Oregon lawmakers consider changing how electoral votes are cast

Oregon would basically be throwing away its voice in the election with this proposal. By joining NPV, it is possible that a candidate could win the state by a massive landslide, but give its EVs to the other candidate who won elsewhere in the country.

In two of the last five elections, Oregon voted for the candidate who got the most votes nationwide, and that candidate lost the election. All a State “throws away” by joining NPV is the small chance that someday they might get to screw the country over by contributing to the “win” of the less popular candidate.

I would be in favor of this nationwide. Regarding what might bite ones ass, we have already seen sufficient ass biting with the EC in place. I will take the chance of future different ass biting, as that would be a net-neutral effect compared to what we have.

I really believe that this type of change would have a positive impact on voting participation. Being that I vote in California, I normally feel that my vote is not really that important. I know that California will “go blue” for the foreseeable future, so I am less motivated to actually vote. Often in Presidential elections, it is pretty clear that the election is called before the polls close in the west, even if the media doesn’t affirm a call out of deference to the open polls. If the popular vote actually mattered, I know I would certainly be more motivated to participate.

There have been more minority governments in Canada than there have been US presidents without a popular vote majority.

The important thing to maintain is, Hawaii gets screwed, no matter how you do it. :slight_smile:

Yes. In the 2004 election, for example, the biggest “wastage” was in Texas where Bush had 1.69 million more votes than needed. If I thought the D/R <–> popular/electoral relationship was permanently fixed, I wouldn’t be so vehemently opposed(*) to NPV.

I agree that blizzard and recounting a close election are only minor issues. But …

We’re talking about a state where the government and population all favor R feeling itself obligated to cast its ev’s for D? That is a “new danger” — a state is much less likely to defy the will of its own voters. You seem to have much more faith in the rule of law than I do! Who’s to stop them from voting R? Clarence Thomas and the others at Scotus?? They happily prevented Florida from counting its ballots when there was fear that would let Gore win.

Again: I’m not opposed to popular election, nor to NPV if we could trust the Rule of Law. Those of you who think the R’s would abide, or that the partisan hacks on Scotus would support Law over Party need to wake up. America is no longer the democracy it once was.

(* - Does this make me a “hypocrite”? Call me that if you wish. I’m just old-fashioned enough to prefer government by righteous people over government by crooks.)

I have only one major problem with NPV: who does the counting?

If each state is responsible for its own count, then what stops a state from passing a law saying, “The Presidential candidate that receives the most votes statewide shall be deemed to have received all of the votes cast, and this result shall be deemed as the state’s official vote count until January 21 following the election”?

@septimus: Well, if you fear that the people in charge of enforcing Federal law can’t be relied on to enforce it…a fear which I don’t think is at all unjustified…then that’s not really a problem that can be solved through passing laws! But if a State did just blatantly appoint electors in a way that differed from the way its own laws obligated it to do, that would be a far more clear-cut violation of law than anything involved in Bush v Gore. And although it is true that under NPV, it would be much more common for a State controlled by one party to be obligated to cast its votes for a candidate of the other party, this situation certainly comes up under the current system, and no State government has ever tried to pull a stunt like this.

@Don: I’m not sure if any Federal law or Constitutional provision would currently prevent a State from passing such a law. But right now, there is nothing preventing a State from passing a law saying that all its electoral votes will always go to the Republican candidate, or to the tallest candidate, or to the candidate who receives the fewest votes. Well, nothing except the fact that absolutely nobody would stand for it.

Also, even if one State did somehow find a way to go rogue, it almost certainly wouldn’t matter. If 270 electoral votes are allotted to the NPV winner, presumably the person who wins the vote nationally is also going to win a bunch of the other 268 EV from non-NPV States, so EC votes under this system would always be quite lopsided, too much so for one State to change the outcome by switching.

Unless whole elector delegations went rogue…

But honestly, do we still need electors if the popular vote winner is the contest winner?

Those being cases where nobody got most of the votes.

If the U.S. was a pure democracy, you might have a point.

But it isn’t.


What law is that?

I’m rather skeptical because this came up in the 2000 election. It was widely discussed that the FL State Legislature might simply award their electors to Bush if the recount produced a result favorable to Gore, and I don’t recall any federal laws being invoked in this context.

I agree that arbitrarily mucking around with something that functions is likely a bad idea. Take on gerrymandering, if you want to fix something that is really fucked up.

The Republicans in Anchorage thought it would be a good idea to screw around with the mayoral election rules, which used to be that you had to garner more than 50% of the vote to get into office, or face a runoff between the two top vote getters. Wanting a surer thing, the Rs jammed through a 45% rule to replace it, thinking it would guarantee Republican mayors for the future.

Then a really shitty guy ended up as Mayor and in the next election, the Dem candidate won with 45.03%, which was a total of 18 votes. A lot of crows got eaten after that one.

(I’ve added emphasis in the following quote.)

Are you agreeing with me? Or was this a Freudian slip? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, I totally agree with you that Bush v Gore was a sham of a mockery of a travesty, and that the Republicans are evil and not to be trusted.

The only reason that the Florida recount was even a thing was that both sides agreed that, even though the margin between the candidates was insignificant compared to the number of votes cast,* it still mattered who got the most votes.* This is a pretty basic principle of democracy, and I think the US should use it in electing a President.

Bush v Gore was like a crooked umpire calling a batter out on a pitch that was clearly a ball. People will howl, and the umpire’s reputation will suffer, but ultimately the call will stand, the fans of the winning team will celebrate, and life will go on, because nobody can prove that the bad decision resulted from corruption rather than mere incompetence.

The scenario you’re worried about is more akin to the case in which an umpire calls a strike on a pitch during which the catcher tackles the batter and beats him into unconsciousness, then drags him toward a pile of gasoline-soaked logs which has been prepared outside the opposing dugout.

As I said above, there are many States which currently have GOP governors and majorities in both houses of the legislature. Absolutely nothing prevents these States from deciding that they won’t vote for President at all anymore, but will just give all their EV to the Republican candidate. But they don’t, because almost all Americans – even most conservative Republicans – are on board with the basic concept of electoral democracy.

US Code, Section 1, Title 3 provides that all States shall appoint their electors on Election Day; i.e. in accordance with the laws in effect on Election Day. Congress’ power to make this law is established in Article II, section 1, clause 4 of the Constitution.

US Code, Section 2, Title 3 provides that, if a State fails to appoint electors on Election Day, the State legislature may appoint electors subsequently. The people who proposed that the Florida legislature might vote to give their EV votes to Bush were arguing that the procedure established prior to Election Day had failed to produce a clear winner, and therefore this provision applied. They weren’t arguing that the legislature had the authority to retroactively change the procedure which had applied on Election Day.

Think about what you’re saying. The NPV scenario is like the batter flying out to the first-baseman, who then tags the base to be sure; and the umpire declares the batter safe at first because a majority of batters in some other game were safe. The scenario I envision is where some judge or election official finds that this rule is absurd on its face and finds an I that wasn’t dotted or a T that wasn’t crossed in the wording of NPV. If you think no lawyer or judge has ever been able to find fault with a law or ruling, then you live in a different America from me.

In Bush v Gore a partisan Scotus effectively insisted that Florida cast its ev’s for Bush even though Gore might have won the vote. In my scenario, Scotus would insist that a state cast its ev’s for the state’s winner. See the difference? And a large plurality of Congress and public would be adamant that this was the correct thing to do.

The idea that the present-day GOP will suddenly change its modus operandi if NPV passes strikes me as very naïve.
*“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” *

ETA: As just one examine, a judge might rule that the national popular vote is close and uncertain and, in the absence of a national recount (which won’t happen), the state shouild revert to casting its ev’s for the state’s winner. Is that really far-fetched?

No, NPV is saying that all that matters is the guy got there, rather than having a system set up to make sure that, sometimes, even though the guy made it to first base without being tagged, the umpire can still call him out.

There aren’t separate games going on with the same teams. There cannot be.

A similar bill is being proposed in Maine.
I don’t think its a good idea.

Just a bunch of left-wing zealots angry they didn’t get their way. I support our current Electoral College system.

Everybody has a right to vote in presidential elections in America, they don’t have a right to see their candidate win their state, or lose it, etc