Friday, September 21, 2007

National Popular Vote campaign visits Mass.

I don't know how I feel about this bill. I think I'm probably in the minority but I like and respect the Electoral College. I think, as the Founders thought, that it prevents mob rule from occurring. I think Rep. Murphy's line is hilarious: "... That means no Presidential advertising in the general election, and no campaigning here."
Eh, first, that's not altogether true. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman campaigned in Massachusetts in 2000, as did Ralph Nader. George Bush did in 1988 even though he had no chance of winning the state. So, Charlie is a bit off base there.
And who cares if people in Massachusetts don't see any presidential advertising? Most of it is bogus, although amusing. Voters are better off if they aren't bombarded by the advertising. But they can always see it on YouTube if they really want to.


BOSTON (Sept. 19, 2007) - At a State House hearing today lawmakers considered a reform that would dramatically change the way we elect the President of the United States.
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee that the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will win the Presidency, rather than the current winner-take all in all states but Maine and Nebraska.
"The current system is arbitrary, accident-prone, and increasingly untenable," said Jamie Raskin, professor of Constitutional Law at American University and the State Senator from Maryland who successfully shepherded the same bill thought the Maryland state legislature. "It is time for the American people to elect the president the way we elect governors, senators, and every other office in the country: everyone acting together, without games and subterfuge."
"Massachusetts is like the vast majority of states-spectators in the Presidential race," said Charley Murphy (D-Burlington), one of the lead sponsors. "The outcome here, and in 3/4 of the states, is not in doubt. That means no Presidential advertising in the general election, and no campaigning here. We want to make all votes equal- regardless of whether a voter lives in Massachusetts or in Ohio or in Florida."
The National Popular Vote legislation, if enacted, would not become effective immediately. Only when states with 270 Presidential electors, a majority in the electoral college, and roughly half of the U.S. population, have passed identical legislation would it be implemented. Proponents are aiming for it to take full effect for the 2012 Presidential election.
The National Popular Vote bill has been signed into law in Maryland passed both chambers in Illinois and is expected to become law there later this fall there. It was also enacted by the California and Hawaii legislatures, but vetoed by their governors, and may still become law this year in New Jersey. The bill has 350 cosponsors across the country.
"The National Popular Vote Campaign is taking off," said Barry Fadem, President of the non-partisan non-profit steering the campaign. "We have had a excellent response around the country. Voters dislike the current system. It doesn't make sense to them. What they want is two very basic things; first, that the candidate with the most votes wins. Second, they want to see their vote and how it affects the outcome of the election. The current system does neither."
Fadem cited on-going public opinion research by Gallop that has shown over 70% of the public wants a popular vote. This research he says has been conducted every year for over 50 years.
Civil rights and good government groups, including MASSPIRG, MassVOTE, Common Cause, the NAACP, and the Black Political Task Force, said that the reform would dramatically increased voter participation and would be more democratic than the current system.
"Enacting this legislation will do more than any other reform to increase voter participation in Presidential elections," said Pam Wilmot Common Cause Massachusetts executive director. "The vast majority of votes just don't count under the current system."
"All votes counting and counting equally, what a concept," added Roscoe Morris of the New England Area conference of the NAACP. "It's about time."
The Massachusetts National Popular Vote legislation (H. 678, H. 710, S. 445, and Senate 452) has been filed by Representative Charley Murphy, Rep. Martin Walsh, Rep. Lewis Evangelidis, Senator Joan Menard, and Senator Robert Creedon along with 25 other cosponsors.

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