Challenges to the Electoral College Continue
By Stuart MacPhail – February 2020
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) proposal continues to push forward. It’s proponents expect it to go into effect when states holding 270 electors, enough to win a presidential election, have agreed to participate. So far 15 states plus Washington, D.C., have signed on. They have 196 electoral votes among them. Seventy-four more electors are needed. It is noteworthy that (reportedly) 13 of the member states currently have state laws requiring their Electoral College electors to vote for their state’s popular vote winner.
Currently the following states have bills before them seeking to circumvent the Electoral College system that has been in place since 1789… and adopt what many constitutional scholars believe conflicts with the Founder’s intent.
Legend – (shows number of sponsors), followed by the date originally introduced
Florida: HB335 (5) October 2019; and SB908 (1) November 2019.
Georgia: SB42 (6) January 2020.
Kansas: SB115 (1) February 2019.
Minnesota: SB34 (2) and SB189 (3), both January 2019; HB2117 (5) and HB1941 (6), both introduced March 2019.
Missouri: HB1591 (1), HB1949 (1), and HB1988 (1) January 2020.
New Hampshire: HB541 (5) January 2020.
North Carolina: S104 (5) January 2020.
Ohio: HB70 (6), February 2019.
Pennsylvania: SB270 (7) July 2019.
South Carolina: HB3209 (1) January 2019; and HB4277 (1) March 2019.
Virginia: SB399 (2), HB177 (1), and HB199 (19) January 2020.
Wisconsin: SB197 (18), and AB185 (18) April 2019.
Three states are working to back away from the NPVCI movement.
In Florida State Senator Dennis Baxley has introduced SR1458. It is a resolution “to support, protect, and defend the United States Constitution, including the 12th Amendment, and supports the preservation of the Electoral College”.
Baxley says to “consider the abolishment of the Electoral College, in which Florida has 29 electors, would further enable the destruction of the remaining balance of power between the 50 states and the Federal Government and effectively dissolve the United States constitutional republic”.
In Colorado, where it’s state legislature adopted Senate Bill 19-042, making Colorado part of the NPVI Compact, a citizen referendum seeks to overturn the measure in next November’s election. The petition leading to the referendum was filed and found sufficient on August 29, 2019.
In New Hampshire HB1531 has been introduced with 7 sponsors. It is “An act relative to the release of voting information in a presidential election”. The measure would only take effect if the National Public Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) includes enough states to reach it’s 270-vote threshold. In that case it would prohibit state officials from releasing presidential vote counts “until after the time set by law for the meeting and voting of presidential electors [Electoral College] has passed in all states”. It is believed that this strategy would thwart the NPVIC from being workable.
Read more about the New Hampshire proposal and related efforts to head off the NPVIC effort HERE. It is an excellent article written by retired lawyer/historian/author Tara Ross in the January 14 Daily Signal (Heritage Foundation).
Scholarly Resources on the Electoral College –
Every state legislator who is on the fence about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) should acquaint themselves with The Uhlmann Essay on the Electoral College written in 1970 by Michael Uhlmann (now deceased). It is reviewed in detail in a new piece by Christopher DeMuth, distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, published in the current edition of National Affairs. DeMuth’s article is entitled The Man Who Saved the Electoral College.
Uhlmann, says DeMuth, believed that the Electoral College system already gives weight to “reasonable majoritarianism”. DeMuth says, “as he [Uhlmann] would have predicted, and for reasons he explained, the imperfections of the Electoral College system still pale in comparison with the imperfections of every direct-election system its critics have managed to come up with”. Read the DeMuth article HERE.
Understanding the Electoral College by Gregg L. Frazer, as published January 4th in The Orange County Register (California) is another good read on the subject. Frazer is professor of history and political studies at The Master’s University. Find that article HERE.