June 27, 2011

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week 2

Russell Murphy, like yesterday's James Glenn, thinks that the proposed National Popular Vote bill (HB 55) here in Delaware requires a constitutional amendment:

Rep. Gilligan should read Article 2, Section 1 and the 12th Amendment of the Constitution.

He will find the procedure for the “electoral votes,” and to change that would require an amendment to the Constitution.

Murphy is correct -- Gilligan should check out those passages ... since they actually support HB 55!! Again, Article II, Section 1 states that [state] legislatures decide the manner by which Electors are appointed. That's precisely what HB 55 does! And there's nothing in Amendment 12 which contradicts this. Indeed, check out the note attached to Amendment 12:

These electors meet in their state capitals after the general election and cast votes for President and votes for Vice-President. Though electors are pledged to the candidates of their party, there is nothing in the Constitution requiring them to so vote — and, in fact, every so often an elector defects from his party's candidates, though the effect on the election is usually nil. Some states have laws against electors casting such "faithless" votes, but it is unclear if anyone could actually be prosecuted under such laws, since the electors are protected by the Constitution (though not in so many words).

What this means is that, even if HB 55 passes -- which would direct Electors to vote for the national [presidential] popular vote winner -- these Electors probably would not even have to abide by this [state] law ... based on the wording (or lack thereof) in the federal Constitution.

So, once and for all: HB 55 would NOT be unconstitutional the way it is worded. I still think the bill is a bad idea, but it would not be a "law-breaker."

Posted by Hube at June 27, 2011 01:21 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Of course, the main problem with this legislation is that it makes the votes of the citizens of the state purely advisory when it comes to how the state's electoral votes will be cast, with the voters of other states making the actual decision on how they will be cast. Seems rater bass-ackwards to me.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at June 29, 2011 02:52 PM

My home state of California is a winner-take-all state, meaning that even if a candidate wins California by only 1 vote, that candidate gets all 55 of California's electoral votes. People talk about the Popular Vote idea here in California, but that talk will cease with a quickness when a Republican wins the national popular vote.

I still support the wisdom and reasoning behind the Electoral College, If people want to get closer to a national popular vote (which I absolutely oppose), then try this on for size:

Each congressional district has approximately the same number of people. Give an elector to whoever wins each congressional district, and the two electors for the senators go to whomever wins the state's popular vote.

Posted by: Darren at July 4, 2011 03:19 PM

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