A National Popular Vote?

Chuck Todd did a 10-minute segment this morning on an important issue: The Electoral College and the popular vote.

Todd’s guest was Dr. John Koza, originator of a proposal to move to a national popular vote in presidential elections (nine states with a total of 132 electoral votes have signed on so far).  Koza deftly defended his proposal, as Todd asked him all the relevant questions.

Interestingly (I did not know this) here in Missouri, Joplin’s own Sen. Ron Richard introduced a bill last month that would, if passed, ratify Koza’s proposed legislation, which essentially is a compact among the states to agree to certify electors (thus the Electoral College remains intact) who would vote only for the winner of the national popular vote.

A bipartisan National Popular Vote bill was also introduced in the Missouri House in February, as reported by the St. Louis Beacon:

In a rare bipartisan move, the Missouri House’s top Republican and Democrat have signed on as cosponsors to a bill — part of a national movement — that seeks to commit the state to awarding all of its presidential electors to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

House Speaker Steve Tilley, (far right) R-Perryville, and Democratic Minority Leader Mike Talboy, (near right) D- Kansas City, are among the co-sponsors of the bill, filed this week. The chief sponsor is Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-Eureka.

Called the “National Popular Vote bill,” national supporters say it “would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.”

During the segment on MSNBC, John Koza pointed out that under our present system, 200 million voters are essentially disenfranchised. Yikes.

In the Missouri House the bill has been referred to the Elections Committee and no hearings have been scheduled. In the Senate, the bill has been has been handed to the Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee and no hearings appear to be scheduled.

I urge everyone to watch the informative segment below and if so inclined, contact Senator Richard at (573) 751-2173 or email him. If you live outside the Joplin area but still in Missouri you can contact your own state senator (or representative) by going here.

In the House,

Joplin representative Bill White’s phone is (573)-751-3791 or 417-623-0038 and his email address is Bill.White@house.mo.gov or wew@cableone.net

Bill Lant’s phone is 573-751-9801 or 417-623-5286. His email address is Bill.Lant@house.mo.gov or lantsfeed@netins.net

Webb City/Duquesne rep Charlie Davis can be reached at 573-751-7082 or 417-825-1193.  You can email him at Charlie.Davis@house.mo.gov or charliedavis@cableone.net


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19 Comments

  1. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Voters in more than 3/4ths of the states now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the primaries.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    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: 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 bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  April 9, 2012

    Obviously this proposed bill in all 50 states is an attempt to circumvent the constitution. That is OK with me as long as all the potential consequences of such a mandate to only assign electors based on a nationwide popular vote count. But we should also review why this system was first implemented in the constitution and allowed to exist, unchanged for 230 + years.

    A candidate, popular only a a few BIG states could win the election based on nationwide popular vote leaving the “little” states, ones with relatively small populations out of the picture. For example, maybe NY, MA and PA in the first few presidential elections could alone decide the winner, with the South, as an example, having little or no say in the matter.

    Another concern is over potential for election fraud. Say a particular party really focused on CA and NY, two huge states by population. Throw in a couple of others as well. Not only do they try to simply overwhelm in the local state popular vote, they also have incentive to “cheat” by stacking ballot boxes, etc.

    It is troubling for sure to see Gore win the real popular vote but lose the electoral election. That is not real democracy in action.

    But I could forsee a stituation where maybe 10 or so states dominate the popular vote and win a presidential election in doing so with 30 + states strongly in opposition to such a vote.

    In my view there is much to consider in such a decision and a quick “fix” in the name of democracy needs careful consideration.

    There are always unintended consequences in matters such as this. I do not oppose this measure for now but want to hear a lot more before “writing my congressman” in support of the matter.

    the electoral college was NOT created to stiffle democracy. Instead it was put in place to ensure that all states had a voice at the table, a voice equal to their congressional representation in the House of Representatives. A bunch of little guys could prevent the tranny of a few big ones. Sounds like a good principle to me.

    Anson

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  3. 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.

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  4. With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, 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.

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five “red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six “blue” states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    Among the 11 most populous states in 2004, the highest levels of popular support, hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas (62% Republican),
    * New York (59% Democratic),
    * Georgia (58% Republican),
    * North Carolina (56% Republican),
    * Illinois (55% Democratic),
    * California (55% Democratic), and
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic).

    In addition, the margins generated by the nation’s largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas — 1,691,267 Republican
    * New York — 1,192,436 Democratic
    * Georgia — 544,634 Republican
    * North Carolina — 426,778 Republican
    * Illinois — 513,342 Democratic
    * California — 1,023,560 Democratic
    * New Jersey — 211,826 Democratic

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

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  5. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that, at most, only 6-12 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. At most, 12 states will determine the election. Candidates will not care about at least 76% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and in 16 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning could be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. In 2008, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. More than 85 million voters have been just spectators to the general election.

    Now, policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states – that include 9 of the original 13 states – are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing, too.

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  6. 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?”

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  7. Chuck McGregor

     /  April 10, 2012

    Voter fraud. Voter fraud. Voter Fraud. It must be true or could be true if I keep repeating it.

    My wife is the Registrar of Voters in our town. She is responsible for all votes cast in the town. If a ballot box got “stuffed” she would be responsible. If she allowed a non-registered voter to vote she would be responsible. If she allowed someone to register who was not eligible to do so she would be responsible, If she allowed a miscount of the vote to be submitted as correct she would be responsible, If even one physical ballot (we have paper and pencil ones) is lost she is responsible. And there are criminal penalties for at least some of these.

    Because of my wife’s job and also being a ballot clerk (sworn in) as one of those actually counting votes, I took an interest in some of the details of voting process. While this varies with where you are, if you’re thinking of perpetrating voter fraud in the face of any Registrar of Voters intent on doing her job correctly, good luck with that!

    By saying that voters themselves commit fraud is saying that the Registrar of Voters involved is either complicit or incompetent. I doubt there is not a competent, professional Registrar of Voters out there that doesn’t hit the ceiling when they hear the phrase “voter fraud,” at least not in their district. Here’s why in one place and I’m sure you would find similar things in most other places.

    Our state elections board maintains a list of all voters in the state and whatever other information, particularly address, is relevant to being a voter, If a new voter registers they must provide whatever proof the state requires that they are who they are. That information is with the town Registrar and sent on to the state. If that name already appears on their roles = red flag until the address is changed or whatever is needed to correct the duplication.

    When election day comes the voter must identify themselves somehow and are checked off on the town’s voter list. That checked off list is provided to the state to match up with it’s central list. The number of people checked off = the number of ballots. The people checked off must match up to the database. Voting twice with the same name = red flag. Number of reported ballots cast being different than number of voters = ref flag. Total number of ballots before and after ballots are counted locally and at the state level. Lots of inventory control over those. These and others are the kind of double-checks in place.

    As to counting the ballots I’ve counted ballots. As mentioned they are paper and pencil. The public is invited to view the process, the counting areas of course being off-limits. Two of us take a prescribed number from the total pile and two tally sheets both accounted for and issued by the Registrar or sworn deputy. One of us from one political party, one from the another. One reads the votes the other tallies. Then we switch and do it all again. Then we compare our totals. If they don’t match we recount as needed until we agree on the total for each item on the ballot. We submit the tally sheets along with the ballots back to the Registrar. She adds up all tally sheets to get the totals. Those totals can’t be more that the voters checked off to vote (but could be less). The Registrar submits the totals to whomever needs them (state county, voters at town meeting depending on the election). All the paperwork is sealed up and secured should there be any questions that arise in the subsequent double-checks that will be done.

    Those are not all the details and I may not be exactly correct, but that’s the idea. There are many, many checks in the entire process. Because of most all voter irregularities or fraud (very different things) have occurred within this process not because of anything that voters themselves did (not talking the 1800s here). Committing enough actual fraud to sway an election today would require either incompetence or complicity by a Registrar of voters. The bigger the election, like state versus local, either more Registrars would be involved or someone at the state level would have to commit the fraud. As to voter IDs I want better election processes in place like bookkeeping and, most importanly, a secure, reliable and accurate voting process meaning how the voter actually casts their vote.

    As to that process, a study was done (at taxpayers expense so they should benefit from they results – they are albeit slowly) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the 1990s about the mechanics of actually voting. Lever machines? Punch cars? Electronic readers? Computers? Paper Ballots? You name it and they analyzed it in terms of security, reliability, accuracy, and mot importantly is being able to audit (recount) the votes. The paper and pencil, hand-counted ballot can fairly easily meet all the criteria, especially the capability to audit both the voters and the votes. This is incredibly difficult for electronic voting systems.

    Fraud by voters? Tell me how in the face of various election checks and balances in place and, more importantly, in the face of a competent, professional Registrar? Fraud and non-fraudulent irregularities by Registrars, other election officials, or the voting “machines” themselves? Let me count the ways.

    As a Registrar of Voters, my wife takes the very notion of voter fraud in our town as a direct insult to her integrity, competence, and professionalism. I can’t image it being otherwise for other Registrars and professional election officials.

    So just who would be letting busloads of outside people brought in to “fix” elections to vote? Who would be allowing ineligible or dead people to vote? Who could “lose” or “find” a large number “misplaced” ballots? Who could have access to and manipulate an electronic voting system? Who could swap counterfeit ballots for real ones cast? Who might be able to change the vote totals? Hint: it would not turn out to be voters who don’t have photo IDs.

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  8. Chuck McGregor

     /  April 10, 2012

    PS By “professional” officials, I don’t mean just paid ones, I mean something like those trained and skilled in the process, technology, and administration of running elections.

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  9. ansonburlingame

     /  April 10, 2012

    I disagree with the contents of the Constitution related to elecitng a president and a vice president as well.

    ELECTORS elect the President and Vice President, no one else, according to the Constitution. How electors are chosen and directed to vote, state by state is detailed as well.

    The simple point of fact, constitutionally, is that each state gets to “vote” thru its appointed electors for President and Vice President. Such votes are “one step removed” from the popular vote in a given state but as far as I know have always followed the dictates of the popular vote in each state in a winner take all type of STATE election.

    So what you are proposing contradicts the intent, as I read it, of the constitution. Say MO overwhelmingly votes for a GOP candidate but the Dem wins the national popular vote. By your proposed bill the states electors would have to vote in direct opposition to the will of the people in MO.

    Your bill would indeed still (seemingly) comply with the constitution in that electors would still elect the President. But such electors would no longer represent the sentiments within a given state but must instead adhere ONLY to the will of the people in the larger nation.

    Given a close and disputed election the recount would consist of reviewing over 120 Million ballots. Recall the “hanging chads” in FL. We as a nation would be subjected to a nationwide review of all those disputed votes, just as a minimum.

    The Founders never envisioned a pure democracy even for a “small nation” at the time of writting the Constitution. Pure democracy to them would be chaotic and the whims of the people year to year would dominate government.

    Instead their intention was to listen carefully to the will of the people and provide a process to sustain steady and thus consistent approachs to government.

    If you are so concerned about pure democracy to dominate American GOVERNMENT, day to day government, then why not a nationwide popular vote on each bill before Congress?

    All of these types of thoughts were very carefully considered by Founders and the Constitution was the result, might I say the venerable constitution that has given us the country we have today.

    You to a degree do not like the country we have today. Fine, I say change it via a constitutional process OR change the constitution.

    But when we try to interpret the constitution or use legal manuevers to circumvent the clear intent of the Constitution, we stand on very dangerous ground, the ground of unintended consequences.

    Thus I point out once again that after careful and thoughful debate the Founders decided each STATE through its ELECTORS would vote for the President and Vice President. You call for abandoning that Constitutional approach or intent and resort to a “puire democracy” for such elections.

    All of us are playing with fire when we decide to “tinker” with the constitution, in my view.

    Anson Burlingame

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  10. How electors are chosen and directed to vote, state by state is NOT detailed in the Constitution.

    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 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.

    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.

    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.

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  11. 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: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

    NationalPopularVote

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

    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 representative democracy, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

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  14. ansonburlingame

     /  April 10, 2012

    Good Lord, I cannot follow all of the above with any clarity.

    As usual I just keep it simple. Should each state have a way to participate in the election of a President or should we just leave it up to the nation at large? I keep going back to my aforementioned 10 states say YEA and 40 states say NAY to a particular candidate.

    That to me spells class and state divides akin to you know when in the 1850s. I would hate to go back to those days.

    Anson

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  15. ansonburlingame

     /  April 10, 2012

    To all,

    I supose I must add the following observation.

    The Founders wanted a very limited federal power, very specifically laid out in Article One section eight of the constitutution. With the 10th amendment it was the clear intent to leave “other powers” to the individual states.

    Mr. Federal Government, this is what you CAN do and all else is left to the individual states, period.

    Progerssives have tried to change that very fundamental intent in the Constitution. Some for good reason, perhaps, but with unintended consequenecs as well. Just look at how the 14th Amendment has be twisted to envoke, say Affirmative Aciton, about as unconstitutional an interpreteation of the constitution as I can imagine.

    Then of course we have the “penurmbras” in the constituion and look where were are in that regard in terms of aborotion now.

    the constitution says very clearly to me at least, this is what the federal government is allow, by the constitution, to do. All else is up to the states.

    Progressive do NOT like that approach. Fine. Then change the constitution and don’t try to legalesse your way around it.; Who knows today what the “original intent” might have been way back when. We only know what was writtrent into the law of the land.

    Don’t like it then change the words, the LAW of the land..

    Anson

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  16. “Should each state have a way to participate in the election of a President or should we just leave it up to the nation at large?”

    Now, 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 ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states 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/

    “I keep going back to my aforementioned 10 states say YEA and 40 states say NAY to a particular candidate.”

    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!

    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 vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast. No more divisive and distorting red and blue state maps.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

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  17. 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, not an attack upon it.

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

    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.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since 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 primaries, in 2012 will not reach out to about 76% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

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

    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.”

    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).

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  18. ansonburlingame

     /  April 11, 2012

    Well s. e.,

    You have convinced me. This National Popular vote deal is not a good deal in my view! Thanks for helping me think it all through.

    We are not yet an homogenized country. Issues important in TX may well be not very important in NY for example.

    No one’s vote counts for much. In your scheme of things my vote would count for one out of 120 (or so) Million. Those are higher than some lottery odds. But my vote in MO might count for one out of maybe 3 or 4 million. Still low odds but better than a national popular vote, for sure.

    Regional, State and local issue still vary in America simply because it remains a diverse country, regionally, by state and locality. To try to put all those differences into a national blender to come out with some “yuk” sounds bad to me.

    So thanks again for all your clarification. It now gives me reason to write my congressman and tell him to “stick with the constitution”!!

    Anson

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