National Popular Vote Bill Passes Passes Rhode Island Senate 30–4 and House 41–31
Bill Passes New York Assembly 100–40
Both houses of the Rhode Island legislature passed the National Popular Vote bill last week. The Senate passed the bill 30–4, and the House passed the bill 41–31.
The New York Assembly passed the National Popular Vote bill by a bi-partisan 100–40 vote. In New York, the bill has been approved in the New York Senate by a committee. In June 2011, the Republican-controlled New York Senate approved the bill by a 47–13 vote, with Republicans supporting the bill 21–11, and Democrats supporting it 26–2. The bill also passed the Democratic-controlled New York Senate in 2010.
Writing Your State Legislators Is the Most Important Thing You Can Do to Make Every Vote Count in Presidential Elections
One of the most important things you can do to support the National Popular Vote bill is to write your state legislators and statewide elected officials asking them to support the National Popular Vote bill. You can quickly and easily send an e-mail to your state legislators by going to www.NationalPopularVote.com/write. Our system will provide several suggested letters, which you can edit.
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the states that have enacted the bill would award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.
The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President are caused by the winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state′s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each separate state).
Under the current system of electing the President, four-fifths of the states are ignored by presidential campaigns; a second-place candidate can win the Presidency; turnout is depressed in the spectator states; and every vote is not equal.
Because of the winner-take-all rule, presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, or pay attention to voter concerns in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Instead, candidates concentrate their attention on a small handful of closely divided "battleground" states.
In 2012, Obama campaigned in only 8 states after being nominated (and Romney in only 10). Virtually all the money was concentrated in 9 closely divided “battleground states,” with the result that 41 states were ignored.
In 2008, 98% of the 300 post-convention campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states. Ohio received 62 of the 300 post-convention campaign events, Florida received 46, and Pennsylvania received 40. Two thirds of the states were ignored by the presidential campaigns.
Similarly, in 2004 when candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in just five states and 99% in 16 states.
Another shortcoming of the current system caused by the winner-take-all rule is that a candidate can win the Presidency without receiving the most popular votes nationwide. There have been four such elections out of the nation′s 57 presidential elections. This is a failure rate of 1 in 14. But because half of American presidential elections are landslides (i.e., a margin of greater than 10% between the first- and second-place candidates), the failure rate is actually 1 in 7 among the non-landslide elections. Given that we are currently in an era of non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012), it is not surprising that we have already had one "wrong winner" election in this recent string of seven close elections. Moreover, a shift of a handful of votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in five of the last 12 presidential elections. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected Kerry, even though President Bush was ahead by over 3,000,000 votes nationwide.
Voter turnout in the "battleground" states was 11% higher than “spectator” states in 2012.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states exclusive control over the manner of awarding their electoral votes: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…" The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the choice of the manner of awarding electoral votes is an "exclusive" and "plenary" state power.
The winner-take-all rule is not in the Constitution. It was not the Founder′s choice (having been used by only three states in the nation′s first presidential election). Maine and Nebraska currently award electoral votes by congressional district. This is a reminder that a federal constitutional amendment is not required to change the way the President is elected.
The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College so that the President is the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.
The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to activate it, including Vermont, Maryland, Washington state, Illinois, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii).
Overall, the bill National Popular Vote has passed 32 legislative chambers in 21 jurisdictions.
In June 2011, the Republican-controlled New York Senate approved the bill by a 47–13 vote, with Republicans supporting the bill 21–11, and Democrats supporting it 26–2. The bill also passed the Democratic-controlled New York Senate in 2010.
The bill has been endorsed by newspapers such as The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Sacramento Bee, The Tennessean, The Columbian, Wichita Falls Times, Anderson Herald Bulletin, Daily Astorian, Connecticut Post, MetroWest Daily News, and Sarasota Florida Herald Tribune.
As the Sarasota Florida Herald Tribune said:
"The most compelling and practical alternative is promoted by a bipartisan group called National Popular Vote. The NPV proposal calls for legislatures to pass bills committing their state′s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide; the bill would take effect only when enacted by states that together have enough electoral votes to elect a president."
State-level polls (most taken after the November 2008 election) show strong support for a national popular vote for President in battleground states, small states, Southern states, border states, and numerous other states. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed. State polls have been conducted in numerous states, including AK-70%, AR-80%, AZ-67%, CA-70%, CO-68%, CT-74%, DC-76%, DE-75%, FL-78%, ID-77%, IA-75%, KY-80%, ME-77%, MA-73%, MI-73%, MS-77%, MO-70%, MT-72%, NH-69%, NE-74%, NV-72%, NM-76%, NY-79%, NC-74%, OH-70%, OK-81%, OR-76%, PA-78%, RI-74%, SC-71%, SD-75%, TN-83%, UT-70%, VT-75%, VA-74%, WA-77%, WI-71%, WV-81%, and WY-69%.
The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote includes former congressmen John Anderson (R-Illinois and later independent presidential candidate), John Buchanan (R-Alabama), Tom Campbell (R-California), and Tom Downey (D-New York), and former Senators Birch Bayh (D-Indiana), David Durenberger (R-Minnesota), and Jake Garn (R-Utah). Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee) and Governors Jim Edgar (R-Illinois) and Chet Culver (D-Iowa) are champions.
Additional information is available in the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote (available for free reading or downloading at our web site).
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