Sen. Fran Millar

Week two of the Georgia General Assembly 2016 legislative session was budget week. While we were in session, the primary focus was on appropriations.

I wanted to share with you the following article about the national popular vote bill already being proposed in many jurisdictions.

“Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote”

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it, including four small jurisdictions (RI, VT, HI, DC,), three medium-size states (MD, MA, WA), and four big states (NJ, IL, NY, CA). The bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers in 22 states—most recently by a bipartisan 28-18 vote in the Oklahoma Senate, a 57-4 vote in New York Senate, and a 37-21 vote in Oregon House.

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from state winner-take-all statues (i.e., state laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each separate state).

Because of these state winner-take-all statues, presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion. Two-thirds of the 2012 general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were in just 4 states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa). Thirty-eight states were ignored.

State winner-take-all statues adversely affect governance. “Battleground” states receive 7 percent more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

Also, state winner-take-all statues have allowed candidates to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in four of our 57 presidential elections.

The U.S Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would not take effect until enacted by states possessing a majority of electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). Under the compact, the winner would be the candidate who received the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) on Election Day. When the Electoral College meets in mid-December, the national popular vote winner would receive all of the electoral votes of the enacting states. Supporters include Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean.

The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state controls of elections.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Senator Fran Millar

770-490-0213

senatorfranmillar@gmail.com

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