By Jon Dougherty
Opponents of the “National Popular Vote” initiative, an effort began by Leftists that seeks to bypass voters by awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who garners the most votes nationwide, won’t be able to challenge it until it actually takes effect.
That’s the opinion of legal experts and constitutional scholars who are following the issue, the Washington Free Beacon reported Friday.
Backers of the initiative — mostly Leftist Democrats in blue states — said NPV has become necessary after two elections since 2000 have seen the candidate with the most popular votes lose the presidential election — former Vice President Al Gore to George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump.
Drafted in 2006, the National Popular Vote Compact “would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the group’s website. “The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections.”
The Free Beacon notes that opponents of the measure believe that if it passes — and that day appears close — it will eventually be found unconstitutional by federal courts or the Supreme Court.
The Free Beacon explains further:
The NPV is an agreement between states that enter into the compact to change the way a state casts all of its Electoral College votes, typically awarding all of them to the candidate that wins a plurality in that state. Instead, once the votes are tallied across the country, states in the NPV would cast their Electoral College votes to the candidate who won the most votes nationwide, regardless of whether the candidate carried the state.
The NPV does not go into effect until the number of states that have joined have a combined Electoral College vote count above 270, the number needed for a candidate to win the presidency.
The effort is still a long way from having enough participating states to effectively change how the Electoral College operates, and states that have joined so far are mostly Democratic strongholds. However, the NPV’s advancement this spring in Colorado demonstrates progress in one of the most “purple” states to date, suggesting the compact is less far-fetched than it was a decade ago.
Critics of the NPV initiative say that supporters’ claim that the “Electoral College will be preserved” is disingenuous; yes, it will be “preserved,” but it will be circumvented and its true purpose of providing an equal voice to all Americans, not just those congregated in the largest states and urban centers, will be thwarted.
Since constitutional court challenges most often take years to wind their way through the federal court system, opponents of the NPV have already begun mapping out their strategy. The problem is, without an actual NPV initiative in place, there is no case to pursue.
Others are concerned that a court challenge will most likely come following a presidential election in which the NPV compact states wound up selecting a president who otherwise would have lost if states were still awarding their electors to the candidate who carried the state.
“It would be very unpleasant and dangerous for the country if the lawsuit were to happen under those circumstances,” George Mason University legal professor Ilya Somin told the Free Beacon.
“It is possible that a lawsuit could be launched earlier than that, at the point where they have 270 electoral votes worth of states but there isn’t any election or crisis going on.”
Other constitutional and legal experts said that until the initiative takes effect, no one will have any standing to sue.
But that day is getting closer. Notes the website:
Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D.) signed a bill late Friday night bringing the tally of votes from NPV states to 181. An NPV bill has also passed both legislative chambers in New Mexico and is awaiting signature by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, also a Democrat. If New Mexico joins, it will add another five Electoral College votes.
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