Should New Hampshire pass legislation to bypass the Electoral College?
By: LFDA Editor
When all is said and done, it's the Electoral College vote -- not the popular vote -- that decides the presidency. Some states are considering legislation that essentially bypasses the Electoral College. Should New Hampshire join in?
In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore received 50,999,897 votes; Republican George Bush received 50,456,002. In the Electoral College count, however, Bush tallied 271 to Gore's 266 and Bush became the president.
Today, there's a move afoot by states to essentially bypass that Electoral College process.
The National Popular Vote bill will award a state's Electoral College votes to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally, not the candidate who wins the state.
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors from the all of the states. New Hampshire has four of those electors.
Our presidential election is actually an "indirect election" in that we're voting for electors within a state, who are the authorized constitutional participants in a presidential election.
The candidate who wins the vote in a state wins the electors.
Supporters of the National Popular Vote bill point to the 2000 election as evidence of the indirect vote problem, they say the the current Electoral College system is confusing and causes candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states with high elector counts, such as Florida.
According to the National Popular Vote website, five states have enacted it into law: Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland (The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a version. It's awaiting the governor's signature).
Once states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted the laws, the candidate winning the most votes nationally would be assured a majority of the Electoral College votes, no matter how the other states vote and how their electoral votes are distributed.
Critics of the bill say it would create even more confusing scenarios than exist now: For example, a candidate can win nationally, but the opponent wins in New Hampshire. In that case, the state's four electoral votes would go to the national-winning candidate who was not supported by Granite State voters.
New Hampshire considered the measure in 2009 in HB 417, and it was deemed inexpedient to legislate and was killed by the House.
HB 148, sponsored by Cheshire District 16 Democrat Charles Weed calling for the direct popular election of president, was unanimously rejected by the House Election Law Committee.
Two opposing proposals went before the Legislature's 2012 session. HJR 20, proposed by Democratic Rep. John Cloutier of Claremont, urged Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College. On March 15, that measure met the same fate as Julius Caesar on that date in 44 B.C.
In contrast, HCR 42, proposed by Fremont Republican Rep. Daniel Itse "expresses support for preserving" it. Both bills are in committee, taking effect in the merry, merry month of May.
Should the Legislature look at the measure again? Is the Electoral College system broken, or do you think it should stay just as it is?