May 23, 2019

Nevada Close to Joining List of States Moving to Abolish Electoral College

  • Flyover Country, Horse Race

By: Michael O’Donnell

In Brief:

The Nevada State Senate passed a bill that, pending Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) signature, would give the state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote, and thus making Nevada the latest state to join the National Popular Vote (NVP) interstate compact.

The Background:

The National Popular Vote interstate compact, according to the organization’s website, “…would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The bill is a constitutionally conservative, state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.”

If signed into law, AB 186, would make Nevada the 15th state to have enacted such legislation.

The District of Columbia joins 13 other states in having passed legislation to join the compact. The movement requires a majority of the Electoral College’s 538 electoral votes, or 270 votes, to go into effect. Nevada’s six electoral votes would boost the existing number to 195.

Other states signing on to the compact include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State.

A majority of the states in the compact voted heavily for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election in which Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote but not the popular election.

Many conservatives are against the National Popular Vote movement, pointing to its unconstitutional characteristics.

Notable Quotes

Norman Williams, for the Harvard Law Review Blog:

In my view, it is unconstitutional for states to appoint electors against the wishes of their own state electorate but in accordance with the will of voters outside the state. I also think that the practical problems with the NPVC will invite litigation on a far greater scale—and with far greater consequences for the legitimacy of our presidential elections—than what the nation witnessed in Bush v. Gore.

Robert Natelson, Senior Fellow, Independence Institute, for The Daily Caller:

“In assessing the constitutionality of NPV, you have to consider some of its central features. First, NPV abandons the idea that presidential electors represent the people of their own states. Second, it discards an election system balanced among interests and values in favor of one recognizing only national popularity. That popularity need not high: A state joining the NPV compact agrees to assign its electors to even the winner of a tiny plurality in a multi-candidate election.

“Third, because NPV states would have a majority of votes in the Electoral College, NPV would effectively repeal the Constitution’s provision for run-off elections in the House of Representatives.

“Fourth, NPV requires each state’s election officer to apply the vote tabulations certified by other state election officers — even if those tabulations are known to be fraudulent or erroneous.  Indeed, NPV would give state politicians powerful incentives to inflate, by fair means or foul, their vote totals relative to other states."



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