recent past and will be one again someday. Doing away with our system will not make Louisiana a permanent player on the national stage.

5.  Candidates and officeholders will not lose their ability to “buy votes” through policy initiatives. Supporters of NPV argue that national elections will prevent candidates from targeting swing states with policy “giveaways”. They cite George W. Bush’s support for expanded Medicare benefits, which was popular in Florida, as an example. But in a national election candidates will still attempt to win over demographic groups, and NPV could encourage them to become even more aggressive as they seek to capture support from larger segments of the population. The phenomenon of “buying votes” is a feature of our democracy that cannot be legislated out of existence. NPV will not only fail to accomplish this goal, it could make things worse.

6.  Amending the Constitution is the appropriate method for changing our electoral system. Legislators understand that policy questions must be addressed in a Constitutional manner. Those who believe that NPV offers a better way to elect a president should still reject this bill because it seeks to evade the amendment process. While state compacts serve legitimate purposes, abolishing our system of selecting presidents is not one of them. This is an attempt at a Constitutional “workaround” and should be rejected. The proper approach is to seek to amend the Constitution. This is not easy, but if the arguments for NPV are persuasive its supporters should be willing to take up this challenge rather than relying on gimmicks.

Conclusion

Legislators contemplating support for this bill should take counsel from President John F. Kennedy: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” Our Founding Founders strategically placed fences in an effort to balance power among the branches of federal government and the states. This balance has served our nation well and it should not be cast aside.

Our institutions and systems are not perfect. They are political creations and reflect the conflicts and compromises inherent in such endeavors. But the current system of electing a president is consistent with the values and priorities of our Founders and remains the best way to choose a leader for this large and diverse nation. Louisiana legislators should reject NPV and vote no on HB 1095.

 Kevin Kane is the president of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy

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  • kevin47

    I would like to address your points individually.

    1) The National Popular Vote plan would not compel electors to vote either way. It would simply change the way electors are awarded. By my lights, Louisiana is an especially egregious example of what happens when presidents are allowed to ignore “safe” states. Barack Obama didn’t give one whit about the BP oil spills until they reached the Florida shoreline.

    2) Under the present system, a small coalition of covert fraudsters can work in major cities in swing states to move a large number of electoral votes. 2,000 votes in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Las Vegas or Miami can sway an entire election under the present system. Any effort to generate the hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes necessary to swing the popular vote would leave a paper trail.

    3) Under the present system, varying laws regarding voter eligibility impact who wins the presidency anyway. And, as I mentioned, the only states that have power in the present system are battleground states.

    4) This is a talking point, but it is also salient to this discussion. The 50 largest cities only possess 19% of the population. Further, in terms of media buying, urban areas are the most expensive, per impression. Lastly, virtually all battleground states have major urban areas. If what you say is true, then Milwaukee, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Miami choose our president. Yuck.

    5) It is true candidates will target demographic groups. However, under the present system, certain demographics are far more important than others. Conservative multi-child families? Meaningless, in terms of electoral politics.

    6) The Constitution permits states to award electoral votes as the legislature advises. That said, the problem with the Constitutional amendment process is that, if the unintended consequences that concern so many come to fruition, reversing the amendment will be nearly impossible. Under the National Popular Vote plan, if a handful of states back out, the compact is null and void.

    I welcome your response to anything I wrote above.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B643ZM6CHF7OPJ2BRU5FEMNURA King

    What party benefits from this proposed change?  As things stand, Louisiana is firmly a red state, but this scheme would require its electors to vote blue, along with the populous states on the east and west coasts.  Don’t be duped as some Republicans in the legislature apparently have been, or maybe they are RINOs, having changed their registration but not their loyalties.  These are the
    statistics on presidents who took office after losing the popular vote to
    opponents: John Quincy Adams, whose opponent Andrew Jackson (D) had 44,804 more
    votes on a nationwide basis in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes, whose opponent Samuel
    J. Tilden (D) had 264,292 more votes on a nationwide basis in 1876, Benjamin
    Harrison, whose opponent Grover Cleveland (D) had 95, 713 more votes in 1888, and
    George W. Bush, whose opponent Al Gore (D) had 543,816 more votes in 2000. Note that
    two of those who won the popular vote but not the presidency that time, won it
    subsequently via the Electoral College, and two did not. Whether in the 19th
    century or the 21st century, _every_ candidate who would have benefitted from a
    national popular vote election was a Democrat. Therefore it is very odd to see
    an endorsement of NPV coming out of a committee of the Louisiana Legislature. In
    Louisiana it is impossible to know who is really a Republican or a Democrat
    anymore.  Here is how it happened  although there are only five (5) Democrats on the House and
    Governmental Affairs Committee, including HB 1095 sponsor Walt Leger, (D – New
    Orelans, Dist. 91) who is Ex Officio, compared to eight (8) Republicans,
    including Speaker Chuck Kleckley, (R-Lake Charles, Dist. 36), Ex Officio:  Republican defections. Taylor Barras
    (R- New Iberia, Dist. 48) and Johnny Berthelot (R-Gonzales, Dist. 88) voted
    “Yea,” while Steve Pugh, (R-Ponchatoula, Dist. 73) walked out. Gov. Jindal could veto this if it passes, but there is no reason whatsoever why our legislature should pass this Trojan horse.

    • kevin47

       Past history is no guarantee of future results. At present, Obama has an advantage in battleground states not reflected in the nationwide polling data. He could easily win the Electoral College without winning the popular vote, while there is a very narrow opportunity for Romney to do so.

    • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

      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 precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II.  Near misses are now frequently common.  There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008). A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.   

      Since 1932 the combined popular vote forPresidential candidates adds up to  Democrats: 745,407,082 and Republican: 745,297,123 — a virtual tie.  During my lifetime, 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, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole.

      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.
                                        
      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.”
       

      Former Tennessee U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson(R), former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), and former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) are co-champions of National Popular Vote.

      National Popular Vote’s National Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT), and David Durenberger (R–MN) and former congressman John Buchanan (R–AL).

      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 ” http://www.every-vote-equal.com/  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 is the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

       
      Dean Murray is 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.

  • michiganderforfreedom

    It is very possible that ALL of Louisiana’s votes will go to a candidate who was not even on the Louisiana Ballot, under this crazy NPV scheme!  

    The President has, since Day 1, been elected by the 50 STATES, not by the population.  And since Day 1, the President must put together a MAJORITY of the States in order to be elected.  This nutty NPV plan radically changes the deal so that it only takes a PLURALITY of the Popular vote to win.  That means that in a field with only 3 or 4 candidates, fully 65% of the American population could vote AGAINST a candidate and he or she could still win an electoral landslide!The NPV scheme creates dozens of massive other problems, with Voter Fraud being only one of them.  The same people pushing NPV are also opposing Voter ID laws across the nation – which vary widely from state to state. It’s part of a much larger grand plan.  

    But consider this as Louisiana considers giving away ALL of its votes to place like Detroit, MI:According to the US Census Bureau, the City of Detroit today has 523,000 residents over the age of 18.  According to the City of Detroit, the City of Detroit has just over 561,000 registered voters! 

    • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

      Serious third-party candidates for President do manage to get on the ballot in virtually every state. For example, Ross Perot was on the ballot in all 50 states in 1992 and 1996. John Anderson was on the ballot in all 50 states. Even less viable third-party candidates usually manage to get on the ballot in almost every state. For example, Ralph Nader got onto the ballot in 45 states in 2008 and received about ½% of the vote.

      The consequence to a candidate of not being on the ballot in a particular state is identical under both the current system and the National Popular Vote plan, namely that the candidate is unlikely to receive a substantial number of votes in that particular state (barring the remote possibility of a successful write-in campaign in that state). Ralph Nader’s absence from the ballot in a few states did not prevent him from accumulating a substantial number of popular votes in the remaining states.

      If Ralph Nader had won electoral votes in any of the states where he was on the ballot, his absence from the ballot in other states would not have caused him to forfeit those electoral votes, much less create a “logistical nightmare.”

      In terms of election administration, the absence from the ballot of a particular candidate in a particular state does not create any problem because election officials in each state simply report whatever votes are cast in their state for whatever candidates actually receive votes in their states. The states report the vote total for each presidential candidate on the “certificate of ascertainment” required by section 6 of title 3 of United States Code. If a particular candidate does not receive any votes in a particular state, there is simply no vote total reported for that candidate from the state. The fact that Ralph Nader did not receive any votes from certain states (and therefore didn’t appear on the certificates of ascertainment from those states) hardly created a “logistical nightmare.”

      The National Popular Vote compact provides that the results from each state will be added up—the very same process of adding up of 51 sets of numbers that would have occurred under the constitutional amendment that was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1969. 

    • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

      With National Popular Vote, Presidents would still be elected by the citizens by a majority  of Electoral College votes from all 50 states and DC, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

      With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, a MAJORITY of the States is NOT NEEDED in order to be elected.  Winning a bare plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population, could win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation’s votes!

      With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state’s electoral votes.

       
      Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation’s 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.

       
      If an Electoral College type of arrangement were essential for avoiding a proliferation of candidates and people being elected with low percentages of the vote, we should see evidence of these conjectured apocalyptic outcomes in elections that do not employ such an arrangement.  In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

                                         
      Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.–  including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912, and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    Most Americans don’t 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 directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it’s 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 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%. The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions, including California, possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.NationalPopularVote 

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #1 Opponents remain
    stuck on a misconception that the plan would “force” states to give their
    electoral votes to a candidate that may not have won their state, but this
    misses the point entirely. The National Popular Vote plan changes the Electoral
    College from an obstruction of the popular will to a ratifier, in that it would
    always elect the candidate who has won the most popular votes in all 50 states
    and the District of Columbia. Rather than states throwing their votes away, the
    actual voters themselves are empowered, as each and every one of us would have
    an equal vote for president – something we are sorely lacking under the
    Electoral College.
    Electors are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc.  

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #2  The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing 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. 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.Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: “To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . . 
    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, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      You’re ignoring the possibility of friendly states turning a blind eye to mass fraud or even outright tampering with the vote count.  It’s far easier to steal a hundred thousand votes in California or Illinois than 500 in Florida, because the tight elections draw close scrutiny.

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #2
    The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.
     
    The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush’s lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore’s nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.
     
    Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.
                  
    The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.
                          
    The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.
                             
    We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
     
    The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
                              
    Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.
     
    The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.
     
    No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.
                             

    The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.  

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #3 
    There is nothing in the National Popular Vote compact that would force state election laws to become identical.  Indeed, the U.S. Constitution specifically permits diversity of election laws among the states because it explicitly gives the states control over the conduct of presidential elections (article II) as well as congressional elections (article I).  The fact is that the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution permit states to conduct elections in varied ways.  The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and preserves state control of elections.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      But it would force states to accept as valid the vote totals of other states, including those of voters who are eligible in the state they voted in but would not be eligible to vote in the state in question.  What you are willing to accept and even call a feature is a bug that is fatal to the NPV concept.  California seriously proposed reducing the voting age to 14 a few years ago.  If they choose to implement it, that is their right, but why should other states who choose to keep the voting age at 18 tolerate 14-year-olds canceling out their votes?

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #4 With the current system, Louisiana is, has, and will be ignored by presidential candidates after the conventions.  
    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%.

    In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

    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 – New Hampshire (12 events), New Mexico (8 events), Nevada (12 events), and Iowa (7 events) – 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). 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 — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes!

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #4
    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate the money they raise to no longer ignore more than 2/3rds of the states and voters, like Louisiana.

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not control the outcome. 
    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election. 

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California. 

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston. 

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states. The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as soccer mom voters in Ohio.

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #4
    Don’t hold your breath that Louisiana will become politically relevant in presidential elections under the current state-by-state winner-take-all electoral system.  The number and population of battleground states is shrinking as the U.S. population grows. As of March 10th, some pundits think there will be only Six States That Will Likely Decide The 2012 Electionhttp://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-six-states-that-will-likely-decide-the-2012-election/States’ partisanship is hardening. Some states have not been been competitive for than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position.·  41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2008·  32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2008·  13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2008·  19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2008·  9 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988·  15 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988 http://www.fairvote.org/presidential-elections-state-by-state-hardening-partisanship

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #5  Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states, like Lousiana, are simply not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states
    when it comes to governing.

    Louisiana does not get the same attention as Florida when it comes to hurricane and oil spill responses. 

    • Dave_in_RI

      I’d like to see evidence of this claim.

      • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

        Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a “safe” state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a “swing” state) under Presidents of both parties.  President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida’s shores, after it had first reached Louisiana.  Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D.  Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states – like comprehensive immigration reform, water issues in the west, and Pacific Rim trade issues, 

        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.

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    #6
    The Electoral College is now the set of 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. The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution, and enacting National Popular Vote would not need an amendment. 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.                                      Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states 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 constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected.  Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods 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.               Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election. In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes. The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.                           The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the 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 frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Maine and Nebraska do not use the winner-take-all method– a reminder that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not required to change the way the President is elected. The normal process of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified in the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes. The abnormal process is to go outside the Constitution, and amend it.

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse an electoral system where more than 2/3rds ofthe states and voters now are completely politically irrelevant.  9 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Presidential campaigns spend 98% of their resources in just 15 battleground states, where they aren’t hopelessly behind or safely ahead, and can 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. Virtually none of the small states receive any attention. None of the 10 most rural states is a battleground state. 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX are ignored. That’s over 85 million voters. Once the primaries are over, presidential candidates don’t visit or spend resources in 2/3rds of the states. Candidates know the Republican is going to win in safe red states, like Louisiana, and the Democrat will win in safe blue states, so they are ignored. More than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, have been just spectators to the general election. States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election.

                     
    With national popular vote, with every vote 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 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. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/deryl.bryant Deryl Bryant

    An interesting feature of this exercise is the “full
    court press” the proponents of NPV are performing in so many publications.
    Not just a “lengthy comment”, but something more akin to a
    dissertation. For me, ANYTHING the Dimocrats want this badly is certain to bad
    for the country as a whole, just like every other liberal issue the Dims have shoved
    down our throats.

    SE, as a former member of the Republican State Central
    Committee, I would tell you that espousing the support of other Republicans,
    particularly those 2000 miles away, DOESN’T MEAN DIDDLY!!

    I have seen on many occasions where Republican leaders
    within this state did not completely agree on a particular issue, and too often
    I have seen RINOS from other parts of this country, that don’t have a clue what
    it means to be a conservative, support nonsense like the NPV.

    I support the Founding Fathers in their efforts to protect
    the sovereignty of Louisiana (and all states) and if I am to choose between
    your “press” and their “fence”, I choose the fence.

    • Dave_in_RI

      Deryl,
      I agree with you almost 100%. There is no need for a change to the system that was set up by our founders and that has been working pretty well. The fact that certain states are currently “battleground” states who seem to command all the attention is just a temporary situation. Battleground states will come and go with demographic and other shifts.
      NPV sounds like a misguided effort growing out of an underlying mistrust of government and politicians and a feeling of disenfranchisement. That leads to the part I disagree with you about. I don’t think this is a Democratic wish at all! We love the government! The mistrust of government thing is far more characteristic of Republican and Tea Bagger types. And ANYTHING the Repubs and Tea Baggers want this badly is certain to be bad for the country as a whole! ;-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/deryl.bryant Deryl Bryant

        Well done, Dave.
        I agree with you almost 100%.
        It was the Founders that instilled the distrust of government, and with good and tempered reason.
        Thinking people, like yourself, should recognize that the Democrat Party has moved so far to the left that it has morphed into something better described as the Socialist/Communist Party. How else could they have spawned the likes of the “Occupy Movement” whose feelings of entitlement reach well past any semblance of logical reason? Certainly, John F. Kennedy would not recognize anything but the party’s name.
        I am not an official “Tea Bagger” so your slur is misdirected as it is unappreciated by those, Republican and Democrat, who recognize the purposeful destruction of the greatest country in the world.
        Likely, we are both good candidates to be members of the Tea Party movement.
        Be well.

        • Dave_in_RI

          I am definitely not a good candidate for the Tea Party! But I want to clarify that I was being sarcastic about liberals “loving the government.” I think it’s more accurate to say that we just tend to mistrust it less than conservatives. In my reading of the Founding Fathers, I feel that what they really mistrusted was human nature. They knew that government was a necessity, so they crafted one that would thwart, as best it could, the negative aspects of human nature. I trust–to a great degree, but not 100%–the system they created. I think it is elegant and brilliant. I think it moves too slowly for some people sometimes, and too quickly for some people sometimes. That’s probably a good sign.
          Glad to hear that LA rejected the NPV. I’m sure I had nothing to do with it! ;-)

      • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

        The Electoral College is now the set of 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.
         
        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.More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That’s more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

        Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states, like Louisiana and Rhode Island, are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

        The number and population of battleground states is shrinking as the U.S. population grows.
         
        As of March 10th, some pundits think there will be only Six States That Will Likely Decide The 2012 Election
        http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-six-states-that-will-likely-decide-the-2012-election/

        States’ partisanship is hardening. Some states have not been been competitive for than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position.·  41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2008·  32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2008·  13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2008·  19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2008·  9 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988·  15 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988 http://www.fairvote.org/presidential-elections-state-by-state-hardening-partisanship

        • Dave_in_RI

          It seems you are bothered by the imperfections of the current system. Yes, it is imperfect. But it has one distinct advantage over any new system: we know its imperfections. Your system will also be imperfect. We don’t know exactly in what ways it will be imperfect, but plenty of serious flaws have been pointed out. The likelihood of “hanging chad” type debacles will be multiplied in the system you propose. You think it’s bad with 12 swing states? How about having 50 swing states!!?
          In matters such as these, that seek significant structural changes to the governance of our nation, it is important to step out of our limited perspectives and take a long view. The situation we face today and that led to the 2000 and 2004 election controversies is not permanent. Things change. Everything is in flux. Overreacting to change is like oversteering when you skid a little in the snow. You risk spinning out of control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deryl.bryant Deryl Bryant

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    May 8, 2012
    Contact: Jason Doré
    225-389-4495

    Republican Legislators Lead Successful Effort to Defeat NPV in LA House

    Yesterday, the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly turned back the effort to undermine the Electoral College. HB 1095 by Democrat State Representative Walt Leger sought to award Louisiana’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of which candidate garnered the support of Louisiana’s voters. Thanks to the leadership of Republican legislators, this measure was resoundingly defeated by a vote of 29 to 64.

    “Our legislative leaders did a great job by eloquently standing up for the principles of America’s founding on the floor of the Louisiana House yesterday,” said LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere, Jr. “I am truly grateful that every Republican who was in attendance cast a vote against this awful legislation. It is truly a testament to our delegation and the thousands of conservative activists who reached out to their legislators on this issue.”

    The National Popular Vote Initiative is a nationwide effort to essentially scrap the Electoral College system as it was set up by the Founders. This well funded movement is supported almost exclusively from left wing groups such as the Louisiana Democrat Party, Common Cause, and the American Civil Liberties Union. This is the second year organizers have sought to push the National Popular Vote compact through the Louisiana legislature.

    The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, the Family Forum, numerous Tea Party groups, the Hayride and many other concerned groups such as Taxbusters joined with the Republican Party of Louisiana to oppose HB 1095.

    “This successful effort shows what conservatives can do when we work together,” Villere said. “Thanks to conservatives from across the state who organized in opposition to this bill, we were able to overcome a large well funded organization that had several paid lobbyists working hard on its behalf. We’ll be ready if and when the liberals decide to push this idea next year.”

    While only Democrats voted in support of the national popular vote, the opposition crossed party lines:

    Voting in Favor:
    29 Democrats

    Voting Against:
    54 Republicans
    8 Democrats
    2 Independents

    Absent:
    8 Democrats
    4 Republicans

    To view the final vote tally on HB 1095, click here
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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    May 8, 2012
    Contact: Jason
    Doré
    225-389-4495
    Republican Legislators Lead Successful Effort to Defeat NPV in LA
    House

    Yesterday, the Louisiana House of
    Representatives overwhelmingly turned back the effort to undermine the Electoral
    College. HB 1095 by Democrat State Representative Walt Leger sought to award
    Louisiana’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote
    regardless of which candidate garnered the support of Louisiana’s voters. Thanks
    to the leadership of Republican legislators, this measure was resoundingly
    defeated by a vote of 29 to 64.

    “Our legislative leaders did a great job by
    eloquently standing up for the principles of America’s founding on the floor of
    the Louisiana House yesterday,” said LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere, Jr. “I am
    truly grateful that every Republican who was in attendance cast a vote against
    this awful legislation. It is truly a testament to our delegation and the
    thousands of conservative activists who reached out to their legislators on this
    issue.”

    The National Popular Vote Initiative is a
    nationwide effort to essentially scrap the Electoral College system as it was
    set up by the Founders. This well funded movement is supported almost
    exclusively from left wing groups such as the Louisiana Democrat Party, Common
    Cause, and the American Civil Liberties Union. This is the second year
    organizers have sought to push the National Popular Vote compact through the
    Louisiana legislature.

    The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, the
    Family Forum, numerous Tea Party groups, the Hayride and many other concerned
    groups such as Taxbusters joined with the Republican Party of Louisiana to
    oppose HB 1095.
    “This successful effort shows what
    conservatives can do when we work together,” Villere said. “Thanks to
    conservatives from across the state who organized in opposition to this bill, we
    were able to overcome a large well funded organization that had several paid
    lobbyists working hard on its behalf. We’ll be ready if and when the liberals
    decide to push this idea next year.”

    While only Democrats voted in support of the
    national popular vote, the opposition crossed party lines:

    Voting in Favor:
    29 Democrats

    Voting Against:
    54 Republicans
    8 Democrats
    2 Independents

    Absent:
    8 Democrats
    4 Republicans

    To view the final
    vote tally on HB 1095, click
    here

    You are receiving this email because you subscribed to email
    alerts from the Republican Party of Louisiana.

    Our mailing address is:
    Republican Party of Louisiana

    530 Lakeland Drive, Ste. 215
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802Add
    us to your address book

    Copyright (C) 2012 Republican Party of
    Louisiana All rights reserved.
    Paid for by The Republican Party of
    Louisiana. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s
    committee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deryl.bryant Deryl Bryant

    Thanks for your help Dave_in_RI   ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=761545009 Paul Wheaton

    Every state could benefit by changing the method of appointing Electors to equate to winning a seat in Congress (House) and Senate (if applicable) or a statewide substitute (if inapplicable). In other words if a Republican wins Congressional District (CD) 1, then the Republican candidate for President wins the appointment of a Republican Elector from CD 1.  If a Democrat wins CD 2, then the Democratic Party candidate for President wins a Democrat Elector for CD 2, and so forth. If there are Senate races, then 2 Electors are at stake (one for each race, or two if there is only one race) being appointed for the respective candidates by political party. If there are no Senate races, then whichever political party wins the most seats in the House gets the two Electors appointed for the candidate of their party–and only if there is a tie would the statewide popular vote for the House seats be used to appoint the two Electors.  Washington DC should move to a proportional method of appointing Electors.

    What are the advantages to every State? 1) Every State would have one or more competitive districts where the national campaigns would try to win a legislative majority in Congress. 2) The race for President ceases to be a popularity contest about the person and becomes a campaign to create a governing coalition or majority in Congress to implement the legislative agenda (or “platform”) of the party. 3) The Electoral College in each state becomes a representative body expressing the will of all the people of that State, statewide for two Electors, and one for each CD in a State. 4) The non-representative winner-take-all method is removed and modified. 5) Presidents get elected based on the ability of their campaigns to elect members of Congress–so gridlock between the White House and Congress is minimized resulting in more effective representative government. 6) The people know which party is in power,  which party to hold accountable, and which party to elect if they deem their governance either good or bad. 7) National campaigns would cease focusing on influencing small segments of “swing” states’ electorate and would be forced to consider the interests of every State and every Congressional District in the country. 8) The system proposed is not unlike what happens in representative democracies such as Great Britain, when the party leaders are known and become prime minister when they obtain a majority in Parliament (there’s no direct vote for PM in such a system either) so the modified method has a long track record of working in other governments). 9) The States’ legislatures retain ultimate power over the selection of the method of appointing members to the Electoral College, so that if there is an large irregularity in voting, the State legislature may intervene just as today: No constitutional amendment or interstate compact is required. 10) If one or two CD’s are close, then these are not likely to hold the balance of power in the Electoral College leading to greater certainty following the election as to the validity of the results: Each CD has candidates concerned with and holding a direct interest in reaching the correct result for that CD just as every Senate race would–there are built-in watch-dogs to minimize the potential for fraud that current state-wide races lack.