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Possible Referendum in Washington State on National Popular Vote Plan

Published on April 30, 2009, by in General.

On April 29, David John Anderson of Washington state filed initial paperwork to begin a Referendum petition, to ask the voters if they wish to repeal the National Popular Vote Plan law in that state. He needs 120,577 signatures by July 25, 2009. If his petition succeeds, the voters would vote on the law on November 3, 2009. See this story. Anderson has experience with initiatives; the article says he managed the campaign for I-872 in 2004. I-872 imposed “top-two” on Washington state.

14 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    A majority of the voters happened to vote YES on I-872 = DEMOCRACY.

    Next reform in WA = P.R. ???

  2. Jim Riley

    I-872 was approved by 60% of voters in November 2004. It is erroneous and misleading to characterize this as imposing.

  3. TheVirginiaHistorian

    The state-made winner-take-all disenfranchises too many unfairly. If it’s not npv for redress, then restore the diversity of a District Plan that the 19th Century political machines took away. Or abolish the Electoral College with a comprehensive national reform like presidentialelectionamendment.com that addresses both primaries and general election.

  4. mvymvy

    The congressional district method of awarding electoral votes (currently used in Maine and Nebraska) would not help make every vote matter. In NC, for example, there are only 4 of the 13 congressional districts that would be close enough to get any attention. A smaller fraction of the county’s population lives in competitive congressional districts (about 12%) than in the current battleground states (about 30%). Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

  5. Tom Yager

    In 2000, Bush would have won the Electoral College by a wider margin if the Maine/Nebraska method was used to allocate votes.

    As mvymvy pointed out, Congressional Districts are less competitive than states. I would like to add that their boundaries can be gerrymandered by state legislatures, while changing state boundaries enough to affect the outcome of the Electoral College is a significantly more difficult matter.

    Furthermore, the Maine/Nebraska method would replace swing states with swing counties in the few competitive districts. Not really an improvement.

  6. TheVirginiaHistorian

    Nebraska became a battleground state when Obama campaigned in the urban district (Omaha) and won an electoral college elector there: vote was 4-1. Candidates effect adjacent districts when they visit, sort of like media buys in NYC and Philly cover New Jersey.

    Can’t defend the indefensible on gerrymandering. Likewise, npv doesn’t defend election fraud by Rs and Ds disqualified in Obama’s first IL campaign: he ran unopposed because no other filed candidate had legitimate signatures.

    I’d say, require congressional districts to be composed of contiguous compact census tracts which can be made to conform to watersheds. Think green, don’t shred populations by balloting. Build community.

    The most competitive Congresses with hightest voter turnout of the 19th Century had 50% competitive districts. That would be the goal.

  7. Demo Rep

    Attention all gerrymander math MORONS —

    Half the votes in half the gerrymander districts (political concentration camps loved by Stalin / Hitler types of party hack MONSTERS) = about 25 percent indirect minority rule.

    ALL of the Prezs since 1832 have been de facto minority rule Prezs due to the evil timebomb Electoral College.

  8. I spoke on the phone with David John Anderson during the I-872 “top two” campaign, and he’s a very pleasant young man. He was working with the state Grange to get I-872 passed.

    A few years ago (2004?), Colorado had a ballot measure to change to the district method of allocating the state’s electoral votes, and the voters defeated it.

  9. TheVirginiaHistorian

    DemoRep, wasn’t the turnout more like 70% of eligible after the Jacksonian Democracy? I have to look it up, but 1832 is way to early. We had not even abolished debtors prison in most states yet.

    In some local elections today we have 50% registered, 50% turnout and 51% “mandate” to the winner, which is, in all its popular vote gradeur, 13% of the eligible population.

    History is hard because things change. The 1840 “hard money” policy was pro-labor when there was a great deal of counterfeiting and wages could be paid with worthless bank script. “Hard money” policy of the 1880s was anti-labor because it was deflationary. Never mind the promise of politicians’ principles, watch the people.

    If we get larger voter turnouts with npv or district plans, politicians will have to pay more attention to the diverse interests in the country because the turnout will be less predictable.

    The problems of democracy can be solved with more democracy.

  10. BaronScarpia

    Another reason for not using CD’s for awarded EC votes is that the chances for electoral fraud are enhanced. As someone pointed out above, gerrymandering will become more prevalent, and although it is a legal practice, its intent and how it is achieved is suspect. But more important, modern polling science will identify the 25 or so CD’s that will be “in play,” and the fraud which will occur in those districts will soon be a matter of legend. And, our president will then be elected by even fewer people. It’s an even worse scheme than the current EC.

    One person, one vote. How objectionable can that be in a democracy?

  11. Jim Riley

    #9 The Colorado proposition was to use proportional apportionment. It was funded by a rich Californian who was more interested in splitting Colorado’s EV than California’s.

    The Colorado constitution provides for the direct election of presidential electors (thus the NPV compact is unconstitutional in Colorado), and the initiative in 2004 was for a constitutional amendment.

    The main reason it was defeated was it purported to apply the new method to the 2004 presidential election. It had a lot of other bizarre provisions, such as that any recount on the initiative itself would be conducted in an accelerated fashion; and it also required that the constitutional amendment take effect sooner than the schedule for any other amendment. This was done so that the electors could be appointed in time to vote in December.

  12. Jim Riley

    #11 The closest presidential election (in terms of the so-called national popular vote) was that of 1880, with a margin as close as 2000 votes.

    On the same election day, there was a US representative race that was later contested and reversed. The number of changed votes in that single congressional district was greater than the popular vote margin in the entire country.

  13. TheVirginiaHistorian

    With npv, it becomes real important to avoid lines so all who would vote do vote at every precinct. When backups occur at the $20,000 voting machines, ballots can be computer read forms run through an optical scanner such as used in Fairfax County, Va. Amazingly, no lines in November 2008.

    Ballots are filled in behind cardboard partitions, three to a folding table. The scanner immediately checks to ensure the ballot is valid, (no hanging chads) voter presses VOTE button. It’s about five times faster than conventional draped stand alone booths.

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