Presidential electors; National Popular Vote Compact. (HB199)

Introduced By

Del. Cia Price (D-Newport News) with support from co-patrons Del. Josh Cole (D-Stafford), Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), and Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Presidential electors; National Popular Vote Compact. Enters Virginia into an interstate compact known as the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. Article II of the Constitution of the United States gives the states exclusive and plenary authority to decide the manner of awarding their electoral votes. Under the compact, Virginia agrees to award its electoral votes to the presidential ticket that receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact goes into effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have joined the compact. A state may withdraw from the compact; however, a withdrawal occurring within six months of the end of a President's term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President has qualified to serve the next term. This bill was incorporated into HB 177. Read the Bill »

Status

01/31/2020: Incorporated into Another Bill

History

DateAction
12/27/2019Committee
12/27/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20102584D
12/27/2019Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/13/2020Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments
01/13/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB199)
01/27/2020Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HB177-Levine)
01/31/2020Incorporated by Privileges and Elections (HB177-Levine)

Comments

Michele N Schumacher writes:

This bill on its face is unconstitutional - it violates the US Constitution and should be withdrawn as a matter of course.

Mike writes:

Our nation is a republic, and not a pure democracy for a reason. Tyranny of the majority is a thing. The electoral college, and the ability to overrule oppressive majorities, is an important safety mechanism. This bill is an abomination.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Imagine living through 2016 and thinking "yes, the Electoral College does stuff."

Susan Anthony writes:

The Founders created the Electoral College, but 48 states eventually enacted state winner-take-all laws.

Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in Article II, Section 1
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”
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 National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country. It does not abolish the Electoral College.

The National Popular Vote bill is states with 270 electors replacing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting states, to guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

The National Popular Vote compact is a state-based approach that retains the power of the states to control how the President is elected, retains state control of elections, and retains the Electoral College. It uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

Susan Anthony writes:

[The] difference between a democracy and a republic [is] the delegation of the government, the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest."
In a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents."- Madison

Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy. It is not rule by referendum.

We would not be doing away with the Electoral College, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, etc. etc. etc.

The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state's electoral votes

The National Popular Vote bill is 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

The bill retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

Susan B Sperlik writes:

Great. So from now on, the entire rest of the state must bow to a couple of college towns and the DC suburbs. The president will be elected by five states only. Who cares about the other 45? This is a serious problem and if you try to go through with this, you are going to have a serious mutiny on your hands. You all should withdraw this. The rest of the state is not going to stand for this.

Susan Anthony writes:

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.

Voters in the biggest cities in the US have been almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation's Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.

The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

Susan Anthony writes:

In total New York state and California cast 16% of the total national popular vote

In total, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania cast 18% of the total national popular vote.
Trump won those states.

Susan Anthony writes:

In Gallup polls since they started asking in 1944 until the 2016 election, only about 20% of the public 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 (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

When asked the simple question “Do you think the person who wins the most votes nationwide should become the president?” 74% of all Americans surveyed say yes.

Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range - in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

There are several scenarios in which a candidate could win the presidency in 2020 with fewer popular votes than their opponents. It could reduce turnout more, as more voters realize their votes do not matter.

Most Americans don't ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. It undermines the legitimacy of the electoral system. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

The National Popular Vote bill was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).

Since 2006, the bill has passed 40 state legislative chambers in 24 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 271 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Nevada (6).
The bill has been enacted by 16 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 196 electoral votes – 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes.

When enacted by states with 270 electoral votes, it would change state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting states, without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

Mary Hooker writes:

You were sent to Richmond to represent the citizens of your district; not the nation. Please represent us!!

Neal Frankel writes:

"In a nationwide vote for President, a vote cast in a big city would be no more (or less) valuable or controlling than a vote cast in a suburb, an exurb, a small town, or a rural area."

"Under the National Popular Vote compact, every vote would be equal throughout the United States. A vote cast in a big state would be no more, or less, valuable or controlling than a vote cast anywhere else."

Repeat "every vote would be equal throughout the United States". Please tell me how this is not correct.

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