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SENTRY JOURNAL » Electoral College, National Popular Vote, Progressive States Network, States Rights » Progressive States Network: National Popular Vote

Progressive States Network: National Popular Vote

This is my second post on the organization known as the Progressive States Network.  As I stated in an earlier post, this is a progressive organization that is orchestrating a bottom up effort to influence state legislators to propose and pass bills that advance the progressive agenda.  One area this organization has been focused on is how states award their Electoral College votes for Presidential elections.

They steadfastly endorse the actions and efforts of the National Popular Vote; an organization that is actively involved in convincing state legislators to pass legislation in each state to award electoral votes based on the national popular vote.  They utilize all kinds of polling data to show the strong support they have for this movement.  I concede the point that the numbers they are using are probably pretty accurate; however I believe the reason so many support changing the Electoral College process is because people do not fully understand the importance of the Electoral College and the critical role it plays in our Constitutional Republic.

Below is a video from 2007 that explains the Electoral College.

As you can see one of the main reasons behind the Electoral College was to empower states and prevent more populated states from having more influence than less populated states during a Presidential election.

The following is an excerpt from the Progressive States Network “Shared Agenda” page.

National Popular Vote (NPV): NPV is a state-based movement to guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia). To achieve this result the plan uses two constitutional powers explicitly granted to the states by our Founders – the power to apportion Electoral College electors and the power to enter into interstate compacts. Under the bill all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).

I cannot find in the Constitution where it states how the electors must vote or anything that says their votes will be awarded based on the national popular vote.

Article II, Section 2 states: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:  but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

That doesn’t tell me how their votes should be awarded.

Article II, Section 3 states: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.  And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each;  which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.  The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.  The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President.  But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice.  In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President.  But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

This describes the electoral process.  I still do not see where the states have the authority to award their electoral vote based on the national popular vote.

It was amended by the 12th amendment to read as follows: The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;–The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;–The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.  But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.  And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice.  But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Nope, I don’t see it there either.

Read here for more information about the Progressive States Network and NVP push to undermine our Electoral College process.

So where in the Constitution do the states have the authority to award the votes of their electors based on the national popular vote?  They don’t.  You need an amendment to change the Constitution.  The states cannot just create laws that violate our Constitution and as it stands now six states have already done just that with the help of the Progressive States Network and NPV.  You see the progressives believe they can backdoor the amendment process by getting the states to craft these laws; laws that I believe are unconstitutional in nature.  Our founders wanted to make sure that each state had a seat and voice at the table; the Electoral College ensures that will happen.  By attempting to manipulate the states into giving up their seat at the table in exchange for mob rule, the progressives hope to increase the size and power of the federal government while further diminishing the constitutional authority of the states.  This is especially true for less populated states.

Don’t buy the snake oil these organizations are selling.  They will say that this will help small and rural states because it will force candidates to concentrate on all constituencies, states and populations, rather than disproportionately spending time in a few larger winner-take-all mega-states. You can do the math in your own head and see that candidates will campaign in larger populated areas while states like mine with less population will lose what little influence they had.  States with larger populations will set the national agenda.  This is exactly what our founders feared if Presidential elections were decided by popular vote.  We must make every effort to educate out state legislators on this matter and thwart the efforts the NPV and Progressive States Network.  The more people learn about these organizations, the better chance we have of stopping their agenda.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

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Filed under: Electoral College, National Popular Vote, Progressive States Network, States Rights

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  • toto September 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    The Founding Fathers only said in the U.S. Constitution about presidential elections (only after debating among 60 ballots for choosing a method): "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."

    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 rule) 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.

    In 1789 only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all rule to award electoral votes.

    There is no valid argument that the winner-take-all rule is entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all rule (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 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 rule.

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

    As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all rule is used by 48 of the 50 states. Maine and Nebraska currently award electoral votes by congressional district — a reminder that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not required to change the way the President is elected.

    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.

  • toto September 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, along district lines (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

    A "republican" form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President). The United States has a "republican" form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as has been the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popular Vote bill).

  • toto September 22, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    The small states are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system of electing the President. Political clout comes from being a closely divided battleground state, not the two-vote bonus.

    12 of the 13 smallest states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota),, and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections. So despite the fact that these 12 states together possess 40 electoral votes, because they are not closely divided battleground states, none of these 12 states get visits, advertising or polling or policy considerations by presidential candidates.

    These 12 states together contain 11 million people. Because of the two electoral-vote bonus that each state receives, the 12 non-competitive small states have 40 electoral votes. However, the two-vote bonus is an entirely illusory advantage to the small states. Ohio has 11 million people and has "only" 20 electoral votes. As we all know, the 11 million people in Ohio are the center of attention in presidential campaigns, while the 11 million people in the 12 non-competitive small states are utterly irrelevant. Nationwide election of the President would make each of the voters in the 12 smallest states as important as an Ohio voter.

    The concept of a national popular vote for President is far from being politically "radioactive" in small states, because the small states recognize they are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system.

    In the 13 smallest states, the National Popular Vote bill already has been approved by nine state legislative chambers, including one house in DC, Delaware and Maine and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by Hawaii.

  • toto September 22, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Most of the medium-small states (with five or six electoral votes) are similarly non-competitive in presidential elections (and therefore similarly disadvantaged). In fact, of the 22 medium-smallest states (those with three, four, five, or six electoral votes), only New Hampshire (with four electoral votes), New Mexico (five electoral votes), and Nevada (five electoral votes) have been battleground states in recent elections.

    Because so few of the 22 small and medium-small states are closely divided battleground states in presidential elections, the current system actually shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in a handful of big states. The New York Times reported early in 2008 (May 11, 2008) that both major political parties were already in agreement that there would be at most 14 battleground states in 2008 (involving only 166 of the 538 electoral votes). In other words, three-quarters of the states were ignored under the current system in the 2008 election. Michigan (17 electoral votes), Ohio (20), Pennsylvania (21), and Florida (27) contain over half of the electoral votes that mattered in 2008 (85 of the 166 electoral votes). There were only three battleground states among the 22 small and medium-small states (i.e., New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada). These three states contain only 14 of the 166 electoral votes.

    Anyone concerned about the relative power of big states and small states should realize that the current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in a handful of big states.

  • toto September 22, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States and a candidate would win the Presidency if 100% of the voters in these 11 states voted for one candidate. However, if anyone is concerned about the this theoretical possibility, it should be pointed out that, under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in these same 11 states — that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

    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.

    Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states, the highest levels of popular support , hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas (62% Republican),
    * New York (59% Democratic),
    * Georgia (58% Republican),
    * North Carolina (56% Republican),
    * Illinois (55% Democratic),
    * California (55% Democratic), and
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic).

    In addition, the margins generated by the nation's largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas — 1,691,267 Republican
    * New York — 1,192,436 Democratic
    * Georgia — 544,634 Republican
    * North Carolina — 426,778 Republican
    * Illinois — 513,342 Democratic
    * California — 1,023,560 Democratic
    * New Jersey — 211,826 Democratic

    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.

    In 2004, eight 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).

  • Reaganite Republican September 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    ANYbody who votes in the US of A ought to read this completely… the country would likely be in a lot better place today if they had.

    Great post

  • John Carey September 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Thanks RR.

  • Matt September 22, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    I wonder how much they're paying Toto?

    Great post John.

  • LD Jackson September 22, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Well, I have to say first that this is a great post, John. As always, you did your research well.

    As for toto, it's plain to see what is going on here. You let him get further than I would have, because at Political Realities, his/her five monologues would have never seen the light of day outside my spam box.

    Back to the original point of your post, anyone with any knowledge of history knows full well that the founding fathers never intended for America to be governed by a simply majority rule. We are not a democracy, but a republic and there is a difference. By establishing this form of government, they insured the ability of the minority to have a say in the government. The way I see it, they were a pretty smart bunch of fellas. The progressives may not want to see it that way, or to allow others to see it that way, but it is plain and simple, the facts.

    Again, this is a great post.

  • thomasjeffersonclubblog September 22, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Wow, you really did some research on this, John. Good job.

    TJC Blog Staff

  • Right Hand Man September 22, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    I agree Toto…

    It was terrible when John Adams ignored the entire south and still won! Then his son came along and won the election in 1824 with less electoral votes, and less popular votes. Nobody gave a darn about Missouri then either! SHAME!

    Okay, I'm poking fun at you, but your argument is stupid. You act as if the crime is how people ignore ND and Montana (two states that I've lived in)…Do you think that would change if a popular vote was taken? Manhattan has more peole than both of those states combined. Nobody is going to care about those places if a popular vote was given either.

    I've done the math (and wish I still had the numbers from a college paper I wrote years back) and the fact is that each vote is worth more in the smaller states under the current electoral system than they would be worth in a popular system. It should be obvious, because one is weighted while the other is not, but if you go and do the math, you will find the same to be true.

    Enjoy trolling!

  • John Carey September 22, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    I'm not sure Matt, but I can tell you that it is the same cut and paste rhetoric he or she has been spewing across the blogosphere. This must be an issue that is very important to the progressives to give little old me so much attention. I think I'll keep poking around this issue.

  • John Carey September 22, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks Larry. As for toto, he or she is probably on the payroll of PSN or NVP and their job is to spread misinformation about their agenda. Toto has done this numerous times across the blogosphere. I counted at least 20 sites alone today they toto has spewed progressive garbage. As for me I trust the founders and their wisdom over the modern day progressive 10 x over. We just need to educate people as to why the current electoral process is so vital and how it actually gives less populated states a greater voice.

  • John Carey September 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Thanks TJC for stopping by and the comments.

  • John Carey September 22, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Thanks for highlighting the deceptive ramblings of toto. He or she clearly has an agenda in mind and it has nothing to do with empowering the voter. It has to do with expanding the authority of the state.

  • USAWatchmen September 22, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Great research and post John.

    The Progressives will stop at nothing to get their way. I'm surprised they haven't tried to get rid of term limits for the President now that Obama is there.

  • Steve Dennis September 23, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Great post John. My biggest problem with this NPV is the fact that it is a national effort. While states may have the right to change the way they decide their electoral votes this goes well beyond that. This is an effort to impose federal law disguised as state's rights. This will change the very fundamental principles that our country was founded on. The founder purposely made sure that they did not set up a democracy, and now we have this organization trying to change the whole system while ignoring the constitution

  • John Carey September 23, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Thanks for the comments USA. You're right, the progressives wiil stop at nothing to ram their agenda down our throats.

  • John Carey September 23, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    I agree Steve. I personally believe it is dirty and underhanded. They are threatening the rights of states by wrapping this progressive garbage in democracy.