Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

Last year, SB 841, authored by Senator Rob Johnson, (R-Kingfisher) and Representative Don Armes, (R-Faxon) passed out of committee and if it had been approved would have sent to Oklahoma voters a State Question to have Oklahoma join the National Popular Vote Compact. After an outcall from citizens throughout Oklahoma, the proposal was withdrawn and never was voted on in either legislative chamber.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among states designed to replace current state rules governing the Electoral College system. If implemented, it would guarantee the election of the national popular vote winner. Eight states and the District of Columbia have passed the compact. Just last week, the country’s most populous state. California joined the compact. With the addition of California, proponents of the NPVIC have nearly half the electoral votes they need for the compact to take effect.

The compact is based on Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which gives each state legislature the right to decide how to appoint its own electors. Today, 48 states, including Oklahoma, award all of their electoral votes to the candidate with the most popular votes statewide. Proponents of the NPVIC claim that means we are electing the President and elect the President and Vice President of the United States by popular vote and this just simplifies the often misunderstood Electoral College system. You can read more about their proposal at

Who are the people behind the NPVIC? The Chairman is Dr. John R. Koza, the inventor of the scratch off lottery ticket, and twice a Democrat elector in California. Dr. Kova is a good friend of Al Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the electoral vote count to George W. Bush.

Barry Faden, a Democrat, is the President of NPVIC. He is a San Francisco attorney who supported John Kerry in 2004. He contributed $2,000 to Kerry according to

Board members for NPVIC are Tom Golisano, the owner of Paychex, an HR company for small business and the owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabers. In 2008, Golisano, a registered Independent in New York state, gave one million dollars to the Democrats for their national convention. Chris Pearson is State Representative in Vermont. He is a member of the Progressive Party, one of only 6 in the 150 member body. Stephen Siberstein is a California Democrat who contributed $250,000 to the Center for American Progress, a left wing think tank.

So why is NPVIC pushing a national popular vote? In fifty-six Presidential elections, only four times has the winner of the electoral vote not won the popular vote (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000), so why is there such a rush to move to a national popular vote? According to the NPVIC website, it is “to guarantee election of the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.” But that doesn’t seem to be real motive.

When Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 by 500,000 over George W. Bush, liberals began a systemic attack of the Electoral College. Even though Bush won over 70% of the geography of the US and thirty states vs. Gore’s twenty, liberals still believe he stole the election. They know that large urban states tend to be more liberal than rural states, so moving to a popular vote system would give a definite advantage to a liberal.

But the founders of our country were huge proponents of ‘states rights.’ The founders of our republic were avid supporters of state rights. James Madison, known as the father of the constitution, said, “In our complex system of polity, the public will, as a source of authority, may be the will of the people as composing one nation, or the will of the States in their distinct and independent capacities; or the federal will as viewed, for example, through the presidential electors, representing in a certain proportion both the nation and the States.”

According to David Barton of Wallbuilders, the genius of the Electoral College is that it synthesized two important philosophies established in the Constitution: (1) the maintenance of a republican, as opposed to a democratic, form of government and (2) the balancing of power between the smaller and the larger States and between the various diverse regions of the nation. I would recommend you read David's 2001 article, "Electoral College: Preserve or Abolish? " at

On Saturday, the state committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party voted to oppose any proposal to move to a national popular vote in the election of the POTUS. The vote was unanimous. This is one issue that both Oklahoma Republicans and Democrats must agree on; moving to electing the president by national popular vote would hurt Oklahoma.


toto said...

A survey of 800 Oklahoma voters conducted on May 5–6, 2009 showed 81% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

Voters were asked "How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?"

By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 75% among Republicans, 84% among Democrats, and 75% among others. By gender, support was 84% among women and 69% among men. By age, support was 84% among 18-29 year olds, 70% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 82% for those older than 65.

Oklahoma voters were also asked a 3-way question: "Do you prefer a system where the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states on a nationwide basis is elected President, or one like the one used in Nebraska and Maine where electoral voters are dispensed by Congressional district, or one in which all of the state's electoral votes would be given to the statewide winner?"

The results of this three-way question were that

77% favored a national popular vote,
13% favored awarding its electoral votes by congressional district, and
10% favored the existing statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

toto said...

The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all 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. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (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.

Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only the current handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. Oklahoma is ignored. 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. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual. Almost 75% of the country will be ignored --including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be 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 (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). 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.

2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election. That's more than 85 million voters ignored, including Oklahoma.

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

Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that 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.

Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine -- 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island -- 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah - 70%, Vermont -- 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%.

Nine state legislative chambers in the lowest population states have passed the National Popular Vote bill. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.