Destroying the Electoral College
|For several years now, there have been a group of people in this country calling for a Constitutional Convention for a variety of reasons. Some want to pass an amendment to force term limits on Congress. Others want a balanced budget amendment. And then are those who want to get rid of the Electoral College. Since getting enough states to agree on convening a Constitutional Convention is nearly impossible, the National Popular Vote crowd is trying to get around that obstacle by changing how states choose delegates to the Electoral College. But is this a good idea?|
The end result of this national movement is to decide presidential elections by popular vote. And they are making progress.
Using high priced lobbyists, they have already persuaded ten states to pass legislation that reallocates the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the majority of votes on a national scale rather than the candidate who wins the state. Arizona is poised to be the 11th state to join the bandwagon.
The problem with this movement is that it would fundamentally change the United States by changing the national political system from a representative democracy to a pure democracy. If you are a student of history, you would know that the Founding Father’s greatest fear was majority rule, as they had seen the destruction it can cause when a charismatic leader comes along and the mob just follows in lockstep to their own detriment.
In fact, the word ‘democracy’ is not written one time in the 4,543 words of the Constitution. The Electoral College was established to give smaller states a voice against larger states when selecting the nation’s leader.
Electoral votes are delegated based on a state’s population. For example, Rhode Island has four electoral votes, while California has 55. A presidential candidate currently needs a majority of 270 Electoral College’s 538 votes to with the White House.
Since the National Popular Vote initiative attempts to breach the Constitution, it would likely end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Especially since Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution reads: “No state shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power.” So far, 10 heavily Democratic states—California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—have joined the District of Columbia in signing such legislation into law. These states, having 165 votes, make up roughly 60 percent of the 270 votes needed to reach their goal. Arizona would make it 176 votes.
This pact is scheduled to go into effect when enough states sign on to hit 270 votes. You see, doing away with the Electoral College completely requires a constitutional amendment, meaning two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to vote for repeal, and then another three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the new amendment. This initiative could have the same effect with as little as 11 states.
It is not only the legality questions that are of concern. Elections by popular vote would create incentives to commit voter fraud. You could end up with 12 to 15 states ruling over the other 35 states. For instance, in a uber-liberal state like New York, there currently isn’t any incentive for voter fraud because people know that no matter who runs - the state is going to elect a Democrat.
Under a national voting system, there would be an incentive to “stuff” voting boxes to change the result: a Democratic candidate would win New York as normal, but could more easily win the national election. It would only take a few states to do this to capture the entire country. And I sincerely believe there are people in this country that would salivate for the opportunity to control this type of situation.
And what would happen if we had a close enough national vote to trigger a recount? It would make the recount in Florida in 2000 look like a child’s game.
The National Popular Vote movement began in the mid-2000s after George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by five electoral votes even though Gore won the popular vote by a small margin. It seems some people hold a grudge a long time - and they are dangerous.