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National League of Women Voters Endorses National Popular Vote Plan

Published on June 30, 2010, by in General.

On June 14, 2010, the national convention of the League of Women Voters, meeting in Atlanta, endorsed the National Popular Vote Plan.  The plan, if implemented, would result in the election of the presidential candidate who had received the most popular votes in the entire nation.

27 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Since when the election results OUTSIDE of a sovereign State determine the election results INSIDE such State ???

    One more MORON case for the Supremes in the future.


    Proper remedy – constitutional amendment
    Uniform definition of Elector in ALL of the U.S.A.
    NONPARTISAN Approval Voting for ALL elected executive officers and ALL judges.

    Way too difficult for the New Age quick fix constitutionial law MORONS to understand.

  2. For better or worse, the state sovereignty was settled in 1865.

  3. Richard

    The National Popular Vote Plan does not violate state freedom or state sovereignty. The US Constitution says states can choose presidential electors any way they wish. The Constitution doesn’t say the states are obliged to use a popular vote at all, so they certainly are free to have a procedure that elects the presidential electors who are pledged to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes statewide.

    People seem to have a difficult time differentiating tradition from what the US Constitution actually says.

  4. Baronscarpia

    4 -

    Here is my answer to your hypothetical: “Yeah…and…so what?”

    So what?

    So what if a state’s electors go to a candidate who did not receive a majority, or a plurality of the votes in that state?

    So what?

    So what if the candidate didn’t even appear on the ballot in that state?

    So what?

    NPV opponents wring their hands over those and other possibilities, yet they don’t seem to give a damn that the EC scheme can elect a president who received fewer votes nationwide than an opponent. No problem there, eh? Well, if they can answer “So what” to objections to a minority president based on national popular vote totals, we can answer “So what” to their “state sovereignty” problems with the NPV plan.

    NPV opponents also have absolutely no problem with the reality that in almost half of the states in the union, one or another group of people are effectively and almost permanently disenfranchised because their states are reliably “red” or “blue” and they themselves happen to be the wrong color. Or that the chances of a thrid party candidate winning the electors in ANY state are about the same as the chances that pigs will sprout wings and fly to the sun.

    NPV opponents continue to toss out red herrings about how the EC was “designed” to protect “state’s rights,” and to defend small states against large states. Pure mythology. Read Madison’s notes to the Constitutional Convention. Read Hamilton’s defense of the EC in the Federalist papers. You’ll be surprised to learn that among the reasons that the EC was devised are:

    1) Fear that the general electorate was too ill-informed to select among candidates who they hardly knew, and that the presidential election would devolve into a regional popularity contest.
    2) Concern that, in a day when news could travel only as fast as the fastest horse, election results could not be tabulated quickly enough if given over to the general electorate.
    3) A desire to keep check on the Executive by reserving to state legislatures the right to elect the president. Remember that most of the delegates to the CC were active and influential members of their state legislatures. Most were loathe to part with any of the power they had thus attained. Also, having just overthrown a monarchical government nearly all at the convention were quite wary of ceding too much power to another single power in their new government.
    4) An alternative to the method of appointment which for several weeks was the most popular and putative method for designating the Executive – appointment by the National legislature.

    Show of hands, please, of those who would prefer THAT method of electing the president?

    But these are secondary issues. In fact, the one and only reality we all have to deal with here is the reality of the wording of the US Constitution. Richard is quite right. In the months I have been following this blog I have NEVER…EVER…read any cogent argument which proves that the NPV plan is at odds with the very sentence of the Constitution which created the EC in the first place. Lots of “what if’s,” and “supposin’s,” and a whole lot of politically motivated sophistry, but the fact is that the NPV depends solely on each state legislature determining how they will allocate the EC votes given to them by the Constitution – “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”

    Those are the actual words, and if YOU don’t like them, then YOU should get to work on a Constitutional amendment of your own.

  5. @5:

    With THAT phrase, Baron, no, of course, NPV does not conflict. I’m not aware that anyone has said it did. Though there are other sentences in the Constitution — some original and some added later (which potentially gives them a certain priority now, since they were added with full knowledge of what had gone before). And some other people have made arguments against NPV based on those other sentences — some of which could, yes, apply to a fact pattern similar to my hypothetical.

    But if you’ll re-read my post above, you may see that it was not in fact arguing against the existence of that clause — or the possibility that the clause gives state legislatures the power to choose electors in their own fashions regardless of or overriding any other language in the US Constitution, US statute, state constitutions or statutes, or the tiebreaking rules for the group stages of the World Cup. It wasn’t giving any opinion on the legalities of NPV. In fact, it explicitly denied doing so. It was neutral on that question — as I was again just now, in using the word “possibility” in the previous sentence.

    My previous post was simply making a point that the attack on comment #1 implicit in comments #2 and #3 was inaccurate. Well, I suppose the post as a whole didn’t make that point as simply as it could have — if this was the source of your confusion, Baron, I’m sorry. But the hypo was pretty straightforward.

    And as for your “so what”? — well, I guess that means we have to go over this again. (*sigh*)

    I have stated my own problems with NPV several times before on this site — majority fraud, what one might call the “51-Floridas problem”, the tangle over standing that would happen if people in state A want to compel a recount in state B, and so on.

    (Heck, I just thought of a new one — new for me, at least. Or maybe it’s just a magnified example of the ballot-access issue. Anyway, we who frequent this site have seen reports of incidents where Presidential candidates or their parties have carelessly blown filing deadlines or other state requirements, and could have been tossed off the ballot. Not to mention other cases with questionable-at-best challenges to legitimate ballot-access efforts. That’s where Richard’s whole enterprise gets its name, after all! :] Well, NPV would raise the stakes in both these types of situations, as it would for some of those other problems — so we’d be likely to have more and louder courtroom battles over them. And this too is a problem that could crop up whether or not the states involved were NPV participants, so we’d be back at the threshold again with more issues of standing.)

    I’ve mentioned what I consider the core benefit of the current system — building a national consensus from among the diverse opinions of the different (and, as DemoRep rightly points out, separately sovereign) states. And yes, I prefer the balance of that benefit and its accompanying risk that a candidate could win the Presidency with fewer votes than some other candidate over the not-so-nice mess that I believe NPV would get us all into. (NOTE: Absent IRV or approval voting or some other more expressive voting method, we can’t say absolutely that an EC-vote winner had less overall support than a plurality popular-vote winner. But NPV wouldn’t change that — it would just up the ante, as it would on so many other deals.)

    I think I have also noted here at BAN my willingness to consider other EC reforms. (Though not as often as I’ve commented on NPV.) Allocating votes by Congressional district, for example — or better yet, awarding them proportionally. I still tend to prefer leaving the “Senatorial votes” with their consensus-building impacts dependent on statewide vote counts as they do now — but I’m open to considering throwing them into the proportional mix, too.

    Now, as matters stand, those changes arguably could lessen any individual state’s importance in the national campaign, which may be one reason why more states haven’t adopted them. (Another reason might be apparent, of course, in states with enduring majorities for one party or another — I say “enduring” because, quite apart from my own preferences, I’m not sure anything is “permanent” about partisan alignments.) That might make a “we-will-if-you-will” type of interstate compact to adopt one of these reforms appropriate — and understandable — and such a compact (if Congress approved it, of course) would avoid NPV’s potential legal snarl of interstate standing issues.

    I would even be willing to consider reducing that “Senatorial” EC-vote bonus for candidates with widespread support from two per state to one, giving more relative weight to the “Representative” EC votes
    . . . though I haven’t given this too much deep consideration up to now, largely because *that* clearly *WOULD* require a Constitutional amendment — we *CAN* all agree on that, I hope? — and no such amendment is on the table at the moment.

    (Hey, if we’re going back that far . . . anybody want to discuss the 12th Amendment? Maybe we could split up the tickets again, and give each *voter* two votes this time. . . :] . . .)

    By contrast, I think I have not previously declared on this site my unequivocal preference that state legislatures use their Constitutional power — whether absolute or not — to put/keep/leave the determination of the President in the hands of the voters, rather than select electors by direct appointment or drawing lots or whatever other method they might come up with. I do so now. (And the fact that doing so may pull the cornfield out from under some straw men, Baron, is just a fringe benefit.) And I would also support amending the Constitution to explicitly require that state legislatures base the manner of selection of their states’ electoral votes on the voters’ support for Presidential candidates — while specifically not limiting them to winner-takes-all.

    But that is my preference. It’s not a legal opinion, any more than my previous post was — even though it’s my opinion, and I’m an attorney.

    And I limit that preference with the caveat that — as a state’s legislators are elected by the voters in that state, and thus are (or at least should be) beholden to them — the legislators should pass their President-electing power on to their own state’s voters, rather than to anyone else outside their jurisdiction.

  6. Richard

    If the National Popular Vote Plan were implemented, that would probably lead to a national ballot access law for presidential elections, to avoid the problem that post #6 mentions.

  7. Such a law could well be written to address *one* of the problems post #6 mentions. But it need not be tied to NPV.

    Why should we have to have NPV first and then (maybe) have the mess it makes “lead to” such a statute? Why not avoid the mess, and pass the statute first?

    Will NPV advocates include a Uniform Ballot Access Statute in their packet? If states representing a majority of EC votes all adopted the same open rules on ballot access, that could set a de facto national standard — and be a step forward which all of us here could support.

  8. Richard G.

    Well, I’ve reached the point where I realize NPV won’t ever happen and it doesn’t really matter. It won’t change the outcomes of the elections in the long run and neither are there enough states that would ever support it. Sorry, but the numbers add up against it.

    Furthermore, it wouldn’t change the real problems we are facing in our country. Correcting the process by which we vote is less important than the current attitude toward voting we have.

  9. Demo Rep

    There also happens to be the Equal Protection Clause in 14th Amdt, Sec. 1 —

    NPV National Results
    A 70 million plus 1
    Z 70 million

    State of Chaos – perhaps CA ???
    A 1
    Z 10 million

    The ONE vote for A is *equal protection* for the 10 million Z votes in such State of Chaos ???

    Also – where is the approval of the gerrymander Congress for the NPV scheme — Art. I, Sec. 10 –

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, *** enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State ***.

    Since when can any mere interstate compact SUBVERT another part of the Constitution ???

    How many New Age constitutional law MORONS are there in the U.S.A. — besides the 9 SCOTUS MORONS ???

    Uniform definition of Elector
    P.R. and App.V.

    Otherwise – get ready for Civil W—-A—-R II — due to the EVIL party hack MORONS in the U.S.A. Congress, White House, SCOTUS, State capitols, etc.

    — trying to use all the loopholes — just like HITLER did in 1933 in Germany – to subvert the then 1919 German Constitution – result – about 70 million DEAD humans in the world in 1939-1945.

  10. Demo Rep

    There is also the following in the nearly DEAD U.S.A. Constitution –

    14th Amdt, Sec. 2- Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of [[[ electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, ]]] Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, [[[or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime,]]] the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    Are the words in brackets useless ???
    Was the 39th Congress and the ratifying States in 1866-1868 wasting their time and effort ???

  11. Baronscarpia

    6 -

    Trust me. I’m not “confused” on this issue.

    If you’re not aware that opponents of NPV have obfuscated the fact that state legislatures, constitutionally, have the right to allocate their EC votes in whatever manner they choose, then you are the one who is “confused.”

    And again…you, as many opponents of NPV do, throw more “what if’s” at its proponents as if the NPV scheme, in order to achieve validation, needs to address all of the weaknesses of our current method of electing anyone. As if the EC system solves them.

    Just more obfuscation.

  12. Baronscarpia

    6 -

    Sorry. I meant to say ” “

  13. Baronscarpia

    sigh

  14. Baronscarpia

    8 -

    See my prior post. Do EC advocates “include a Uniform Ballot Access Statute” in THEIR packet?

    This is such a typical and simple-minded objection to the NPV. “Oh…you can’t solve ALL the problems we have qualifying voters, counting ballots, addressing legal challenges to results, recounts…etc.? Then it’s no good.” Does NPV need to cure cancer too to deserve support?

    As if the Electoral College isn’t as afflicted by all of those ills. As if the Electoral College protects us from the consequences.

    Typical anti-NPV, obfuscatory polemic.

    Sigh…

  15. (*sigh* returned — echoed back four times. . . .)

    If NPV made the risk of cancer greater, I would expect advocates of it to address that problem. (Hey, it’s your example, Baron.)

    IMO, NPV makes the risk of some of these problems greater, and creates some new problems, so NPV advocates should address *those* issues. As I have tried to address the valid desires for more power and expressiveness for individual voters with my discussion of EC reforms. (I still prefer reforming the EC to abolishing it, though. One big reason is that I recognize Professor Natapoff’s findings that individual voters have more power to swing the election with the EC than without it. To simplify those findings: voters or groups of voters are generally more likely to be able to swing their own state and have that state’s EC votes tip the balance nationwide than to be the absolute difference over the whole 100-million-plus nationwide direct-vote total.)

    I don’t know if everyone who prefers the EC also advocates uniform ballot access laws/rules. I tend to doubt it. But I do — as I said in post #8, describing the concept as “a step forward which all of us here could support.”

    Or maybe I’m wrong — maybe *NOT* all of us here could support that. Can *WE* agree on it to start with, Baron, you and I at least — even though we’re never going to convince each other about NPV? If not, then feel free to say so . . . and you won’t have to say it any more times than once.

  16. Baronscarpia

    16 -

    Agree on…what? In between sighs try to write a few cogent sentences back to back, would you?

  17. Demo Rep

    The EVIL Electoral College scheme is one of the 3 U.S.A. minority rule gerrymander structures — that have rotted the U.S.A. nearly to death.

    A plurality of the votes in a number of States/DC having a bare majority (270) of the 538 E.C. votes = about 28-30 percent indirect MINORITY RULE — to elect each Prez/VP since 1832.

    And it shows — in the party hack extremism in Dumb City – especially since 1929 — a mere 81 years of NUTCASE Prezs – who think they are elected gods on Mother Earth — and who since 1945 have had the power to destroy all human life on Mother Earth in their undeclared wars.

    TO HELL with the small gerrymander States/D.C. with their overvalued votes — in the gerrymander Senate and E.C. especially.

    See the overthrowing of the 1777 Art. Confed. when it became super-dangerous and useless — due to the party hacks in the State legislatures in 1776-1787.

    P.R. and App.V.

  18. @17: Oh, my . . . poor Baron . . . squint once more at post #8 or post #16, or both.

    For in both posts I talked about the concept of a Uniform Ballot Access Statute as a concept I thought we here might all agree was a good one.

    If you can recognize that now, you have another chance to answer my question on whether or not you *DO* agree with me on that.

    If you still don’t understand after three chances — well, maybe it really is true that there are none so blind as those who will not see. . . .

  19. @17: Oh, my . . . poor Baron . . . squint once more at post #8 or post #16, or both.

    For in both posts I talked about the concept of a Uniform Ballot Access Statute as something I thought we here might all agree was a good idea.

    If you can recognize that now, you have another chance to answer my question on whether or not you *DO* agree with me on that.

    If you still don’t understand after three chances — well, maybe it really is true that there are none so blind as those who will not see. . . .

  20. (My apologies to the Baron and everyone for the double post. It looked from this end as though I’d stopped the comment from going in the first time — at least, I still had the comment box in front of me. Well, I’m hoping that Richard can wipe out what as of this writing is comment #19 — and this explanatory comment — and leave the one in between the, currently labeled #20 . . .)

  21. Baronscarpia

    19 -

    …And those who can’t count to 16? I’m pretty sure post #8 was Richard G.’s, not yours and I’m definitely sure post #16 was mine, not yours.

    But let’s not cavil over petty details.

    As to the idea of a “uniform ballot access statute” – maybe we’d agree, maybe we wouldn’t. I guess that would depend on how it was written, wouldn’t it?

    However, even I did agree with you on this mythic statute, your response would inevitably be to say “AH HAH! But the NPV doesn’t accomplish what this mythic statute would, so why are we wasting time talking about NPV?” That’s the way you NPV opponents have been trained to operate.

    Conflate multiple problems into one and lay the burden of solving all the problems on any proposed solution to any one of them. Again…nothing more than politically motivated obfuscation.

    Even if your mythic statue were enacted, if the EC continued to be implemented every four years as it has to date, millions of Americans in over 20 states would still be systematically disenfranchised…no matter how “uniform” the ballot they cast might be, no matter how “uniform” the processes might be by which they qualify to cast a ballot, no matter how “uniform” the manner of counting ballots might be. It is precisely systematic disenfranchisement which is the essential point of the NPV compact. Nothing you’ve had to say in this thread addresses that fundamental weakness of the EC scheme, and you know that as well as I do.

    Where you and I disagree, I think, is the degree of importance we should assign to that effect of the EC scheme relative to other electoral weaknesses in this country. I’d rather make sure that FIRST, every voting citizen has as much voice in the election of the president as any other. Once we achieve that, and the NPV will achieve that, we can worry about all the other ills of our system. Or we can address them at the same time. Hooray. But it is NOT…DEFINITELY NOT…incumbent upon the NPV compact to solve all those other problems which the EC scheme has never solved (and in fact in some ways has abetted), in order to be validated as a solution to the bigger problem at hand. But that’s the red herring what you NPV opponents repeatedly use as an entirely fraudulent argument against the compact.

    Cards on the table – the quaint, decrepit, outdated EC system is racked up right now just the way you like it, isn’t it? What’s your deal anyway? Are you a political consultant or a pollster in a “battleground state?” You sure can’t be a Republican voter in Rhode Island or a Democratic voter in Utah, for instance. If you are you haven’t participated in a presidential election in decades.

    Do you really LIKE it that way?

  22. I asked Richard to delete one of my nearly-identical twin comments above. Alas, Richard instead deleted my first comment on this entry — #4. (Which we can tell because the Baron’s post in response — now #4 as I type this — refers to my previous post as #4.)

    The post that’s gone now is the one where I pointed out that what DemoRep said in comment #1 was accurate, and the implied attack on that comment at #2 and #2 was not. I think I said something like this: “If state A’s voters prefer candidate 1, but state A is part of the NPV and candidate 2 gets a plurality in the nationwide count, then the voters outside state A *are* deciding how the EC votes of state A will be cast.”

    I was pointedly neutral about the legality of this. I used a colorful comparison to _Camelot_, IIRC — saying that this didn’t determine whether that meant NPV’s fun was constitutional or un-, as Queen Guinevere might be singing if we weren’t already past “The Lusty Month of May” this election year.

    That’s why all the cross-references are weird now, and why I was right in my references before — my post currently showing as #7 used to be #8, and my post currently labeled #15 was #16. If we’re looking at the way the page is now, of course, the Baron’s numbers are accurate. (And Richard has informed me that he can’t replace the comment he’s deleted.)

    But the Baron is wrong about a number of other things.

    I’m not a “trained” NPV opponent. If there is some kind of sinister league of NPV opponents, they must have mislabeled my invitation to the training sessions — or else they recognized an honest NPV opponent, which the Baron can’t seem to do.

    BTW, is it only me or is it a bit off-center when someone

    – with a posting name based on a villainous noble from an opera, and
    – who doesn’t provide a link or any identification of (presumably) himself,

    calls for “cards on the table” in a discussion on democracy from someone who has repeatedly provided the readers of this Website with his

    – name (corroborated by the fact that *his* posting name is his initials),
    – profession,
    – home page,
    – home state, and
    – party affiliation (and position in that party)?

    Well, I’ll join Emily Litella and say “Never mind” about that . . . here’s the information one more time. (See if you can get it this time, Baron. I’m tired of correcting you on such basics.)

    My name is John Anthony La Pietra. (I use the middle name partly to honor my late father, who had it as his first name, and partly to cut down on the chances that someone will think my middle name is “La”.)

    I am an attorney — still rather new at it, and quite solo in my practice.

    I am the Elections Co-ordinator for the Green Party of Michigan.

    However, I am in a minority among Michigan Greens in that I tend to support the consensus-building impact of the Electoral College — and, yes, the greater voting power the EC gives individuals and groups. (See my reference above to the work of Professor Natapoff on this point.)

    Still, I would like to see that greater individual voting power the EC gives enhanced by giving individual voters more expressive power — and I am interested in reforming the EC to bring it closer to the people. (See my first long post above — as I type this, currently labeled #5, but formerly #6 . . . as Richard’s response right after it confirms.)

    I tend to think that election reform overall is a bigger topic than EC reform, so maybe the Baron got one more thing pretty close to right, anyway. (Not sure I can give him full points on the question if he can’t recognize the concept of agreeing on a concept — but let’s not cavil at petty details . . . there may be reasons why each side has some of them right.)

    But where I think our core disagreement lies is this. I do not believe NPV qualifies as “EC reform” — as an improvement over the EC. I believe that NPV is a false hope — that it would trade possible improvement in some areas of systemic disenfranchisement for major worsening of other types of disenfranchisement, with the added disadvantage of interstate legal confusions and entanglements.

    We’re not going to convince each other — and apparently the Baron isn’t even willing to try to find common ground on related issues. Well, if he doesn’t believe I am who I’ve repeatedly said I am, maybe that’s understandable. . . .

    (It’s also regrettable. If we *could* find common ground, think of all the time and energy that might be freed up to actually get somewhere positive. Although I admit to a slightly selfish side-motive: I wouldn’t have to spend all this time and energy correcting his errors and answering his vilifications.)

  23. Okay — let me cavil at, and correct, one detail before anyone else does.

    In the second paragraph of the previous post, make that “#2 and #3″, not “#2 and #2″. Sorry.

  24. Demo Rep

    #23 How about doing postings OFF LINE and then cut and paste them — to lessen the confusion about who wrote what when — with or without corrections ???

    A Prez is allegedly the Prez of ALL the People of the U.S.A. = BIG LIE — EVIL Fiction.

    With the EVIL E.C. a Prez is the puppet of the party hacks in the gerrymander States/DC that elect such Prez — about 28-30 percent of the total voters.

    Thus the *battleground* States math stuff in each Prez election – about 6 marginal States — the other 44/DC are totally ignored in the process.

    If one if UN-fortunate enough to be in one of the battleground States then one get about 10 Prez TV attack ads per hour in Sept-Nov. — now expanding to the internet.

  25. Demo Rep

    Which State regime will let NON-U.S.A. citizens be voters — at least for electing a Prez/VP if NPV somehow takes effect ???

    I.E. those hoards of illegal immigrants, foreign terrorists, etc. voting for a Prez/VP via NPV.

    I.E. How much FATAL stuff is in the New Age quick fix NPV scheme ???

    I.E. Do some MORONS actually want a Civil WAR II ???

  26. The post now labeled #20 explains, as best I can, what happened to create the twin posts now labeled #18 & #19.

    The post now labeled #22 explains how I asked Richard to delete one of those two posts — but in trying to comply with my request he deleted the post that was originally labeled #4 (which I also described. And that is why the cross-references to posts numbered above #3 are now off.

    And, as it happens, I did work on the post now labeled #22 outside the reply box as well as inside it, and used cut-and-paste to do so. It’s a good idea for longer posts in general, and I’ll be even more likely to use it in the future after this incident.

    I just unfortunately overlooked one typo I’d made — and given the level of attention to detail on this thread, I wanted to offer a correction as soon as I noticed the error.

  27. Demo Rep

    LWV stuff -

    * An addition to the LWVUS position on selection of the president: “We support the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished.

    At least the end part is correct.

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