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Well the Iowa Senate Study Bill 1128 was passed out of committee on an 8-7 vote.  Two Democrats joined with the unified Republican opposition to this bill.  Here’s the roll call vote:

Nay: Sen. Feenstra (R-Hull), Sen. Behn (R-Boone), Sen. Hartsuch (R-Bettendorf), Sen. Seymour (R-Woodbine), Sen. Wieck (R-Sioux City), Sen. Horn (D-Cedar Rapids), Sen. Black (D-Grinnell)

Yes: Sen. Appel (D-Ackworth), Sen. Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg), Sen. Sodders (D-State Center), Sen. Jochum (D-Dubuque), Sen. Hatch (D-Des Moines), Sen. Dearden (D-Des Moines), Sen. Danielson (D-Cedar Falls), Sen. Courtney (D-Burlington)

Those voted yes on this piece of crap bill should be placed in the Voters’ Hall of Shame.  Thank you for your vote to make Iowa’s vote void and null.

If this bill passes the Iowa Senate, Iowa House and then signed into law by Governor Chet Culver, the say Iowa has in who becomes President will be diminished.  For instance, say the voters of Iowa choose candidate A as their choice and he or she wins the state.  If candidate B won the national popular vote, Iowa’s electors will then be compelled to cast their ballot for candidate B – going against the will of the voters of Iowa.  Is that democratic?  How in the world does this benefit Iowa?  Why are the Democrats trying to push this through?

Our Founding Fathers placed the Electoral College in our Constitution (See Article II, Section 1 and the 12th Amendment) for good cause, namely it protected smaller states from being run over roughshod by more populous states.

Iowa Senate Republican Leader, Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said in a statement today that:

This bill would reverse traditions that date back centuries as our country’s founding fathers put the Electoral College in place to protect smaller states from having their say diminished by the larger, more heavily populated states. As it stands now, Iowa has seven electoral votes and those votes are awarded to whichever presidential candidate manages to win the most votes based on the results of Iowa’s 99 counties. However, this Democrat pushed bill will undermine that storied tradition with one fail swoop. This bill will force Iowa to give its seven electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of Iowa’s popular vote.

“Democrats must really want voters in urban centers like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Boston having more say in the process than the voters in our communities all over the state,” said McKinley. “During last year’s election, groups like ACORN were out meddling with voter registrations and tampering with our elections. Do we really want to give them more opportunity to steal our legitimate right to determine who becomes our country’s president?”

This bill in no way benefits Iowans, especially in the election cycles they vote in the minority of the national popular vote.  Let your Senator know that you expect them to vote “no” on this bill.

Also take time to thank those who voted no on this bill, especially the Democrats who crossed party lines to do so.  Also take time to respectfully express your disappointment to those who voted yes.

Correction: (my sister-in-law, Tami caught this mistake, my bad) Iowa Senate – State Government Committee Email Addresses (voted no yes in bold):

Also a side note I’ve had spammers comment on this bill bringing up the National Popular Vote 501(c)(4) group and this poll done in by the  Public Policy Polling group (who seems to have mostly Democratic clientele) which says that 75% percent of Iowans supported their cause (63% of Republicans).  The chief question asked is:

How do you think we should elect the President when we vote in the November general election: should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current electoral college system? If you think it should be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, press 1. If you think it should be the current electoral college system, press 2.

The problem here is in how the question is phrased – the popular vote does determine the outcome of your state’s electors – the popular vote in your state.  Doing away the Electoral College will diminish smaller states’ voice, our Founders wanted to protect this process from the “tyranny of the majority.”   Most people I don’t think realize that.  Also the 75% number I just don’t buy it – especially when I saw that 63% of Republicans supported this.  Think about it, don’t you think that whoever our President ends up being should have support in places other than large urban areas as well?

Also interesting to note that the breakdown of survey participants by party was Democrat – 42%, Republican – 33%, Other – 25%.  Where were they calling?  Inner-city Des Moines?  I find it suspicious that they do not include where they called in Iowa.  I can say that the 800 surveyed is not a representative cross section of our state.  So this poll is a bunch of bunk.

We do live in a Democracy, and the Electoral College doesn’t diminish that.  We live in a representative democracy – which is not what this National Popular Vote movement represents.

Update: Linked by my blogging buddy, Velvet Hammer.  Check out her blog Ironic Surrealism v3.0.

2nd Update 2/25/09: I spoke with Iowa Representative Chris Hagenow last night at the Polk County Republican (website currently being updated) Central Committee meeting and he said there is not a House version of this bill.  He also thought that while it could pass out of the Senate, it would likely be a non-starter in the House.  So a little good news.

Also my friend, Tamara Scott, did a radio show on this bill Saturday with Tara Ross, a lawyer and author of Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College, you can listen to the show as well as check out additional links here.

3rd Update 3/5/09: Governor Culver came out against this bill.  Color me surprised, but good for you Governor Culver glad to see you buck the party line occasionally.

“As a former history teacher and Secretary of State, Governor Culver knows the important role that Iowa has in selecting the next President of the United States – both during the nominating season and the general election. As the last three elections have shown, Iowa is now a battleground state, and, as such, the issues of Iowans are heard by the candidates of both parties. If we require our electoral college votes to be cast to the winner of the national popular vote, we lose our status as a battleground state and the opportunity to ensure that the ideas that are important on Iowa’s Main Streets remain important on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.  That is why Governor Culver opposes any legislation that would require Iowa’s Electoral College votes to be cast for the winner of the national popular vote.”

6 comments
  1. Yeah, how awful it would be that the people get to choose their leaders.

    It's way past time to abolish the electoral college.

  2. The people do Iowaguy – basically you are saying you are in favor of Iowa's vote not counting if they vote for the candidate who loses the popular vote.

    If you want to promote a Constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college – ok, but I can almost guarantee you that this attempted runaround will be found unconstitutional.

  3. I have to disagree with this. The electoral college means that essentially the minority vote in each state isn't counted at all. Just picking round numbers, if there are 1000 people in a state, and 501 of them vote one way and 499 of them vote the other, then ALL of the electoral votes for that state go with the 501 people who voted one way, and the 499 “minority” aren't represented at all. The candidates already focus their campaigns on the states that have the most electoral votes- it is mathematically possible for a candidate to win the electoral college, but lose the popular vote, although thankfully that has never happened. If electoral votes could be split, depending on the % of popular votes a specific candidate received in a state, that would be a step in the right direction.

  4. Stacy,

    No problem you wouldn't be the first or the last to disagree with me. Regarding focusing their time in states where there's all the electoral votes… I'd disagree with you there. Battleground states get the most attention… Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri, etc. Look at the last few elections no one spent much time in California or New York or even Illinois!

    While I wouldn't quite agree with you on the electoral vote split by state it would certainly be preferable to what the Iowa Senate is trying to do.

  5. The reason that so little time was focused in CA this election was that CA nearly always goes Democratic, and it was pretty much a guaranteed Obama win this time around. Essentially that means that votes of the conservatives in CA didn't matter at all.
    The problem with the EC is that it is an all or nothing system.

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