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St. Louis County Assistant Supervisor of Elections Troy Jeans (R) helps a lone voter deposit her ballot at the The Heights in St. Louis, Missouri on February 7, 2012, on the day of the Missouri Presidential Primary. REUTERS/Sarah Conard (UNITED STATES - T
Every vote should be equal, whether in Ohio, or Kansas, or Hawaii, or Alabama, or anywhere else.
There's no doubt, having nine states decide the president is patently absurd. The vast majority of the country has been virtually irrelevant to the process. Not only is that nonsensical and undemocratic, but it distorts public policy.

The late Sen. Arlen Specter knew this very well, which is why he advocated for the status quo:

“I think it’d be very bad for Pennsylvania because we wouldn’t attract attention from Washington on important funding projects for the state. We are trying to get more funding now for the deepening of the port [of Philadelphia]. When I was on the Appropriations Committee, we got $77 million over the years … We are trying to get the president to do more."

“Under the current electoral system, [President] Obama has good reason to give us the money to carry Pennsylvania. Because presidents think that way, it affects their decisions … In 2004, when I ran with [President George W.] Bush, he … came to Pennsylvania 44 times, and he was looking for items the state needed to help him win the state. … It’s undesirable to change the system so presidents won’t be asking us always for what we need, what they can do for us.”

That's awesome for Pennsylvania, not so awesome for the rest of the country.

So what's the alternative? It's the National Popular Vote, where every vote in every state by every American is just as important as anywhere else. It would be democracy, not this mess we have now. I wrote about this way back in January, and will write about it some more later. But it's a genuine democratic ideal. It's brain-dead commonsensical.

So how can we accomplish this despite the constitutional establishment of the Electoral College? Via an interstate compact that requires states to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote. To go into effect, it would require the adoption by states representing 50 percent of the nation's total electoral votes.

CA, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, VT and WA had all passed the law, accounting for 132 of the necessary 270 electoral votes. A bill has passed both houses of the state legislature in Colorado and Rhode Island. What do these states all have in common? They're all Blue to Purple states, where memories of 2000 linger. The best thing that could happen for this effort would be for Mitt Romney to win the popular vote and lose Electoral College, but that won't happen. But the mere possibility, often discussed the past couple of weeks, could properly motivate them.

This is a democracy. We should acting like one, and the first rule of a democracy is that every vote is equal.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I'd rather we wrestle the process away from (3+ / 0-)

      partisan hacks in state houses...
      -Federalize it...that's what it should be...
      -But I agree I would love to have Romeny win the popular and lose the general...

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:24:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no no (17+ / 0-)

        I don't want Rmoney winning anything - he'd claim that gave him and the Republican'ts some rights, and cause hassle.  He needs to be well beaten!!!!

      •  Definitely federalize it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley, MaikeH, sethtriggs

        All Americans should have the same opportunities to vote...same times...same dates.

        •  NO, let's NOT Go To Popular Vote! (6+ / 0-)

          Have you thought at all about what would happen?

          Instead of campaigns focusing exclusively on the Swing states, they would simply IGNORE the swing states.

          Instead Democrats would focus exclusively on deep blue states like New York and California, while Republicans would spend all their money trying to increase their margins in Georgia and Texas.

          No one would care at all about Colorado or Florida.

          Why? Think of all the effort the campaigns have expended trying to get a few thousand votes in deeply split Ohio.

          Under a popular vote model, who won Ohio or VA or CA or FL or any state wouldn't matter.

          Only the margin of victory would matter. And it's easier to rack up big blocks of votes in deep red and deep blue states than in swing states.

          Obama only won Ohio by 250,000 votes or so in 2008 and it will be closer this year. Why bother?

          The same amount of money and effort could probably turn out perhaps 750,000 or an extra million voters in CA or NY or New Jersey.

          And Republicans would be utterly focused on how many insane bible-thumpers they could drag to the polls in TX and Louisiana and Arkansas.

          It would polarize the nation even more deeply, because there would be little competition from the campaigns. Each would be playing exclusively to the base of their party (which Republicans do better anyway) and whoever won would be even MORE unpopular in the rest of the country.

          Short of a civil war, I can't think of a more polarizing idea than that.

          •  Can't disagree more. With a national popular (0+ / 0-)

            vote, each state would get attention in direct proportion to its population.  Why should all the attention go to the most closely divided, polarized states?

          •  Kos, allow me to rec this comment 1000 times. (0+ / 0-)

            Cugel has accurately captured the sociology of your idea. The sociological implications are even more important than the legal issues I raised, since they'll resonate with more people.

            Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

            by davidincleveland on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:57:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wait a minute! (0+ / 0-)
            It would polarize the nation even more deeply, because there would be little competition from the campaigns. Each would be playing exclusively to the base of their party
            I don't agree, why should the party spend time and money preaching to the choir? There are lots of potential red votes in CA, likewise lots of blue in TX.

            The idea is not only to find the most votes, but also motivate the people to actually get out there and vote.

            NPV might even dampen the negative attack ads and force the candidate to sell himself on positive grounds.

            I'd vote for that!

      •  The system is completely dysfunctional (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, sethtriggs

        It effectively disenfranchises every solid Red state and every solid Blue state. I'm sick and tired of Ohio and Florida deciding everything. Sick of it!

        (open_rant)

        I'm also sick of being treated like a wallet to be tapped into without any further input. I will never get to see the President speak because of this EC bullshit. A few flyover Midwestern states and a couple of Southern states get to decide this for everyone else? Out of obvious necessity, the President spends all his time in those  places and none anywhere else except when he hits our collective Blue-state wallet? What is wrong with this picture?

        No one else does this anywhere in the world. Electoral College my ass. We need more states to pass this law stat. The Constitution was meant to be a living document, not frozen in amber like a Goddamn fossil.

        (Oh, and fuck the Republicans while you're at it.)

        So sick of this election. So sick of seeing "appeal to fear" emails in my inbox. I will not miss 'em. (Note: I voted, not that it matters anymore on the national level.)

        (end_rant)

        •  You are right on (0+ / 0-)

          This petition has just started. The software handles changing your vote as many times as you want right up to election day. Also the data is available openly to the press the public or anyone else (only the voter's selections, not their private information) Check it out. The Republicans want to cut costs? Here's where. We have the internet now, why the heck are we still driving to polling booths and lining up?  And if online voting doesn't feel secure to you, think how secure these electronic machines are. Comments on this online voting system welcome muchly!  


          •  Open source it (0+ / 0-)

            Require all election software to be fully open-source and you'll largely solve the security issue.  Frankly, I believe that as a citizen, I have a fundamental right to be able to view all aspect of the processes determining how my vote is counted, and that includes the software counting it.

            I will likely have more on this in a diary in the near future. :-)

    •  FL 29 EV is the reason Bush added nearly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nica24, rainmanjr, sethtriggs

      1B debt from the prescription drug plan.....this is akin to "bribery"...
      ..Tom Tancredo said as much...

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:28:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I blame Ralph Nader… (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012, Miggles, wader

        …his 2.74% of the 2000 vote cost Gore New Hampshire as well as Florida.

        Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

        by DemSign on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:46:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What cost Gore TN? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rainmanjr, White Buffalo

          Win his home state, he won it all regardless.

        •  I blame Al Gore........ (6+ / 0-)

          ..........for distancing himself from the most popular modern-day president (Bill Clinton) and selecting a total douche bag of a running mate (Joe Lieberman).  Al Gore has no one to blame but himself.  I'm SICK of hearing the Ralph Nader lost us the 2000 election meme.

          If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention...

          by strohdecaire on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:02:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right on. /nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            strohdecaire, White Buffalo

            I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

            by itsjim on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:06:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  A-yup (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            strohdecaire

            In the vein of nathanrudy, What cost Gore AR? Win Clinton's (an incredibly popular President, even/especially after his impeachment) home state, and he wins it all regardless.

          •  well said n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            strohdecaire

            God knows I need a crutch at times To help this gimpy soul of mine along But not a Burning Truth That we must kill each other over.-Ric Masten

            by deminmarineland on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:07:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •   Al Gore lost to Rove and the Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

            Rove created an entirely fictional background for Bush Jr. that was eaten up as being moderate and homey.  Rove's extended team also poisoned any use of Clinton by turning Bill into a moral and international policy problem for Gore's campaign, then blatantly acquired Al's own positions throughout the election to consistently blur their lines where they actually had severe differences.  See Romney's sudden moderation in Debate #1, then multiply that act times and entire campaign and you get Bush in 2000.

            Ralph Nader contributed to Rove's win by pushing the same campaign narrative which blurred extreme differences between Gore and Bush: i.e., it didn't matter who you would choose, because the result would be the same.

            I was fuming for months online and offline with fellow Democrats leading up to the 2000 elections, watching them criticize a few, choice areas of perception in whose interests Gore would represent as President, whose support he should covet, etc.  . . . and how Gore's corporate interests couldn't really be much different than Bush, anyhow.  Those were clear Republican inroads into the media and public perception which Nader capitalized on for his own purposes.

            Nader masqueraded within his own campaign as holding a somewhat sober view of the real world, but was hypocritically concerned with gaining further exposure to satisfy his narcissistic tendencies when it came to discussing larger picture needs.  He had no vision beyond a handful of pet peeves and gripes.

            Nader effectively left the Green party in a confused state afterwards - since they didn't even pick a true "green" candidate who cared a whit about their cause or party.

            I point a finger at Nader as contributing to the 2000 fiasco.  He tried the same crap in 2004, of course.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 04:12:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, Ralph Nader is on my permanent shit list. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader

          This a-hole didn't even apologize for the damage he did.  Fuck him and his "they are all the same" schtick.  It's that kind of attitude that turns people off to politics.

      •  Democratic Incompetence Lost It (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        strohdecaire, rainmanjr, indres

        Butterfly ballots ... sheesh.

    •  Agreed Kos and I'd add... (7+ / 0-)

      let's do it like CA does it....

      1 - mail in ballots/early voting allowed.  You can sign up for permanent delivery of your ballot by mail.  Fill it out, send it back by the deadline.  No long lines, time to study the candidates and the issues on YOUR schedule.  No matter what your affiliation, the voting process should be as convenient as possible.  If you have registered with proper initial ID, that should be sufficient.

      2- State-underwritten Voter Guides:  These provide basic information about candidates (party, why they are running) and especially about ballot issues (a big deal in CA) that can guide you in making decisions by providing pros and cons arguments from proponents of each side and a description of what the initiative purports to be about.

      3- Make sure, based on past experience, that every polling place has sufficient machines on hand to avoid making ANYONE wait in line more than 15-30 minutes.  NOBODY should be allowed, under penalty of law, to create systems which in effect mandate that people are going to stand in line for hours, sometimes not even to vote, but just to get the next piece of paper needed to complete the process.

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:34:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and let me add a couple more.... (8+ / 0-)
        4- Get rid of the filibuster and the 60 vote requirement.  Other than treaty votes as required by the Constitution, making votes operate by simple majority goes a long way to ending the gridlock in Congress and forces both sides to find common ground.

        5- Eliminate super majority requirements.  In CA, it takes a super majority to pass any measure involving a tax increase.  As a result, a super minority of GOP members in the Legislature have crippled the state's ability to deal with its debt crisis.

        Worse yet, super majority requirements are, I would argue, an infringement of the one-man, one-vote principle, because it gives the minority more than one vote's worth of ability to stop the majority and should be found unconstitutional.  I am surprised that the issue hasn't been brought to the Supremes.

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:40:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  End gerrymandering in all states and (4+ / 0-)

        while we're at it, let's institute parliamentary democracy.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:43:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll support an end to gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

          and increasing the size of the House to improve the citizens/Rep ratio, but I've yet to see a parliamentary formula I like. But I mean not to hijack.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:19:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, CA has done good there too... (0+ / 0-)

          The last time around they created a citizens panel to carry out the process and it seemed to work pretty well...at least better than the old system which repeatedly set out districts where members from both parties were essentially bulletproof.

          I'd argue that there ought to be a requirement for districts that their numbers cannot create a gap between registered Dems and Republicans larger than X percent....in other words...no district which is so heavily Dem or Republican that there is no real opposition.  If things are fairly tight, elected reps have to pay more attention to local feelings.....and find compromises with their colleagues to get things done if they want to get re-elected.

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 04:23:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. But can someone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walk2live, indres

      please give the NPV website a facelift?  If we're gonna sell this thing to the public to gather enough public support to amend the constitution or whatever needs to happen to shift away from the EC, then let's start by marketing this thing like we mean business.  Right now it looks like some godforsaken RWNJ CT hangout.

      Follow me on Twitter: @THTBAW. I crush trolls with truth, boredom with snark, and ignorance with links.

      by therehastobeaway on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:37:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cant agree (6+ / 0-)

      As long as SOS in Ohio, Fla and red states are allowed to limit/harass/remove voters, then the EC MUST stay.

      Why?

      Because catching fraud in 7-10 states is much better than 25.

      And you will have Alabama and Mississippi committing fraud and running up the vote if a national popular vote system exists.

      Democrats have an ADVANTAGE in the EC. It will only get better demographically as the years go on.

      Why lose that?????

      The #1 goal now is to elect Obama. Goal #2 is....First finish Goal #1.

      by squirecam on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:45:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having worked on campaigns… (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht, wader

        …I can tell you that if we eliminated the Electoral College that we'd've been looking at a $6 billion Presidential campaign instead of a $2 billion one.

        We'd also be looking at redder blue states and bluer red states as national advertising moves the electorate towards the middle. This would further have the effect of putting more downballot races in play.

        Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

        by DemSign on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:55:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The cost can be controlled (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glorificus, indres

          with spending limits, public financing and overturning that stupid-ass decision that a campaign contribution is free speech. I rather like the idea of having more downballot races in play - California's preposterous term limits law creates a system of mandatory turnover without actual change. We'll soon know whether the jungle primary makes a difference.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:26:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well now that the lege has a supermajority… (0+ / 0-)

            …the next step should be either calling a for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the whole document or placing two questions on the ballot…

            1. Reject any provision of the Constitution that preempts the legislatures ability to set spending priorities (essentially overturn the BS from recent initiatives that are hamstringing the state).
            2. Require a supermajority to pass any amendment (as opposed to laws) created purely by initiative.

            I would also consider eliminating the two-thirds rule for revenue/spending and also making the term limits law less draconian (because frankly experience is valuable in any job).

            Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

            by DemSign on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:55:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Campaigns Raise as Much as they Can (0+ / 0-)

          Presidential candidates currently do everything within their power to raise as much money as they possibly can from donors throughout the country. They then allocate their time and the money that they raise nationally to places where it will do the most good toward their goal of winning the election.

          Money doesn't grow on trees. The fact that candidates would spend their money more broadly (that is, in all 50 states and DC) would not, in itself, loosen up the wallet of a single donor anywhere in the country. Candidates will continue to try to raise as much money as economic considerations permit. Economic considerations by donors determines how much money will be available, not the existence of an increases number of places where the money might be spent.

          With the current system, in 2008, they spent  more than two-thirds of their time and money in just six closely divided battleground states; 80% in just nine states; and 99% in just 16 states. That's precisely what they should do in order to get elected with the current system, because the voters of two-thirds of the states simply don't matter. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the concerns of voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.  Over 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, are ignored.

          If every vote mattered throughout the United States, as it would under a national popular vote, candidates would reallocate their time and the money they raise.

      •  You got it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht

        I wish I could recommend your comment 100X.  

        "Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool" - Plato.

        by rainmanjr on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:08:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the system as it stands is a good one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prof Haley, Cattaur

          Or at least better than straight up national vote.

          Hiding, skimming, or suppressing a few thousand votes (in any precinct, any where) in a fifty/fifty national election is WAY EASIER than doing it across the each and every state that is genuinely in play in an electoral college situation.

          Additionally, the system as it stands does encourage a more proportional representation of America by each candidate.  Do you really think the issues matter to, say, Iowa are going to get one lick of attention in a national campaign?  When states are close to 50/50, candidates fight for their local issues - in a national election, they'll just play to the lowest common denominator in the largest media markets.  If you happen to live away from a population center in the US, you can kiss the attention of candidates good bye.

          You couldn't load a pistol with dormitive virtue and shoot it into a breakfast-roll - CS Pierce

          by Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:21:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, and one other thing... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that the EC does that I like is create a mandate in a divided country - a series of 51 to 49 wins is a recipe for obstructionism and do-nothing. Turning that into a 300-238 EV victory allows the winning candidate to claim some kind of mantle for governing, instead of just wobbling around a very tenuous center.

            You couldn't load a pistol with dormitive virtue and shoot it into a breakfast-roll - CS Pierce

            by Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:26:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'd like it better with a bigger House (0+ / 0-)

            the current apportionment overdoes the Constitutional protection of small states IMO. And with candidates effectively running for president of Ohio, the concerns of large urban areas [e.g., homelessness, chronic poverty, violent crime] get zero exposure now.

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:32:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Current System Maximizes Opps & Incentive (0+ / 0-)

            The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, 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 in 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?

          •  Now Issues of 80% of States and Voters are Ignored (0+ / 0-)

            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% .

            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 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.

            With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically.  There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state.  When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win.  A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

            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.

            In the 2012 campaign,  “Much of the heaviest spending has not been in big cities with large and expensive media markets, but in small and medium-size metropolitan areas in states with little individual weight in the Electoral College: Cedar Rapids and Des Moines in Iowa (6 votes); Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado (9 votes); Norfolk and Richmond in Virginia (13 votes). Since the beginning of April, four-fifths of the ads that favored or opposed a presidential candidate have been in television markets of modest size.”
            http://www.nytimes.com/...

            Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. 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. 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 waitress mom voters in Ohio.

            With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.  Wining states would not be the goal. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

      •  Proportional? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley

        Maybe have all states do like Maine (and Nebraska I think?) Have the electoral votes be awarded by Legislative district? with the two for the Senate seats going to the statewide winner?

        •  We could actually run these numbers. (0+ / 0-)

          Well, somebody could.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:42:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  District system (0+ / 0-)

          A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
          In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
          * 71% favored a national popular vote;
          * 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
          * 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).
          *
          A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
          In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
          * 60% favored a national popular vote;
          * 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
          * 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

          Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

          If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

          The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. In California, the presidential race has been competitive in only 3 of the state's 53 districts.  Nationwide, there have been only 55 "battleground" districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88%  of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if  a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

          Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

          Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

          Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

          A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

      •  This makes zero sense. Better to have the weight (0+ / 0-)

        of the popular vote in all the honest states overwhelm the shenanigans in a handful of states.  Nothing about today's system wards off corruption, undoes damage, or promotes close scrutiny in battleground states.

      •  Current System Maximizes Incentive & Opps (0+ / 0-)

        The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, 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 in 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?

    •  We'll try... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b

      ...but we didn't have the popular election of senators until 1913, and that was after nearly a century of trying.  If we emulate our ancestors and keep pushing, eventually we'll get the popular election of the president.  Trouble is, without a lot of pushing, it isn't going to happen.

      But hey, I'm often wrong.  Maybe we can get it done sooner rather than later.  We won't know unless we try.

      Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:53:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The National Popular Vote Bill - 49% of the way (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, denise b

        In the six years since being introduced, more than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

        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 recent 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%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

        The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

        NationalPopularVote   
        Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

    •  Rick Hertzberg of NYer is a top NPV proponent (0+ / 0-)

      There's no such thing as a free market!

      by Albanius on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:00:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A good first step (14+ / 0-)

    with the second being instant runoff.

    Small varmints, if you will.

    by aztecraingod on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:05:14 PM PST

    •  Proportional Representation in the House (5+ / 0-)

      That's the second step. Eliminate gerrymandering for the House and apportion all House seats by proportional vote. That would also ensure that every vote counts.

      The third step is to elect Senators via Instant Runoff Voting.

      I'd also like to see the initiative and referendum added to the Federal Constitution as well.

    •  Yup. (4+ / 0-)

      I remember an article from a few years ago that eviscerated David Brooks' pat "Red State/Blue State" generalizations, where as soon as you cross the border from, say, California to Arizona, you go from a state full of latte-sipping merlot enthusiasts to a state uniformly made up of Bible literalists and Minutemen vigilantes. It's an analysis you could only cook up from the comfort of your NY Times office.

      The problem is that this is not only a cartoonish vision of human nature, it is contradicted by the county breakdown of the election results, where Red states were full of Blue pockets and vice versa.

      It's always been striking to me how enormous segments of the South, for example, are almost completely disenfranchised by the electoral college vote. African Americans and their allies fought and died for their vote to be counted in states such as Alabama and Mississippi. So how is it that nearly 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, we still have an electoral college system that effectively negates their votes, just because the first-past-the-post system reduces their states to uniform red blobs?

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, IRV is anti-majoritarian, the exact (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rmoore

      opposite of Democracy.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:36:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, if you completely abolished (0+ / 0-)

        the EC you would have to have a runoff.

        Because with no EC, third parties would be viable and you wouldn't want to elect a president with 28% of the vote.  That would be a recipe for disaster.

        •  Runoffs aren't as bad as IRV (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prof Haley, enhydra lutris

          except for the cost of having an additional election.

          With an election followed by a runoff, there is much less incentive to cast a vote with a dishonest ranking than there is in IRV. That incentive can be very strong in IRV (although it varies with the particular election scenario).

          If you want your government to fail, then don't be surprised if it fails you when you need it the most.

          by rmoore on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:41:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That can happen under current system (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris

          The National Popular Vote bill does not abolish the constitutionally mandated Electoral College.

          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).

          Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

          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 with a mere 26% of the nation's votes!

        •  Guess what, there is nothing wrong with (0+ / 0-)

          having a real runoff, where everybody gets an equal chance to decide between the remaining candidates and vote for the one of their choice. Nothing, that is, except that it is democratic, and a lot of people therefore hate it.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 10:33:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That doesn't make any sense (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, mightymouse

        IRV requires a majority. Whiddle down the list until you get a candidate with over 50%.

        Small varmints, if you will.

        by aztecraingod on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:19:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That only works (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris

          if the voter has as many choices to rank as there are candidates. Otherwise, some votes just don't count, and the 50% is reached by reducing the denominator. The first time it was tried for Mayor here we had eleven candidates and three choices. The candidate who was most peoples' second choice won, and nobody was happy.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:04:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but there is no form of IRV that I have (0+ / 0-)

          ever seen that allows every voter an opportunity to have their second, third, or fourth vote counted simultaneously - they are all some form of "those who pick the least representative candidate get to, in effect, vote again". It is undemocratic if not everybody has their second vote coounted at the same time.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 10:37:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  nationwide IRV is a logistical nightmare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rmoore

      Approval voting accomplishes more (allows voters to beat the spoiler problem always, not just sometimes), but doesn't require an insecure central count.

      Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

      by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:47:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This country doesn't appear to have any problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles

        with accepting logistical nightmares.

        Small varmints, if you will.

        by aztecraingod on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:20:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Second that (0+ / 0-)

        IRV has problems, not just logistical: It isn't monotonic, and creates incentive to strategically rank candidates falsely.

        Elect representatives by statewide proportional representation (no districts). Hey, the representative from my disctrict of Orange County, Calif. has never represented my views.

        Use approval voting for single-seat races (Senate and Presidency).

        If you want your government to fail, then don't be surprised if it fails you when you need it the most.

        by rmoore on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:36:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I still have no clear idea how this works (0+ / 0-)
          Elect representatives by statewide proportional representation (no districts).
          Who does the voter vote for? Who takes office? I'm not at all comfortable with just voting D and letting the Central Committee pick my Assemblycritter.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:07:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

          Approval is better than IRV all around. But talking about how it gives better results just starts a technical argument. That's why I just point out that IRV's unworkable at a national level.

          As to PR: I agree that it's the future, but you should check out http://wiki.electorama.com/... which could achieve PR with today's ballots and districts. STV's a heavier lift — no local representatives, more-complex ballots.

          Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

          by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 09:59:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

            Your link might be more enlightening if it contained more than "There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, search the related logs, or edit this page."

            What am I to search for?

            If you want your government to fail, then don't be surprised if it fails you when you need it the most.

            by rmoore on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 01:28:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  remove senate (0+ / 0-)

      The real first step is to change the electoral college so the count only includes House members, that at least would make it marginally more representative.  Do you think NH with 2 votes(0.5%), or Iowa with 4 votes(1%) is going to push anyone over the top.  It is the overrepresentation of the small steps that will lead them to demand a popular election.

      Right now anyone state with less than 10 electoral votes are overrepresented in the electoral college.  That is over half the states.  Why would they want to give it up?  Basically half the states, which has 5 or fewer votes, are increasing their influence form negligible to significant.  This is why to move to a popular vote we are going to have to move from a nation of states to a nation.

  •  People are going to misinterpret this post. (0+ / 0-)

    Really bad timing.

  •  and National Voting Rights Defended! n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Tax Paradigms, Feed Imaginations

    by jhpdb on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:05:38 PM PST

  •  Has anyone done a super smart, Natey-Wangy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, blue aardvark

    analysis of whom this would favor?

    I think it's far from clear.

    •  The Dems most likely. (7+ / 0-)

      Because Dems live in cities, and Republicans in rural areas. Yeah that is a broad generalization, but it is true. It is easier to advertise to, visit, and GOTV amongst urban Dems than it is with rural conservatives.

      •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc2

        the existing EC favors rural states over urban states, and dems are stronger in more urban states, for the most part.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:13:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I respectfully disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChemBob, squirecam

          1 California (55) and 1 New York (29) outweighs ALL the states with 3, 4, 5 and most of those with 6 EV's. Not ALL of those states favor Republicans, many are solid Democratic.

          The Democratic advantage comes from winning big states. And every large state has rural areas in it, such as where I live.

          As someone from California, I like that ALL our votes are going to Obama, and millions of Romney votes are not going to have any effect.

          The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

          by Tuba Les on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tuba Les, Berkeley Fred

            There's a lot of confusion in this thread between inherent problems in the EV system and the current polarization of certain states. They are connected but not identical.

            Fuck all this. The exits are about to come out.

            GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

            by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:42:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well I live in Kansas (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tuba Les, MaikeH, Prof Haley

            and I don't like that ALL our votes are going to Romney.  I would like my vote to count for a change.

          •  Uh (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tuba Les
            the existing EC favors rural states over urban states, and dems are stronger in more urban states, for the most part.
            I use statements like "for the most part" for a reason.  The EC favors states that are predominantly rural--the average of the state--so sure, California has rural areas, but they are averaged with LA and the Bay area.  Wyoming...you see my point.

            Are there exceptions, yes.  Rhode Island, for example is small, and almost entirely urban and suburban.  Then there is Washington DC, but that's a whole nother thang.  But, for the most part, the existing EC favors rural states over urban states.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:56:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tuba Les

              Thought you were responding to a different one of my comments in this thread where I laid out my reasoning more completely.  That's where I used "for the most part."

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:59:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No problem (0+ / 0-)

                My point is that California, with 53 votes is equal 12 states that Romney is ahead with 3, 4, 5, and 6 electoral votes. California should NEVER give up that advantage. And it IS an advantage to win the large states.

                The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

                by Tuba Les on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:27:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  But would a Democrat in Texas agree? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tuba Les

            I think we could do better just by increasing the size of the House [which hasn't been done in 100 years] and choosing Electors the way Nebraska and Maine do it.

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:11:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, a Democrat in Texas WILL Agree (0+ / 0-)

              In a few elections when the Hispanic vote increases to turn Texas blue.

              Yes, small states like Nebraska and Maine can dilute their power by splitting votes, but I hope California NEVER does that.

              The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

              by Tuba Les on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 06:24:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The EC favors swing states (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Berkeley Fred, Miggles

          Among swing states, small states have more weight per population. But non-swing states are universally screwed. Your presidential vote in Wyoming is just as unimportant as it is in California.

          This means that the solid-red South has a legitimate interest in passing the NPVIC. Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Mississipi... they'd all be better off.

          Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

          by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:52:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Think of it this way: (0+ / 0-)

            In FL 2000, 500 republican votes (or -500 if they'd counted right, but that's beside the point) swung the entire nation. That's awesome power per vote.

            Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

            by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:54:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The EC doesn't favor swing states (0+ / 0-)

            since the EC does not determine which states are swingy...swing states are merely those states where there are roughly equal proportions of dems and republicans.  The EC does make the unit of voting the state, and give smaller/more rural states a slight advantage.

            The gist is this, the swinginess is determined by the balance of dems and republicans, while the weighted importance is determined by the EC.

            Thus, NH matters this year because it is swingy, AND it is oddly overemphasized in the EC system.

            Without the EC, NH wouldn't be worth a bucket of warm spit.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:04:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So what if swing states change over time. The (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              homunq

              EC causes a distorted amount of campaigning to occur in a handful of states that in no way represent the country as a whole.  Those are the rules of the game, and that's the strategy that campaigns must use to win.   The game isn't about winning the most votes in the United States of America.  No, the game is about winning a small sample of key votes here and there.  Yuck.

      •  I somewhat disagree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, nota bene, mkor7, Odysseus

        Rural areas can be targeted with TV ads -- if anything, its cheaper to do so than in urban areas. And the Pepublican turnout operation is based around churches, which are plentiful in rural america -- they'll GOTV just fine.

        I think the bigger advantage of democrats is in low-propensity voters, who number in the 10s of millions in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and every other metropolis in non-competitive states. The Democratic national vote ceiling is extraordinarily high, and is being mostly suppressed by indifference right now.

      •  18 percent of people (5+ / 0-)

        live in the 50 largest cities. There is no way cities would dominate a national popular vote.

      •  Those rural states tend to be pretty red. (0+ / 0-)

        So the presidential candidates ignore them.  It's the purple states that they go after.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:26:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It would probably be (0+ / 0-)

        Dems immediately. But does it favor the country? Wouldn't a few populous states be the only places candidates campaigned? Wouldn't it disenfranchise a lot of voters in not so populous states? They would still have their reps and senators, probably owned by special interests trying to counter balance the interests backing the president.

        Even though  the presidential ticket would be elected by a few heavily populated geographical areas, many of the social, political and economic issues the president's policies influence will effect the large swaths of the country w/o voting numbers to influence actions of the executive branch.

        I know the electoral system can create a real mess, but direct democracy given the population distribution somehow doesn't seem fair to me.

        Don't ask me nothin' about nothin'. I just might tell ya the truth -- B. Dylan

        by ponderer on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:32:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poleshifter

          ..."states" wouldn't be subjects in this equation. Voters would be. "States" would be as irrelevant as any randomly drawn pieces of land.

          And should the candidates pay more attention to areas where there are more voters?

          I'd say so, in a democracy.

          •  Right (0+ / 0-)

            So this scheme devolves ever more power from states and localities to the Feds. I'm not a huge 'states rights' guy but why even bother having states then?

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:57:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because (0+ / 0-)

              states want to enact laws, which cannot be in contradiction with federal laws. For that, they can have their state legislatures. But for electing bodies that enact federal laws, there should be a federal reference frame, not a state one.

            •  Powers of State Govt Unchanged (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              denise b

              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.

              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).

        •  Not a zero-sum game (0+ / 0-)

          Interest groups don't respect state lines, so why should voting? NPVIC would mean that candidates would pay attention to any voter group in proportion to their numbers, divided by how hard it is to reach them. That means rallies but few ads in cities, ads but few rallies in the countryside, but more importantly, taking positions on issues and being responsive to large citizen groups.

          Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

          by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:58:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Would it really matter where the (0+ / 0-)

          candidate campaigns?  Turn on the tv and you're right there with them.  

          •  Candidates Need to Care About All States (0+ / 0-)

            Now, 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.

            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.

            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,

             “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “
            Wall Street Journal

            Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.

        •  How is an Ohio voter's vote tonight counting more (0+ / 0-)

          than yours or mine fair to you?  So what if future campaigns were to spend more time campaigning in more populated areas *WHERE THE VOTES ACTUALLY ARE** than the sad shit that passes for campaigning today.

        •  Now 80% of States and Voters Irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          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), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 80% 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.

          Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree, that, at most, only 9 states and their voters will matter. They will decide the election. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual. About 80% of the country will be ignored --including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when 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). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 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, 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

          The number and population of battleground states is shrinking

          Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

        •  Big State Realities (0+ / 0-)

          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.  

          In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states,
          % and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
          * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
          * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
          * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
          * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
          * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
          * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
          * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

          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).

          •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

            Your info in this and the early post are very helpful to me as I try to think through the ramifications of the current arrangement versus direct democracy.

            Don't ask me nothin' about nothin'. I just might tell ya the truth -- B. Dylan

            by ponderer on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 12:14:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  When communication between states required (0+ / 0-)

        days or weeks , that there was a stark difference between rural and urban interests and there was a lingering distrust among the  states of each other, the EC made some sense (not much, but some).
        However, since the advent of the telegraph it has been a disruptive artifact of another time.  The President and VP are the only political offices voted on by ALL the people of the US  and should be treated that way.  The EC is not only  undemocratic but  is a waste of time and money  

        "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

        by carver on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:58:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't the very fact that (0+ / 0-)

        The EV is stronger for Obama than the NV basically a repudiation of that notion?

        The R vote tends to be sequestered in the deep red states.  

        Any more generally, anyone, R or D (or anything else) in the "wrong state" basically doesn't matter.  

      •  TV Costs Much More in Big Cities (0+ / 0-)

        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.

    •  That'd be interesting to see! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, chira2

      I'm curious myself. Of course, the bottom line is it doesn't matter which party it would "favor." It would favor real democracy. As a Californian, I'm admittedly biased, but still.

      I'd love to see Obama stumping in the deep South, and Romney trying to whip up votes in Los Angeles while surrounded by the Latinos he wishes would "self-deport."

      •  That would have been interesting, my sister and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ERJH

        her fellow teachers wish that Georgia and South Carolina would get more attention from Democrats like the DNC and the candidates because of how their public employees are being treated.  These right to work states are awful and the teacher unions do not have the right to collective bargain. As a result, these teachers are paying for their benefits out of pocket almost totally with the state picking up almost none of the tab.

        Their schools, salaries , benefits are going to pot in these red states and they feel like they do not matter because they cannot around their red state governors and feel screwed and ignored by the DNC.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually the math on this is pretty clear (23+ / 0-)

      Because of the rules, states like Wyoming get much higher EC representation per citizen. No matter how low a state's population is they get 2 for their Senate seats and 1 for their House seat. So Wyoming's 600,000 people get 3 EC votes or roughly 1 EC/200,000 people. Contrast that California which gets 55 electoral votes for its 38,000,000 or roughly 1 EC/690,000 people. Which means each person in Wyoming has nearly 3.5 times the EC representation as each Californian. That's not right. "One man, three and a half votes" isn't the rallying cry of democracy.

      Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
      I thought you might want to know
      That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:14:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It cuts both ways, though (0+ / 0-)

        They might have disproportional representation, but states that are largely in agreement are relatively weakened.  There's no difference between a 51% lean state and a massively leaning state.  

        So, on one hand you have people whose vote is worthless if they're in the wrong state (the 49%), but also those whose vote is crippled because everyone around them agrees with them (the deep red south has it's vote sequestered because no matter how much redder they get, they're going to get exactly the same number of EV's)

        •  States can change this (0+ / 0-)

          by going the Nebraska/Maine route.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:52:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maine & Nebraska Want National Pop Vote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prof Haley

            A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
            In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
            * 71% favored a national popular vote;
            * 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
            * 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).
            *
            A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
            In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
            * 60% favored a national popular vote;
            * 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
            * 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

            Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

            If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

            The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. In California, the presidential race has been competitive in only 3 of the state's 53 districts.  Nationwide, there have been only 55 "battleground" districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88%  of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if  a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

            Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

            Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

            Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

            A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

    •  The first observation is that all past election (7+ / 0-)

      results are no guide to the future, because every single campaign would change to reflect the new reality.

      No more "swing states" means no more saturating Colorado with ads while ignoring Utah.

      My second thought is that it really favors the candidate with the most money as the ability to reach the most voters first and define your opponent would be critical.

      Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

      by blue aardvark on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:18:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do worry with Citizens United in place, the GOP (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, Mistral Wind

        would have a bigger advantage than they even do now but I may be wrong as it is bad now in swing states but chances are the billionaires would shell out the bucks to cover the whole country with ads too.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  One thing it would make it harder to do would (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, denise b

        be for candidates to do the dance about caring for state X at the expense of state Y. Right now Obama could afford to piss off Utah and Wyoming by proposing a massive water retention system in Colorado (I'm just making that up, I don't even know if it's even possible). He'd never win UT or WY so why care about those votes. But in a national campaign less pandering of that nature would be possible. You'd have to really play a 50-state strategy and, as you point out, that would favor the deep-pocket candidate.

        Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
        I thought you might want to know
        That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

        by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's what I fear (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, squirecam

        All that dark money buying all that TV ad time all across the country.

        My friends in other states are crying about being ignored while here in FL we are inundated. Thank goodness for DVRs.

    •  No. It's crystal clear. (4+ / 0-)

      There are more register Democrats, everywhere, really.

      In 2004, there were millions more Registered Democrats than Registered Republicans - it's a big reason why democratic political junkies were certain of a Kerry #Win.

      The reason Presidential candidates spend so much time in tiny states with few voters is the Electoral College - that and nothing more.

      If we moved to a #TrueDemocraticPresidentialVote where the winner was only required to acquire a #SimpleMajority of the Popular vote? Democrats would win every time.

      Every time.

      It would change the face of American Politics overnight.


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

      by Angie in WA State on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:23:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  whoever (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caj, oldmanriver, denise b

      wins the most votes.

    •  It IS far from clear: Having ALL of the EC vote go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      squirecam

      to the majority of a state is a huge advantage to the majority of a state.  

      I'd further note that it was just a few years ago that the Republicans were given an "electoral college lock".  Now, it seems more of the Democrats to lose.  

      "Binder? I just met her!"

      by Inland on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's very clear. (0+ / 0-)

      Add the populations of blue states, and divide by the sum of their electoral votes.

      Compare that coefficient with what you'll get if you do the same thing for red states.

  •  Ideally yes, but (14+ / 0-)

    1) elections would have to be run with federal, not state rules, for registration and other voting issues - can you imagine the voter suppression in Mississippi if this were the way?

    2) has to be a runoff if no plurality b/w top 2, since the nonsense that could be done with 3rd parties is tremendous - I can see the Koch Bros financing a black candidate, a Latino candidate, a woman, a Green Party candidate all to cut down the Dem vote

    3) Bottom line - it will never happen, since it needs 3/4s of the states to approve, and that's impossible

    •  Add "none of the above," too, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb, Odysseus

      and if "none of the above" wins the plurality, the candidates are dropped and cannot run again. A new election would be held after an abbreviated campaign.

    •  my responses (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      homunq, oldmanriver, Miggles

      1) Well, at least someone will finally care about the voter suppression in Mississippi that's already happening. The presidential campaign can provide sunlight to situations like these, which is the first step to cleaning them up.

      2) If this really works at the national level, why wouldn't it work at the state level? The fact that the puppet candidate strategy has basically never worked in the modern political era makes me think this particular fear is unfounded.

      3) you don't need 3/4s of the states, you need 270 electoral votes. The article above has all the details, and you can read more about National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Initiative here. This is a real campaign that has a chance of passing over the next decade, provided that legislatures in a handful of non-competitive red states get on board. That's difficult, but not impossible.  

    •  I think your voter suppression point is to the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      squirecam

      point.  A national election begs for voter suppression everywhere, whereas the electoral college makes it so we tend to only have to fight major suppression efforts in the 'battleground' states.

      •  That's backwards (0+ / 0-)

        A state-level politician would have three incentives:

        -Suppress the vote of the other party in their own state, to help win.
        -Boost the vote of their own party in their own state, to help win.
        -Boost the turnout in their own state, so that in the future, both party candidates pay more attention to their state.

        2/3 of those incentives are for increasing, not decreasing, turnout. In other words, the overall average effect of NPV would be to increase turnout, though of course we'd have to remain vigilant as we are today.

        Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

        by homunq on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:03:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is nothing to support this notion. Right (0+ / 0-)

        now, Republicans can *concentrate* voter suppression in a handful of places and reap a huge dividend.  If they had to dilute that effort across the entire country, then it would have negligible effect.  So I argue that voter suppression thrives far more under the electoral college system.

    •  We are all affected by each state now (0+ / 0-)

      There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President. That was certainly the mainstream view when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in 1969 for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. That amendment retained state control over elections.
      The 1969 amendment was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale.

      The American Bar Association also endorsed the proposed 1969 amendment.

      The proposed 1969 constitutional amendment provided that the popular-vote count from each state would be added up to obtain the nationwide total for each candidate. The National Popular Vote compact does the same.

      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 was 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.

      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 1969 constitutional amendment, endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale, and The American Bar Association and, more importantly, the current system also accepts the differences among states.

      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 and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

    •  Now Candidate Could Win With 26% (0+ / 0-)

      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).

      Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

      And, FYI, with the current system, 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 26% of the nation's votes.

  •  Had there been a national vote in 2000 (11+ / 0-)

    we would have had a Gore administration, thereby sparing the nation (and the world) of eight years of hell.

    Case closed.

  •  Mitt's not going to win the popular vote so the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    legalchic, wishingwell

    Outrage-O-Meter won't get high enough to make this happen. And would it even hold up to SCOTUS review?

    Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
    I thought you might want to know
    That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:07:43 PM PST

  •  Absolutely. I lobbied for this in IL (4+ / 0-)

    Glad to see you are promoting the state bill.

    The status quo is absurd on its face.

    I lobbied for the NPV in Illinois (and we got it done!), and legislators here were thrilled at the idea that they could actually have some influence in choosing the president.

    Some Republican legislators liked the concept too before they got the word from DC that this was a bad thing. It's too bad the DC GOP establishment made that decision, but hopefully that will change over time.

    This is an issue where regular people can really influence the thinking of their legislators on the bill, so I encourage readers to call their (new) state legislators and ask them to support the bill. It's a core 'do we believe in one person one vote or not' issue.

  •  it's a nice sentiment (12+ / 0-)

    But for a national popular vote to work you need to Federalize elections so everyone is using same standards.  Also would have to have mechanism to eliminate recounts.  A national recount with thousands of different methods for counting votes would be a catastrophe.  

    •  I think we should federalize elections (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hazzcon, Torta, wishingwell

      And also remove any political or partisan appointments to that commission.

      •  I am with you Aggie, elections need to be (0+ / 0-)

        federalized and the same in every state.  

        The Repubs will fight this and squawk and go nuts as they always do as Republicans are big on States Rights.

        I think Democrats would go for this easily and federalizing elections. But I doubt the GOP would ever get on board, ever with this.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:33:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No. Have you read about the Interstate Compact? (0+ / 0-)

      It allows, per current Constitutional directives, that the States are responsible for how their votes are cast and counted.

      It merely says, IF and WHEN enough States pass an #InterstateCompact bill in their State Legislature to reach a total of 270 Electoral Votes, combined, then on the very next presidential election each of those signatory States will cast ALL of their Electoral College votes for the winner of the collective Popular Vote (from all states, combined).


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

      by Angie in WA State on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's true of the current system as well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldmanriver

      The NPV compact would keep states in charge of the voting system, which for better or worse, is how the constitution outlines the electoral process. Recounts would happen at the state, not federal, level -- which would remain triggered only by close intrastate margins.

      Bottom line -- varying electoral standards are a problem, no matter what system you use. They aren't an argument for or against the electoral college.

    •  We are all affected by each state now (0+ / 0-)

      There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President. That was certainly the mainstream view when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in 1969 for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. That amendment retained state control over elections.
      The 1969 amendment was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale.

      The American Bar Association also endorsed the proposed 1969 amendment.

      The proposed 1969 constitutional amendment provided that the popular-vote count from each state would be added up to obtain the nationwide total for each candidate. The National Popular Vote compact does the same.

      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 was 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.

      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 1969 constitutional amendment, endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale, and The American Bar Association and, more importantly, the current system also accepts the differences among states.

      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 and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

    •  Expect Recount Once in 640 Years (0+ / 0-)

      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.
      “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

      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.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

  •  Only if we have standardized.... (10+ / 0-)

    ...national rules for elections.  The feds run it, or we don't do it.

    •  We are all affected by each state now (0+ / 0-)

      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.

      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 and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

  •  Are you saying referendums... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, wishingwell

    at the state level are the easiest way to get it done?

    So how can we accomplish this despite the constitutional establishment of the Electoral College? Via an interstate compact that requires states to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote.
    Because the other option is a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and establishing the criteria for the presidency as the majority of the popular vote, no? So I assume you're taking the past of least - or lesser - resistance?
    •  Not to be debbie downer but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, wishingwell

      The compact would almost certainly require approval by Congress or else be open to a huge attack in the Courts. Do 60 senators support this? Nah.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:16:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How so? (4+ / 0-)
        The compact would almost certainly require approval by Congress
        States are constitutionally allowed -- nay, required -- to give out electoral votes however they want.

        Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

        by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:24:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look. (0+ / 0-)

          You might be right, but to simply deny that this is subject to challenge is absurd.

          Article I, § 10, cl. 3:

          No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
          This goes straight to the Roberts court unless approved by Congress and probably then anyways. YMMV.

          GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

          by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:35:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  interstate compacts happen all the time (0+ / 0-)

            they are 100% legal. The trick is that each state legislature must maintain complete autonomy over their decisions, and that's exactly how the NPV compact works. No one is forcing California to give their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, if the NPV is adopted. Their legislature already chose to bind them to that result.

            •  Of course. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ontheleftcoast

              With the approval of Congress and so, you need 60 senators, representing at least 30 states, not just the purported 270 EVs worth of states.

              GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

              by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:43:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think your confusing binding interstate compacts (0+ / 0-)

                for non-binding ones. Congress doesn't need to approve any changes that California wants to make to its election laws that don't violate the voting rights act -- and NPV doesn't.

                •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not confusing anything. You're confusing a good argument with Constitutional law. You could be right. But you might not be. Then what?

                  Finally, your point that it would be "nonbinding" completely sinks your battleship. It just shows that this would be total chaos and it would end up in the courts.

                  GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

                  by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:52:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Every constitutional scholar who's looked at NPV (0+ / 0-)

                    has declared that it meets constitutional muster. If you're asking me to predict the crazy future republican arguments against it, you're right, there will likely be some. But that's no reason to stop us from trying to implement the compact.

                    As for the binding v. non-binding debate -- more accurately, the NPV compact is self-binding. The only thing that would keep an individual state to its promises is its legislature. The compacts works in such a way that it only goes into effect if all legislatures involved vowed to hold up their end of the bargain -- otherwise, it would revert to the current system.

              •  I think that's a bit too literal reading of the (0+ / 0-)

                Constitution and hinges on what "compact" means in that case.  Furthermore, since you are quoting the constitution, where does it say that we need 60 senators for something?

            •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

              Again, I understand the argument you're making. It's not that I don't think it potentially works. I'm just sayin you don't get to decide that, the Supreme Court does.

              Do you find yourself agreeing with them often lately?

              GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

              by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:44:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, interstate compacts need to be (0+ / 0-)

              approved by Congress or their agencies. If New Jersey and Maine cut a deal on lobster for naming rights to Trump's next casino and Pennsylvania and Kentucky complained about it the ICC would get involved. So if a dozen states get together on something as significant as electing the President you can bet your bottom dollar states that feel threatened by it will be hauling someone or something in front of a judge demanding it be stopped.

              Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
              I thought you might want to know
              That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

              by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:47:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, the compact is not a binding one (0+ / 0-)

                the NPV doesn't require the states to work together in anyway, nor does it harm their sovereignty. If California chooses to give its electoral votes to the popular vote winner, it doesn't need Congressional approval -- that's between its voters and its legislature. If states representing 270 electoral votes make similar, individual decisions, we've got a "compact."

                Non-binding compacts happen all the time, in which states can enter and leave at will. Binding ones, that redraw state boundaries, or control water rights, or control fishing rights, require congressional approval.

          •  Haha (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miggles

            I guess we're done, because I find your argument hilariously absurd.

            The constitution says the states can give out electoral votes however they want to. There is no argument otherwise. The Supreme Court wouldn't even hear this farce.

            Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

            by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:03:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  States get the call on how to run their elections. (0+ / 0-)

        If states make side agreements on how to allot electoral votes, why would that become a court case?  After all, today we have a winner-take-all system in most states which is pretty unfair, and I've yet to hear of some court case invalidating that.

      •  Congressional Consent is Not Required (0+ / 0-)

        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.

        In the 1978 case of U.S. Steel Corporation v. Multistate Tax Commission, the compact at issue specified that it would come into force when seven or more states enacted it. The compact was silent as to the role of Congress. The compact was submitted to Congress for its consent. After encountering fierce political opposition from various business interests concerned about the more stringent tax audits anticipated under the compact, the compacting states proceeded with the implementation of the compact without congressional consent. U.S. Steel challenged the states' action. In upholding the constitutionality of the implementation of the compact by the states without congressional consent, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the interpretation of the Compacts Clause from its 1893 holding in Virginia v. Tennessee, writing that:

        "the test is whether the Compact enhances state power quaod [with regard to] the National Government."

        The Court also noted that the compact did not

        "authorize the member states to exercise any powers they could not exercise in its absence."

    •  The proposal he's mentioned is brilliant in that (5+ / 0-)

      less than half the states could effectively band together to make the Electoral College moot. It would make it impossible for states like Wyoming, Alaska, or Idaho to hold the national vote hostage to their special interests by not voting for an Amendment to do the right thing. But it would raise all sorts of constitutional arguments and I'm guessing the current SCOTUS would shoot it down if it came before them.

      Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
      I thought you might want to know
      That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:20:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  its worth noting that opponents of NPV (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ontheleftcoast

        have had zero traction in invalidating the compact on legal grounds -- weirdly enough, Bush v. Gore provides the constitutional framework to justify the compact. Opponents tried to overturn to compact in CA and were completely unsuccessful.

        •  You could be right, it may pass muster (0+ / 0-)

          But you have to admit the opponents will make a huge stink about it, especially as it gains traction. And the current SCOTUS is a random number generator when it comes to deciding these sorts of cases. You could've knocked me over with a feather on both their Citizens United ruling (for it's mind-numbing stupidity of making corporations people) and their ACA ruling (for the mind-blowing fact they allowed it to stand). What would they do with an argument, no matter how boneheaded, for NPV? Who could say?

          Attention rich bastards, this is real important,
          I thought you might want to know
          That $5,000 suits don't hide your 5¢ souls.

          by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:52:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I like things the way they are (9+ / 0-)

    I know I'm in the minority on here, but I don't like messing with the Constitution unless it's absolutely necessary. In my mind, I don't think we've reached that point yet.

    An amendment to overturn Citizen's United though, is a completely different story.

    •  Don't have to mess with the constitution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftyAce, Odysseus, Miggles

      The constitution says states can apportion electoral votes however they wish. A state is fully within its rights to say "we give all our votes to whoever wins the national popular vote."

      Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

      by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:26:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, but you would have (0+ / 0-)

        to get all 50 states to agree to it if you don't amend the constitution. Good luck with that.

        •  Uh, no, wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prof Haley

          You only need 270 EV worth of states. Once you have that, the other states don't matter.

          Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

          by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:03:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No, you need 270 EVs worth of states (0+ / 0-)

          The moment 270 EVs worth of states sign on, it becomes moot for the remaining states because the national popular vote winning candidate gets the 270 electoral college votes required to win.

          That's a lot fewer than 50 states.  9 states already got it to 132, I could potentially see it with as few as 8 more (total, 17 states, 272 EVs): MN, MI, WI, NY, TX, GA, MO, IN.  (I left out FL, OH, and PA since they're perpetual swing states and would miss the traffic.)

          I'm not saying those states would pass it, merely that it would take fewer additional states than have already passed it, and only 34% of all the states for the compact to be effective.

          Of course, you would want a margin so that shifting electoral votes around due to population shifts wouldn't drop the compact below 270, but that's a different issue.

        •  Sheesh. Has anyone actually read how the (0+ / 0-)

          proposed NPV that kos described would work?  There is nothing about changing the constitution or requiring 50 states to sign on for it to work.  That's the beauty of it.  We can effectively kill off an antiquated relic that harms our presidential elections without even touching the constitution.

    •  It is high time we had some reform (0+ / 0-)

      The system is absolutely not working the way it should. Even Jefferson thought that the Constitution would be substantially reformed from time to time. I think we need to deal also with how undemocratic the Senate is too. It's really disgraceful.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am in support of the national popular vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, MaikeH

    and besides, it'd put much more attention on local and state races around the country, not just in the swing states. Imagine if the President came here to Texas to actually campaign and help support candidates.....that would be awesome!

    •  Yes ! I agree Slink, provided there were federal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink

      standards that were the same in each state as to voting laws and methods and so on.  It would need to be, I think for it to work. But first we have to work hard to prevent and get firm laws in place against voter disenfranchisement and voter intimidation and other Republican dirty tricks to try to keep people from voting.

      These damn voter IDs that differ from state to state are a huge problem.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:36:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now we are all affected by each state (0+ / 0-)

        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 was 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.

        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.

  •  It's a democracy but it's also a federal system (3+ / 0-)

    That permits us in good conscience to aggregate votes by states, as we have always done.  It may not be the best system so in that regard I'm not hostile to NPV, but calling it an affront to democracy doesn't really fly with me.

    You've noted the good thing(s) about NPV, that it would restore the rest of the country to relevance (not that the rest of the country is shortchanged in spending--I don't know of any studies suggesting swing states get disproportionate federal attention, and certainly Specter's quote doesn't make the claim compellingly).  But with the prevailing worries about election fraud it's useful to keep in mind one downside of NPV, which is that it would extend the playing field for fraud to the whole country.  Right now it's comically useless for Republicans to jack up the vote in Alabama or Democrats in California, but under NPV it wouldn't be.  I usually downplay fraud concerns precisely because so few places are relevant and therefore there's enhanced scrutiny by interested parties (literally).  With NPV we'd need that enhanced scrutiny everywhere.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:10:36 PM PST

    •  Split the Difference? (4+ / 0-)

      I think a good compromise is the Nebraska system: State-wide winner gets 2 electoral vote and the winner in each congressional district gets the electoral vote for that district. But no meeting of electors: Just count the votes.

    •  Actually it's a Republic, not a Democracy. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Beelzebud, wishingwell

      (romney)/RYAN 2012 - My fellow Americans - as a boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But now I say, we must move forward; not backward. Upward; not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards Freedom!

      by Fordmandalay on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:22:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Battleground States Are More Highly Prioritized (0+ / 0-)

      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.

      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.

      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,

       “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “
      Wall Street Journal

      Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.

    •  Cuurent System Maximizes Opps & Incentive (0+ / 0-)

      The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, 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 in 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?

  •  Perhaps (3+ / 0-)

    Yes, the current system is nuts, and yes a national popular vote would be better.  But...

    This would take an amendment to the constitution ratified by 3/4 of the states.  Here's the glitch, at least half of the states (small/rural) would lose some power in the shift.  Why would Vermont vote to reduce their already negligible influence on the national election?

    Also, if we switched from the EC to popular vote, the candidates would still spend all their time in 9-10 states, it would only change which states those were.

    So...it ain't gonna happen, and even if it did it would have only negligible impact.

    Sure, I guess I support the idea, but this is so not gonna happen that I can't say I worry about it much.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:12:15 PM PST

    •  Some smaller population swing states might object (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Empty Vessel

      like Iowa and New Hampshire and maybe even Nevada too..who are getting a lot of attention too. ..not just higher population states like FL, PA, OH, VA

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:38:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If votes don't follow states, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MaikeH

        neither will campaigning.  We will need to switch the whole way of talking...rather than Nevada getting attention, it would be Las Vegas, rather than OH, it would be Cleveland and Indianapolis. etc. etc. etc.

        Still, it ain't gonna happen.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:47:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  49% of the way to going into effect (0+ / 0-)

      The National Popular Vote bill would change existing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

      The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      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.

      With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps.  Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

      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.

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

      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, and they are ignored.
      Rural state polls support for a national popular vote: VT–75%, ME–77%, WV–81%, MS–77%, SD–75%, AR–80%, MT–72%, KY–80%, NH–69%, IA–75%,SC–71%, NC–74%, TN–83%, WY–69%, OK–81%, AK–70%, ID–77%, WI–71%, MO–70%, and NE–74%.

      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.

      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 (including Vermont).

      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 recent 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 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%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

      More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

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

      NationalPopularVote   
      Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  •  Nope. Strongly disagree. (10+ / 0-)

    I don't want to American Idolize the vote. The electoral college is there for a reason.

    Have you googled Romney today?

    by fou on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:12:33 PM PST

    •  Not a very good reason though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b

      You could regionalize the EV by having electoral districts of approximately equal population. If you had about 20, that would preserve the regional sensitivity of the electoral college. You could also apportion senators on this basis too. This is pretty pipe dream stuff though. A simpler idea would be just to make me supreme leader for life; I'd be pretty good at it.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:34:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What reason? To give WY 3.5 votes per (0+ / 0-)

      person? Why not go to a national-level vote where votes from small states are worth more? But three votes in CA would still offset one vote from WY.

    •  Tell us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b

      why you think all votes in this country should not count equally.

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:42:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it's there for a reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quite Contrary

      The founders wanted to keep most of the power out of the hands of the mass of voters. So they insulated the presidency (as well as the Senate) from the principle of one person, one vote.

      We'll never fully undo that insulation until we have a national popular vote. One person, one vote, no matter what state you live in.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:48:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When your right to marry gets put up (0+ / 0-)

        to a popular vote, come back and tell me how you feel about nationalizing the popular vote with no possible check on the outcome. At least with Prop. 8 we could seek legal redress in the courts. If people vote for a fascist, there's no such check.

        And besides, it's folly to think every vote would count equally, and that large urban centers wouldn't get more attention than rural towns. A national popular vote would suffer from the same representational disparity as the electoral college with no check on the tyranny of the majority.

        Have you googled Romney today?

        by fou on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:35:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One Person, One Vote (0+ / 0-)

          Now 80% of states and voters are politically irrelevant.
          Now 9 battleground states determine the presidency.

          One person, one vote is the reality that we experience in virtually every other election in the country. The political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows is, that when and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

          The National Popular Vote  bill  ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

          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.

          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.

          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.

        •  We're only talking about national elections (0+ / 0-)

          not doing away with state government.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 09:05:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Would End the Mob Rule of 9 States Now (0+ / 0-)

      The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states.  12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections.   9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia).  Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 "battleground" states. At most, 9 states will determine the 2012 election.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders.  The electors now 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. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party's dedicated activists.

       The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

  •  The best evidence this makes sense... (7+ / 0-)

    "Wow, the electoral voting system is such an awesome way to choose a president, we're going to use it as a model for choosing our governor," said no state ever.

  •  say it, brother! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prof Haley

    “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” –Blaise Pascal

    by dskoe on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:14:11 PM PST

  •  Nope (6+ / 0-)

    It would last one election when a number of states cast their electoral votes for someone that didn't win their state.

    This would only bias elections in favor of those who have more money, because they can afford to play in the large media markets where the most people are.

    Worse, the popular vote majority could come from states outside the compact.

    Kos, I think if you think about it a bit, you'll see that this idea makes the system more gameable not less.

    If you want the popular vote, we need a constitutional amendment, not a state compact that will end up needing approval in Congress or will be up in the air until tested in the Courts. The chaos that would ensue would make Florida 2000 look like a contested election for dogcatcher.

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:15:35 PM PST

    •  The only way (0+ / 0-)

      that would make a difference is if there was a PV/EV split. Which is exceedingly rare.

      Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

      by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (0+ / 0-)

        But if you're competing for just votes and not electors, the entire strategy of the campaigns change. You're chasing votes in Houston and Atlanta if you're a democrat and eastern California and upstate New York if you're a republican.

        As a result, you might get someone winning 60% of the popular vote on the strength of urban areas that only add up to losses in many, many states. You could win the election and lose 40 states in the EC.

        It's not just a quick, linear change. The entire system will be changed in unpredictable ways.

        GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

        by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:32:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It won't matter where your votes come from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quite Contrary

          geographically, because every person's vote will be counted equally no matter where they live.

          "Today is who you are" - my wife

          by I Lurked For Years on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:44:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

            Right, but then there would be a PV/EV split and the loser could argue they were "harmed," go to court and try to get the thing voided.

            This needs to be done with a Constitutional amendment or not at all.

            GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

            by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:45:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The hell? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mkor7
              Right, but then there would be a PV/EV split and the loser could argue they were "harmed," go to court and try to get the thing voided.
              What in the world would they cite for that? The constitution says states can apportion electoral votes however they want. Saying that a PV apportion should be voided would be as legally valid as Gary Johnson claiming the election should be voided because the two party system sucks.

              Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

              by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:01:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Birch Bayh's Long War On The Electoral College (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, a2nite, wishingwell

    Read this http://www.buzzfeed.com/... earlier and seems that good ol' Strom Thrumond was also big naysayer for a national vote.

    Another reason red states will be resistant:

    I asked Bayh why “more conservative states” had not adopted the changes. “More conservative states," he replied, "by definition, are against change.”
    •  I liked Birch better than his son, I saw him (0+ / 0-)

      as more of at least a moderate or progresssive Democrat where his son seemed far more of a conservative Democrat.

      Off topic but I did not realize until I read Ted Kennedy;s book that Birch was also in that plane crash in 64 where both he and Ted were injured.  Birch was good friends with Teddy and the Kennedys.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:40:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can expect, no matter how strong or insane the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jds1978, blue aardvark, wishingwell

    conservative, Republican response to every single social move towards more Liberal government in the past century has been: this one will be the absolute fucking worst.

    Why?

    Because, as kos points out, if we circumvent the need to amend the US Constitution and institute "One (wo)Man, One Vote" as the basis for how we elect US Presidents via the #InterstateCompactforDemocracy; the fucking Republican, conservative Minority in this country will have seen their last moment of power - EVER.

    With more Democrats registered in almost every area of the nation, and collectively across the country millions more,  under #TrueAmericanDemocracy in our Presidential Elections the Republicans will quite quickly become a political Party on the #EndangeredList and soon thereafter, on the #ExtinctPoliticalPartyList.

    I for one cannot wait to see that day arrive.

    Support the Interstate Compact
    and help bury the GOP
    permanently


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:15:59 PM PST

  •  As a compromise that does not require amending (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anne Elk, Odysseus, mkor7, Prof Haley

    the Constitution, increase the size of Congress to the Constitutional maximum of one per 30,000 residents.

    Wyoming gets 568,158 / 30,000 = 18 members of Congress, + 2 for their Senators, = 20 ECV.

    California gets 37,691,912 / 30,000 = 1256 members of Congress, + 2 for their Senators, = 1258 ECV.

    Citizens per ECV in Wyoming = 568,158 / 20 = 28,407.
    Citizens per ECV in California = 37,691/912 / 1258 = 29,961.

    It's not perfectly equal but it's much closer.

    Other obvious benefits:
    1) Every Kossack probably would be on a first-name basis with their member of Congress. Hell, half of us would probably BE our member of Congress.
    2) Third parties would have a much easier time getting a seat in Congress.
    3) Gerrymander 1258 districts. Go ahead. I double-dog dare you.

    Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

    by blue aardvark on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:16:11 PM PST

    •  Better. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Prof Haley

      Yes, this is a better idea. At this rate, it will be close to 1 million people per representative in our lifetimes.

      I think we should start with the filibuster and then see how things go.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:18:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But with winner take all, still have swing states (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, ZackB, Prof Haley

      Increasing the number of reps will help mitigate (but not eliminate) the disproportionate effect of Senators on the Electoral College total. But if EVs are still allocated by winner-take-all, you will still have Republican votes in California and Democratic votes in Texas rendered meaningless.

      •  That does not require Constitutional amendment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley

        Each state can allocate its electors as they see fit. Both Maine and Nebraska have already moved away from WTA.

        Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

        by blue aardvark on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not exactly. (0+ / 0-)
          No State shall, without the Consent of Congress...enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State....
          It's not clear this trumps the EV rules or the other way around. In fact, you're making an argument that they get to determine any way they see fit and so cannot be bound by the compact in the first place.

          To be resolved by our friends on the Supreme Court? NFW. Maybe if we have 7 or 8 good justices.

          GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

          by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:39:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah. That's a good idea, Blue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:35:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One reason we have not expanded (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Prof Haley

      to include more representatives is that we would require new chambers to be built.  There's literally not enough room.

      I got a t-shirt (-6.88, -6.15)

      by guyermo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:44:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley

        But that's a minor problem compared to the problems of limiting the House to 435.

        Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

        by blue aardvark on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:46:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the biggest problem (0+ / 0-)

          would be getting Congress to willingly approve re-locating to another premises during construction, and then finding one that suits their needs.

          Theoretically they have enough room to expand the chambers to the needed size without having to go beyond the current property boundaries.

          I got a t-shirt (-6.88, -6.15)

          by guyermo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:55:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What you are advocating (6+ / 0-)

    will move the process towards a more Parliamentary system.

    It should happen, and may well do so, but not until the individual states recognise that they are not unique, not special, just equal parts of America.

    3 1/2 million Oklahomans are NOT more important that 60 million Californians, yet in the Senate they are indeed counting for more.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:16:13 PM PST

    •  Sign me up! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      Frankly, I'd love it if we could eliminate the Presidency altogether. The office has way too much official and unofficial power as it is.

      •  One idea I have to break up presidential power (0+ / 0-)

        Is to have more elected members of the executive branch.  The states have elections for offices such as attorney general or treasurer.  Why not elect multiple offices on the federal level?

        I think the progressive movement would benefit if you could have an election for Treasury Secretary which would focus a national race on just economic issues.  (I'd run elections for treasury and AG in between the presidential elections.)

    •  Fan of a paliamentary form here.... (0+ / 0-)

      Talking to a couple of Canadians over at a restaurant bar on Clearwater Beach, trying to put the point across that us florida voters, as well as my relatives up in Ohio, literally hold not just this nation, but this entire planet hostage with our votes.

      And I have to remind my buddies out in Kansas and Oklahoma (where I spent most of my life), as I usually do, that their votes don't count.  Oh well.....

  •  Devil's Advocacy: What if Sandy hit today? (8+ / 0-)

    What if Hurricane Sandy hit New York/New Jersey TODAY. Would you still be in favor of a national popular vote? Just sayin....

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:16:30 PM PST

    •  Ideas a good independently of whether (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hazzcon

      it serves your immediate interests. So, yeah, even so I am still in favor.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:36:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It seems to me, when I look at the map, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    there are more red states than blue. Wouldn't this have the effect of benefitting the GOP? I mean, instead of a handful of states electing the President, wouldn't the Confederacy and the Western States be deciding?

    Perhaps I have it wrong.

  •  Then what say you about the senate? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethropalerobber, blue aardvark

    Where somebody in Cali has 1/74th the vote of a Wyoming resident?

    They have the billionaires, We have the Big Dog!

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:16:56 PM PST

    •  Agree, but we're stuck with the Senate (0+ / 0-)

      The language of the Constitution actually forbids amendments which deprive states of equal suffrage within the Senate. Eliminating the Electoral College by amendment will be much easier.

      •  Problem with the senate is that it's too partisan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs, Prof Haley

        it's not supposed to be like the House.   It's supposed to be an elder statesman debate club for the most part and just there to make sure the House and President don't go too far - not to be the most powerful body.  

        They have the billionaires, We have the Big Dog!

        by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:46:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jds1978, Steve Magruder

    Would it not be structurally AND functionally easier to m erely insert the following clause as an amendment:

    "In the event of an Electoral College tie, the winner of the POPULAR VOTE shall be declared the winner of the election."
    22 simple words.

    Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

    by GayIthacan on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:17:25 PM PST

  •  Better yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    National ranked choice voting, with easier ballot access for third parties.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:18:08 PM PST

  •  Utah is about as irrelevant as it gets...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    .......however, it's not going to stop me from keeping my Obama/Biden yard sign (the 2008 edition) up for at least a week after the election! :)

    If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention...

    by strohdecaire on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:18:37 PM PST

  •  Not sure if NPV will work in practice (0+ / 0-)

    After all, 4 years is a long time, and what if after midterm elections a new state legislature and governor decides to repeal their participation in the Compact?

    Even if it were enacted, I'd be wary as hell about it lasting long enough to revamp my campaign around getting the national vote, instead of the electoral vote.

    Sadly, I don't think there's any real alternative but a constitutional amendment (which I 100% support). And as mentioned above, a national popular vote with continued state and local control over elections might be very problematic.

    •  you could simply revert to status quo then (0+ / 0-)

      The states already in the compact essentially do this now, right?

      I suppose you could worry if states would change at the last minute somehow if it benefits their side. Not sure how that would work.

    •  States Can't Withdraw July 20-Jan 20 (0+ / 0-)

      The National Popular Vote bill says: "Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term."

      This six-month “blackout” period includes six important events relating to presidential elections, namely the
      ● national nominating conventions,
      ● fall general election campaign period,
      ● Election Day on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,
      ● meeting of the Electoral College on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December,
      ● counting of the electoral votes by Congress on January 6, and
      ● scheduled inauguration of the President and Vice President for the new term on January 20.

      Any attempt by a state to pull out of the compact in violation of its terms would violate the Impairments Clause of the U.S. Constitution and would be void.  Such an attempt would also violate existing federal law.  Compliance would be enforced by Federal court action

      The National Popular Vote compact is, first of all, a state law. It is a state law that would govern the manner of choosing presidential electors. A Secretary of State may not ignore or override the National Popular Vote law any more than he or she may ignore or override the winner-take-all method that is currently the law in 48 states.

      There has never been a court decision allowing a state to withdraw from an interstate compact without following the procedure for withdrawal specified by the compact. Indeed, courts have consistently rebuffed the occasional (sometimes creative) attempts by states to evade their obligations under interstate compacts.

      In 1976, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stated in Hellmuth and Associates v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

      “When enacted, a compact constitutes not only law, but a contract which may not be amended, modified, or otherwise altered without the consent of all parties.”

      In 1999, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania stated in Aveline v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole:
      “A compact takes precedence over the subsequent statutes of signatory states and, as such, a state may not unilaterally nullify, revoke, or amend one of its compacts if the compact does not so provide.”

      In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court very succinctly addressed the issue in Petty v. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Commission:
      “A compact is, after all, a contract.”

      The important point is that an interstate compact is not a mere “handshake” agreement. If a state wants to rely on the goodwill and graciousness of other states to follow certain policies, it can simply enact its own state law and hope that other states decide to act in an identical manner. If a state wants a legally binding and enforceable mechanism by which it agrees to undertake certain specified actions only if other states agree to take other specified actions, it enters into an interstate compact.

      Interstate compacts are supported by over two centuries of settled law guaranteeing enforceability. Interstate compacts exist because the states are sovereign. If there were no Compacts Clause in the U.S. Constitution, a state would have no way to enter into a legally binding contract with another state. The Compacts Clause, supported by the Impairments Clause, provides a way for a state to enter into a contract with other states and be assured of the enforceability of the obligations undertaken by its sister states. The enforceability of interstate compacts under the Impairments Clause is precisely the reason why sovereign states enter into interstate compacts. Without the Compacts Clause and the Impairments Clause, any contractual agreement among the states would be, in fact, no more than a handshake.

  •  Why should a national election (0+ / 0-)

    hinge largely on issues that are of greatest concern to those who live and work in the Rust Belt?

    Given the importance of the auto industry in many of the states in play, it's hardly a shocker that the issue of climate change was deemed unworthy of a single mention by either party over the course of six hours of debates.

    That's not just silly... it also has potentially tragic consequences for the wider world that lives outside the borders of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      Why should it be decided by suburban voters in the greater New York, LA, and Houston areas? If you look at the top 10 media markets, you'll find places with no less parochial interests.

      I don't like the electoral college, but the way to replace it has to be thought through considering the last 12 years and not on residual Gore butthurt. I have more faith in blue states to fend for themselves for a little while and more faith in the whole nation to correct its course than I did in 2003.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Campaign Would Have to Be Run Everywhere (0+ / 0-)

        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 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.

        With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically.  There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state.  When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win.  A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

        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.

        In the 2012 campaign,  “Much of the heaviest spending has not been in big cities with large and expensive media markets, but in small and medium-size metropolitan areas in states with little individual weight in the Electoral College: Cedar Rapids and Des Moines in Iowa (6 votes); Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado (9 votes); Norfolk and Richmond in Virginia (13 votes). Since the beginning of April, four-fifths of the ads that favored or opposed a presidential candidate have been in television markets of modest size.”
        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        Candidates would need 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 waitress mom voters in Ohio.

  •  why not... (0+ / 0-)

    award EC votes by congressional district? that gets rid of the winner take all situation which is really the heart of the problem.

  •  Love the idea, but... (0+ / 0-)

    if it's all blue and purple states that switch then we're fucked, because then those states will go red 25-45% and all the red states will still be 100% red...

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:18:49 PM PST

    •  That's not how it works (0+ / 0-)

      It doesn't kick in until 270 EV worth of states agree to award their votes to the popular vote winner. And once that happens, it doesn't matter if all 269 EV worth of the other states don't follow suit. 270 wins.

      Proud supporter of actually prosecuting rape, even if it requires extradition!

      by zegota on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ahh, I see, I had misunderstood the idea (0+ / 0-)

        I always thought it meant go proportional in the states that agree, not all 100% for popular winner.  That makes it far more valuable and I retract my objection!

        Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

        by sleipner on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:34:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As long as it's more than 270 in the compact (0+ / 0-)

      It doesn't matter. They agree to go 100% for whichever candidate wins the popular vote giving them 270+ electoral votes, then that candidate will win no matter what the other states do.

  •  Are you suggesting we trade nine states (7+ / 0-)

    deciding an elections for 5 cities deciding it?  There are always inherent problems with any election system.  The electoral college certainly has its flaws, but I don't know if I want to go to a popular vote only.  There has to be a way to prevent making the election about only a few states or cities.

    •  Amen… (0+ / 0-)

      I voted for the UPPITY ONE

      by qua on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:22:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Big City Realities (0+ / 0-)

      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%.

      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 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.

      Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. 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. 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 waitress mom voters in Ohio.

      And, FYI, 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 with a mere 26% of the nation's votes!

  •  I think the current system is a better (6+ / 0-)

    firewall against Republican totalitarianism. Republicans can lose most of the country but win the popular vote by winning huge margins in the south. So far the system has protected us from the worst disasters, I'm not convinced the popular vote would do that. The republicans can do a LOT WORSE than G W Bush and Mitt Romney, and my thinking is that the popular vote would be an easier path to their winning.

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:19:31 PM PST

  •  There should also be nationwide standards... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb

    for early voting, ID, and everything else that the Republicans have been using to try and create mischief.

  •  If the "compact" gets to 270, what's to stop one (3+ / 0-)

    state from backing out and reverting us to the old system, possibly at the last minute?

    •  The courts? (0+ / 0-)

      And we all know they're great at this.

      All I can say about this national popular vote: constitutional court clusterfuck ^ 1000000000000

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:22:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Impairments Clause Prevents Premature Withdrawal (0+ / 0-)

      The National Popular Vote bill says: "Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term."

      This six-month “blackout” period includes six important events relating to presidential elections, namely the
      ● national nominating conventions,
      ● fall general election campaign period,
      ● Election Day on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,
      ● meeting of the Electoral College on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December,
      ● counting of the electoral votes by Congress on January 6, and
      ● scheduled inauguration of the President and Vice President for the new term on January 20.

      Any attempt by a state to pull out of the compact in violation of its terms would violate the Impairments Clause of the U.S. Constitution and would be void.  Such an attempt would also violate existing federal law.  Compliance would be enforced by Federal court action

      The National Popular Vote compact is, first of all, a state law. It is a state law that would govern the manner of choosing presidential electors. A Secretary of State may not ignore or override the National Popular Vote law any more than he or she may ignore or override the winner-take-all method that is currently the law in 48 states.

      There has never been a court decision allowing a state to withdraw from an interstate compact without following the procedure for withdrawal specified by the compact. Indeed, courts have consistently rebuffed the occasional (sometimes creative) attempts by states to evade their obligations under interstate compacts.

      In 1976, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stated in Hellmuth and Associates v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

      “When enacted, a compact constitutes not only law, but a contract which may not be amended, modified, or otherwise altered without the consent of all parties.”

      In 1999, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania stated in Aveline v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole:
      “A compact takes precedence over the subsequent statutes of signatory states and, as such, a state may not unilaterally nullify, revoke, or amend one of its compacts if the compact does not so provide.”

      In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court very succinctly addressed the issue in Petty v. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Commission:
      “A compact is, after all, a contract.”

      The important point is that an interstate compact is not a mere “handshake” agreement. If a state wants to rely on the goodwill and graciousness of other states to follow certain policies, it can simply enact its own state law and hope that other states decide to act in an identical manner. If a state wants a legally binding and enforceable mechanism by which it agrees to undertake certain specified actions only if other states agree to take other specified actions, it enters into an interstate compact.

      Interstate compacts are supported by over two centuries of settled law guaranteeing enforceability. Interstate compacts exist because the states are sovereign. If there were no Compacts Clause in the U.S. Constitution, a state would have no way to enter into a legally binding contract with another state. The Compacts Clause, supported by the Impairments Clause, provides a way for a state to enter into a contract with other states and be assured of the enforceability of the obligations undertaken by its sister states. The enforceability of interstate compacts under the Impairments Clause is precisely the reason why sovereign states enter into interstate compacts. Without the Compacts Clause and the Impairments Clause, any contractual agreement among the states would be, in fact, no more than a handshake.

  •  I Agree (0+ / 0-)

    If every vote counts than let every vote count.  Popular vote will make sure that every vote really counts.  I feel good about voting, but would feel even better if I thought that my one vote could make the difference on who wins the presidency.  Well in Florida or Ohio that one vote does sometimes decide who wins.  But, shouldn't someone in Mississippi or ND be given that same opportunity.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:20:51 PM PST

  •  This makes big money more powerful. (5+ / 0-)

    It would be harder to run a 50 state campaign on limited resources.

    Let's get rid of Citizens United first.

  •  Sorry to be the pedant here (0+ / 0-)

    But we're not a democracy, we're a republic (something the party calling itself the Republican party doesn't seem to understand or care about). I.e. a country whose political system is one in which the people rule themselves, but through elected representatives, not directly (at least at the national level).

    However, that being said, I agree that the electoral college is an anachronism, like a senate that used to be elected by state legislatures or only landed white men being allowed to vote. The way that we govern ourselves might not be democratic, but the way in which we elect the people who govern us should be.

    One person, one vote. We don't have that now.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:21:52 PM PST

    •  Technically (0+ / 0-)

      The President is only part of the government that legislates and is still a representative. That makes the electoral college a second order representative democracy.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:23:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I respectively disagree. (8+ / 0-)

    A national popular vote would just give Karl Rove and the Koch Bros, SuperPacs and dark money the advantage and force to Democrats to focus on too many states at once. The Big Money will win. Just my IMHO.

    "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Gandhi
    "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little" – FDR

    by smokey545 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:22:35 PM PST

    •  I feel like if that were true, they'd already (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smokey545

      have done it. They could've put PA and MI in play, or perhaps MN, NM, or MD, and forced Obama to bleed money in other states. So money isn't all-powerful. It's a much bigger issue nowadays at the local levels than at the presidential level.

      Plus, I think it's the right thing to do even if it disadvantages the democrats. One person should = one vote for president.

      •  I support one person = one vote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        antboy

        Just worry about big money overwhelming us in the future.

        "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Gandhi
        "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little" – FDR

        by smokey545 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 04:26:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The importance of each persons vote ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justmy2, crankypatriot, Subversive

    is magnified in the electoral college.  In a national vote, each persons vote is worth about 1/100,000,000 of the total (assuming 100million voting).  In a state, your value goes up to about 1/1,000,000 (depending on the state).  If you look at the likelihood of YOUR VOTE determining the outcome of the ENTIRE ELECTION, the electoral college is the way to go.  You want people to believe that their vote counts for something and to get them out to vote, KEEP THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!   You want to eliminate voter enthusiasm especially among minorities?  Go to the popular vote.   About a dozen years ago, Discover Magazine had a big article on this.  Our founding fathers got it right.    Sure, there is no spending in, say, Texas THIS year.  But wait about 12 years, and Texas will be up for grabs and there will be more attention paid.  Eventually, nearly every state will be a 'swing' state depending on the people running for office and the changing demographics.  Fortunately, it will take a constitutional amendment to go to the popular vote, and that won't happen any time soon.

    The struggle of today, is not altogether for today--it is for a vast future also. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:22:54 PM PST

  •  Kos, why did you post this diary without (0+ / 0-)

    any indication of a path or road map?

    Or citations and links to respected authorities on the subject who might shine light on it for us?

    •  Maybe he wants to feel out his forum members (0+ / 0-)

      during a very passionate moment.

      I am really fired up about this and I think that is what Kos is banking on.

      get us to talk about the possibilites while they are still fresh in our mind.

      He has lots of comments, and the majority are certainly positive.

      But, this is just my opinion. Your results may vary.

      I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

      by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:46:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Something to do til the polls close :) entee (0+ / 0-)

      into the blue again, after the money's gone

      by Prof Haley on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 04:13:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As is the case in other democracies. (0+ / 0-)

    Unless the popular vote decides the election,  the electoral process in indirect: you vote for electoral colleges, NOT for the president -- this may have made sense in the XVIII century. It certainly doesn`t in the XXIst century.

  •  I dont want to hear about national popular vote (5+ / 0-)

    Until we fix our electoral system and ensure ballot access for every citizen. Nationlize and standardize some voting rules.

    We need to prevent last minute voter suppression activities, that every local election board is run by non partisan officials. Open early voting every state, and last minute voter purges are made illegal.

    Also, reduce the power of sec of state hacks like Husted. No state can pass election laws affecting millions without a ballot measure

  •  Fix election financing first. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze, Prof Haley

    Because national elections are going to require a lot of TV time, and national advertising requires much larger advertising budgets.  I don't think the GOP will have problems getting the money it needs.  For the Dems it will be more of an uphill battle.

    Part of the story of this election is that Obama appears to have been able to neutralize Romney in key swing states precisely because he was able to saturate the airwaves in narrowly defined state markets.

    However, if this campaign was waged over national TV, it would have been a doozy.

  •  No taxes for residents of CA, NY, FL & TX! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb, crankypatriot, Subversive

    That's my platform.

  •  I am committed to working on these meta (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eryk

    big picture type issues over the coming years too.  It's been great to see the idea gaining more traction, people thinking about it, gaming out possibilities.

    "They have tried to sell us this trickle-down, tax-cut fairy dust before. And guess what? It does not work. It didn't work then, it won't work now." --Barack Obama

    by lizah on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:24:59 PM PST

  •  Cuba (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftyAce

    If there were a national popular vote, the whole issue with Cuba would have been cleared up 30 years ago.  Instead a small number of Cuban exiles hold the electoral process hostage while the vast majority of the Cuban and American people wish for some sort of dialogue.

  •  along with a national popular vote (0+ / 0-)

    there must be a national voting act that standardizes ballot access, the right to vote and have your vote be fairly counted, etc., so that we can trust the accuracy of the vote's representation of the popular will.

    even if we don't get a national vote, we need a voting act badly. this voting suppression shit is ridiculous.

  •  Absolutely. Should a vote in Wyoming or Vermont (0+ / 0-)

    count three times more than a vote in California?
    Can get rid of the Senate, too, far as I'm concerned.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:25:33 PM PST

  •  Another obvious problem (0+ / 0-)

    New York, California, and Texas would become the new swing states.

    •  Well, more people do live there (0+ / 0-)

      So perhaps they should count as more votes....

      •  Point being that all the privileges of being (0+ / 0-)

        a swing state (political favors, money, campaign visits, ad spending, etc.) would still exist.  Small population states would be ignored.

        •  Maybe, maybe not (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure the focus would be state-by-state in the long term. I think that this kind of focus at the presidential level could fade, and regional-level campaigns could become more the norm as the state-wide results become unimportant.

          Cities may get more attention, but completely ignoring smaller cities and less populated regions may be a losing strategy, particularly given the costs of media buys and travel/staging in the different locales, and the fact that there is still less population overall inside big cities for now in this country.

          That said, why should the state-level get those media buys instead of the urban areas? Neither is equal, but the latter would at least be fair in terms of elections: one-person = one-vote.

    •  Big State Realities (0+ / 0-)

      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.  

      In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
      * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
      * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
      * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
      * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
      * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
      * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
      * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

      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).

  •  Pork will just flow to the large cities instead (5+ / 0-)

    The main problem with a national popular vote is that all the attention will shift from the swing states to the large cities.  Sure, Pennsylvania won't get pork, but Phillidelphia and Pittsburgh still will.  Federal funding will be reserved for urban projects only.  Want a national wildlife refuge in the country?  Sorry, doesn't effect enough voters to matter, move along.

    Campaigning and pork spending will focus on the major population centers.  Small states and small towns will be completely ignored.  Why fight for 5000 votes at A when there are 5 million votes at B?

    It won't be 9 states that matter, but 9 large cities.  How is that any different?

    Plus, I like not living in a battleground state.  I voted this morning in 5 minutes and wasn't harrassed.  Switch to the national vote, and I'll have teabaggers swarming my polling place, trying to disenfranchise anyone and everyone.  How are the DNC lawyers going to handle that?  Easier to police 9 states than every city in America.

    2000 screwed everyone up.  Gore was elected because he was a bad candidate and not enough Dems voted. Not because of the electoral college.

    •  If those cities have more population, then perhaps (0+ / 0-)

      they should have more influence.

      But your analogy is flawed in my opinion. Reaching a city is both easier and more difficult than reaching several lower populated regions. The media buys in cities are much more expensive and it's difficult to reach an entire city relative to several lower population areas, and modern media makes it easier to spread messages over greater geographic areas.

      The candidates aren't stuck at the train stops anymore.

  •  Does it help Democrats or hurt them? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    squirecam

    I could care less about whether our voting system is "fair" according to one metric, until it's more fair according to the metrics that matter more.

    Not with the way racists target minorities and the young. Until that gets dealt with, and a whole host of other issues in that regard, I don't care about the national popular vote unless it helps Democrats - ie it helps to deal with those problems.

    For example, I would spend more time getting 16 year olds the right to vote than I would worrying about a national popular vote, unless the national popular vote helped Democrats.

  •  if north dakota were a swing state (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prof Haley

    rather than ohio maybe we would be talking about using nat gas as a bridge (a real one where we are creating the infrastructure to use it as a surface fuel in fleet vehicles), but it's a threat to coal, and therefore to ohio. it's just sad.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. -- Mark Twain

    by TeWooding on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:26:48 PM PST

  •  Just like the filibuster...I think the concept (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado

    is correct...maybe there are some slight reforms necessary, but if we did this, you would still have massive portions of the country absolutely ignored.   Candidates would live in NY, CA, IL, TX, and FL, maybe PA and DC Metro Area...

    But why go to an area with few votes...

    We need to have a broader election...but I am not sure a national popular vote is the answer

    “Mitt Romney is the only person in America who looked at the way this Congress is behaving and said, ‘I want the brains behind THAT operation.’ ” Former Democratic Congressman - Tom Perriello "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - MHP

    by justmy2 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:26:51 PM PST

  •  HA! (0+ / 0-)

    "The best thing that could happen for this effort would be for Mitt Romney to win the popular vote and lose Electoral College, but that won't happen."  - Kos

    I wrote a diary the other day saying exactly this and I was called a troll and lots worse!  Glad to see our fearless leader is on the side of reason instead of emotion on this issue.  

    OK, so we all want Obama to crush Romney in both, that's a given.  But there's a lot of logic to wanting a national popular vote and having Romney win the irrelevant Pop vote is one way to get the Repugs with us on this one issue.

    PS.  To my detractors a few days ago...  SUCK IT, BITCHES.

  •  Well, since we are talking about reform, (0+ / 0-)

    how about coupling elimination of the electoral college with a single 8-year term for President? Four-year terms mean that the first term is substantially consumed with efforts to get a second term. It's tremendously distorting to the President's agenda and Presidents ought to be able to concentrate on their job without having to engage in massive fund-raising after they are elected. Most Presidents are reelected anyway; so the point of a reelection is substantially moot. With a single 8-year term, a President could - well - preside, just what the Framers envisaged, a chief executive freed from intense concern with Party politics, one who could think unhindered about the future of the country without fear of losing reelection. To those who think 8 years is too long for a single term, remember that the last year or so of a second term is regarded as a lame-duck year, and we still have the Congress to play its role in the political struggle, a more prominent role probably. France has a 7-year Presidency and, last time I looked, it seemed to work pretty well.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:26:58 PM PST

  •  Eh, maybe. (0+ / 0-)

    On the other hand, maybe the time for it is in about 20 years, after we white folks are actually a minority.  Doing it now might simply hand power back to the repubs for another decade or more, given the way half the country atm simply seems to vote repub no matter what.

  •  Only by constitutional amendment. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Berkeley Fred, crackerdog

    I don't want to end up with every Red state going winner take all and every blue state going proportional.  All or none.  For me, it is a constitutional amendment or nothing.  I would support it.

    Anyone who ever knew fear and want knows Romney is talking about him..

    by docterry on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:13 PM PST

    •  Read the proposal: (0+ / 0-)

      the states that sign on give their EC votes to whoever wins the national popular vote.  So if Mitt won the national popular vote, CA would give him their EC votes. Likewise if Obama won the NPV, Texas (if they were signed up) would give him their EC votes even if he lost the state badly.

  •  What if a recount is required? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, Brown Thrasher

    An election like 2000 would likely require a recount, and that would mean a recount of all 50 states.  After all, you can't just recount the "close" states, because every vote needs to be counted.

    Can you imagine the hell that would be?

    ------RM

    •  this is the scary one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher

      Imagine Bush v. Gore, with every Boss Hogg in the country running ad-hoc chad inspections.

    •  that is where voting process reform comes in. (0+ / 0-)

      Have it run by an unbiased non-partisan commission.

      Make it computerized to the best possible extent where the system cannot be rigged.

      I'm not a programmer or organizer, but I am extremely confident that some type of system could be devised.

      and a recount would not involve some local red-infused Boss Hogg running an ad-hoc chad inspection.

      this is doable, but right now, the repugs would block it top down.

      I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

      by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:57:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Recount - once in 640 Years (0+ / 0-)

      The current system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely, not less likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida would not have been an issue.

      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.
      “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

      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.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

  •  Starting to get nervous about PA and OH voting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    irregularities

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:27 PM PST

  •  First things first: end the filibuster, fix Senate (0+ / 0-)

    Whatever knock one can make agaisnt the EC can be made more effectively and with more examples against the Senate rules.

    "Binder? I just met her!"

    by Inland on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:30 PM PST

  •  Its madness to go popular vote unless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karma13612

    Unless all 50 states do it. Imagine if California adopts that rule and Texas does not? I think it is pure craziness that could cost the Dems a close election.  

    Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will vote for the Republican every time - Harry S Truman

    by mr market on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:27:54 PM PST

    •  agreed. (0+ / 0-)

      another example of where it has to be at a national level.

      consistency across the country means unity and equality.

      I am really tired of so many things being controlled at the state level that effect people involving basic rights.

      health care coverage,
      gay rights,
      abortion rights
      guns laws,
      ELECTION LAWS
      you name it....

      I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

      by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:01:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes please! (0+ / 0-)

    As much as I like PA being important, I say all Americans should be counted equally. Screw swing states.

    16, Progressive, Indian-American, Phillies Phan. Obama/Om/Chase Utley

    by vidanto on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:28:05 PM PST

  •  no. what's needed is a compromise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Berkeley Fred

    A straight-up popular vote really does put small states at an extreme disadvantage even more so than their size.  

    What I would propose is this:

    1. Keep the electoral college, but have an amendment that says that all EVs are allocated in some manner proportional to the vote in each state.  That way, small states don't get completely ignored in the process but the election becomes about the votes rather than about the states so you would greatly lessen the swing-state problem.  You could choose to fight for that one or two extra EVs in ANY close state--be it Nebraska or New York.  Because the EVs per state would be roughly the same scale they are now, small states would still be represented more strongly than if it were solely based on population (e.g. CA has 55 EVs and 37 million people.  Wyoming has 3 EVs and over 500,000 people.)   So while its population is 1/74th that of california, its EVs are 1/18 that of california--so they get a significant (but not obscene) boost.

    2. Standardized ballot template (sorta like the common application for college!).  Standarized voting process.  I'm not even averse to IDs--as long as they're FREE, easily ACCESSIBLE and made available years, not days, in advance--to take the political aspect out of it.

  •  Far better to amend Constitution (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Berkeley Fred, karma13612, Bon Temps

    That way the system would not be at the mercy of a state legislature that might withdraw from the electoral college compact.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:10 PM PST

  •  And... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karma13612

    While we're at it, we need:

    • some form of instant runoff or condorcet voting -- Because you should NEVER have to choose between voting your conscience and voting strategically. The theory exists to enable both, and it should be done that way.

    • federally mandated, across the board voting laws, registration laws, poll opening and closing times, and identical, verifiable voting systems that are allocated in proportion to population density - there should be NO EXCUSE for variations in voting mechanics from location to location.

    • Three-day long, federally mandated, voting holiday that covers the first Saturday, Sunday and Monday in November.

    Anything I missed?

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:36 PM PST

  •  Some clarifications: (0+ / 0-)

    Diarist is wrong in that the electoral college can not change without a Constitutional Ammendment that does away with it.  The agreement being mentioned, at most, changes the apportionment of the electoral votes for those states, not how many electoral votes that state casts.  Of course the rightwing nuts want states like CA to go to proportional.  Then they don't have the full force of 55 to deal with in the Presidential elections.
    Note: One reason for the electoral college was to satisfy smaller states by letting them have at least 3 votes each.  A red state like WY with 240,000 voters gets one electoral vote per 80,000 while blue CA gets about one electoral per 330,000.  

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:29:43 PM PST

  •  I think you need to focus on making your site (0+ / 0-)

    more of a democracy before going after bigger game.

    ; )

    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

    by Farkletoo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:30:45 PM PST

  •  The solution is obvious.... (0+ / 0-)

    What needs to happen is this...

      Keep the current electoral college process, with one edit.  Subtract 2 EC votes from each state.  The problem with the process is that citizens of small states are vastly over represented and those in large states are under represented. This is due to a very fundimental mathmatical blunder in the design.  Each state, and DC, is given 1 vote per rep and senator.  Mistake.  Since each state get 2 Senators regardless of state population, the Electoral college instantly overrepresents small states.

    Example:

    North Dakota Pop= .64 mil (3 EC)
    Wisconsin Pop= 5.4 mil (10 EC)
    Florida Pop= 16 mil (29 EC)

    If life was fair, Wisconsin would have roughly 8.4X the EC votes as ND (5.4/.64=8.4).  But, they dont't.  Wisconsin has about 3.3X the EC votes as ND.

    If life was fair, Florida would have roughly 25X the EC votes as ND, but they dont.  They have 9.6X the votes as ND.

    So, if the EC was made up of 1 vote per Representative, which is based on population, the math would start to work out and give each state the weight it deserves while maintaing the need for candidates to visit each state and not ignore segments of the union.

    ND should have 1
    Wisconsin should have 8
    Florida should have 27

    Work the numbers and you will see that this is much closer to "fair" than the current system.

    •  That's not the problem that needs fixing. (0+ / 0-)

      The issue is that solidly red/blue states don't even see any campaigning, because there's no reason for the candidates to spend their time there. As a result, the "swing states" have undue say in the process.

      Now, you could argue that with a NPV, population centers would have undue say. That's true, but that's where people live, and how it should be.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:13:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is absolutely the problem that needs fixing... (0+ / 0-)

        when 1 vote In North Dakota carries so much more EC weight than 1 vote in Florida.

        Again...Florida is 25X more populous than ND yet only has 9.6X the EC weight.  IE it takes 2.6 votes in florida to equal 1 vote in ND.

        How is that not an issue that needs fixing?  The small states are massivly over represented in the EC and there is absolutly no reason for it.

        •  Sure... (0+ / 0-)

          But that's also true in the Senate. If I was king, I'd completely re-draw all the state boundries to match geographical and population realities. California should be about 3-5 individual states...

          Anyway, the NPV proposal would fix the issue you raise. With the NPV, states would allocate all their EVs to the winner of the popular vote. It wouldn't matter where those votes came from - a vote from any state would be 1 vote counted toward the total. It also wouldn't matter that some states have more EVs than others... all that would matter is that the winner of the national popular vote gets the majority of the EVs.

          Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

          by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:10:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Divided America (0+ / 0-)

    One big reason Americans feel so divided is the failure to implement a fair voting system. In Sweden or Finland, countries with as good or better technical infrastructures, voting involves a pencil and a paper, and every vote has been counted, recounted and certified by midnight, or about 4 hours after the polls close -- even in close races. Disconnect the national office vote from the state and local vote and have two elections.

  •  I love the Electoral College (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jabarten

    it is so 18th Century.

  •  Do it right! (0+ / 0-)

    Implementing it via state compacts seems like a bad idea.  First, I would expect that the Federal courts would strike it down since it's encroaching on Constitutional fundamentals; also state compacts require congressional approval (which could theoretically be withdrawn at some later date).  Second, unless it's coupled with voting reform you would open the door to greater voter suppression since any state could impact the outcome through successful voter suppression.  

    Besides, we've got lots of problems with our electoral system; it's probably time to fix them with an elections amendment:

    1) Provide for direct popular vote.
    2) Provide for instant runoff elections.
    3) Greatly strengthen the guarantees for voting at all levels so that rather than relying on an act of Congress, voters could rely on constitutional guarantees.
    4) Allow non-incarcerated convicts the right to vote.
    5) Lay the basis for fixing the problems associated with unlimited money in elections at all levels.


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

    by KingBolete on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:31:35 PM PST

    •  no federal power in awarding EC votes (0+ / 0-)

      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.

  •  The system of checks and balances has many facets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farkletoo

    The nature of the Senate isn't designed 1 man 1 vote. It allows 600,000 population Wyoming to share power with 36 million California with 2 senators each.  Should we do away with the Senate too based on your logic?

    The constitutional convention of 1787 and subsequent meetings decided that small states needed equal state representation to receive federal funds and equal access to commerce and growth and not be shut out by the large and more populous states.

    The checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches; the checks and balances between the Senate and The House Of Reps., and the check and balance of the electoral college all work to maintain the rights of all citizens and entities so that power would not be concentrated in one area of government.

    The States all adopted similar constitutional checks and balances that give towns and rural areas a say in government, a stake in funding and a check in tyranny.

    There are many instances where this has allowed protection to the minority.

    After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

    by Brahman Colorado on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:31:47 PM PST

  •  If we are going to have a national vote we need (5+ / 0-)

    to also have national standards which define things such as:

    - who is eligible to vote
    - what ID is required
    - registration procedure
    - uniform polling hours
    - uniform early voting hours / methods
    - voter verifiable paper receipts/ballots
    - standardized recount methods/procedures/triggers
    - ballot design
    - what order candidates are listed (random/alphabetical/etc.)
    - standardized minimum ratio of voting machines and poll workers to local population
    - minimum parking space requirements, etc.

    Every year I'm irritated as hell that the republicans are always listed first on the ballot, regardless if they are incumbents or not (in GA).  I'm pretty sure there's a study or two out there that shows that whoever is in the first position gets more votes than they otherwise would get if their name is listed in any other position.

    •  1969 House and ABA Supported National Popular Vote (0+ / 0-)

      There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President. That was certainly the mainstream view when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in 1969 for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. That amendment retained state control over elections.

      The 1969 amendment was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale.

      The American Bar Association also endorsed the proposed 1969 amendment.

      The proposed 1969 constitutional amendment provided that the popular-vote count from each state would be added up to obtain the nationwide total for each candidate. The National Popular Vote compact does the same.

      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 was 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.

      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 1969 constitutional amendment, endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale, and The American Bar Association and, more importantly, the current system also accepts the differences among states.

  •  Now that Democrats have a structual advantage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado

    we want to disarm?

    That's typical.

    Obama started out with many more safe electoral votes than Romney. The same thing will happen in 2016.

    Why would you want to give up that advantage?

  •  Yup, I agree 200%. well stated. (0+ / 0-)

    now, lets make it happen!!

    I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

    by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:34:31 PM PST

  •  I'd want a Voting Rights Amendment (0+ / 0-)

    Securing the right to vote for all eligible voters -- eligibility to be determined by demonstrated willingness to shake the hand of an American of another race.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:35:37 PM PST

  •  my biggest problem with national popular vote (0+ / 0-)

    is the fear of a nation-wide recount with the myriad of balloting systems currently used.  

    I got a t-shirt (-6.88, -6.15)

    by guyermo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:37:13 PM PST

    •  the balloting systems would all (0+ / 0-)

      be revamped otherwise the national pop vote just doesn't work.

      Got to be national, got to be standardized, mechanized, etc.

      I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

      by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:05:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Recount - Once in 640 years (0+ / 0-)

      The current system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely, not less likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida would not have been an issue.

      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.
      “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

      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.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

  •  A nationwide recount (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thatpj, Brown Thrasher, keikekaze

    would be a huge clusterfuck. Our Country barely survived Florida, what is going to happen when the entire nation has to recount?

    Not to mention if we go the compact route there is no reason for the states that haven't signed on to recount if their state is not close but the country's vote is.

    That quote about GDP by Robert Kennedy

    by erichiro on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:37:47 PM PST

  •  Hesitant... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    Gotta say, although I live in the largest (Electoral College-wise) state in the nation, California, I'm not sure I want to have a situation where large city-states totally dominate the election.  Large states already have influence.  Just because the candidates aren't here kissing up to us 40-50 times a month (thank god) doesn't mean we can't and don't throw our weight around in other ways.

    If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid.

    by Senor Frog on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:39:50 PM PST

    •  Other than seeing Obama in San Antonio in (0+ / 0-)

      2008 during a rally, I have never been in an area where the candidate visited.

      And the reason I got to see Obama is because hubbie and I were wintering in the Hill Country. Both were jobless, and it was cheaper to rent a place in Texas than pay the heating bills for the winter in Northern New York.

      Sorry, I digress.

      My point is that I have not experienced the visits and repeated pleas from candidates over the years. I certainly see their importance. But, I have not found it necessary to see the candidate when I can educate myself via the internet and get information on the candidates myself.

      Granted, not all are motivated like that.  

      But, I suspect that if we went to a popular vote methodology, there would be shifts in other aspects of campaigning. Flexibility, ingenuity, creativity, etc. Look at what Obama did in 2008 regarding the 50 state strategy originally conceived by Doc Dean.

      I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

      by karma13612 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:16:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Battleground States Get Policy Priority (0+ / 0-)

      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.

      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.

      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,

       “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “
      http://online.wsj.com/...

      Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.

  •  Not so excited about this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose

    Much more important to me is to fix the idea that every state gets 2 senators. The amount of power a state such as ND gets compared to CA is ludicrous. But, even before that let's get the filibuster nonsense fixed.

    •  Democratic senators represent more people (0+ / 0-)

      than Republican senators. Same goes for congresscritters. I remember reading that here on Kos during the Bush era and nearly spit out my coffee. It was a "well duh" moment. Tyranny of the minority, indeed.

      To reduce crime, make fewer things against the law.

      by Bruce The Moose on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:06:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Be wary of unintended consequences. (3+ / 0-)

    Popular vote does seem like a no brainer. But I worry about our voting system in a popular election. If we had Federal control with consistent rules about eligible voters and a totally secure method of protecting the accuracy of  counting votes then all votes would be equal.

    That is not the case now, and we all know it. And in a popular vote system, the incentive to cheat becomes greater. Right now Romney is getting bigger wins in red states than Obama is in blue states. Under the Electoral College, so what? Running up the total in Oklahoma and Utah has no effect.

    Under a popular vote system, running up the total by cheating could have an effect, and it would be nearly impossible to detect without a comprehensive secure method of voting and tabulations of votes.

    But here is my biggest nightmare. Recount. Under popular vote, a close election would require a nationwide recount. Take Florida 2000 and multiply that by 100.

    Yes, the Electoral College is not perfect, and there are flaws that can be corrected, but it is what we have. Changing it to a new system could have unintended consequences.

    The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

    by Tuba Les on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:45:01 PM PST

    •  Fraud Opps & Incentive Maximized Now (0+ / 0-)

      The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, 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 in 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?

    •  Recount - Once in 640 Years (0+ / 0-)

      The current system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely, not less likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida would not have been an issue.

      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.
      “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

      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.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

  •  Alternative Voting all the way! (0+ / 0-)

    I think we should be doing this.

    The Alternative Vote Explained

  •  Speaking of a popular vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose, White Buffalo

    How to fix the Electoral College
    Aspects of the Electoral College and the popular vote can be combined to bring more people into the process

    The first is "proportional weighting." Each state awards a portion of its electoral votes to each candidate according to the percentage of votes favoring him or her. For Massachusetts, for example, with its (currently) 11 electors, this could result in 6.5 electors for the Democratic candidate and 4.5 for the Republican candidate. These fractional "electoral votes," 538 in total, go to Washington for the count of electoral votes by Congress (as they do under the current system). The national winner is the candidate whose sum of thus weighted electoral votes is the greatest (which, however, can be smaller that 270 if more than two candidates are favored by voters).

    Under this scheme, Republicans in Maryland and New York and Democrats in Texas and Idaho can influence the outcome nationally, while the smaller states preserve their traditionally disproportionate influence on election outcome.

    The second proposal is a "double majority" scheme. Here, the winning presidential candidate is the one who is the choice of both a majority of those voting nationwide and of a majority of the states. If there is no such candidate, then the Electoral College (and possibly, Congress) elects a president.

    This proposal balances the importance of the nationwide popular vote and of the states as equal members of the Union in electing a president. Under this scheme, to win a majority of votes nationwide, the candidates will likely compete in large states, and to win a majority of the states they will pay attention to small states. Since the Electoral College still may decide the outcome, the "battleground" states will preserve their current status.

    I haven't decided which I like better.  Need to think about it some more.  All I know is, I'm tired of being chopped liver.

    He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. ~ Arab Proverb

    by Terre on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:45:50 PM PST

  •  Further: (0+ / 0-)

    First, 3 votes each comes from 2 Senators plus at least one House member.

    I support the concept of equal proportions.  I think the best solution is to rescale the House of Representatives to "Wyoming rule" the number of reps.

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:47:23 PM PST

  •  If I could rec this a thousand times, I would. (0+ / 0-)

    And there are arguments to do this way beyond what is written in this diary, not the least of which that the very behavior of the electorate would be entirely different in a popular-vote election.

    I'll just bring up an anecdote from my experience of this morning... There was a dude a bit ahead of me. For some reason, I don't know what it is, he wasn't on the roll and was asked to go home and fetch something -- his registration card, a utility bill, ID, I don't know what. But as he was walking away, he said "Nah, it doesn't matter, we'll win NY anyway". You think he would do that in a popular-vote election? Likely not.

  •  An interesting case for the EC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado

    From Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium, I caught this interesting thought the other day:

    ... the U.S. system of electing a President is more fraud-proof than a simple popular vote. Even if there were voting error in one state, the effects would be contained there, like flooding on a compartmented ship. Without the Electoral College, every time there was a close national race we’d have the Florida 2000 dispute (Bush v. Gore) in every precinct in the country. Blech.
    And I now find myself to be a bit more charitably inclined towards the EC.

    To reduce crime, make fewer things against the law.

    by Bruce The Moose on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:48:42 PM PST

  •  Why isn't NY on this list? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose

    Seems like this state has been ignored by presidential candidates for quite a while. They and their EV would certainly help.

  •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    White Buffalo

    I think that would go against the very tenets that the Founders tried to avoid. Big states like California, New York, and Texas would have more influence then state like Montana or North Carolina.

    I support Instant Runoff Voting. I think that ameliorates the issue more. You can vote for who you want without fear of getting someone you don't like in office.  

    •  That's already true... (0+ / 0-)

      Those states already have a lot of influence. They're just not "in play". True, smaller states get a tiny advantage as electoral votes aren't quite issued proportionally per population, but basically, that doesn't make a huge difference.

      What does make a big difference is that huge population centers in this country currently have no dog in the fight. How is the current system fair to them?

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:08:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cart before the horse? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose, Brown Thrasher

    Looking at the all too common problems with voting itself, I'm not sure changing the electoral college is the first priority.

    I am of the opinion that we are in dire need of national voting standards, regarding registration, ID, poll availability, vote machine integrity, etc.
    Its ridiculous to claim that voting standards are a state issue. Its a national issue that has everything to do with the very integrity of governance.

    I'm in California, and there are more than a hundred polling locations in my county alone! No lines, no ID checks, register online (Hat-tip to Debra Bowen). Then you have the clusterfuck places like Florida (again), Ohio and the like.

    Elections are too important NOT to have a national standard. Maybe making a popular vote is better, but until we can count on the voting process itself, the popular vote is just as vulnerable as the electoral college.

    To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. Isaac Asimov

    by Kairos on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:52:56 PM PST

  •  Disagree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose, WillR

    The concept of a national popular vote breaks the very concept of federalism. States are now free and in the future should continue to be free to allocate their electoral votes any way they damn well please.

    On a more practical note, the electoral college confines problems and recounts to narrow areas instead of allowing problems like Florida in 2000 to spill out all over the rest of the country.

    I say this as someone from Mass who would 'benefit' from the proposed state of affairs. There are many election reformf we could consider (I am a fan of IRV and/or a proportional parliamentary style system). But this 'reform' is something that in my view would make things worse, not better.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 01:53:46 PM PST

    •  The states would still have that right... (0+ / 0-)

      If >50% decide to go with the popular vote, that's their choice. So, you're going to tell the states they can't decide how to allocate their electoral votes because you want the states to decide how to allocate their electoral votes? Sure, that makes lots of sense...

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:05:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're perfectly allowed to (0+ / 0-)

        But why would a state cede their own voters' power in favor of voters from the other 49 states?

        It's irrational and makes no sense. They would slightly increase the power of that state's minority voters at the expense of having the state's electoral votes be mostly dictated by outsiders?

        Normally I agree with Kos on things, but this plan makes no sense and I doubt any sane state would implement it.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:37:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would only happen... (0+ / 0-)

          If enough other states made the same agreement. At that point, EVERY state's electoral votes would be essentially meaningless. What would have meaning is the actual popular vote; in that state... and in all states. So, they're not really giving up anything - they're just agreeing that a national popular vote makes more sense than the electoral college.

          In fact, they're getting MORE say in the election. Right now, big states like California & Texas have no voice in the presidential election.

          I can see how current "swing states" would not want this, as they would be giving up their influence. But, why should some random state like Ohio get dozens of campaign visits, when a huge state like California gets none? It is completely unfair to the people of California. That's why California is one of the states that passed this.

          Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

          by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:51:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've been in favor for a while ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose

    but the last week has me thinking again.  We got hit pretty hard by Sandy this week here in Blue Jersey and Blue York City, and there will be substantial reduction in voting.  For our local campaigns and Congress it should be about the same with drops across the state, but our EC votes will be the same as without it.

    If we had a national vote then a disaster could turn an election.  Imagine an earthquake in California, a huge freak snowstorm in the entire northeast (happened last year). The lost hundreds of thousands of votes could make a difference.

    I'm not saying I don't support a national popular vote, but this has made me think of another reason against it.  Just another in my Con tally, not much more.

    •  Same thing could happen now... (0+ / 0-)

      If a hurricane hit Florida right now? In that case, it'd have even more impact.

      Best way to mitigate this is more early voting, more machines, etc...

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:03:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In defense of the Electoral College (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce The Moose, White Buffalo

    hear me out!  Believe me, til this year, I never thought I would be defending the Electoral College.

    It's Citizens United.  Paradoxically, the intensely undemocratic effect of Citizens United is blunted by the undemocractic effect of the Electoral College.  Due to the Electoral College, the $$ underdog has a fighting chance of matching the resources of the overdog, by concentrating its limited cash in the swing states.

    Of course, what this country needs is a constitutional amendment both killing the Electoral College, and enshrining, or at least allowing, campaign finance reform.

  •  I personally believe poverty and the (0+ / 0-)

    electoral college share a strong link.  We don't have to care about people, just their electoral votes.

    A national popular vote empowers those who live in poverty and are essentially meaningless.  States lose importance, but people gain.  Just a thought, maybe wrong but with a popular vote in every election somebody is going to need the votes of millions of people who don't typically vote, not just their particular states electors.  Politicians would thus be more sensitive to issues like poverty.  And it would be a social program which would cost $0.

  •  Some counterarguments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cattaur

    1.  Voters in Blue states, like California, are effectively disenfranchised if a Democrat carries their state, but their electoral votes go to a Republican that carried the popular vote.  

    2.  It's not really true that politicians would stop pandering to certain "states," read "groups".  Republican candidates would have a large incentive to run up as much of the vote as they can among largely white, male, conservative, Christian populations, while ignoring urban dwellers, women, college students, etc. This likely will lead to even more extremism in the Republicans that can be elected.  

    All this would really do is shift the focus of pork to states like Texas, which, now, are safely Republican and can be ignored, but would be vital to getting as many numbers as possible in the popular vote.  

    With the Electoral College, politicians are forced to appeal to the mixed demographics of an entire state.  Some urban demographics, some rural, etc.  Some states, like TX, of course, can be won just by dominating the conservative rural vote, but not every state.  

    Opening the country up to a straight popular vote could, in fact, lead to a disastrous condition in which Republicans can find enough of a constituency to win a popular majority.  After all, Romney led frequently in national polls, based on the strength of numbers in the S and TX, and, now, we want CA to give its electoral votes to that winner?  I think I'd say no, thanks.  

    If you have Presidents winning based on a, say, coalition of rural, Christian voters, be prepared for serious policy extremism, and a complete lack of motivation for good policy towards urban areas, education, etc.

    •  Most Americans Want Their Votes to Matter (0+ / 0-)

      80% of the states and people have been just spectators to the presidential elections. That's more than 85 million voters, 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 13 presidential elections

      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.

      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.

      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.

      In state polls of voters each with a second  question that specifically emphasized that their state's electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states, not necessarily their state's winner, there was only a 4-8% decrease of support.

       Question 1: "How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?"

      Question 2: "Do you think it more important that a state's electoral votes be cast for the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state, or is it more important to guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states becomes president?"

      Support for a National Popular Vote
      South Dakota -- 75% for Question 1, 67% for Question 2.

      Connecticut -- 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2.

      Utah -- 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2.

      NationalPopularVote

    •  Now Extremist Candidates Are Rewarded (0+ / 0-)

      The current state-by-state winner-take-all system encourages regional candidates.  A third-party candidate has 51 separate opportunities to shop around for states that he or she can win or affect the results. Minor-party candidates have significantly affected the outcome in six (40%) of the 15 presidential elections in the past 60 years (namely the 1948, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections).   Candidates such as John Anderson (1980), Ross Perot (1992 and 1996), and Ralph Nader (2000) did not win a plurality of the popular vote in any state, but managed to affect the outcome by switching electoral votes in numerous particular states. Extremist candidacies as Strom Thurmond and George Wallace won a substantial number of electoral votes in numerous states.

  •  Let me really complicate this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cattaur

    I think we should keep the EC, but increase the number of congressional seats (long overdue, IMHO) to at least 1251 members (roughly 1 for every 250k of us), minimum of 2 each state, index any future increase (or decrease) to the change in population each census, then apportion EVs to the outcome of each congressional district vote, with the two senate votes going to the popular winner in each state. I think that can be done without an Amendment.

    Trying to amend the Constitution to popular vote would be significantly harder, and more pressing issues would always crowd out the effort.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:00:45 PM PST

  •  Yeah sure, Texas would vote for Obama (0+ / 0-)

    Hardly likely that Republicans would keep their word.   All this would do is add one more level of chaos.  

    I agree about the problem, not about the solution.   In the ideal world we would get rid of the Senate.

  •  Don't forget Citizens United, though. (0+ / 0-)

    Consider how much easily Dick Armey & the Kochs can buy raw votes than Electoral College votes.

  •  The Genius of The Electoral College (3+ / 0-)

    I respectfully disagree with Kos.  There is a distinct possibility that because of the overwhelming pro-Romney vote in the southern states, Obama could lose the popular vote but win the electoral college due to his slim margin of victory in the other three regions of the country. Without the electoral college, one region's bias could hold sway over the other three regions' wishes.  Our founding fathers knew this was unacceptable, hence the electoral college.

    All I wanted was a Pepsi....

    by marcim on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:01:21 PM PST

  •  What if Romney wins popular vote tonight, kos? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado

    Would you still be calling for a national popular vote?  I wonder..

    Because there has been a lot of talk lately of the possibility of Obama winning the EV and losing the popular vote.

    NPV is a dumb idea..  First, you will never get enough states to agree with it.  It is stuck at 132 electoral votes.

    It pits states in blocks against other states.

    Even if passed, what happens when the popular vote goes against the wishes of a few of the states in on the deal?  Let's say the popular vote goes to a GOP candidate.  Will Illinois, for instance, honor the agreement?  Even if it does, would it pull out of the agreement as soon as it could?

    It's just a dumb idea.

    It needs to be a Constitutional change, but that will never happen.  Rural, low-population states will never agree to it, since it renders their preferences in Presidential elections moot.

  •  Reason to keep it: (2+ / 0-)

    The electoral college forces a president to be moderate in order to appeal to many regions of the nation.  It prevents a regional candidate from running up the popular vote in one region and then becoming president.

    The only thing I would change is getting rid of the electorals themselves to solve the issue of unfaithful electors.

  •  Standardized voting would also be nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subversive, looty

    Why does every county in the U.S. have to invent their own voting rules? This stuff isn't rocket science.

    We could save millions of dollars by allowing online voting. For those without computers, New Hampshire's voting rules are really simple and there's none of the misaligned touch screens, hanging chads etc. Just show up at the polls on election day, register right then and there, if you aren't already, vote on a paper ballot, insert in counting machine, go home.

    I'm constantly boggled by the way other states manage to make something so intrinsically simple so complicated.

  •  I completely disagree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subversive, Brahman Colorado

    The beauty of Electoral votes free from popular votes is that, should there be "irregularities" (as we see every time there's a vote), the College can override the skewed vote and cast for who actually would likely have won.  There's pluses and minuses on boths sides but I see no way to correct the population and irreglarity differences without the College.  Other than 2000 it has served us fairly well, too.

    "Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool" - Plato.

    by rainmanjr on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:05:05 PM PST

  •  Not a fan of the national popular vote, but . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subversive, Cattaur

    Here's what I would like to see - a dumping of the silly "winner take all" system that we current use for most states' electoral votes. That is why we see the drama we do over a few swing states.
    But imagine if each state awarded its electoral votes proportionally, based on that state's popular vote. A 52-48 split in florida would give each candidate 14 electoral votes, with the leftover vote going to the one with the higher popular vote total.
    That would, I think, shift emphasis to a broader range of states. If you only get 15 votes for winning Florida in the example above, you'd start seeing if you could pick off, say, one or two of Arkansas' 6 votes, or pull at least one or two out of Louisiana (Republican's, conversely, would try to pluck out EV's in New York, the other New England states, etc).
    It would promote more national campaigning, I think. Anyone agree.

    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

    by Jaxpagan on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:07:49 PM PST

  •  Another plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cattaur

    I would prefer to see each state allocate their electoral college votes proportional to that states popular vote. This has much of the benefit of a direct popular vote, but would reduce the grief of national recounts.

  •  I'd be inclined to agree... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Except that nothing is stopping parties from appealing to non-swing states. We used to have a lot more "swing" states before the Republicans opted for their 50%+1 strategy nation-wide.

  •  Why hasn't NY adopted this legislation? (0+ / 0-)

    Has it been blocked by the Republicans in the State Senate?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:11:32 PM PST

  •  I actually strongly disagree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado, keikekaze

    I believe that the founding fathers had it right.  We are a country of diverse lands and diverse views.  There are big states and small states.  There was a concern that a national popular vote would allow the big states to impose their wills on the small states.  The fear was that New York and Massachussets would be able to impose their will on Rhode Island and Maryland.

    To address this concern, the founders of the country devised a system that still identified the population differences between states, but also ensured that smaller states could still get a say in national elections.  While I acknowledge that slavery played some part in this thinking, it was hardly the only issue.  In joining the Union, small states were being asked to give up their sovereignty.  They wanted to make sure that if they gave up their sovereignty, they would still have an ability to impact the national agenda.

    I believe that this is still important today.  I don't see how Montana ever gets disaster relief if their electoral votes don't matter.  I don't see how anyone on the national stage cares about what happens to coal miners in West Virginia without the electoral college.

    Moreover, moving to a national popular vote merely shifts the power to the bigger states (in which I live).  The same thing will happen as happens today.  However, the political parties will focus on the turnout in large partisan states.  Thus, instead of spending time in Iowa, the Democrats will focus on New York and California while Republicans will focus their energy and agenda on Texas.

    The electoral college spreads out the political focus and ensures that agendas reflect a fuller understanding of national needs.  I believe that a national popular vote will actually shrink the focus of the national political parties, shrink the electoral map, and allow the interests of the few large states to impose their will on the smaller states.

    "He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." - J.S. Mill

    by dmsarad on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:12:19 PM PST

  •  Another point on EC v. Popular (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cattaur

    Since the states have the power to decide how to apportion their EV's, it's simpler to just have each state apportion their EV's according to their own popular vote, which, in effect, makes the EC follow the national popular vote, without disenfranchising voters within the state.  For example, if Obama wins Colorado 52-48, he would receive 5 EV's and Romney 4.  

    The only problem with this idea, is that, as someone mentioned, lower population, rural states wouldn't go for it.  Why lose 1 or 2 EV's every election to whatever % votes Democratic?  Also, if the Blue states did this, it would drastically improve the Republican position within the Electoral College.  

    I suppose we could see them pushing for it at some point.

  •  Eliminate Citizens United first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subversive

    Given a choice to eliminate EC or CU, I'd definitely go for CU.

    With extreme prejudice.

  •  I think there are MANY more important reforms (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cattaur, keikekaze

    ...out there.

    How about we dump papertrail-free touchscreen voting machines?  The federal government should simply size them all and destroy them.

    How about non-partisan voting officials instead of patronage hacks?

    How about Instant Runoff Voting?  Or in my opinion even better, fusion voting like in New York State?

    How about reforming the political primary calendar, so that other states and/or regions get a chance to have greater impact in candidate selection?

    How about a national holiday for voting?  And/or a secure way to vote online?

    How about a Constitutional Amendmendment to overturn Citizens United and establish that corporations are not people and money is not speech?

    I think the relative payout of the National Popular Vote are low while the risks are high.  Smaller states may get ignored completely by politicians on the national stage.  Minor parties will have much less influence, because every vote will matter, not just swing state voters, making throwing away one's vote much more risky.  The current corruption will just be replaced by other forms such as faked state voter counts, with conservative states possibly producing more "votes" than they have registered voters.  The combination of these factors may actually heighten voter disillusionment and political isolation and frustration rather than reduce it.  And it is still a crapshoot whether it would cause more Democrats to win the Presidency.

    Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

    by Subversive on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:28:12 PM PST

  •  NO NO NO....it should be 436.com not 538.com.... (0+ / 0-)

    If the EC was distributed based on population, and not artificially weighted in favor of small states, the process would work!  Due to each state being given a "bonus" vote for each senator, small states are over represented by wide margins!    As I posted above...

    Keep the current electoral college process, with one edit.  Subtract 2 EC votes from each state.  The problem with the process is that citizens of small states are vastly over represented and those in large states are under represented. This is due to a very fundimental mathmatical blunder in the design.  Each state, and DC, is given 1 vote per rep and senator.  Mistake.  Since each state get 2 Senators regardless of state population, the Electoral college instantly overrepresents small states.

    Example:

    North Dakota Pop= .64 mil (3 EC)
    Wisconsin Pop= 5.4 mil (10 EC)
    Florida Pop= 16 mil (29 EC)

    If life was fair, Wisconsin would have roughly 8.4X the EC votes as ND (5.4/.64=8.4).  But, they dont't.  Wisconsin has about 3.3X the EC votes as ND.

    If life was fair, Florida would have roughly 25X the EC votes as ND, but they dont.  They have 9.6X the votes as ND.

    So, if the EC was made up of 1 vote per Representative, which is based on population, the math would start to work out and give each state the weight it deserves while maintaing the need for candidates to visit each state and not ignore segments of the union.

    ND should have 1
    Wisconsin should have 8
    Florida should have 27

    Wis is 8.4 more populous than ND, so the 8 to 1 EC vote would be fair.  

    Florida is 25 times more populouos than ND and 3 times more populous than Wisconsin, so the 1 to 8 to 27 ration would be much more fair than current state.  

    GET.RID. OF. 2. EC. VOTES. PER. STATE!!  

  •  No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no- (0+ / 0-)

    no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no !!!

    You think you see vote suppression and vote theft now ???

    It would get to be illegal to be a Democrat in most of the slave states, the Bible thumper states.

    Blood on the floor, kiddos.

    (Madison was a genius. You are not.)

  •  You didn't make a case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze

    Yes, a national popular vote would be more directly democratic.

    But we don't have a directly democratic form of government.  And you failed to make a case why we should desire one.

    First of all, aside from slightly different weighting due to rounding and elector apportionment, everyone's vote does count.  If every Democrat in New York stayed home, our electors would go to Mitt Romney.  It's not a fait accompli; it's only by voting that New York is actually a safely blue state.  That doesn't mean your vote doesn't count; it means it counts along with everyone else's.

    Second of all, the electoral college forces national candidates to pay attention to all areas of the country.  The swing states are spread out throughout the land; this means that Romney can't just run up the vote in the South and expect to win.  With a national popular vote, all he'd have to do is bump up turnout in Texas and a few deep red states, and he could almost ignore the rest of the country.  How is that an improvement?  It's always easier to raise turnout in a stronghold than it is to swing a swing state your way.

    Third, a national popular vote would result in the candidates paying attention only to the largest media markets, where their ad dollars buy the most eyeballs.  Again, how is that an improvement?

    I advocate a middle-ground: proportional elector assignment in all states, not just Nebraska and Maine.

  •  Tennessee update (0+ / 0-)

    I live across the line in KY, also not contested, but work in Tennessee. First report of polling turnout came from our custodian, who just got to work, and said the city traffic is insane, which he blames partially on voting. He said the polling places he passed today were all nuts, much crazier than 08. His main concern, Mitt's son owning machines in OH. However, he also knew about all the lawyers on duty, and confided that he believed Obama was much too smart to let anything happen like happened in 2000 or 2004.

    This morning in my small town of Franklin, KY, there were only a handful voting when I arrived, but 10 minutes later, the waiting area was stuffed with 20 or 30 people at the sign in tables. Most I've ever seen.

  •  I disagree. And not only . . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . . for the self-interested reason that the Electoral College system spares California approximately one million irritating Republican TV ads per presidential cycle.  Think deeply on that, kos, before you advocate change!  : )

    Frankly, I'd much rather have the election be "decided" (to the tune of an endless six-month barrage of campaign ads) in Ohio, or in any other state where I don't live, than in California.

    I disagree also because the Electoral College system now favors the Democrats.  It didn't always--clearly not in the '70s and the '80s, when most of the big states (including California) were reliably red--but it does now.  The Electoral College now gives any Democrat a near-automatic 240 electoral votes, while giving any Republican only a near-automatic 140 or so.  Why change it now?

    It is simply not true that an individual vote in a big deep-blue or deep-red state "doesn't count."  It counts vitally, as it always has.  It is only the solid base provided by the deep blue states or the deep red states  that gives those "swing" states the ability to "swing."  

    For my money, the Electoral College system works fine, and does exactly what the founding fathers intended it to do.  It can't override a national landslide, but it can, and does, provide legitimacy for the victor in a narrow election.  And I believe, as I said, that it will favor Democrats more often than Republicans in the 21st century.

    "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

    by keikekaze on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:02:10 PM PST

  •  I did the math (0+ / 0-)

    Because of the way the Electoral College is composed (1 elector per each Senator and Congressperson), it turns out that a citizen of Wyoming has about 3.6 times as much clout as a citizen of California in picking the president.

    That is, California has about 680,000 people per elector, while Wyoming has about 190,000.

    Crazy.

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:10:06 PM PST

  •  I keep hearing this is a Democracy (0+ / 0-)

    But I'm fairly sure it was established as a Republic with Democratic elements.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/

    by DAISHI on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:10:48 PM PST

  •  Then u better federal admin of federal elections, (0+ / 0-)

    registration, voter books, machines, tabulation - the whole thing.  Otherwise, you get the intentional clustf*** Thugs have engineered today in far to many places.

    I mean, making some with a voter registration card vote provisionally?  What you think they got that out of a CrackerJack box?  F'n Thug crooks.

  •  First, America is not a democracy. (0+ / 0-)

    It was set up - with reason - as a Constitutional Republic. This was to prevent "mobs" dictating terms of governance - you may agree or disagree with the rightness of this reasoning, but it was heavily evident throughout the Constitution.

    Second, national popular vote laws will give Republicans nationwide a huge incentive to disenfranchise minorities. Right now, they only bother trying in swing states (And not all of them - Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) has been surprisingly good about this), and generally don't care otherwise - because it doesn't particularly matter to the Governor of (for instance) Oklahoma whether or not African-Americans can vote. This can lead to Democratic victories downticket, limits the effect of disenfrachisement efforts and - most importantly - narrows the battleground to the point where it's possible to fight it.

    Can you imagine what it would look like if every GOP State legislature had passed voter ID laws? If every GOP Governor had signed them? We couldn't keep up with challenges to it!

    Instead, they're only bothering in swing states and a few deep-red bastions of racism (Texas, that's you). Still so not good, but it can be challenged, it can be dealt with.

    Finally, a national popular vote compact would utterly disenfranchise small States. You may once again argue to the wisdom or unwisdom of such a mindset, but the people who wrote the Constitution clearly wrote it in several places specifically to afford the smaller States more political power than their populations would otherwise suggest (see: the Senate).

    No, no, no. It's an idealistic notion - commendable, but impractical at best. I'm certainly not HRing, as this is simply disagreement, but I must express my strong disaffection with this idea.

  •  Getting to directly-elected POTUS this way isn't (0+ / 0-)

    possible,

    So how can we accomplish this despite the constitutional establishment of the Electoral College? Via an interstate compact that requires states to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote. To go into effect, it would require the adoption by states representing 50 percent of the nation's total electoral votes.
    for several reasons:

    1. A constitutional requirement cannot be overturned sub-constitutionally; it can only be done by constitutional amendment. This is black-letter law, and every lawyer ought to be aware of this.

    2. Any sub-constitutional "agreement" between "some" of the states can be disagreed to during an election if it is no longer convenient for one of the agreeing states' electors. Just like a Senate filibuster rule that is no longer convenient for the controlling political caucus.

    3. There is absolutely no way to compel duly chosen electoral college members to adhere to such an agreement sub-constitutionally. The likelihood of bribed electors would go up exponentially, since they would have the choices (and plausible excuses) to be either faithful or faithless to either the Constitution or to the sub-constitutional interstate agreement.

    4. Such a sub-constitutional agreement would never be adopted by all 50 states, since (if they all wanted it) a Constitutional Amendment eliminating the Electoral College would be simpler and more permanent, and (most importantly) satisfy the "equal protection" clause.

    5. Because of reason one, with standing based on reason four, and using the arguments of reasons two and three, any voting-age citizen could sue to have any iteration of the agreement declared illegal before or after the fact of its adoption or implementation, and carry his/her suit to the SCOTUS.

    In my opinion, the likelihood that your cure would be worse than the disease approaches 100%. Although, in order to form a more perfect union, we ought to popularly elect the POTUS, the only way to actually get there is via constitutional amendment, and the chance that primarily rural and/or smaller states will let that happen is nil.

    Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

    by davidincleveland on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 03:48:30 PM PST

  •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 07:03:06 PM PST

  •  Great irony here... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is that PA would likely get more attention by candidates or at least about the same, but CA and NY would get even more.  I agree with Kos, but remember that the Electoral College was at least partly designed to offset the natural bias a popular vote would have towards the big cities and more populous states.  If you thought there was already a trend towards urbanization affecting the national presidential vote, imagine a scenario without the EC.

    The funny thing is that's something I'd love as a liberal/progressive, but I think there are a lot of people who'd get burned by it and it might have unintended consequences, especially down-ballot (increased tendency to vote opposition party to counter Dems at the top = more gridlock).

    I definitely agree with Kos on principle, but I also think there's a lot of food for thought buried under the surface of this issue.

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