LB 1058 Weakens NE Influence in Presidential Elections

NTF worksheet: legwatch 125.doc. 3-14.


BACKGROUND. Certainly no Nebraska voter would want California or New York to select our next President despite our wishes. However, the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact would force state electors to pledge to cast their votes for the presidential candidate receiving the most votes nationwide, regardless of results in Nebraska. By July 2013, 9 states and the District of Columbia had joined this compact, their combined 136 votes comprising 25% of the Electoral College and 50% of the votes needed for this compact to take effect. If the NPV had existed in 2000, Al Gore would have won the presidency. If the NPV takes effect before the 2016 election, we could welcome Hillary Clinton to the White House.

INSIDIOUS BILL. LB 1058 drastically and permanently would change our historic participation in presidential elections. NPV guarantees election of the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states. It is an agreement among states to award all of their electoral votes collectively to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote after the participating states together hold a majority (currently 270 of 538) of electoral votes.

NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. This proposal will eliminate our historical Electoral College that selects our President every 4 yrs. It would eliminate states as electoral districts in presidential elections by creating one national electoral district. This process could take effect without amending our U.S. Constitution. It weakens our historical federalist structure by ending the role of states in presidential contests. States with smaller populations, like Nebraska, benefit from our Electoral College. Candidates will totally ignore states like NE and focus their efforts in dense media markets where costs per vote are lowest. Nebraska would lose 34% of its clout in a presidential election.1 Rural NE issues would become inconsequential. LB 1058 might force our NE electors to vote for a candidate who did not win the majority vote in our state. The NPV compact would produce a replay of Florida in 2000 on a national scale. Liberals would demand recounts across the nation, together with endless lawsuits and lingering doubts about the legitimacy of the eventual presidential winner. The tradition of state autonomy, with individual state guidelines for voter eligibility, candidate qualifications, and electoral selection will die along with state sovereignty. Elections will become nationalized, with liberal pressure for uniform standards in voter eligibility and ballot certification, a movement toward national control. One more transfer of authority from the states to the centralized government. This system will encourage candidates to pander to large blocs of voters and become more aggressive in seeking to garner votes from large segments of the population, like Hispanics by endorsing amnesty for illegal aliens. Vote-buying will flourish. Because of third parties, many elections, including 3 of the last 5, saw no presidential candidate receiving a popular vote majority. Abe Lincoln garnered less than 40% in a 3-way race but won the presidency. The NPV might result in a president elected by a very small plurality, someone who failed to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states. Examine Mexico, which uses a national popular vote system. In its last presidential election, the candidate with the most votes received only 35.9%. His nearest rival received 35.1%. For months, Mexico teetered on the brink of civil war, as the loser held mass rallies, exhorting his angry followers to riot. A President elected by only 25-35% of the American people would not have a mandate to govern, and questions about his legitimacy could pose serious consequences both for the nation and for his actions as President. NPV would greatly incentivize vote-stealing, as Big City bosses in Chicago and other large cities with crooked political machines would witness that, with huge numbers of fraudulent votes, they could swing electoral votes outside their states and see these votes counted toward a national popular vote plurality victory for their presidential candidate. Because a direct election would become national in nature, campaign resource allocation would become dominated by paid national TV ads, with little reason for grass-roots local activity, thus lessening voter turnout. Likewise, a national campaign means a national message, less incentive for coalition-building or accounting for the desires of voters in different states and regions. This process bypasses the appropriate and normal method for changing our electoral system, through the constitutional amendment process. If the NPV is so popular, its supporters should use this process instead of engaging in trickery. Our Founding Fathers intentionally devised the Electoral College to balance power among the 3 branches of federal government and the states. They knew that our nation comprised a federal system of states, allowing each, regardless of size or population, a key role in our presidential elections. Their review of history told them that direct democracy often results in radical shifts in national direction. Majorities tend to wield despotic power over the minority in direct democracies. Founders wanted to slow political shifts in a manageable way, to promote stability. The Electoral College protects smaller states from bullying by larger states. The Founders wanted the presidential election free from sectional rivalries, so that the President could represent all the people. This balance has served our nation excellently for over 200 yrs. The present system of electing our President is consistent with the values and priorities of our Founding Fathers.2

CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS. The NPV clearly violates the Presidential Election Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which permits state legislatures to develop rules for electors. By not permitting state legislatures to easily withdraw from the NPV compact, the NPV again violates this article. No state during the Constitution ratification or at other times ever tried to appoint its presidential electors on the basis of votes cast outside of the state, as the NPV dictates. Under our Constitution, Nebraskans and other voters do not vote directly for President in a nationwide election. Our constitutional forebears expressly rejected the idea of a direct, popular election for President. Voters in every state vote for electors from that state, who then cast constitutionally valid votes for President and Vice-President. The allocation of electors to every state bases on their representation in Congress. Thus, Nebraska has 5 electoral votes. The electoral vote for the winning candidate may differ greatly from the nationwide popular vote. So, in 2000, George Bush received fewer popular votes nationwide than Al Gore but still won the election.3  The compact clause of our Constitution declares that no state without congressional consent can make an agreement with another state in compacts that impinge on federal authority. Our forebears created this clause, because they feared that compacting states might threaten the supremacy of the federal government in foreign affairs and relations among the states. If states unilaterally could make such agreements among themselves, they could cripple our federalist structure.4

THE REAL GOAL. Frustrated because their continual congressional attempts to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College have failed, liberals connived to develop a new way to avoid the time and effort needed to pass an amendment. If these conspirators can muster a majority of state legislatures to accept their nefarious plan, the NPV would take effect and decide the presidential winner, regardless if other states agreed to the plan or adoption of an amendment. Our Electoral College would disappear. Leftist groups like Common Cause, ACLU, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, and the NAACP, and the liberal New York Times have endorsed the NPV.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Governor Heineman and Sec. of State John Gale both oppose LB 1058 as weakening NE influence in presidential elections. Nebraska voters should decide to which candidate our votes go, not voters in liberal California or New York, both densely populated and ideologically homogeneous areas. Liberals must convince states that have 270 electoral votes before NPV can take effect. We reside in a representative republic, not a direct democracy. Contact your state senator today to vote NO on LB 1058. Email for state senator contact information.

Research, analysis, and documentation for this worksheet done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 3-14. C

2 Kevin Kane, The Pelican Post, May 4, 2012.
3 Norman Williams, Why the NPV Compact is Unconstitutional. Feb. 2013.
4 Hans P. Von Spakovsky, Destroying the Electoral College, Heritage Foundation Paper, Oct. 27, 2011.

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