Thursday, June 02, 2011

A Death Blow to States' Rights?

The group "National Popular Vote" wants to undermine States' rights and federalism in our country:

The electoral college is not designed to reflect the national popular vote, but the will of the people within each respective State. The institution is to be found in the federal Constitution, and it does predate the period in which a popular vote was held for the presidency. Since the 1820's, the votes in the electoral college have largely reflected the composition of the popular vote within a particular State, and most States now have laws requiring that their electors cast their votes for the plurality popular winner within their State, or in Nebraska and Maine, within each congressional district, and in most cases when voters cast a vote for President, they are voting for that candidate's slate of electoral college electors.

The electoral college is one of our country's last real vestiges of active and functioning constitutional federalism, the kind of federalism that respects States' rights and local control over national power and Washington influence. Because of this, no respectable conservative who truly believes in federalism would likely consider its effective abolition.

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At Thursday, June 02, 2011 8:20:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

The Electoral College is a anarchastic holdover from the late 18th centuary. It is the last harrah of the 'Landed Gentry' The sooner, we, as Americans, get rid of it the better!

At Friday, June 03, 2011 11:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people wrongly believe the presidential election system we have today is in the Constitution, and think that any change would need an amendment. But state-by-state winner-take-all laws to award electoral college votes, are an example of state laws 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, 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 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.

At Friday, June 03, 2011 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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, along district lines (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

At Friday, June 03, 2011 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The small states are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system of electing the President. Political clout comes from being a closely divided battleground state, not the two-vote bonus. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but 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.

None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states.

12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota),, and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections Despite the fact that these 12 lowest population states together possess 40 electoral votes, because they are not closely divided battleground states, none of these 12 states get visits, advertising or polling or policy considerations by presidential candidates.

In a 1979 Senate speech, Senator Henry Bellmon (R–Oklahoma) described how his views on the Electoral College had changed as a result of serving as national campaign director for Richard Nixon and a member of the American Bar Association’s commission studying electoral reform.
“While the consideration of the electoral college began—and I am a little embarrassed to admit this—I was convinced, as are many residents of smaller States, that the present system is a considerable advantage to less populous States such as Oklahoma. … As the deliberations of the American Bar Association Commission proceeded and as more facts became known, I came to the realization that the present electoral system does not give an advantage to the voters from the less populous States. Rather, it works to the disadvantage of small State voters who are largely ignored in the general election for President.

In the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill already has been approved by nine state legislative chambers, including one house in, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Maine and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

At Friday, June 03, 2011 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By state (electoral college votes), by political affiliation, support for a national popular vote in recent polls has been:

Alaska (3) -- 66% among (Republicans), 70% among Nonpartisan voters, 82% among Alaska Independent Party voters
Arkansas (6) -- 71% (R), 79% (Independents).
California (55)– 61% (R), 74% (I)
Colorado (9) -- 56% (R), 70% (I).
Connecticut (7) -- 67% (R)
Delaware (3) -- 69% (R), 76% (I)
DC (3) -- 48% (R), 74% of (I)
Idaho(4) - 75% (R)
Florida (29) -- 68% (R)
Iowa (6) -- 63% (R)
Kentucky (8) -- 71% (R), 70% (I)
Maine (4) - 70% (R)
Massachusetts (11) -- 54% (R)
Michigan (16) -- 68% (R), 73% (I)
Minnesota (10) -- 69% (R)
Mississippi (6) -- 75% (R)
Nebraska (5) -- 70% (R)
Nevada (5) -- 66% (R)
New Hampshire (4) -- 57% (R), 69% (I)
New Mexico (5) -- 64% (R), 68% (I)
New York (29) - 66% (R), 78% Independence, 50% Conservative
North Carolina (15) -- 89% liberal (R), 62% moderate (R) , 70% conservative (R), 80% (I)
Ohio (18) -- 65% (R)
Oklahoma (7) -- 75% (R)
Oregon (7) -- 70% (R), 72% (I)
Pennsylvania (20) -- 68% (R), 76% (I)
Rhode Island (4) -- 71% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 35% conservative (R), 78% (I),
South Dakota (3) -- 67% (R)
Utah (6) -- 66% (R)
Vermont (3) -- 61% (R)
Virginia (13) -- 76% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 54% conservative (R)
Washington (12) -- 65% (R)
West Virginia (5) -- 75% (R)
Wisconsin (10) -- 63% (R), 67% (I)
Wyoming (3) –66% (R), 72% (I)

At Friday, June 03, 2011 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in 1969 for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and contemporary vice-presidential candidates such as Bob Dole and Walter Mondale.

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, it is good for California, 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."

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.

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

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

James Brulte is a Republican who served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

Joseph Griffo has been a Republican New York State Senator since 2007.

Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

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 appoint¬ed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.


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