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electionlineWeekly--May 12, 2011

Table of Contents

 

II. National Popular Vote gains momentum

 

National Popular Vote gains momentum
Reaches almost one-third of the Electoral Votes needed

 

 

By Emily Huston and Andreas Westgaard

 

 

When Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the National Popular Vote Bill into law earlier this spring making Vermont the eighth state to pass such legislation, it signaled a growing momentum for the movement that would guarantee the presidency to the winner of the National Popular Vote in all 50 states.

 

 

Heralding that momentum at a press event this week, Tom Golisano, national spokesman for National Popular Vote (NPV) also introduced three new NPV co-champions: Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R), Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) and Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar (R).

 

 

“…most of the states, most of the people are ignored,” said Edgar at the event. “We need a president that represents the entire nation, not just the battleground states.”

 

 

In addition to Vermont, the six states who have enacted bills to date include: Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

 

 

Vermont’s approval of NPV legislation marks the 77th electoral vote, or 29 percent of the 270 Electoral votes needed for the bill to go into effect nationwide.

 

The three new bi-partisan co-champions expressed the belief that the bill was non-partisan enough in nature with broad bi-partisan support that gave neither major party a partisan advantage.

On the constitutionality of the bill, both Thompson and Edgar were quick to assert that the winner-take-all system of the Electoral College was not in the Constitution and thus was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. In fact, it was a product of state laws over time that could be just as easily changed on a state-by-state basis without amending the Constitution.

 

“We can make changes before the next electoral crisis occurs,” Culver argued citing his experience as the secretary of state. He added that unlike the federal Help America Vote Act, states can be proactive instead of reactive..

 

“Times change,” Thompson asserted. Yet, when asked about the biggest challenge facing the legislation, the panel noted that it was precisely the resistance to change that presented itself as the initiative’s biggest obstacle. In spite of recent momentum, the arduous task of educating both legislators and governors in the remaining 43 states still remains.