Op-Ed: National Popular Vote – a win for conservatives and everyone else

Anyone who thinks smaller population states and conservative rural areas are as well represented by the Electoral College as blue states and liberal strongholds isn’t paying attention.

I think we can all agree Americans should feel confident that their voice is treated with the same value as any other voter, no matter where their vote is cast.

Democratic and Republican state lawmakers across the country are working together to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This meaningful bipartisan elections reform has been moving forward in Nevada, Minnesota, and Michigan.

It brings me great joy to see legislators come together to help ensure every American voter is offered the voice that they rightfully deserve – especially in Michigan, where I proudly served as chairman of the Republican Party.

With this flurry of activity regarding the compact, I want to take this opportunity as a conservative to dispel specious claims.

Though state-specific challenges and evolving political dynamics exist, dismissing the compact – a rare example of Democrats and Republicans coming together on a piece of elections reform legislation – outright ignores the objective of fostering better representation of the American people’s will. Under the compact, the voices of all citizens, regardless of their state or party affiliation, will be reflected in a presidential election.

That is why the compact is so widely supported. Nine former national chairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council, along with hundreds of Republican legislators across the country, have either co-sponsored or voted for the legislation.

From what I’ve seen, opponents argue against it without acknowledging that most of their critiques apply to the winner-take-all method of awarding Electoral College votes that’s currently used by 48 states.

The fact is that presidential candidates already concentrate their campaign efforts in the handful of battleground states, disregarding those deemed uncompetitive. In 2024, the number of battlegrounds will be as few as four states. This reliance on battleground states results in an imbalance that is not advantageous to voters and ultimately does a disservice to the majority of Americans.

In a presidential election under the compact, candidates would need to address issues that matter to every voter to secure a victory. That would put conservative rural voters on an equal par with liberal big-city voters thereby guaranteeing that every voter in every state matters.

Importantly, National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is designed to restore our faith in presidential elections without altering the constitutional framework for electing the president.

The state winner-take-all method is not mandated by the Constitution and was not the original intention of the founding fathers.

According to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, each state legislature has the authority to determine how its electors are chosen.

Understanding the contents of Article II and the records from the 1787 constitutional convention, led the Supreme Court to conclude that state legislatures have unrestricted power in appointing electors.

Under the compact, participating states award their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states.

Anyone who says they oppose a national popular vote because it undermines the Electoral College or somehow goes against the founding fathers should also be against the method used by Maine and Nebraska, where electors are awarded by congressional district.

By ensuring that candidates appeal to voters in every state, the compact ultimately makes every state a battleground state.

It is also not a partisan scheme but a reflection of the values and principles upon which our nation was founded.

Calls to reject the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact are misguided and create a missed opportunity to engage in a thoughtful and constructive dialogue about elections reform.

Conservatives should want the presidential candidate who wins the most votes to be elected president. Not only is that a win for conservatives, but it’s a win for all Americans.

By Saul Anuzis
Saul Anuzis is a former state chair of the Michigan Republican Party. He is a senior consultant to National Popular Vote. More information is available at www.nationalpopularvote.com.

3 Comments

  1. National Popular Vote is a disaster for the U.S. Federation.

    The National Popular Vote Compact (NPV) scheme is simply a Contract of some colluding States (it will likely take just 20 or 21) that disables the 3rd and last remaining federalism Check against the Federal government that has been designed in to our national structure – the STATES choosing the President of the United STATES. Voters in the States vote only for their home State’s ELECTORS. Never has one popular vote ever been cast for a Presidential candidate!

    The STATES elect the President of the United STATES – never has the population.

    The Electoral College has been an essential part of the Separation of Powers of the core structure of American government since 1789. The STATES choosing the CEO of the Federation is a major part of keeping a runaway federal government in check.

    The NPV scheme actually treats voters across America extremely UNEQUALLY. Assume for a minute that Georgia does join this misguided Contract – The Contract cannot change the fact that Georgia’s 16 Votes are STILL GEORGIA’s 16 Votes. What the Contract changes is WHO chooses Georgia’s Electors! Today, 100% of the decision of WHO Georgia’s Electors are belongs to GEORGIANS! Under Mr. Anuzis’ scheme, Georgia residents will exert only 3.2% of the decision, with the residents in the other 49 States, plus DC, making 96.8% of GEORGIA’s choice!

    Neighboring North Carolina, which won’t join this NPV scheme, will actually make 3.5% of GEORGIA’s decision of who these Electors will be! It gets WORSE – CONVERSELY, because NC won’t be in the NPV collusion, Georgia voters will have ZERO impact on who NC chooses to be NC’s Electors! How is THAT “being treated the same”?!

    Electing GEORGIA’s Electors is a Georgia election. Because of that, Mr. Anuzis is lobbying the Georgia Legislature to have it violate the Georgia State Constitution at Article 2 – Georgia elections may only have Georgia residents cast votes.

    Anuzis is wrong again when he claims that the Supreme Court concluded that Legislatures “have unrestricted powers in appointing electors”. Just two weeks ago, the Supreme Court, in Moore v. Harper, clarified that State Legislatures ARE and have been restricted by both their State and Federal Constitutions, AND that both State and Federal Courts have a role to play to OVERRULE any Legislature when they violate either Constitution in legislation regarding Federal elections!

    The NPV Contract scheme also violates Article 4 of the US Constitution by denying the guarantee to a republican form of government to each of the State Legislatures who have decided to NOT join this terrible scheme. Non-NPV Legislatures are rendered moot to make any meaningful decisions that Anuzis claims they “unrestricted powers” to make, once his deeply-flawed NPV Compact is triggered.

    Like the NPV scheme that he is selling, Anuzis piece here is largely in error throughout, but the last point I’ll make here is that this scheme is deeply partisan, in my view. All 50 State legislatures have considered the NPV scheme at least once since 2005. The average is almost 4 times per State. The NPV contract has been rejected by 34 States a total of 158 times over the last 17 years.

    In the 16 States, plus DC where the NPV has been passed (including Nevada which just took Step 1 last May), a total of 1,390 Democrats (92.5%) and 115 Republicans (7.5%) have voted to pass it. Of those Republicans, 45 were in Blue Illinois in 2008 and 57 were in Blue New York in 2014.

    The official Republican Party Platform has stood firmly and clearly AGIANST the NPV scheme since 2016. SINCE that time, 7 of the 16 States have voted to enact NPV. In those enacting States, 451 Democrats (99.1%) and just 4 (0.9%) of Republicans voted to pass NPV.
    In this current legislative session, in the 13 States Anuzis has introduced NPV in, 164 Democrats (98.8%) have sponsored the legislation and just TWO (2) Republicans (1.2%) have! 1 Republican is in Minnesota, and HE did not even vote for the bill that NPV was enacted by! The other Republican is in Maine.
    The NPV Compact is deeply flawed and does not deliver what they promise to discover. It is a CONTRACT among a few States – it is not even a national law, let alone being made a part of the Constitution.

    Litigation is absolutely certain once the NPV Collusion Contract is triggered. If you like that the Supreme Court “selected” George W Bush in 2000 (it is what caused this NPV scheme to begin with!), then you will LOVE this flawed and unconstitutional NPV Collusion scheme, because the Courts will be choosing all U.S. Presidents from now on.

    This NPV scheme must be stopped wherever it is suggested, in my opinion.

  2. “…This agreement shall terminate if the electoral college is abolished…”

    So states the legislation Saul Anuzis (June 16 guest columnist) would like us all to embrace, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC. When I first heard of the Compact about 15 years ago, I approached it with the perspective of a 3-term legislative staffer in Oregon. I’ve steadily followed the legislation and lobbied against it, on my own nickel, individually and as a member of grassroots organizations.

    Here’s how NPV is designed to work. The “Compact” would take effect if enough states join to equal 270 electoral votes, the number needed to elect a President. If that happens, and the Georgia legislature signs on as a Compact state, the national vote winner would take command of Georgia’s presidential electors, literally overriding the state general election vote.

    From the bill text: ARTICLE III – MANNER OF APPOINTING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS IN MEMBER STATES: “… The chief election official of each member state shall designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the “national popular vote winner.” Continuing: “…the presidential candidate on the presidential slate that has been designated as the national popular vote winner shall have the power to nominate the presidential electors for that state…”
    For context, every Compact state to date is a “trifecta blue state” where democrats control the state house and both legislative chambers. And please dismiss suggestions of “bipartisan” support. Every Red states across the country has repeatedly voted “No.” Some have amended their state constitutions to protect the Electoral College system. Since 2007, a total of 1,390 Democrat legislators have voted for NPV, along with a grand total of 115 Republicans, 2/3rds of them in the blue states of Illinois and New York.
    So let’s consider the Electoral College, whose abolishment alone would bring this scheme to an end. It is woven within a Constitutionally protected election infrastructure. Among other things, it builds a protective wall around every state, so that election irregularities in any state cannot spill over and pollute the process in any other state.

    I recognize that Georgia’s 2020 vote count got pretty unpleasant. But give me just a moment. 5 neighboring states touch Georgia’s borders. Yet none of them were drawn into the 2020 controversy, which Georgia by itself resolved. But if Georgia joins the Compact, your vote count would always be diluted by votes spilling from California to New York. How many? In 2020 the current Compact states cast 59.8 million votes, all on the blue side. And regardless of Georgia’s preferences in any given election, it would always be this way.

    To that point, NPV makes the claim that under the Compact “every vote is of equal value in our process.” The question is, equal to what? Would you rather a Georgia voter’s choice for President be 1 in 4.997 million, as it was in 2020, or 1 in the national tally of 158 million? The question becomes, how NPV would make YOUR vote “more equal” in ANY way that matters to Georgia?

    Finally please consider this NPV bill language: “Sec. 4. When the agreement among the states to elect the President by national popular vote governs the appointment of presidential electors, the provisions of the agreement take precedence over any conflicting law of this state.” In one gulp NPV seeks to swallow up any and all related state laws and run headlong into your own state Constitution (Article 2, Section 1). No untested innovation should command such a power grab.

    Roberta Schlechter
    Portland, OR

  3. Saul is not a conservative. Saul is not a republican. He IS a paid professional lobbiest to the highest bidder.

    Name the high bidders and you will see the motives.

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