Author Topic: 'Hacking the Constitution': States Quietly Plan to Ditch Electoral College  (Read 383 times)

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Online mystery-ak

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Online Oceander

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It cannot and will not take effect in any binding way unless Congress blesses it, and Congress is very unlikely to bless this sort of interstate compact (under the Constitution, agreements among the states have to be approved by Congress).

Offline katzenjammer

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How is this stopped?  To my knowledge there is no inter-state compact (at least that one can discern).  It seems like each state is just independently passing legislation on how they will assign their electors (i.e., give them all to the national popular vote winner).  It has been mentioned here in a prior thread on this topic that this type of action by the state may be disenfranchising to the voters of the state (since the results of their statewide election are, in effect, being ignored).  How does this get challenged?

Offline speekinout

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It cannot and will not take effect in any binding way unless Congress blesses it, and Congress is very unlikely to bless this sort of interstate compact (under the Constitution, agreements among the states have to be approved by Congress).

Can you be more precise about what stops the states from doing this? AFAIK, the Constitution allows each state to decide how they will choose their representatives to the Electoral College. Surely Congress can't interfere with the states' rights to that extent.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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I wrote a piece about how brilliant the Electoral College is once it is understood.  I used the Illinois Gubernatorial race as a hypothetical.  Wonder if I can find the damn thing.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline Fishrrman

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Katzenjammer writes above:
[[ How is this stopped? ]]

I explained how it will be stopped in this post a few days' back:
http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index.php/topic,136001.msg555692.html#msg555692
... which is a little long to reproduce here.

I'd like to add a little more to what I wrote there. Let me preface what I'm about to say next by recognizing that the Constitution indeed grants the states the power to choose electors as they wish. We know that.

The Seventeenth Amendment changed the way senators were chosen by the states. If I'm not mistaken, before the 17th, senators were elected (or appointed?) by the legislatures of each state, and common rank-and-file voters had no say in the matter. With the 17th, the power to choose senators was TAKEN FROM the state legislatures and placed directly into the hands of the voters, who now elect them at the polls. Once senators are chosen in this manner, the legislature or governor of any state cannot arbitrarily "over-ride" the choice "of the voters".

Consider:
"National Popular Vote" is trying to "do a reverse" of what the 17th Amendment did -- this time with presidential elections instead of Senatorial ones.

It's an attempt to empower state legislatures (by their action of voting for NPV) to override and reverse the results of elections held in those very states.

It's an attempt to overtly replace the collective will of the voters with a different outcome (in this case, to "throw the vote" to whomever receives the popular vote majority nationwide).

What does the Voting Rights Act have to say about such legal shenanigans?
What constitutes "disenfranchisement" ??

As I wrote in the post referred to above, I believe the Supreme Court will find this to be an unconsitutional disenfranchisement of the voters in states that adopt NPV and a violation of voter rights, perhaps backed by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

By analogy, it's as if a state, after having had an public election for a senatorial seat, ignored the tally of the vote, and gave the seat to someone else. It doesn't matter why the state does this; it DOES matter that the voters' rights have been ignored.

How could a state adopt NPV and then act in a manner that satisfied the Constitution and current law?
Easy enough: cancel the in-state public presidential election for electors.

With no election, there is no "vote" from the citizens to be disregarded.
There is no disenfranchisement of the voters.
Now, the state is Constitutionally-compliant and can assign its electors in the manner it so chooses -- such as NPV.

Which of the NPV states will be the first to step up to the plate and cancel its presidential election?

If I was going to oppose NPV on a national scale, this is how I'd argue it...
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 10:35:54 PM by Fishrrman »

Offline katzenjammer

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Katzenjammer writes above:
[[ How is this stopped? ]]

I explained how it will be stopped in this post a few days' back:
http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index.php/topic,136001.msg555692.html#msg555692
... which is a little long to reproduce here.

I'd like to add a little more to what I wrote there. Let me preface what I'm about to say next by recognizing that the Constitution indeed grants the states the power to choose electors as they wish. We know that.

The Seventeenth Amendment changed the way senators were chosen by the states. If I'm not mistaken, before the 17th, senators were elected (or appointed?) by the legislatures of each state, and common rank-and-file voters had no say in the matter. With the 17th, the power to choose senators was TAKEN FROM the state legislatures and placed directly into the hands of the voters, who now elect them at the polls. Once senators are chosen in this manner, the legislature or governor of any state cannot arbitrarily "over-ride" the choice "of the voters".

Consider:
"National Popular Vote" is trying to "do a reverse" of what the 17th Amendment did -- this time with presidential elections instead of Senatorial ones.

It's an attempt to empower state legislatures (by their action of voting for NPV) to override and reverse the results of elections held in those very states.

It's an attempt to overtly replace the collective will of the voters with a different outcome (in this case, to "throw the vote" to whomever receives the popular vote majority nationwide).

What does the Voting Rights Act have to say about such legal shenanigans?
What constitutes "disenfranchisement" ??

As I wrote in the post referred to above, I believe the Supreme Court will find this to be an unconsitutional disenfranchisement of the voters in states that adopt NPV and a violation of voter rights, perhaps backed by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

By analogy, it's as if a state, after having had an public election for a senatorial seat, ignored the tally of the vote, and gave the seat to someone else. It doesn't matter why the state does this; it DOES matter that the voters' rights have been ignored.

How could a state adopt NPV and then act in a manner that satisfied the Constitution and current law?
Easy enough: cancel the in-state public presidential election for electors.

With no election, there is no "vote" from the citizens to be disregarded.
There is no disenfranchisement of the voters.
Now, the state is Constitutionally-compliant and can assign its electors in the manner it so chooses -- such as NPV.

Which of the NPV states will be the first to step up to the plate and cancel its presidential election?

If I was going to oppose NPV on a national scale, this is how I'd argue it...

Yes, thank you.  I remembered your post from the other thread and mentioned it, but was too lazy to find it.

I agree with all that you said (here, and in the prior post), I guess that I wasn't clear in my request.  I am wondering about where the court challenges will originate that, as you say, will probably wind their way up to SCOTUS.  Will there be a challenge *before* this monstrosity starts rolling?  Or will someone have to wait until they are actually disenfranchised by having their state ignore the results of their state's Presidential election, and actually assign the electors to the npv winner?  I am wondering if challenge(s) can come about before any damage is done?

Online Oceander

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Katzenjammer writes above:
[[ How is this stopped? ]]

I explained how it will be stopped in this post a few days' back:
http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index.php/topic,136001.msg555692.html#msg555692
... which is a little long to reproduce here.

I'd like to add a little more to what I wrote there. Let me preface what I'm about to say next by recognizing that the Constitution indeed grants the states the power to choose electors as they wish. We know that.

The Seventeenth Amendment changed the way senators were chosen by the states. If I'm not mistaken, before the 17th, senators were elected (or appointed?) by the legislatures of each state, and common rank-and-file voters had no say in the matter. With the 17th, the power to choose senators was TAKEN FROM the state legislatures and placed directly into the hands of the voters, who now elect them at the polls. Once senators are chosen in this manner, the legislature or governor of any state cannot arbitrarily "over-ride" the choice "of the voters".

Consider:
"National Popular Vote" is trying to "do a reverse" of what the 17th Amendment did -- this time with presidential elections instead of Senatorial ones.

It's an attempt to empower state legislatures (by their action of voting for NPV) to override and reverse the results of elections held in those very states.

It's an attempt to overtly replace the collective will of the voters with a different outcome (in this case, to "throw the vote" to whomever receives the popular vote majority nationwide).

What does the Voting Rights Act have to say about such legal shenanigans?
What constitutes "disenfranchisement" ??

As I wrote in the post referred to above, I believe the Supreme Court will find this to be an unconsitutional disenfranchisement of the voters in states that adopt NPV and a violation of voter rights, perhaps backed by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

By analogy, it's as if a state, after having had an public election for a senatorial seat, ignored the tally of the vote, and gave the seat to someone else. It doesn't matter why the state does this; it DOES matter that the voters' rights have been ignored.

How could a state adopt NPV and then act in a manner that satisfied the Constitution and current law?
Easy enough: cancel the in-state public presidential election for electors.

With no election, there is no "vote" from the citizens to be disregarded.
There is no disenfranchisement of the voters.
Now, the state is Constitutionally-compliant and can assign its electors in the manner it so chooses -- such as NPV.

Which of the NPV states will be the first to step up to the plate and cancel its presidential election?

If I was going to oppose NPV on a national scale, this is how I'd argue it...


That's what I was looking for!!!  You've written a masterful little summary of things, for which I thank you.

Offline speekinout

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I seem to be of a different mind than most recent posters on this topic. I'm not fond of the 17th amendment. Or any other amendment or law that takes power from the states and gives it to the Fed'l gov't. One of the great things - IMO - about this country is that we are a republic. The states and the people were supposed to have most of the power; the Fed'l gov't was only supposed to have limited powers. The Constitution was pretty clear about that.
Over the years we have been gradually giving more and more power to the Feds, and I don't see that much, if any, of those transfers have been to the good. I would like to see us stop transferring power, and in my wildest dreams, we would start giving power back to the states.
Granted, sometimes the states, or at least some states, do things that many of us find offensive, but if we transfer power to the Feds. every time that happens, how long will it be before we have a totalitarian fed'l gov't?

Offline katzenjammer

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I don't think anyone here favors the 17th Amendment; I certainly don't.  Fish was just using it as an opposite structure as part of his explanation of how this npv movement can be shut down.


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