OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

February 14, 2014

Tell the House NO on SB 906 – National Popular Vote

Filed under: Constitution, Lobbying, Network — Tags: , , , , — oksafeinc @ 10:09 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Unbelievably, on Wednesday Oklahoma’s Senate passed a bill that moves this state toward voting for president by popular vote.

By most calculations, this means that those states with the highest concentration of urban dwellers would decide who is elected president, (like CA, IL, and NY).  Under this proposal, it looks like OK’s electors would have had to cast their vote for Barack Obama in the last election.

For this we needed Republicans?

Sen. Rob Johnson (rumored to be angling for another job), authored SB 906, which states, “Pursuant to terms and conditions of this act, the State of Oklahoma seeks to join with other states and establish the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”

SB 906 passed the Senate on 2/12/14 by a vote of 28-18 and is now in the House.

Part of a nation-wide effort this model legislation has passed in 9 states – all progressive “blue” states, like CA, WA, and IL, as of July 2013.

From Wikipedia:

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among various states and the District of Columbia to replace their current rules regarding the apportionment of presidential electors with rules guaranteeing the election of the candidate with the most popular votes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Coming in the form of an interstate compact, the agreement goes into effect once law in states that together have an absolute majority of votes (at least 270) in the Electoral College. In the next presidential election, those states would award all their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, who would become President by winning a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Until the compact’s conditions are met, all states will award electoral votes in their current manner.

As of July 2013, the compact had been joined by nine states and the District of Columbia (see map). Their 136 combined electoral votes amount to 25% of the Electoral College, and 50% of the 270 votes needed for the compact to go into effect.

Cartogram_NPVIC_Current_Status.svg

More here, including debates on the issue and a map of states, and at the National Popular Vote website.

SB 906 will be assigned to a House Committee (unknown as of this date). Please contact your House members and ask them to vote NO on SB 906.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman: (405) 557-7339  Email:  jwhickman@okhouse.gov

Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson: (405) 557-7317   Email: mikejackson@okhouse.gov

Floor Leader Pam Peterson:  (405) 557-7341   Email: pampeterson@okhouse.gov

List of House members here.

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4 Comments »

  1. Just called all 3 offices and let them no to the bill. Pam Peterson legal assistant said she was opposed to it.

    Comment by D Bro — February 18, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  2. A survey of Oklahoma voters showed 81% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    Voters were asked “How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

    By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 75% among Republicans, 84% among Democrats, and 75% among others.
    By gender, support was 84% among women and 69% among men.
    By age, support was 84% among 18-29 year olds, 70% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 82% for those older than 65.

    Oklahoma voters were also asked a 3-way question:
    “Do you prefer a system where the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states on a nationwide basis is elected President, or one like the one used in Nebraska and Maine where electoral voters are dispensed by Congressional district, or one in which all of the state’s electoral votes would be given to the statewide winner?”

    The results of this three-way question were that
    • 77% favored a national popular vote,
    • 13% favored awarding its electoral votes by congressional district, and
    • 10% favored the existing statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

    NationalPopularVote

    Comment by toto — February 14, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  3. In a 1979 Senate speech, Senator Henry Bellmon (R–Oklahoma) described how his views on the Electoral College had changed while he had served as Governor, Senator, national campaign director for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign, and a member of the American Bar Association’s commission studying electoral reform.
    “While the consideration of the electoral college began—and I am a little embarrassed to admit this—I was convinced, as are many residents of smaller States, that the present system is a considerable advantage to less populous States such as Oklahoma, and that it was to the advantage of the small States for the electoral college concept be preserved.

    “I think if any Member of the State has that concept he would be greatly enlightened by the fact that the Members of the Senate from New York are now actively supporting the retention of the electoral college system.…

    “Mr. President, as the deliberations of the American Bar Association Commission proceeded and as more facts became known, I came to the realization that the present electoral system does not give an advantage to the voters from the less populous States. Rather, it works to the disadvantage of small State voters who are largely ignored in the general election for President.

    “It is true that the smaller States which are allowed an elector for each U.S. Senator and for each Congressman do, on the surface, appear to be favored; but, in fact, the system gives the advantage to the voters in the populous States. The reason is simple as I think our friends from New York understand: A small State voter is, in effect, the means whereby a Presidential candidate may receive a half-dozen or so electoral votes. On the other hand, a vote in a large State is the means to 20 or 30 or 40 or more electoral votes. Therefore, Presidential candidates structure their campaigns to appeal to the States with large blocs of electors. This gives special and disproportionate importance to the special interest groups which may determine the electoral outcome in those few large States.

    “Here, Mr. President, let me say parenthetically that during 1967 and part of 1968 I served as the national campaign director for Richard Nixon, and I know very well as we structured that campaign we did not worry about Alaska, about Wyoming, or about Nevada or about New Mexico or about Oklahoma or Kansas. We worried about New York, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, all of the populous States, where there are these big blocks of electors that we could appeal to, provided we chose our issues properly and provided we presented the candidates in an attractive way.

    “The result, Mr. President, is that the executive branch of our National Government has grown and is continuing to become increasingly oriented toward populous States, to the disadvantage of the smaller, less populous areas. An examination of past campaign platforms and campaign schedules of the major party candidates will bear out this position. Therefore, it is obvious that any political party or any candidate for President or Vice President will spend his efforts primarily in the populous States. The parties draft their platforms with the view in mind of attracting the voters of the populous States and generally relegate the needs of the smaller States to secondary positions.

    “This whole situation would change if we go for a direct election and, therefore, make the voters of one State equally important with the voters of any other State.”

    Comment by toto — February 14, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  4. Seven western states (Arizona, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming), with only about a third of California’s population, generated almost the same popular-vote margin (1,219,595) for George W. Bush in 2004 as John Kerry’s margin in California (1,235,659). But, John Kerry received 55 electoral votes from California, while Bush received only 33 from the seven western states.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters.

    16% of Americans live in rural areas.

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Wining states would not be the goal. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    Comment by toto — February 14, 2014 @ 1:41 pm


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