Easy is a common goal
Doing the easy thing is a common goal. The easy way promises efficiency and better lifestyles and less stress. I admit that I like easy– a lot. It means I get to relax more and my mind is not cluttered with worries of the day.
Oregon Democrats prefer easy solutions
In the not too distant future, we’ll be casting our ballots for our presidential preferences. We’ll be relying on the Electoral College to translate our popular votes into electoral ones with the expectation of getting a clear winner.
Oregon Democrats recently passed a bill that adds Oregon to the National Popular Vote interstate compact. (Governor Brown has not yet signed the bill as of this writing.) Since it is believed that the Electoral College is flawed, delivering a different winner than the one identified by the nation’s popular vote, NPV provides an easy alternative. Though NPV doesn’t go into effect until the collective electoral votes of the compact states equal 270, NPV ensures that the candidate capturing the popular vote wins the nomination. What could be easier?
U.S. Constitution challenges easy approaches
Let’s consider some facts.
The U.S. Constitution provides a remedy if something about it fails to deliver what is desired. Since the Electoral College is outlined in the Constitution (Article 2), what will we witness when NPV bypasses the Constitution and its remedy? If enacted, will it be contested as being unconstitutional before the Supreme Court?
The United States is comprised of 50 independent and sovereign states. The Electoral College is constructed so as to give each state a separate voting voice when electing the president. Forming a compact for presidential elections essentially erases the state borders in favor of a new NPV fake state.
The image here shows the states already included in the NPV interstate compact. No state is visible on its own (except Hawaii and Illinois). Oregon, for example, is somewhere along the West Coast; but for voting purposes it disappears. These many states will act as one.
Denying a sovereign state its separate voting voice to represent the voting sentiment of its citizens, runs counter to the intent outlined in the U.S. Constitution. A plurality of voters within a state can easily lose their voting representation if they’re included in the NPV compact. NPV, then, silences a state’s true voting voice (and choices) in favor of the easy fix favored by NPV supporters.
NPV does not identify our voting challenge
It should be noted that NPV supporters realize that something does not seem to serve the citizenry well when the popular and Electoral College voting results are so divergent. Yet, NPV supporters do not diagnose why such disparities occur.
Voting representation by Electoral College votes is crucial to our elections. Denying someone access to his or her right to vote is voter suppression. Denying someone’s due Electoral College vote representation is vote suppression. Neither is desired but the latter is ignored and little understood. Such suppression will persist with NPV as state legislators reach for the Easy Button in hopes the concern will go away on its own.
Is NPV reasonable?
Since NPV supporters favor ignoring the U.S. Constitutional remedy, ignoring sovereignty of states, and limiting Electoral College representation, one can question their priorities. Their concern is good, but the NPV remedy is not. Pressing an Easy Button as the Oregon Democrats recently did is not the makings of sound governance. It’s disappointing especially given that each of the Oregon legislators had better facts provided to them. Such intent and actions are counter to the notion of what makes these United States special.
Winner-Takes-All is ignored
The critical point to the conversation is understanding what causes the popular and Electoral College results to be so misaligned. The problem is not resident within the Electoral College itself. Rather, it is a simple add-on approach that was introduced into our presidential elections in the early 1800s. We’ve lived with it for so long that we no longer realize or recognize its negative effect.
The problem simply is: the Winner-Takes-All used by every state (yes, even Maine and Nebraska use it, albeit in a different manner).
We can remove the Winner-Takes-All aspect without a constitutional amendment. We do not need to form an interstate compact to get this done. This small step is also easy to do.
EVV requires three easy steps
The challenge is to replace the mechanism with a better approach – but with what?
The answer is simply Equal Voice Voting (EVV). EVV sustains within each state the proportional voting method established by the Electoral College. As it is adopted, EVV will ensure every vote matters, every vote for significant candidates is represented, and every sovereign state is heard. EVV requires neither a constitutional amendment nor an interstate compact.
EVV is easy to establish in three steps:
- First, state legislators recognize the Winner-Takes-All problem and remove it.
- Second, the state legislators work together to ensure all of their constituents’ votes matter.
- Third, state legislators allow a proportional Electoral College voting result to emerge within their state.
Proportional treatment will actually draw more campaign attention to a state, making the state’s voting voice more significant. EVV is a win-win for all who vote. Hitting the Easy Button is still a worthwhile goal. Let’s just do it with EVV!