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New Mexico House Passes National Popular Vote Bill

Published on February 20, 2009, by in General.

On February 20, the New Mexico House passed HB383, the bill for the National Popular Vote. The vote was 41-27.

25 Responses

  1. (I guess I’ll add my usual questions/comments on the issue here, too — since they haven’t been answered yet that I’ve seen.)

    Are we really that hungry for more Floridas? Or more “majority fraud” (where one party controls enough of the government/structure in a state, or a major metropolitan area, that it can give a major boost to its ticket’s vote totals without fear of reprisal)?

    Or, to consider another potential problem . . . what would happen if the national vote were close enough that recounts in one or more states might swing the total decision, but the votes in *those* states *weren’t* close enough to require (or even permit) a recount under their laws? Does it make a difference if the states you want recounted aren’t even participants in this compact? How much control/interest/interference could voters from state A (or states A, B, and C for that matter) have over/in/against the results of state D (or D, E, and F) and voters there?

    I may be in a minority here, but I don’t see the Electoral College as worthless. If nothing else, it is a small force for consensus . . . putting a small premium (two votes per state) on winning a lot of different states, rather than running up the score in contests you’re sure to win. (Shades of the BCS!) And it gives individual voters, or small groups of voters, *more* voting power — more of an actual chance for their votes to be decisive. (Or at least so it is mathematically argued by Professor Natapoff — and, if you think about it, how likely is it that your one vote or your small group’s votes will make the difference among 100 million plus?)

  2. Arthur DiBianca

    Have any Republican-controlled legislative chambers passed this bill, or is it exclusively Democratic-controlled legislative chambers?

  3. Coming back to the LP

    Here are the official counts for the 5 largest US metro areas.

    The top 5 metropolitan areas contain over 61,000,000 people, over 20% of the total US population. A candidate who pandered to the cities could focus on the top cities and ignore the rest of the US easily.

    Rank Metropolitan Area April 1, 2000

    1 New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–CT–PA 21,199,865
    2 Los Angeles–Riverside–Orange County, CA 16,373,645
    3 Chicago–Gary–Kenosha, IL–IN–WI 9,157,540
    4 Washington–Baltimore, DC–MD–VA–WV 7,608,070
    5 San Francisco–Oakland–San Jose, CA 7,039,362

  4. Coming back to the LP

    Rank Metropolitan Area April 1, 2000

    Here are the top 20 metro areas containing 120,000,000 plus people. This is 40% of the US population in 20 metropolitan areas. Metropolitan areas are the real cities.

    Say NO to the F a s c i s t – S o c i a l i s t National Popular Vote plan. Keep the Electoral College.

    1 New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–CT–PA 21,199,865
    2 Los Angeles–Riverside–Orange County, CA 16,373,645
    3 Chicago–Gary–Kenosha, IL–IN–WI 9,157,540
    4 Washington–Baltimore, DC–MD–VA 7,608,070
    5 San Francisco–Oakland–San Jose, CA 7,039,362
    6 Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City, PA–NJ–DE 6,188,463
    7 Boston–Worcester–Lawrence, MA 5,819,100
    8 Detroit–Ann Arbor–Flint, MI CMSA 5,456,428
    9 Dallas–Fort Worth, TX 5,221,801
    10 Houston–Galveston–Brazoria, TX 4,669,571
    11 Atlanta, GA 4,112,198
    12 Miami–Fort Lauderdale, FL 3,876,380
    13 Seattle–Tacoma–Bremerton, WA 3,554,760
    14 Phoenix–Mesa, AZ 3,251,876
    15 Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN 2,968,806
    16 Cleveland–Akron, OH 2,945,831
    17 San Diego, CA 2,813,833
    18 St. Louis, MO–IL 2,603,607
    19 Denver–Boulder–Greeley, CO 2,581,506
    20 Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater, FL 2,395,997

  5. Coming back to the LP

    We need to keep the Electoral College to help preserve the relative power of the states. The Federal Government is already too strong. We need to Smash the Monster down to size. Give more power to the monster will move us in the opposite direction.

    As has been suggested in another thread, we might benefit from having Senators elected by their State Legislatures again as well.

    Democracy is not a goal. It is not even a good system.

    Our goal should be LIBERTY.

    Government is evil. It is always evil. It can never be anything but an evil monster and we have to keep it contained.

    Limited democracy is a method of containing the monster. It has no virtues or benefits on its own.

    Unlimited democracy always leads to unlimited government control: f a s c i s t – s o c i a l i s m.

    To advocate for unlimited democracy, or any further movement in that direction demonstrates that the advocate is completely unaware of the realities of political systems or the advocate is one of the proponents of F a s c i s t – S o c i a l i s m as their preferred outcome for the people of America.

    Lover’s of Liberty will have to emigrate to a new land if the NPV or any form of direct election of Pres and VP should be adopted.

  6. Coming back to the LP

    We must keep the federal system that limits the power of the national government. The Electoral College system of electing P and VP indirectly is an essential element in our federal system. It limits the power of the national government and the executive branch.

    Lord Acton wrote:

    “Of all checks on democracy, federation has been the most efficacious and the most congenial… The federal system limits and restrains the sovereign power by dividing it and by assigning it to Government only certain defined rights. It is the only method of curbing not only the majority but the power of the whole people.”

  7. Coming back to the LP

    We need to keep single member districts and plurality elections. We need to keep the Electoral College system and promote the Maine/Nebraska system of allocation. We need to repeal all limits on contributions, expenditures and reporting rules. We need to simplify and drastically reduce ballot access rules, or eliminate Government printed ballots altogether. This will give us the best electoral system.

    To reduce government power, we need serious term limits on office holders: 3 terms for US House, 1 term for US Senate, Pres and VP 2 terms, Governors 2 terms, other state reps and senators 6 years (8 in some states) and, most importantly, most judges should be limited to 2 years and out.

    We must abolish eminent domain and judicial contempt of court powers. We have to expand the power of both judges and juries to overturn bad laws – FIJA.

    Direct election or NPV would cause candidates to focus all their efforts on a small number of heavily populated metropolitan areas and ignore the rest of the nation.

    We should quit wasting our time and energy on crazy, stupid ideas that will actually reduce our liberty, such as direct election of Pres and VP, National Popular Vote, PR, IRV and other schemes that will make things more confusing and give more power to the State and the S o c i a l i s t s.

  8. Rob Richie

    Let me respectfully but forcefully say that we don’t need to keep the current Electoral College system and plurality, single-member district system. They deny respect for most voters and most voices.

    I thought it was rather funny for the stats on metro areas to show that 20% of Americans live in the five biggest metro areas (counting all their suburbs and exurbs), so that candidates could focus on those voters in an national popular vote and discount the other 80%. Sorry, that’s not the way democracy works. And even if you define things more generally, close elections make __every__vote important. As it is, fully two-thirds of Americans are absolutely, completely irrelevant to the campaigns — see http://www.fairvote.org/president for some more data backing up that point.

  9. Coming back to the LP

    The NPV, “top-two,” proportional voting and other so-called “reforms” have as their goal the permanent control of America by the government itself.

    Single member districts and plurality elections within states and maintaining the power of the States versus a much smaller Federal Government is the key to maintaining Liberty.

    While the States are too powerful in absolute terms, the Federal Government needs to be reduced by 90% or more.

    We must maintain the EC.

    In addition:

    Since, the Obama Plan is doomed to fail …

    What the government SHOULD do:

    1) Go back on a 100% gold standard, immediately.
    2) Abolish all taxes on income and property at all levels of government.
    3) Institute a 10% national sales tax to be shared by all levels of government: Federal, State and Local. Make 10% the maximum allowed under the constitution. The States would collect the tax and send the Federal Government its share. No direct taxation by the Feds should be allowed.
    4) Prohibit deficit spending and prohibit all borrowing by government at all levels: Federal, State and Local.
    5) Bring US troops home from around the world and shrink the military.
    6) End all subsidies for business.
    7) End all subsidies for transportation and energy use.
    8.) Abolish social security, with apologies, for everyone under age 55.
    9) Raise the retirement age to 72 for those between 55 and 64.
    10) Use government assets to fund S.S. payments to those who are currently collecting. Privatize the fund. Then end Government payments into the fund.
    11) Set a pay cap for government employees at the median level for full time workers in the US.
    12) Set the same cap for members of Congress and the President and all their staff members.
    13) Slash retirement benefits for Congress and former Presidents and other public officials.
    14) Abolish all victimless crime laws and pardon those convicted.
    15) Require that all spending and tax legislation get a 2/3 majority to pass Congress.

    This is a short list of a few steps we need to take immediately if we really want to save the US economy and turn things around.

  10. Re: Rob Richie @ #8 —

    I agree that plurality, single-member districts certainly raise at least the prospect of disenfranchising a majority of voters. And where that doesn’t happen, it’s often because the districts have been deliberately drawn to be “safe” for one or the other of the largest minority parties. (No party has a majority of the population as members.)

    But I respectively disagree that the Electoral College merits such opprobrium from Mr. Richie. It is a force for nationwide consensus and against “majority fraud”. It gives individual voters and groups more of a chance to swing the election in their own states and have those electoral votes swing the college as a whole. And, as mentioned above, it avoids the voting-rights loophole gaping in the NPV bills being touted lately.

    I would encourage everyone here to go [back] and [re-]read the _Discover_ article about Professor Natapoff, which can be found (among other places) here:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2004/sep/math-against-tyranny

    (I commend to you all in particular the comparison with the World Series. Though, if you prefer other sports, you can substitute in the NBA or NHL playoffs at least.)

  11. [Excuse me — I left a word out of the first sentence of full paragraph #2. I meant to say: “But I respectively disagree that the Electoral College merits such *ABSOLUTE* opprobrium from Mr. Richie.”]

  12. Coming back to the LP

    The 5 largest metropolitan areas in the US contain over 20% of the nation’s population. These 5 cities alone would become the kingmakers. The top 20 metropolitan areas contain over 40%. This bill is just an end run around the Federal Compact that makes America into a nation.

    An overlooked fact under the National Popular Vote f a s c i s t – s o c i a l i s t takeover plan,

    IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE FOR A CANDIDATE TO BE ELECTED EVEN THOUGH THAT CANDIDATE ACTUALLY DID NOT WIN THE MOST VOTES IN ANY STATE.

    Under NPV, a candidate who carries the 40 bigest cities, but does not win the largest number of votes in any state, could still be elected President, even though prior to the application of the NPV reallocation of votes, that candidate would be entitled to ZERO Electoral Votes.

    That’s right folks.

    Under NPV, a candidate who has actually earned ZERO electoral votes could be elected President, after the computation determines that all the Electoral Votes earned by some other candidate should be flipped to the NPV candidate.

    A candidate who has carried the overwhelming majority of states and Electoral Votes could have enough states Electoral Votes flipped to the NPV candidate to give the Presidency to someone who won NO states and just carried the biggest cities.

    DO THE MATH!

    There are thousands of possible scenarios under which this could happen.

    Say NO to this evil, illogical, ill-considered numb-headed plan!

  13. Martin K.

    Responding to #8:

    You bring up a point that I’ve made a few times before. NPV is touted as giving everyone an equal vote and an equal share in the electoral process. However, that idea is hypocritical because the other 1460 days (out of 4 years) still leaves us unequal. Representatives and Senators vote on behalf of their constituents but they all represent a different number of constituents. I may be one out of a million constituents in my district. My voice and my opinion has far less weight than someone in a small district of maybe half a million people. Also, very low populated states like Wyoming get an unfair advantage. In that case, 0.17% of the US population gets 2% of the vote in the Senate.

    I don’t see the point of arguing over equal representation for JUST ONE DAY so that we can be unequally represented and outright ignored every other day.

  14. susan

    The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States and that a candidate would win the Presidency if 100% of the voters in these 11 states voted for one candidate. However, if anyone is concerned about the this theoretical possibility, it should be pointed out that, under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in these same 11 states — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.

    Of course, the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely act in concert 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.

    Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states, the highest levels of popular support were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
    ● Texas (62% Republican),
    ● New York (59% Democratic),
    ● Georgia (58% Republican),
    ● North Carolina (56% Republican),
    ● Illinois (55% Democratic),
    ● California (55% Democratic), and
    ● New Jersey (53% Democratic).

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

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 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 votes for Bush in 2004.

  15. susan

    The potential for political fraud and mischief is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.
    Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party’s precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore’s margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 recounts was a mere 274 votes.

    Senator Birch Bayh (D–Indiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a nationwide popular election for President in a Senate speech by saying in 1979, “one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes.”

  16. susan

    The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment says:
    “no state [shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”

    It has been argued by some that it is not permissible, under the Equal Protection clause, for some states to close their polls at 6 PM while others close at 9 PM ; for some states to conduct their election entirely by mail while other states conduct their (non-absentee) voting at the polls; and for some states to permit violent felons to vote while others prohibit it (absent a pardon). However, the U.S. Constitution does not require that the election laws of all 50 states are identical in virtually every respect. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment only restricts a given state in the manner it treats persons “within its jurisdiction.” The Equal Protection Clause imposes no obligation on a given state concerning a “person” in another state who is not “within its [the first state’s] jurisdiction.” State election laws are not identical now nor is there anything in the National Popular Vote compact that would force them to become identical. Indeed, the U.S. Constitution specifically permits diversity of election laws among the states because it explicitly gives the states control over the conduct of presidential elections (article II) as well as congressional elections (article I). The fact is that the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution permits states to conduct elections in varied ways.

    The National Popular Vote bill does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

    It is important to note that neither the current system nor the National Popular Vote compact permits any state to get involved in judging the election returns of other states. Existing federal law (the “safe harbor” provision in section 5 of title 3 of the United States Code) specifies that a state’s “final determination” of its presidential election returns is “conclusive” (if done in a timely manner and in accordance with laws that existed prior to Election Day).

    The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and requires each state to treat as “conclusive” each other state’s “final determination” of its vote for President. No state has any power to examine or judge the presidential election returns of any other state under the National Popular Vote compact.

    Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the “canvas”) in what is called a “Certificate of Ascertainment.” You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2004/certificates_of_ascertainment.html

  17. susan

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, along district lines (as is currently the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

  18. susan

    Dividing a state’s electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of our antiquated Electoral College system of electing the President. What the country needs is a national popular vote to make every person’s vote equally important to presidential campaigns.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would less be less fair and 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 cause presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state. Under the winner-take-all rule (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 is competitive in only 3 of the state’s 53 districts. Nationwide, there are only 55 “battleground” districts that are competitive in presidential elections. Under the present deplorable state-level winner-take-all system, two-thirds of the states (including North Carolina and California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, seven-eighths of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

  19. Coming back to the LP

    Susan is 100% wrong about everything she writes.

    She repeats the same old nonsense and nonsequiturs over ad nauseum.

    Fact is, under NPV it is VERY LIKELY that a candidate who has received few if any electoral votes before the application of the NPV process will be elected president after the signatory states have flipped their electoral votes to this candidate. It does not require winning 100% anywhere. It only requires pandering to the urban vote in large urban areas with a s o c i a l i s t i c plan that harms the rest of the nation.

    NPV is pure evil.

  20. Jim Riley

    #16 That is not a virtue of the NPVP, but a fault.

    One could imagine if someone asked Susan whether or not it would be a good idea, as a matter of public policy, for a direct popular election of the president to have different ballots with different candidates, different voting procedures, different voting qualifications, in each state and no common canvass or recount procedure.

    After a pause, she would explain why it would not be illegal.

    NOT ILLEGAL does not imply GOOD IDEA

    3 USC 6 does not require a state to report its popular vote, but rather how it ascertained which electors were appointed. That is, the basis of its final and definitive determination of its electors.

    For example, the certificates of ascertainment for Maine and Nebraska give the vote totals for each congressional district, since those were necessary to make the final determination of 5 of the presidential electors.

    If in 2000 the Florida legislature had chosen that state’s electors, the certificate of ascertainment might have given the vote by the legislature.

    In the case of a state that used the national “popular vote” to determine its appointed electors they would have to report the national vote totals of all the candidates. Since different states had different candidates, a state might have to report vote totals for persons that it had legally kept off the ballot.

    How would the member states determine the popular vote from the non-member states?

    Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, is required by US Law to prepare 7 copies of a Certificate of Ascertainment, and send one copy to the Archivist of the United States. If the NPV Compact were operative, and Hawaii were a member, Governor Lingle would have to total the votes from all 50 States (and the District of Columbia). If Alaska was not a member of the NPV compact, how would Gov. Lingle determine the popular vote from Alaska?

    Call the Archivist of the United States, and ask whether they have received one from Alaska, explaining that Hawaii can’t send in their Certificate of Ascertainment until they knew the votes from Alaska.
    Call Governor Sarah Palin and ask her? Look it up on the Alaska web site (which probably says the totals are not official)?

  21. Jim Riley

    #18 “Under the present deplorable state-level winner-take-all system, two-thirds of the states (including North Carolina and California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections.”

    Yes http://www.fairvote.org shows North Carolina as one of the states which received most of the attention in the presidential election. Who is correct? Susan or Fairvote?

  22. Jim Riley

    #18 How does one go about ignoring a congressional district?

  23. Jim Riley

    #16 How many states’ Certificate of Ascertainment for 2008 do not have sufficient information to determine the popular vote as defined by the NPV Proposal?

    0
    5
    13
    25
    38
    50
    60?

  24. Jim Riley

    #15 When you commit election fraud, it easier to do in areas where there is overwhelming support for one candidate or party of another.

    You can let unqualified voters vote, knowing that they will likely vote for a favored candidate. You can look the other way when someone stuffs the ballot box. You can simply add a 100 votes here and there.

    For example, the 1948 Democrat senate primary in Texas, where LBJ received 100+ votes from a single precinct (and the voter list was signed in alphabetical order in identical handwriting).

    The 1880 presidential election was extremely close. On the same date, there was a congressional election in Alabama (AL-4). The election was contested, and the result later overturned by the House of Representatives. In so doing, there was a larger change in the votes cast in that single district than the national “popular vote” plurality in the presidential election.

    Or it could be a matter of total carelessness. In 2000, the Philadelhia Inquirer did an examination of what would happen in Pennsylvania if the same level of scrutiny were applied to its election results as were being applied in Florida. In one precinct they found where a leading “1” had been dropped from a vote total – in this case, the leading “1” a 4-digit number.

  25. Re: Susan at #16 —

    The National Popular Vote compact is patterned
    directly after existing federal law and requires
    each state to treat as “conclusive” each other
    state’s “final determination” of its vote for
    President. No state has any power to examine
    or judge the presidential election returns of
    any other state under the National Popular Vote
    compact.

    That wouldn’t *eliminate* the problem I mentioned in #1; it would at most shift it, and possibly just ignore it. To the extent that it’s true (and that groups or citizens couldn’t establish standing to challenge official results in their own states or other states), it would mean NPV cannot in fact guarantee even the plurality winner it hopes to guarantee.

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