March 21, 2011
Dear Senator: NPV is an Oxymoron
I recently wrote to my state senator about NPV.
Thank you for responding to my previous communication. I hope you will reconsider your position and withdraw your support of what has been called the “Blue State Suicide Pact”, aka National Popular Vote proposal.
I am no fan of the Electoral College as it currently operates but I oppose the current NPV proposal. In fact, the name is a classic oxymoron.
1. The NPV is not NATIONAL: It does not require participation of even a majority of states, just enough to meet an artificial threshold. If it were a truly national solution and applied to all states equally then It would be a viable solution to the dysfunctionality of the Electoral College. An end-run around the Constitution as exemplified by the NPV is not the path we should be pursuing to improve our election systems. An interstate compact such as this one on NPV would need Congressional approval since it involves a federall issue — my research indicates that such approval is highly unlikely to occur since there precedent is lacking.
2. The NPV is not POPULAR: there does not appear a national groundswell for this particular proposal. Show me some polling that there is broad grassroots support for NPV — I haven’t seen any such polling on this issue and I follow election reform closely. It is a phony fix for the current dysfunctionality of the Electoral College and would create new incentives for machine hacking and voter suppression in vulnerable states. In fact, the paperless voting systems in certain states (Texas, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Pennysylvania, etal) could be tampered with and no one would know that ballots had been electronically stuffed. There are well-documented efforts at voter suppression underway in a number of states aimed at keeping Democratic-leaning voters from casting a ballot — NH taking aim at college students, and numerous other states imposing a new poll tax by requiring photo ID.
3. The NPV is not about VOTING: Oregon’s electoral votes would be held hostage to the breathless reporting of the national media about who was projected to “win”. Even usually reliable sources can get caught up in this media frenzy and make egregious mistakes: I have in my possession an Almanac that lists Gordon Smith as the winning Senatorial candidate against Jeff Merkley; another later edition lists Chris Dudley as the new Governor of Oregon. A similar rush to judgment would impact the Presidential race under NPV and assign Oregon’s electoral votes to the projected “winner” before all the votes are counted, much less certified. The NPV proposal does not even provide a clear definition of “national popular vote” in the sense that it does not specify that it must be the final certified vote totals of the various states. It does not specify that all the votes be actually counted before the votes are assigned to a candidate. NPV makes no allowance for recounts or disputed elections (see Al Franken v Norm Coleman 2008, Lisa Murkowski v Joe Miller 2010, and Bush v Gore Florida 2000). This fuzziness in unacceptable for electing the President of the United States.
I was glad to speak with you at your recent town hall and hope you will take my arguments against NPV into account if the bill reaches the floor of the Senate.