Electoral College Repeal

Citizens Count Editor

When all is said and done, it's the Electoral College vote — not the popular vote — that decides the presidency. Some states are considering legislation that essentially bypasses the Electoral College. Should New Hampshire join in?

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors from the all of the states. New Hampshire has four of those electors.  In most states, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state wins the electors. The candidate who wins the most electors nationally wins the presidency.

A handful of other states have implemented other ways of distributing their electoral college votes. In Maine and Nebraska, for example, electoral college votes are distributed based on who won the popular vote in each of the states' congressional districts. 

The Electoral College and the popular vote

In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore received 50,999,897 votes; Republican George Bush received 50,456,002. In the Electoral College count, however, Bush tallied 271 electors to Gore's 266.  Bush became the president. A similar situation arose sixteen years later, when Democrat Hilary Clinton reeived 65,853,514 votes to Republican Donald Trump's 62,984,828, but Trump carried the electoral college by 304 to Clinton's 227. 

Because of these results, some states have been passing legislation agreeing to the National Popular Vote interstate compact. States that join the compact agree to award their Electoral College votes to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally, not the candidate who wins the state, once the compact has reached enough members to constitute an electoral majority.

According to the National Popular Vote website, twelve states and Washington, D.C. have passed National Popular Vote legislation, totalling 181 electors.

Faithless elector laws

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that binds electors to vote for the candidate who won their state's popular vote. Though it is rare, electors have occasionally opted to instead vote for a candidate of their own choosing. 

Twenty-eight states have passed laws that legally require electors to vote for a particular candidate, such as the winner of the state's popular vote. Punishments for breaking the law vary from subjecting the faithless elector to a fine or disqualifying them and replacing them with a backup elector. So far, these laws have not been enforced or tested in court. 

New Hampshire does not have a faithless elector law. 

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

Supporters of the National Popular Vote bill say the current Electoral College system is confusing and causes candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states with high elector counts and close voting margins between political parties, such as Florida.

"Against" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

Critics of the National Popular Vote bill say it could create even more confusing scenarios than exist now.  For example, the candidate that wins nationally might lose in New Hampshire. In that case, the state's four electoral votes would still go to the national-winning candidate who was not supported by Granite State voters.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

In Committee

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Killed in the House

Apportions the state's presidential electors so that two at-large presidential electors shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in the state, and congressional district presidential electors shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in their respective congressional districts.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Killed in the House

Resolution urging Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.

Passed

Expresses support for preserving the Electoral College.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Should NH pass legislation to bypass the Electoral College?

Comments

Kenneth Sears
- Myerstown

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 9:55am

Remember Lincoln’s clever observation, “You can fool some of the people...”, etc.?

When it comes to the current public debate over the Electoral College, I would say the argument FOR it goes, “You can fool some of the states all of the time, and all of the states some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the states all of the time.”

Simplest reason for the electoral college: no single state is entitled to an effective veto. We are a union of states, not individuals. This is the very basis of our representative government. The name of the country is still The United States Of America, not The United Persons of America.

You might try to argue that the USA is a country more culturally homogenous now than 200 years ago and that the notion of any American state constituting a “people” in some meaningful way distinct from that of another state is absurdly antiquated.

Yes, the same moronic reality shows are playing in all 50 states, and the supermarket cereal shelves look pretty much the same everywhere, but nobody who’s been at least a shade beyond a stupor lately can be oblivious to the monumental political and cultural divides between not only individual Americans but regions and states.

Presidential election by popular vote, whether constitutionally instituted or gerryrigged by petulant state legislators, would paint a veneer of uniformity over all those differences—changing nothing under the surface (ominously) but promoting a nauseous, illiberal, Leftist illusion of universal conformity.

Hey, how about a bit of Diversity, anyone? I THOUGHT that was a cherished liberal value.

Hopefully, the state legislatures now passing laws to mandate that their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote will be defeated in the courts, on the firmest of constitutional grounds, for conspiring to disenfranchise their citizens.

Imagine you lived in a state whose citizens (including you) voted overwhelmingly for Candidate A, but because Candidate B won the national vote your state’s electors were legally bound to vote for B.

Add this to the scenario: if Candidate A actually GOT all the electoral votes due him/her under the present College system, he/she would indeed be, as Trump was in 2016, the next president.

But no, because your state went rogue, your vote (the WINNING vote in your state!) doesn’t merely lose—it’s REVERSED.

Feeling a bit disenfranchised, maybe? Aka “ripped off”?

Someone will object, “Tough! Clinton voters were ripped off in 2016, so welcome to the club, fella. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Sometimes ya win, sometimes ya lose.”

Sorry, Charlie. Bogus as all get-out.

Actually, if my hypothetical Charlie properly took his own retort to heart, he wouldn’t be throwing such a reactionary fit right now over that big bad wolf the Electoral College. I, after all, am not the one trying to throw the chess board out the window in a snit over losing the last match. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”... indeed! And WHEN you lose, you don’t, if you’re a grown-up, scream that the chess rules were rigged all along.

Nobody was “ripped off” in 2016. Trump won according to the rules of the Electoral College, not by ditching the rules just because you lost. In the opposite case, had Clinton won the electoral vote though losing the popular one, I’d be making ZERO noise about ditching the Electoral College. Because the principle far deeper than this knee-jerk, instant-gratification, retroactive-wish-fulfillment fix of tossing the College is this: as stated above, we are a union of states, not individuals. Plus, at least for now, until and unless we amend the constitution, the Electoral College is By The Book; it’s the rules, the covenant, the guarantor of every state’s fair representation at the national table.

There’s another, chilling, prospect attached to this ostensible movement (the “movement” seems limited for now to myopic 2016 loser states that can’t envision their electors EVER needing to reverse THEIR enlightened citizenries’ choice, so it promises only win-win as far as they can see, which isn’t far at all; the “movement” hasn’t, for obvious reasons, spread to the states that would have had, following the new line, to BETRAY their own popular votes in 2016).

The chilling prospect is precisely the (regrettably clichéd but supremely apt) “chilling effect” this would have on the national vote. No primer example than 2016. Assume it’s all been agreed: the national popular vote clinches it. Either there’s no Electoral College anymore or it’s just a rubber stamp legally bound to ratify the popular vote. So there you are, a voter inclined toward Trump in, say, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, for that matter, even Texas or Alaska. All the polls are saying Clinton has got it nailed down, no way Trump can beat her popularly (as in fact he didn’t).

So...do you go vote? For what? California and New York make you and your vote completely pointless. Even if Trump wins your state, your state is STILL going to vote for Clinton, if there’s even still a sham of an Electoral College left.

So why vote? The popular vote, in conspiracy with the opinion polls, in conspiracy with the Entertainment-News Complex, in conspiracy with the HollyCratic Party, has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It was exactly the demon of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy that was so staggeringly exorcised in 2016. It happened because Trump-voters had a real, however slim it seemed, reason to vote. Their reason to vote was the Electoral College, and the voice their states could bring to the table.

Without that, they’d have had no hope or reason to vote in the brave new world of...The United Principate of New York and California. Which would have suited the Principate just dandy.

And the Left speciously screeches “Disenfranchisement!!” just because we want to make sure every voter is a citizen and a citizen who votes just once. But the same tone-deaf, soullessly demagogic Left bats not an eye at the howling hypocrisy of it all as they oleaginously croon to us what a glorious era will dawn when the will of most states in these United States of America...Doesn’t. Matter. Anymore.

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Issue Status

Rep. Ellen Read has proposed a bill for 2019 that would allocate electoral college electors based on the national popular vote. 

See what NH citizens had to say about this proposal

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