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Popular Vote – OP ED

Your voice matters!  As a result of the numerous recent calls and emails to Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick and Senate President Courtney, Burdick’s office said Monday that there is a 50%-50% chance that the Oregon Senate will be able to vote on the version of the National Popular Vote bill that has previously passed the Oregon House four times.

  • If you haven’t yet weighed in by phone, please call Senator Burdick at (503) 986-1700 and Senate President Courtney at (503) 986-1600.  If you call after business hours, you can leave a voicemail.
  • This would also be a good time to send a reminder email your Oregon legislators  reminding them of your your support fpr the version of the National Popular Vote bill that has previously passed the Oregon House four times.
  • Thank you so much!

 

SENATOR DEMBROW’S EXPLAINS WHY BILL CAN STILL PASS (from his February 26, 2018 newsletter)

“One of the interesting developments of this session is that we may actually get a Senate floor vote on the National Popular Vote.

“I’ve been a supporter of this approach since I first entered the Legislature and voted for it twice while I was in the House.  But it has never been able to make it to the floor of the Senate, though it appeared that the votes were there to pass it.  That’s due in large part to opposition from the Senate President, who has a philosophical objection to the approach.  But he has recently decided to allow the bill to come to the floor if the votes are there to vote it out of the Rules Committee.  There he will follow his conscience and vote against it.

“I have to say that I’m proud of Senator Courtney for making this decision.  I believe that allowing the bill to be voted on even though he opposes it–and under our rules he has the ability to stop it-this is admirable, and, I believe, an example of good government.”

REASONS TO SUPPORT THE HOUSE-PASSED BILL

The National Popular Vote bill that the Oregon House has passed four times (HB 2927 of 2017) would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  It does not involve a referral.

The practical effect of Courtney’s proposed referral bill (SB 1512) would be an expensive war of sound bites financed by billionaires who like electing Presidents who don’t win the most popular votes throughout the country.  Good government organizations simply do not have resources to combat the infusion of money from vested interests supporting the current system of electing the President.

The U.S Constitution specifically gives state legislatures the task of deciding how their presidential electors are appointed.  Every law in every state saying how a state awards its electoral votes has been passed by the state’s legislature.  The 11 states that have already passed the National Popular Vote bill have done so legislatively.  Oregon’s existing law was passed legislatively.  The reason is that the U.S. Constitution states, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

A referral bill would likely lead to a court challenge, with the taxpayers footing the bill.

With political polarization at an all-time high in this country, a  referral could easily become a political football that will only increase the level of polarization in Oregon.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION  

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.  It would make every vote for President equal throughout the United States.

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from “winner-take-all” laws that have been enacted at the state level. These laws award 100% of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state.

Because of these state winner-take-all laws, five of our 45 Presidents have come into office without having won the most popular votes nationwide.  The average margin in the national popular vote has averaged 5% since 1988, so undemocratic outcomes will continue to occur if the system for electing the President is not changed.

Moreover, candidates have no reason to campaign in, or pay attention to, voters in states (such as Oregon) where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

In 2016, almost all general-election campaign events (94%) were in the 12 closely divided “battleground” states where Trump’s support was in the narrow range of 43%-51%.  Two-thirds of the campaign events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI).

In 2012, 100% of the general-election campaign events and virtually all expenditures were concentrated in the 12 closely divided “battleground” states where Romney’s support was 45%-51%.  Two-thirds of the events (176 of 253) were concentrated in just 4 states (OH, FL, VA, IA).

It does not take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to change state winner-take-all laws.  State winner-take-all laws were enacted by state legislatures under their authority under Article II of the U.S. Constitution (and may be changed in the same way):

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes was used by only three states in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (and repealed by all three by 1800).  Winner-take-all was never debated at the Constitutional Convention or mentioned in the Federalist Papers. It did not become predominant until 1880 — almost a century after the U.S. Constitution was written.

Under the National Popular Vote bill, the national popular vote winner will receive all the electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill will take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — enough to elect a President (270 of 538).  Then, when the Electoral College meets in mid-December, the national popular vote winner will become President because the enacting states will provide at least 270 electoral votes. Thus, the Electoral College will represent the will of the voters in all 50 states (and DC).

A national popular vote for President is an achievable political goal that can be in place in time for the 2020 election. The bill has already been enacted into law in 11 states possessing 165 electoral votes.  It will take effect when enacted by additional states having 105 electoral votes.  The bill has previously passed one chamber in 12 additional states with 96 electoral votes and has been approved by unanimous bipartisan committee votes in two states with an additional 26 electoral votes. A total of 3,105 state legislators have endorsed it.

Learn more at www.NationalPopularVote.com, including 14 short videos on various aspects of the National Popular Vote bill.

Please take a moment to email your Oregon legislators asking them to support the version of the National Popular Vote bill (HB 2927 of 2017) that has passed the Oregon House of Representatives four times — and to oppose the referral version of the bill (SB 1512).

Thank you.

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Yard Signs

Please contact Walt Trandum or Susan Drew if you are interested in yard signs.  Walt @walt.trandum@wavecable.com (503-668-7618) or Susan @ purrmarshal@yahoo.com  (503-668-4082)

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