Posted on June 26, 2008
The Herald Bulletin published an editorial on Saturday criticizing the National Popular Vote movement currently taking place in the United States. 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 editorial claims that an amendment to the Constitution is the only proper way to institute a national popular vote to elect the president because the Electoral College is in the Constitution, and the only way to eliminate it would be through an amendment.
However, there is actually no mention of the Electoral College in the Constitution. In addition, state legislation is a better way to change the electoral process because this is the method prescribed by the Constitution to change the manner by which a state awards its electoral votes. The Founding Fathers gave the states exclusive and plenary control over the manner of awarding their electoral votes.
The critics of the National Popular Vote Plan are forgetting about these fundamental provisions of the constitution - the right of each state to determine how their electoral votes are allocated and the right to enter into contracts with other states.
The editorial remarks on the undemocratic nature of awarding a state's electoral votes to the candidate who did not win a plurality of votes in that state. It fails to mention that this will not occur until enough states have joined the compact to make up a majority of the Electoral College, and when this occurs, the national popular vote winner will be guaranteed to win a majority of the Electoral College votes. Thus, this bill will not affect the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.
The proposed compact would not change any state's internal procedures for conducting or counting its presidential vote. The advantage of the National Popular Vote plan is that the United States can update the electoral process while upholding the Founders' intentions.