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The 'National Popular Vote' Plan Aims To Remove Electoral College's Protections For States

Maine is the latest entrant in the leftist interstate Popular Vote compact, but is the NPV an exercise in futility?

By taking no action, Maine Governor Janet Mills helped reinforce the rule of the majority. 

The two-time Democrat this week took the cowardly approach by allowing a controversial bill which brings Maine into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to become law without her signature. The bill recently passed the state House of Representatives by a single vote — 73 to 72 — and Mills, according to critics, is hedging her bets.

“…[R]ecognizing that there is merit to both sides of the argument, and recognizing that this measure has been the subject of public discussion several times before in Maine, I would like this important nationwide debate to continue and so I will allow this bill to become law without my signature,” the Democrat said in a statement

Electoral College opponents celebrated, insisting that Maine brings advocates of the national popularity contest “one step closer” to ending the Founder’s ingenious system of electing presidents. But the constitutionally questionable compact will need more than just Maine to turn a long-time leftist dream into a reality.

Struggle for Big Blue States

Mills’ political inaction made Maine the 17th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Washington, D.C. is also a member. Under the agreement, member states would allocate all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes nationally — even if a compact state strongly voted for another candidate.

The winner does not have to secure a majority of votes, they just have to secure the most. And there is no runoff provision. So big blue state California and its 22.1 million registered voters (26.67 million eligible) becomes a highly desired prize and significant force in electing a president under the National Popular Vote system. The same goes for red state Texas and its nearly 18 million registered voters. 

“The votes of large states with major cities like California and New York will now dominate our Presidential elections at the expense of smaller, rural states,” the Maine GOP said in a statement. “If Mainers vote for a different candidate than the candidate winning the national popular vote, state electors will be bound to vote for the popular vote winner.”

The agreement is set to take effect when the number of states in the compact reaches the electoral vote majority (270). With the addition of Maine, the number of electoral votes theoretically committed to the NPVIC stands at 209. The Pine Tree State currently is among two states that splits its electoral votes.

As expected, the member states lean left, some more strongly than others. California and its 54 electoral votes is one of the members of the compact, joining in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York joined the party with its 28 Electoral College votes in 2014, while Illinois (19) was among the first states to pass and sign legislation in 2008.

Gamemaker  

The National Popular Vote compact movement emerged from the left's hostility towards George W. Bush, the public's lack of knowledge, and the luck of a lottery industry mogul.

The person who created scratch-card lottery games in San Francisco John Koza and a legal professional who deals with elections Barry Fadem worked to make changes to the Electoral College, which they believe is unfair. The left was very upset after the 2000 election where George W. Bush, a Republican, got more Electoral College votes but lost the popular vote. The anger increased when an outsider like Donald Trump did the same thing in 2016, beating Hillary Clinton.

The National Popular Vote organization began in 2006, and Maryland was the first state to join the agreement in 2007.

Koza, who is the chairman of the NPV, has always been interested in the electoral system established by our founders. He made and published an Electoral College board game in 1966. According to activist tracker InfluenceWatch notes, , Koza co-founded and was the CEO of Scientific Games Inc., where he helped invent the scratch-off lottery ticket. In the 1980s, he worked with lawyer Barry Fadem, who is now his colleague at NPV, to promote lotteries in different states through citizen initiatives and state legislatures.

Koza has also given millions of dollars to support Democrat campaigns, and has also donated to the

Democratic National Committee and liberal groups like MoveOn and the National Progress Fund, as reported by InfluenceWatch. Additionally, the Soros family and theStephen M. Silberstein Foundation have supported his cause, which involves trying to change the longstanding Electoral College system.

However, critics of the NPV argue that Koza's latest initiative relies on the public's anger and lack of knowledge about the U.S. Constitution.

Challenges to the Constitution

Efforts to alter the Electoral College date back to the time of George Washington and have been the subject of many disputes. The National Archives notes that there have been numerous proposals in Congress to adjust or eliminate the Electoral College. A Pew Research Center study in September found that 65 percent of respondents favored replacing the Electoral College with a national popular vote. Supporters of this approach argue that the compact does not eliminate the Electoral College, but enhances it by using state legislatures' authority to determine how to allocate their electoral votes. poll Trent England, a distinguished fellow at the

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, writes which monitors the efforts to weaken the Electoral College, noted that for more than a century, opponents of the Electoral College focused on amending the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is seen as a clever strategy and relatively simple, but the benefits of the current Electoral College system are not solely based on attractiveness. The debate over the National Popular Vote highlights the lack of understanding about the incentives provided by the Electoral College, which help to moderate and strengthen our political system. While supporters of the National Popular Vote claim it does not violate the Constitution, experts in constitutional law disagree. It appears to violate the Compact Clause that bars states from making any agreements or compacts with other states without Congress’ consent. Compact Clause

that prevents states from making agreements or compacts with other states without Congress’ consent.

The NPV faces several constitutional challenges, including the 14th Amendment. Disregarding the votes of large numbers of voters is a serious matter for the Constitution. “Taking away a voter’s right to have their preferred presidential candidate's vote counted could be seen as infringing on that person’s rights under the 14th Amendment and the U.S. Constitution,” said Peter J. Wallison, who served as White House counsel in the Reagan administration, in National Review last year. Wallison also argues that the electoral issues would be a big problem, with the temptation to cheat in heavily populated states being even more appealing. Overall, the agreement deprives smaller states of the protections they have long had under the Electoral College, which gives them a say in national politics and a defense against the power of larger states.

Democrats for the Electoral College

Despite the support from leftists for the National Popular Vote, some Democrats strongly oppose the agreement. wrote “It’s popular because it sounds good. People don’t realize the specifics,” said Jasper Hendricks, of

Democrats for the Electoral College.

He proudly served as a presidential elector for Hillary Clinton in 2016 in Virginia.

When testifying against the Maine bill, Hendricks pointed out that the agreement tries to bypass the process of amending the constitution, risking instability and diminishing trust in the political system.

“In Maine, this would mean overlooking your statewide and congressional district results and causing the interests of Maine’s people to be ignored by presidential candidates,” he But the movement to change the state-by-state Electoral College system into the consolidated power of just a few election officials continues. Supporters of the agreement are focusing on a state with a Democratic government Compact opponents caution

that Michigan may trade its current influence as a swing state for a lesser role in the national popularity contest. Nevada lawmakers are attempting to bring a ballot issue on the NPVIC to voters, and supporters of the agreement are actively pursuing

Pennsylvania said. 

and other swing states. Michigan, However, there are unlikely to be changes to the Electoral College system anytime soon, especially not in this presidential election cycle. The ultimate goal of the game maker may turn out to be an exercise in futility.

“Therefore, besides the initial confusion the concept will create, the Left is wasting its time and money promoting the NPV idea. Perhaps that’s the only positive aspect of it,” Wallison wrote. Maine is the newest addition to the interstate Popular Vote compact supported by leftists, but is the NPV just an exercise in futility? Pennsylvania and other swing states. 

But don’t look for changes to the Electoral College system anytime soon — certainly not in this presidential election cycle. And the game maker’s dream ultimately may just be an exercise in futility. 

“Accordingly — aside from the confusion the concept will initially produce — the Left is wasting its time and money pushing the NPV idea. Maybe that’s the only good thing about it,” Wallison wrote. 

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