National Popular Vote for Rhode Island: Still Crazy After All These Years

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We’ve written several items over the years at Anchor Rising on the Presidential National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, up for a vote in both House and Senate committees today (somebody wants this decided upon fast!). The basic arguments haven’t changed; the usual argument for why a small state like Rhode Island should support National Popular Vote is that it is supposed to make Presidential candidates pay more “attention” to Rhode Island. This idea has never made any sense, and still doesn’t, as both Marc

[W]hile a Democrat could incessantly campaign in Rhode Island to jack up an overall popular vote tally, they would probably acutely focus on bigger population centers like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston etc.to maximize their turnout and run up their their popular vote tallies. Under a popular vote scheme, they could do that and still get the Rhode Island votes anyway. So where’s the Democrat incentive to visit a small state like li’l Rhody for the sake of marginal popular vote gains when the big numbers can be had in the big cities?

…and Justin

What that means is that politicians would have our four-EC votes of incentive to campaign in cities and states with higher populations and less homogeneous voting patterns. One-hundred and thirty cities have larger populations than Providence’s, and 42 states have larger populations than Rhode Island’s. And the state-by-state component of campaign strategies would account for a smaller amount of the total effort, because the National Popular Vote would effectively make the voter audience a national one, thereby increasing the importance of advertisements on a national scale.

…have explained.

Indeed, NPV didn’t make sense to a majority of Rhode Island House members in 2009, who voted against it by a margin of 28 – 45 that year.   Amongst currently seated Reps who were also present in 2009, the vote was 12 – 29 (although Randal Edgar‘s Projo story from today indicates that Rep. Raymond Gallison has changed his position from no to yes, so let’s call it 13 – 28); don’t be fooled into thinking that NPV is a long-term rank-and-file priority that has been bottled up by leadership.

If the Rhode Island legislature was really interested in making Rhode Island into a Presidential “battleground state” they could do that immediately, by changing the method for awarding Rhode Island’s Presidential electors to a proportional system, with winner-take-all occurring only if a candidate crosses a supermajority vote threshold, say 62.5%.  Under this system, it would be worth 2 electoral votes for candidates to work towards either gaining for themselves or denying their opponent a supermajority win, which would frequently put Rhode Island “in play”. (The previous link will answer the question of why 62.5%, if you are interested in further detail).

Proportional allocation, with supermajority winner-take-all makes perfect, direct sense, if the priority is truly getting more Presidential campaign attention for Rhode Island, and it can be implemented by a simple act of the legislature, without having to wait on action by any other state. Of course, it’s a plan that’s never been considered — revealing just about everything you need to know about how wide the disconnect is, between the expressed motivation and the reality of NPV.



  • MoniqueAR

    "National Popular Vote for Rhode Island: Still Crazy After All These Years"

    lol

    Definitely not a good idea for Rhode Island

    • bos22334977

      The real question is whether it's a good idea for the nation.

      • toto

        In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

        Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

        Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

        The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium, and large states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

        NationalPopularVote

        • justinkatz

          Gee, toto. With all of that support, you ought to have no trouble passing a Constitutional Amendment.

          • toto

            There is no need for a constitutional amendment.

          • _Andrew_

            Toto,

            Put need aside for a moment. If the numbers are as strongly in favor of national popular vote as you suggest, why not press for an amendment, and take a whole range of legitimate objections off the table?

          • toto

            The normal process of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified in the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes.

          • _Andrew_

            Toto,

            Actually, the constitution says the *state* shall appoint, in a manner determined by the legislatures. There's a question of whether this gives the legislature infinite power, to decree anything that it decides upon be the state acting. For example, a state legislature could decide to appoint a 10 member blue-ribbon commission of out-of-state residents to choose who to award the state's Presidential electors to. Whether that would constitute the state making the appointment is not clear — with the most important point being that expanding the size of the out-of-state commission decision doesn't make them any more part of the state.

            But this would all be rendered moot by a Constitutional Amendment, which should be easy to pass, if the support numbers are really as high as are being reported amongst a population that really understands the issue.

          • toto

            The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over.
            the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

            The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet).
            Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

            Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

            In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

            The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S.
            Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

            The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

            Again, a constitutional amendment is not needed to guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most national popular votes. National Popular Vote changes nothing in the Constitution. National Popular Vote preserves the Electoral College and state control of presidential elections. National Popular Vote uses the exclusive and plenary power of each state given by the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution to choose how they award their electors in the Electoral College. The president would still be elected with a majority of Electoral College votes.

            To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

          • _Andrew_

            Toto,

            While the Supreme Court may have ruled on the authority of the state legislatures over awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive", they have also held that the term State is not infinitely malleable and, of course, that a state isn't just its legislature, and I don't believe there are any cases (yet) where a state legislature has looked to sources outside of the state itself, in order to determine how to allocate President electors.

          • toto

            The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

          • _Andrew_

            Toto,

            That can be only be true if you equate a state to its state legislature, which the Supreme Court has held is not the case.

      • toto

        With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it.

        During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

        The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

        80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential election. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans.

        Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

        Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections

        The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College.

        Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

        States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

  • toto

    A survey of Rhode Island voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 78% among independents, 86% among liberal Democrats, 85% among moderate Democrats, 60% among conservative Democrats, 71% among liberal Republicans, 63% among moderate Republicans, and 35% among conservative Republicans.

    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 80% among 30-45 year olds, 70% among 46-65 year olds, and 76% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 84% among women and 63% among men.

    NationalPopularVote

  • toto

    Rhode Island is ignored now.

    The current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in the current handful of big states.

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaigns.

    Winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaigns and to presidents once in office.

    In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states – NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) – got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

    In 2012, 24 of the nation's 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.- including not a single dollar in presidential campaign ad money after Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee on April 11. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don't matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE –75%, ID -77%, ME – 77%, MT- 72%, NE – 74%, NH–69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

    NationalPopularVote

    • _Andrew_

      Toto,

      What you are calling "ignored" isn't any better under the National Popular Vote compact, giving how you are looking back election results. If several of the big states vote 55 – 45 for one candidate, then it's possible that Rhode Island voters won't be able to have an impact on who the Rhode Island legislature awards their own Presidential electors to.

      • toto

        With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes!

  • toto

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.

    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Wining states would not be the goal. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

    • _Andrew_

      Toto,

      This blames the modern campaign focus (maybe obsession, though that might be a bit strong) on undecided voters unfairly on the electoral college. In their final weeks, campaigns almost by definition will be looking for undecided voters, under any system. These efforts will be most effective campaigns are already strongest, and where they can get a return for incrementally ramping up their turnout machines and other campaign apparatus.

      In other words, Democrats can be expected to go to the most populated areas where they already are, and Republicans can be expected to do the same. This is not the fault of the electoral college, though the electoral college does provide a little counter-balance to the power population politics of the situation.

      • toto

        The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.

        Where you live should not determine how much, if at all, your vote matters.

        The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

        Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election. None of the 10 most rural states mattered, as usual. About 80% of the country was ignored –including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. It was more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

        80% of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

        The number and population of battleground states is shrinking.

        Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

        During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

        In 1960, presidential campaigns paid attention to 35 states.

        In 2008, Obama only campaigned in 14 states after being nominated.

        In 2012, the presidential campaigns only cared about 9 swing states.

        States' partisanship is hardening.

        19 states (including California with 55 electoral votes) with a total of 242 electoral votes, have voted Democratic, 1992-2012.

        13 states with 102 electoral votes have voted Republican, 1992-2012.

        Some states have not been been competitive for more than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position. In a study before the 2012 election:

        · 41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2008.

        · 32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2008.

        · 13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2008.

        · 19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2008.

        · 9 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988.

        · 15 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988.

        FairVote

        • _Andrew_

          Toto,

          Saying that states who early on make up their minds on which candidate to supports have no influence in a Presidential election may be the campaign consultants view of the world, but I'm not sure it touches on the deeper reality of how leaders are selected. States with large percentages of voters, who have decided early on to vote for the Democrat or the Republican do so because they agree with something about the candidate they are supporting. The candidate knows this, he knows he has to adhere to certain positions (at least during the election) to hold on to what he has, i.e. would anyone seriously argue that the Southern "solidly Republican" states had "no influence" on Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign?

          And while it is true that certain groups of "undecideds" are going to get the most attention in the final stages of an election (as was commented on above) that's not the result of the existence of the Electoral College. By definition, candidates are going to try to find voters that are undecided, and deciding that television advertising and a few in-person campaign visits are the most significant interaction a Presidential candidate has with the polity strikes me as a gross oversimplification of how people make their political decisions.

          • toto

            Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

            Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
            “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [in the then] 18 battleground states.” [only 10 in 2012]

            In apportionment of federal grants by the executive branch, swing states received about 7.6% more federal grants and about 5.7% more federal grant money between 1992 and 2008 than would be expected based on patterns in other states.

            During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

            Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a "safe" state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a "swing" state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida's shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states – like water issues in the west, and Pacific Rim trade issues.

            “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “ – Wall Street Journal

            As of June 7, 2012 “Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.”

  • toto

    With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes!

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
    * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
    * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
    * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
    * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
    * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
    * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    • _Andrew_

      Toto,

      The concept of a "wasted" vote is tenuous at best. By the same reasoning, any vote for a candidate can be considered "wasted", if a candidate received one more vote than his opponent. This assumes the winner was known before the election was held (which may be a problem with a lot of pro-NPV analysis).

      • toto

        In 2012, 56,256,178 (44%) of the 128,954,498 voters had their vote diverted by the winner-take-all rule to a candidate they opposed (namely, their state’s first-place candidate). Their votes were counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

        80% of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, taken for granted. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

        • _Andrew_

          Toto,

          Votes aren't "diverted" to another candidate, when a statewide election for Presidential electors is lost. To equate losing a statewide election to having votes diverted is like saying that everytime that Sheldon Whitehouse or Jack Reed makes a decision I don't like (which is pretty much every time they make a decision) that my votes have been diverted in support of that decision. That's not anywhere near an accurate description of how representative democracy works.

          • toto

            State winner-take-all statutes enable a mere plurality of voters in each state to control 100% of a state’s electoral vote, thereby extinguishing the voice of all the other voters in a state.

            The state winner-take-all laws treat all the voters who did not vote for the first-place candidate as if they had voted for the first-place candidate.

            Suppressing the voice of a state’s minority is, by definition, an example of “tyranny of the majority.”

        • _Andrew_

          Toto,

          Also, you kind of moved the goalposts there. In your previous comment, you described votes that went to the winning candidate (both statewide and national) as "wasted". By that reasoning, in any election, any vote after the 1st vote that puts the candidate over the top is "wasted".

  • toto

    Any state that enacts the proportional approach on its own would reduce its own influence. This was the most telling argument that caused Colorado voters to agree with Republican Governor Owens and to reject this proposal in November 2004 by a two-to-one margin.

    If the proportional approach were implemented by a state, on its own, it would have to allocate its electoral votes in whole numbers. If a current battleground state were to change its winner-take-all statute to a proportional method for awarding electoral votes, presidential candidates would pay less attention to that state because only one electoral vote would probably be at stake in the state.

    If states were to ever start adopting the whole-number proportional approach on a piecemeal basis, each additional state adopting the approach would increase the influence of the remaining states and thereby would decrease the incentive of the remaining states to adopt it. Thus, a state-by-state process of adopting the whole-number proportional approach would quickly bring itself to a halt, leaving the states that adopted it with only minimal influence in presidential elections.

    The proportional method also could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    If the whole-number proportional approach, the only proportional option available to an individual state on its own, had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

    A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

    It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

    Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach, which would require a constitutional amendment, does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

    • _Andrew_

      Toto,

      While some of your inferences about proportional allocation system are true, they are not true of proportional allocation plus a winner-take all threshold (which is why many states use them for their party primaries). Of course the real problem with enacting proportional allocation plus a wta-threshold is that means that the powers that be in currently "safe" states have to be open to the possibility of letting the other side having a measurable victory, and parties in power with a significant advantage don't want to give the other side a chance for a measurable victory. Complaints that they're being "ignored" by people who want the game stacked overwhlemingly in their favor should be judged accordingly

      Also, the "Montana penalty" is not an inherent flaw of the electoral college structure. It exists because on the cap on number of members of the House of Representatives at 435, which has also led to Congressional constituencies that are dubiously large to be meaningful. It's ironic that the proposed solution to a problem created by subsuming votes too deeply in one part of the system, is to demand that they be subsumed even more deeply in another part!

      • toto

        Most Americans don’t care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it’s wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

        The proportional method also could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

        If the whole-number proportional approach, the only proportional option available to an individual state on its own, had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

        A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

        • _Andrew_

          Toto,

          The fact that certain proportional representation systems could result "in third party candidates winning electoral votes" is counted as a strike against them is based on an assumption that it's a function of the U.S. Constituion and/or state legislatures to discourage third party-pariticipation, which is a very big leap.

          • toto

            NPV would not discourage third party candidates. The point is that with National Popular Vote, no presidential election, because of a third party candidate, would be thrown into Congress to decide. NPV guarantees the Presidency to the candidate with the most popular votes nationwide.

  • Mario

    One thing the NPV backers never lack is flacks flooding any comment section that mentions it.

  • Or paid advocates flying into the state to push the cause locally.

  • tcc3

    Bush Derangement Syndrome

  • David C.

    Toto makes many weak arguments, IMO. It seems to me that a Presidential election under NPV is a national TV only election. The ability of a third party candidate to influence the election goes away.

    And I fail to see how it helps RI get more candidate visits. If the goal of any campaign event is national coverage, the attractiveness of local rallies and “retail” politics vanishes. Hence, no visits to Rhode Island unless there’s some huge event here that attracts all those politicos.

  • Baronscarpia

    It's 2013. The people who get he attention of the campaigns are those who have TV's, computers, tablets and smart phones.

    Silly argument.

    Also ignores the central premise of NPV. The one who gets the most votes wins.

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