National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Wiki description of the Compact here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

In short, this agreement requires that the winner of the national popular vote in the Presidential race gets the electoral votes from the states that have enacted this agreement. There must be a minimum number of states that agree to the compact before it is deemed “in force”.

California has enacted this agreement into state law via AB 459, which includes the “contingent on other states agreeing” clause.

link to AB459

Hypothetically, if Romney were to win the national popular vote, he would get California’s electoral college votes, even though Romney wouldn’t win California’s popular vote.

I can’t imagine Governor Brown ordering our electorals to be given to a Republican…

Why did the legislature pass this?

Why did this not make much waves in the news?

What do you think the voters reaction to this in the hypothetical case of a Romney upset? (I think they would be a little “miffed”.)

It’s not a “minimum number” of states, but states with a majority of electoral votes (to make sure that the candidate with the most (popular) votes gets elected).

Had it been in effect in 2000, Gore would have been elected President - that’s more than enough reason for Brown to sign it. Also remember that, as the largest state, California is the state that has the fewest electoral votes per person.

It didn’t get much news attention as the compact is still quite a ways away from taking effect. Remember, until it does get to the point where enough states pass it to guarantee that the national popular vote winner wins the election, it doesn’t take effect anywhere, so there’s no chance of California’s electoral votes going to Romney.

thanks for the correction.

The Governator vetoed it stating that he didn’t want to see a situation were the national popular vote and the state level popular vote conflicted, causing discontent. :slight_smile:

I know that. It doesn’t upset me.

That’s why I said “hypothetical”. If you’re right, Brown signed it (in 2011) thinking of Gore, but he should have been thinking of the pitfalls, IMO.

To be fair, it’s not entirely Brown’s fault. The looney legislature gets the credit. :slight_smile:

Because a lot of people think the electoral college is an outdated concept, and that the election for president should be popular vote.

Right now, the presidential candidates don’t care about California at all. Or Texas, or Illinois, or 40 other states. They’re just concentrating on the swing states.

If enough states pass this (more than 270 college votes’ worth), the presidential campaigns become truly national. Every vote in every state counts.

The Governor won’t be “ordering” anything. The electoral votes will be awarded by law to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, if and when the compact takes effect. All the Governor will have to do is sign the certificate of election and forward the votes to Washington. Governors sign electoral certificates for the opposite party all the time; it’s part of their job and it’s part of the rule of law.

I don’t think so, they’ll just concentrate in the fifteen or twenty most populated states. :slight_smile:

The top twelve have a combined pop of 183 million. (20% of the states with 60% of the pop.) The next six have 6 to 7 million each. (Another 15% of the total pop.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_US_states_by_population

Why campaign in the least populated states? I can see the argument that says that this shifts the power to the higher pop states.

Good point.

Where does a candidate get more bang for their buck in a “truly national” election - in Wyoming, with its 568,000 inhabitants, or in Los Angeles, with 22 times as many people in a metro area 1/24th the size?

Is it even constitutional? “No State shall, without the consent of Congress, …enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State.”

24% of the electoral votes are on board, so it’s halfway there.

However if you thought the Florida fiasco with hanging chads was a nightmare, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet if the compact goes into effect. It’s sure to generate multiple court cases and they will have to be settled immediately.

And that is one point that will undoubtedly be used to challenge, which is why the organizers are trying to get congressional approval just in case.

Nitpick: while California is the most populous state and it has the fewest electoral votes per person, those two facts need not be connected. The difference comes because the number of Congressional seats are rounded to a small whole number.

From the Census and little of mine own number crunching, California has 1st highest population and the 50th most electoral votes per person. But Texas has the 2nd highest population and the 48th most electoral votes per person. New York is 3rd and 49th. Louisiana is 25th in pop and 31st in e.v. Rounding does strange things.

Hi, I’m new here, and I just wanted to rev up some discussion on the issues surrounding the compact.

I see this thread’s debate took place over a year ago, but I’d like to revive the issue. This legislation has gotten a little closer to passage with Rhode Island passing it over the summer. I’ve read up on some literature, and I think this article sums up the issues pretty nicely:

http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=lpb

The author is one of maybe only a handful of people who seem to think that the compact would be constitutional if it becomes law. Nevertheless, there are tons of legal and practical issues that could affect the compact’s legality. I’d suggest that if you want a concise discussion of the legal issues, that you take a look at the article. I’d love to hear some thoughts on whether the author’s views have any merit.

If Republicans continue their attempts to gerrymander the presidential election by pushing for blue states to allocate their electoral votes by district, then this compact may become necessary to save our democracy.

The simple fact of the matter is that the founders never intended each individual person to have the same amount of “say so” in determining president, but it’s high time we ammended the constitution to fix that. The electoral college is unnecessary and unfair. It rarely changes things of course, but it’s the principle of the matter. The compact is a sneaky way to get around it, so I have to give it credit for ingenuity. But I think it is ill-thought out. How does the compact define what the national vote count is? There really is no such thing as a national vote count in the end. There are estimates by the various departments of government and media… but there is no national official count being done by the federal government. In reality, what we have, is 10,000+ elections all on the same day run by each county in each state. The compact doesn’t make much sense with such a framework… so we really need a constitutional amendment.

How will this compact be enforced? I can foresee a close national election and a similarly close electoral college vote under the new system, but a calculation under the old system that the other candidate wins. Say in 2016 Rubio wins the popular vote and will win the electoral college 317-221 (with the new system). Calculated under the old system, Rubio loses 271-267.

Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but what’s to stop California from now finding nostalgia for the wisdom of the founding fathers and for representing the wishes of the people of the State of California and having the legislature scrap the compact law, appoint Clinton electors and have Clinton become the new President 273-265?

Then Florida, who didn’t sign the compact, and voted for Clinton, sees it’s Republican legislature similarly, for opposite reasons, change their elector appointment procedure so that the will of the national populace is upheld and to circumvent California’s chicainery appoint its own slate of Rubio electors…rinse and repeat…

Firstly, the US Constitution;

Each state must choose its electors on the same day, meaning that the legislature can’t just get together the day after the election and say “Whoops, the law now says the other guy won”.

Secondly, the language of the compact itself;

The text of the compact itself, as enshrined in the law of the states passing it, would forbid them from dropping out in order to help their preferred candidate win.

Can state legislatures bind themselves like that? What stops a state from repealing the compact two months before the election and then successfully claiming that the six month limit is no longer valid in that state because the whole law was repealed?

Presumably, they’d then be in breach of the contract they made with the other states, and those states would have the right to sue to compel them to adhere to the terms of the compact (and as a suit between states, the Supreme Court would have original jurisdiction).

Do we really think that the Supreme Court would compel performance of a contract in which previous legislature attempted to abrogate the ability of the current legislature to exercsie its constitutional authority to appoint the manner in which electors are chosen?

What would be the point of that? How would you know, two months before the election, that your preferred candidate was going to lose the popular vote but win the electoral college, which is the only scenario in which you would benefit from this change?