Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shh... It's a Revolution. Pass it on.

As has been reported here previously, the folks at National Popular Vote have been working on a way to sidestep the Electoral College. The idea is straightforward: participating states simply agree to award all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, whoever may be. Naturally, the law does not kick in until states controlling 270 Electoral Votes (a majority) agree to do it.

Unlike a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, which would require approvals from thirty-eight state legislatures, the eleven largest states control enough Electoral Votes to make it a done deal. (I believe there may be some concern regarding enforceability, but that issue is beyond my limited legal knowledge.) To my surprise and delight, the process appears to be slowly moving forward. Here is an update on the progress of what may well be a slow and quiet revolution.

* Four states--Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey--have passed the law, potentially committing a total of 50 Electoral Votes.

* California's full legislature has approved the bill, and we are waiting on the governor. Vermont and Rhode Island's full legislatures have also passed the bill, but their governors vetoed it.

* Six states--Washington, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, Maine, and this week Massachusetts--have approved the bill in one legislative House, and we are waiting on the other.

* Eight states have approved the bill in at least one committee, and we await action by the full legislature.

In my very first post as an author on this blog, in January 2005, I urged the abolition of the Electoral College. Perhaps this is how it will actually happen--not with a bang, but with a whimper. There is no chance this will pass in time to affect the 2008 election, of course, but there is a chance for 2012. One can always hope.


The Law Talking Guy said...

It is worth noting that states with the smallest populations like Rhode Island, Vermont, and Hawaii are voting for this bill. This shows that small states are not particularly concerned about loss of power in presidential elections due to a shift to a popular vote system. Many find the mathematical advantage of the current formulation totally dwarfed by the being considered "safe" by one side or another. The fact that only blue states are voting for this (mostly) is the memory of 2000. And the fact that the GOP victory strategy depends on that slight mathematical advantage.

CA legislature has twice passed the bill; it will soon twice have been vetoed. Vermont and RI can both override the veto, but Vermont's legislature left itself insufficient time due to a quirk in the VT constitution (will have to do it again next year). Hawaii's legislature overrode the veto the second time around after falling into a VT-style "pocket veto" trap the previous go-around.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Thanks for the improved update, LTG!

Raised By Republicans said...

Of course only Blue states are going for this. Since the Republican party has turned itself into the Party of the Rural, For the Rural and Of the Rural the electoral college is their best friend. It's main effect now is to dramatically over represent rural voters.

North Carolina is a puzzle though. I can only assume that North Carolina Republicans are too stupid to realize that this is bad for them.