More on Presidential Electors bill and NC's role in the Electoral College

Here are some points I shared with legislators this week as they considered whether to pass SB 353, the Presidential electors bill.

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Good morning!

By now you have already received a barrage of emails and calls against this bill.

However, this is not one of them.

As a former lawmaker who introduced similar legislation in the past, and as a director of the NC Center for Voter Education, and, more importantly, as a voter who wants my vote and your vote for President to count, please VOTE YES on SB 353 today. In brief, here is why:

You have heard various points for and against the bill.

Many opponents of SB 353 want you to believe several outright misrepresentations (at best).

Myth/Misrepresentation #1: NC has always awarded its electors using a "winner take all" method.

Answer: FALSE. NC, like many states, did not use a "winner take all" method until well into the 19th century. My thorough, accurate research - including several published articles of mine over the years - detail this.

Myth/Misrepresentation #2: Adopting any presidential elector change like in SB 353 violates the US Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers.

Answer: FALSE. Anyone who says the above to you is either ignorant of the Constitution (and the the process that led to its creation) or purposely misleading you. A clear, direct reading of the relevant provisions of the Constitution says that how a State chooses its presidential electors is LEFT UP TO THE STATES. In fact, presidential electors - starting with the election of George Washington - were NOT awarded on a winner-take-all basis. It was a concept that did not catch on until the 1840s and then gradually began to emerge for decades. ... In fact, by supporting SB 353 you would be what is called a "strict constructionist" of the Constitution, a conservative position that even the John Roberts/Antonin Scalia U.S. Supreme Court could not oppose!

Myth/Misrepresentation #3: SB 353 is less democratic and harms the weight of each voter's ballot for President.

Answer: FALSE. Most people do not realize that the current system of "winner take all" is not about who gets a majority of votes in NC ... it actually is who gets a "plurality" - that is, the most votes, even if many more people actually oppose the vote-leader. In other words, a presidential candidate in NC, under the current system, could get ALL of the the State's electors even if that candidate received, for example, only 33% of the vote! This is not merely a hypothetical. As recently as 1992 in NC, the current system awarded ALL of its NC electors to incumbent President George H.W. Bush (father of the current President) even though he ONLY received 43% of the votes in NC. Clinton received 42% and Perot received the balance. Compare with the elections here in NC in 1948, 1968, and 1980. ... Equally compelling is this question: Is it fair if 49.9999% of the States' votes have no electors to represent their preference for President? ... If anything, adopting SB 353 will ensure that votes are not wasted and that the awarding of our State's electors better reflects the will of our State's voters by basing it mostly upon Congressional districts. SB 353 is a bold underscoring of what our "democratic republic", or representative, form of government is all about.

Myth/Misrepresentation #4: NC has not considered this bill in recent years.

Answer: FALSE. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, a similar bill passed the NC House of Representatives. In 2001, the bill I filed on the subject passed the House Election Laws Committee. That same year, the Senate passed its version (sponsored by former Senator Howard Lee) out of the Senate.

Myth/Misrepresentation #5: SB 353 is a bill only sought by Democrats.

Answer: FALSE. As recently as 2001 forward, countless Republicans have filed and pushed similar bills in States all around the country, as well as Democrats. By my count, at least 20 States have been considering this positive election law reform in recent years.

Myth/Misrepresentation #6: SB 353 will dilute our weaken our State's role in the presidential election contest.

Answer: FALSE: To the contrary, given that we are one of the 10 largest states, presidential candidates from the major parties will flock here more than ever to visit voters and not just come by to rake up campaign cash. If Republican and Democratic presidential candidates know that several Congressional districts - and their presidential electors - are in play in NC, then they will spend more time here. Another plus: NC will have an economic benefit, probably in the many millions of dollars, by the additional spending of campaigns and supporters of candidates here. It is high time that more of our presidential candidates pay attention to NC. If we can't move up our presidential primary, then SB 353 is a welcome alternative. And it is good for business.

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Though there are many other misrepresentations being advocated by opponents, please consider the above and VOTE YES for SB 353.

It will be the best way to give voters more say in who NC actually supports for President.

Thank you for your consideration.

Wayne Goodwin
Former member, NC House of Representatives (1997-2004)

Comments

Thanks Lee.

Much to think through.

This appears to be one of several issues this year where the possibility of "some" progress may actually stand in the way of the possibility of "real" progress.

Thanks for posting this.

NPV, the best method for universal Presidential responsiveness

The best method for having every vote count in the Presidential election is to have every vote count in the Presidential election.

I must emphasize that we are not discussing the election of Senator, House Representative or "President" of Ohio, Florida, or of the rural/urban voters of any particular state, but the President of the United States of America. While an important concern, regional interest is not the first priority in such a discussion.

If the majority of Americans lived in the large cities, it would not be an enormous corruption of justice for Presidential campaigns to focus a large share of their resources and attention to these areas. That is, however, simply not the case. Most Americans do not live in the largest cities. A Presidential campaign which devoted all of its attention to the largest cities, or the largest states for that matter, would be a losing campaign. A candidate could win every single vote cast in the ten biggest states and still not have a majority.

Remember, John Kerry won the urban areas in Ohio in 2004, but George Bush's campaign mobilized many voters in the rural and "exurban" counties and won the state.

Contact Torrey Dixon, FairVote NC Director, at tdixon@fairvote.org

Without Congressional Approval, how is NPV constitutional?

Article I Section 10. No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.

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.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

NPV in the example given

does not do this para

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.

The idea given is to look at what ever the popular vote is and then assign our EC votes to that person.

Its winner take all from a national number perspective. We would not be in any agreement with any other state. It is our idea and the way we wish to do it. All we would have to do to accept this would be to change in what ever rule or law that we want to assign our EC votes based on the national popular vote. If thats the GA, or NC constitution, so be it. It is done. No unconstitutional anything as far as the National constitution is concerned. The band of silly 9 (supreme court) cant even look into this as its outside their purview.

But, if you read the NPV

It doesn't go into effect until all the electoral votes needed are signed on to the pact.

Here's how the bill starts:

March 20, 2007

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to establish north carolina as a member of the agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Article 18 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by adding new sections to read:

"§ 163‑209.1. Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote; compact enacted and entered into.

The "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote" is enacted into law and entered into on behalf of North Carolina with any and all other states legally joining therein ...

It is an agreement.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

So we get Congress to do it, or we get the Constitution changed.

Then it's Constitutional.

In my view, the only good reason to change to Constitution is to provide for the enfranchisement of groups of people. I believe that NPV actually would do that. That, combined with comprehensive campaign finance reform might actually make this a valuable democracy where candidates could stand on what they believe, and not their end of quarter FEC reports.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Hmmm. I'm not so sure about this.

Especially in light of the widespread use of digital machines, and the possibilities of tampering with such.

In the last few Presidential elections, this country was very close to a 50/50 split, with only a few hundred thousand votes difference.

What if future elections are even closer, and evidence of widespead voter fraud in a few densely populated areas is suspected? Do we refuse to grant our votes to the popular winner until some other state verifies its results? Who would make that call?

I think we have to stop thinking about our votes

as a statewide block.

We think about our votes as what they are - individual votes. We elect official who ensure that every single vote has a paper trail, and that voting rights of all individuals are protected. We don't "grant our votes", we cast our votes for the best person. The votes are tallied, and the person with the most votes nationwide wins. No averaging, no winner of this state or that state, just the one with the most votes nationwide.

Yes, it would take an act of Congress. Yes, it would take widespread reform. Yes, it would probably take campaign finance reform.

But in my thinking, this is only the really fair way to do it.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Frankly, this:

Yes, it would take an act of Congress.

is the only way this thing would not become a clusterf...electoral nightmare.

If we tried from the bottom up, where (some) states awarded their electoral votes according to the national popular vote, while others stuck with their own vote count to determine electors, you could still end up with a 1st runner up as the actual winner.

To break away from "winner takes all" cleanly all 50 states would have to do it. The only way that's going to happen is from the top down, via Federal involvement. Which, they're not supposed to do...right?

This Will Make You Feel *Really* Good

STATE VOTE MACHINES LOSE TEST TO HACKERS

"State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday."

The Link

Yikes!

Something like that in such a populous state could definitely screw the pooch on a close election. How can you hand-count digital votes?

I did a digital ballot

in Novemeber. What I did notice was the machine itself wrote something down for ever choice I made. As I pushed a button for a candidate, the machine printed something on a piece of paper similar to a receipt.

I doubt if these machines can be hacked. It would seem these machines would be able to stand alone. You do your voting. at end of day, down load the machine and the results. If someone wants to challenge, people can go to that paper to figure out what was done.

Dont think my name was printed on that receipt.

Thats all I know about digital machines.

anything can be hacked.

but the machine you used had a paper trail. That's what's important. Unless they physically destroy the paper, they can't change your vote.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

That's why we MUST have paper back ups.

It's too easy to get rid of digital votes. Too easy.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

DQ - just in case I haven't told you lately

You rock, sistah.

Thanks.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Full disclosure, my step-sister-in-law

researched and wrote it. She deserves the props. (Pokey Anderson)
 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Pokey Anderson

You Rock - step sistah in law.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

NPV is constitutional without Congressional appoval because. . .

The Supreme Court has held that "any agreement" or "any compact" under Article I, Section 10 does not include every agreement and every compact. In fact, only those agreements or compacts which are directed to "the increase of political power in the states, which may encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States" require Congressional approval (Commonwealth of Virginia v. State of Tennessee, 148 U.S., 518). NPV does not encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States because the Constitution grants states power over their electors ("Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors," Article II, Sec. I) and only gives Congress power to set the time for states to choose their electors, to determine the day on which the electors submit their vote, and to open and count the electors' votes.

Contact Torrey Dixon (J.D., Duke Law '04), FairVote NC Director, at tdixon@fairvote.org

I don't know if they're supposed to do it or not.

But it's what should happen. Maybe it will happen in our lifetime. But probably not. We'll probably be talking about this for the next 40 years (the good lord willing that we live that long and keep the first amendment that long).


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

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