Friday, December 05, 2008

National Popular Vote - Among the lively interest group meetings I have attended recently was one devoted to the National Popular Vote (NPV).

Now that the elections are over, perhaps it is time to consider a different way of electing the president and vice president of the US.

Among the lively interest group meetings I have attended recently was one devoted to the National Popular Vote (NPV).

What is it? NPV is a compact between the states which must be passed by the legislature of each state joining the compact that agrees that all of the votes of that state will go to the candidate securing the greatest number of popular votes in a presidential election.

Why is this important? Because as it stands only the handful of “battleground” states receive the attention of presidential candidates, and only issues of concern in those states receive concern. As noted on the National Popular Vote web-site, (http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/pages/explanation.php#exp_1page, “This means that voters in two thirds of the states are ignored in presidential elections. In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in just five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in just 16 states.”
Haven’t you noticed how quiet it is in New York during presidential elections?
The speaker I heard on this topic noted that the only reason we hear about corn ethanol is because of the Iowa caucuses. New York, meanwhile, does not rate much attention.

Why use a state compact? Because according to the constitution and the Supreme Court, the states control the appointment and “mode” of appointment of the electors.
What should AAUW do about this? As an organization devoted to education and equity for women and girls, action on this issue may not be a good use of our resources, but as an organization long devoted to education in the broadest sense, this would appear to be an issue we should be informed about.

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