Populist Opportunity for the Commonwealth

Image result for national popular vote planVirginia is rightfully proud to be celebrating 400 years of self-governance and its contributions to democratic governance in the United States. The House of Delegates is considering HB2422, patroned by Dels. Mark Levine, Marcus Simon, and Kaye Kory, which would enable the state to participate in the National Popular Vote Compact [www.nationalpopularvote.com], also known as the NPVI (the I standing for Initiative). Such participation pledges Virginia’s electoral votes to the presidential and vice presidential candidates who receive the majority of the popular votes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Skeptics might react that, like Mitch McConnell’s disdain for a federal election holiday, such a proposal is a “power grab” by Democrats. They would likely be surprised that the sitting President has commented, “I would rather have a popular election” [The Hill, 4/26/2018].

To be effective, the proposed plan requires that states having 270 electoral votes [one-half plus one of the 538 total] vote to participate. At present, 12 states with 172 electoral votes have joined [CA, CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, and WA], representing more and less populous states. The measure has passed at least one legislative chamber in another 11 states, having 89 electoral votes [AR, AZ, CO, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, and OR].

Passage in Colorado [9] and New Mexico [5] may occur shortly, reducing the 98 needed to pass by 14 or 84. Should Virginia concur, its 13 electoral votes would bring the passing margin needed to 71. The legislation has been passed in states by Republican and Democratic majorities in legislative chambers.

Virginia appears inured to democratic opportunity having, to this date, failed to be the final ratifying state [38th] to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Georgia may have that honor next year. Will the Commonwealth reject NPVI?



Categories: Issues, Local, National

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