A National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact wants to put together a coalition of States whose Electoral College votes aggregate to 270—the minimum majority required to elect the President and Vice President—and which coalition then would allocate their Electoral College votes to the national popular vote winner, instead of to the popular vote winner of the particular State.

This is a naked attempt to defeat the purpose of the Electoral College as it is constituted in our Constitution.

This is what Art II, Section 1, says about the Electoral College:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress….

This is what the 12th Amendment of our Constitution says about the duties of those Electors:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President….

…if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote….

Notice that. The intent of the Electors of the Electoral College is to give each State its own, individual, voice in the election of our President, to place each State on an entirely equal footing with each of the other States.

The Compact, however, argues that

The compact points out that in the 2012 presidential race all 253 general-election campaign events were in just 12 states, and two-thirds were in just four states.
“Thirty-eight states were completely ignored,” the compact concludes.

The Compact wants to subsume those individual State voices into the tumult of a collective. This not only deprecates each State, it’s plainly unconstitutional. Worse, what this Compact wants to do is have its collection of States whose Electoral College votes total 270 to be the sole determiner of our President and Vice President—to explicitly ignore every one of the other States. Their votes simply wouldn’t count at all.

The Compact argues further that each State’s legislature can decide who the State’s College Electors are in any way the legislature wants to do. That’s true; see the Art II quote above. However, the legislature may not dictate to its Electors what their duties are—for whom they must vote. The 12th Amendment’s stricture has already determined that, and in this venue our Constitution supersedes the State’s wishes. The Electors must cast their own votes, not the national population’s votes.

The Compact complains that it’s somehow unfair for a Presidential candidate to get all of a State’s Electoral College votes when the candidate “won” the State with only a bare plurality instead of an outright majority in those States that have winner-take-all allocations. No Compact is needed to address this perceived unfairness. The State(s) in question can amend its allocation, if the citizens of that State wish it.

The Compact is doubly unconstitutional; even the name gives the game away. Here’s what Art I, Sect 10, of our Constitution says about interstate compacts:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress…enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State….

The States involved in this Compact think they’re getting around this minor Constitutional impediment by not strictly formally entering into an agreement. But the intent is clear, from the Compact’s title through its statement that

The National Popular Vote interstate compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538).

No wink and nod and fingers crossed nonsense can cancel the fact of their intent to form this Agreement or Compact among the States.

The Compact’s pushers know this full well. But what else would be expected from the Left? After all, as Ezra Klein, then of The Washington Post, put it during reign of the Progressive-Democrat Barack Obama in a canonical example of the Left’s contempt for law,

[Y]ou can say two things about it [the Constitution]. One, is that it has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don’t read the text and think they’re following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.

Our Constitution, our laws—who cares? Us average Americans do.

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