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The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes. Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions. The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founders in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. States can, and have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Historically, 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 every state surveyed recently. In virtually every of the 39 states surveyed, overall support has been in the 70-80% range or higher. - in recent or past closely divided battleground states, in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled. The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect. NationalPopularVote
With National Popular Vote, when every popular vote counts and matters to the candidates equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn't be about winning a handful of battleground states. Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaigns. 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). In 2012, 24 of the nation's 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.- including not a single dollar in presidential campaign ad money after Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee on April 11. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined. Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later 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. 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%. Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 4 jurisdictions.
With National Popular Vote, every voter would be equal and matter to the candidates. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters. With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome. 16% of Americans live in rural areas. 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 15% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican. 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 voter 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. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population. 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 voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere. With National Popular Vote, when every voter 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.
Congressional consent is not required for the National Popular Vote compact under prevailing U.S. Supreme Court rulings. However, because there would undoubtedly be time-consuming litigation about this aspect of the compact, National Popular Vote is working to introduce a bill in Congress for congressional consent. The U.S. Constitution provides: "No state shall, without the consent of Congress,… enter into any agreement or compact with another state…." Although this language may seem straight forward, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, in 1893 and again in 1978, that the Compacts Clause can "not be read literally." In deciding the 1978 case of U.S. Steel Corporation v. Multistate Tax Commission, the Court wrote: "Read literally, the Compact Clause would require the States to obtain congressional approval before entering into any agreement among themselves, irrespective of form, subject, duration, or interest to the United States. "The difficulties with such an interpretation were identified by Mr. Justice Field in his opinion for the Court in [the 1893 case] Virginia v. Tennessee. His conclusion [was] that the Clause could not be read literally [and this 1893 conclusion has been] approved in subsequent dicta." Specifically, the Court's 1893 ruling in Virginia v. Tennessee stated: "Looking at the clause in which the terms 'compact' or 'agreement' appear, it is evident that the prohibition is directed to the formation of any combination tending to the increase of political power in the states, which may encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States." The state power involved in the National Popular Vote compact is specified in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 the U.S. Constitution: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…." In the 1892 case of McPherson v. Blacker (146 U.S. 1), the Court wrote: "The appointment and mode of appointment of electors belong exclusively to the states under the constitution of the United States" The National Popular Vote compact would not "encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States" because there is simply no federal power -- much less federal supremacy -- in the area of awarding of electoral votes in the first place.
Under the current system, the electoral votes from all 50 states are comingled and simply added together, irrespective of the fact that the electoral-vote outcome from each state is affected by differences in state policies, including voter registration, ex-felon voting, hours of voting, amount and nature of advance voting, and voter identification requirements. Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." They list the electors and the number of votes cast for each. The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes reported in the Certificates of Ascertainment. Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote compact, all of the people of the United States are impacted by the different election policies of the states. Everyone in the United States is affected by the division of electoral votes generated by each state. The procedures governing presidential elections in a closely divided battleground state (e.g., Florida and Ohio) can affect, and indeed have affected, the ultimate outcome of national elections. For example, the 2000 Certificate of Ascertainment (required by federal law) from the state of Florida reported 2,912,790 popular votes for George W. Bush and 2,912,253 popular vote for Al Gore, and also reported 25 electoral votes for George W. Bush and 0 electoral votes for Al Gore. That 25–0 division of the electoral votes from Florida determined the outcome of the national election just as a particular division of the popular vote from a particular state might decisively affect the national outcome in some future election under the National Popular Vote compact. The current system also accepts the differences among states.
National Popular Vote has nothing against the Electoral College, the set of 538 dedicated party activists, who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. 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. National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it. During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states. The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind. 80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential election. That's more than 85 million voters, more than 200 million Americans. Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing. Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. National Popular Vote allows individual states to use their unqualified and absolute constitutional right to have the Electoral College accomplish a goal that more than two-thirds of Americans, throughout the country, have consistently supported since polling on this began in 1944.
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, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less 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 15% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican. 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 voter 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. In Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia (the four states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election) rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population. Iowa has four congressional districts (each, of course, with equal population). The presidential candidates campaigned approximately equally in each part of the state in the 2012 presidential election. 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 voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere. With National Popular Vote, when every voter 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 Vermont.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation. National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country. The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself. Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
California has 55 electoral votes. Wyoming 3. There's only so much power the small states can have under any method. 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 The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation. National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country. The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself. Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
Because of state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), 80% of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That's more than 85 million voters, more than 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most. During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states. The number and population of battleground states is shrinking. Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing. Charlie Cook reported in 2004: “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [in the then] 18 battleground states.” [only 10 in 2012] Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009: “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.” State-by-state winner-take-all laws adversely affects governance. Sitting Presidents (whether contemplating their own re-election or the election of their preferred successor) pay inordinate attention to the interests of “battleground” states. ** “Battleground” states receive over 7% more grants than other states. ** “Battleground” states receive 5% more grant dollars. ** A “battleground” state can expect to receive twice as many presidential disaster declarations as an uncompetitive state. ** The locations of Superfund enforcement actions also reflect a state’s battleground status. ** Federal exemptions from the No Child Left Behind law have been characterized as “‘no swing state left behind.” The effect of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system on governance is discussed at length in Presidential Pork by Dr. John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.
With the current system of electing the President, none of the states requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's or district’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. 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 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). And, FYI, with the current system of awarding electoral votes by state winner-take-all (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23
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