By OKGOP Chairman Dave Weston
SB 906 – The National Popular Vote Compact (The Compact) establishes new controls for how our future Presidents will be elected, passed the State Senate with a vote of 28-18 last Wednesday. Thankfully our patriarchs followed the model of our founding forefathers, who understood that gaffes like this could and would happen. Thus they astutely set up a system of checks and in this instance; the counter-balance(s) will be the State House and if necessary, the Governor. THE COMPACT is made up of approximately eight-hundred-eighty-eight words which require a volume of six-hundred-ninety-two pages to defend it. Thus I’m reminded, “reasons to do right are few, but countless are the justifications for mischief.”
In summary, The COMPACT will circumvent Article 2, Section 1 of the US Constitution, the 12th Amendment and possibly the will of Oklahoma voters, by reapportioning the votes of the Electoral College based upon the National Popular Vote for President. The COMPACT is a binding agreement to re-apportion the Electoral College once its adopters have achieved fifty percent (270) of the total electoral votes (538). If THE COMPACT were law in 2000, Al Gore would have been awarded our eight electoral votes in spite of the fact that over sixty percent of Oklahoman’s voted for George W. Bush. The same would apply to the 2008 and 2012 elections; despite Oklahoma’s overwhelming support for the Republican Nominee, our electoral votes would also have been awarded to Barack Obama.
These are examples of why proponents of a popular vote for President should also oppose The COMPACT and push for pure reform by amending the constitution and repealing the 12th amendment. While the process of amending the Constitution is cumbersome, our founders prudently understood that this burden would avoid hasty decisions and ensure a thorough dialog.
Since 2005, the mastermind and front-man of THE COMPACT is a professor of biomedical informatics, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and supporter of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, who made his fortune by inventing and marketing scratch-off lottery tickets. The committee and board members of THE COMPACT includes many former Democratic Party officials who have a reputation of monetarily supporting liberal values.
As you might imagine, liberal propaganda networks such as CNN, and Progressive Organizations like The Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters, and the Oklahoma Democrat Senate Caucus also support THE COMPACT.
According to a CNN website and July 21, 2008 FORTUNE article The Compact was created to,“put the Electoral College out of business.” Thus we should rightly conclude that THE COMPACT movement is a covert Liberal-Progressive effort through and through. Funded in large part by Democrats and other Left Leaning Liberals, if “the Electoral College is put out of business,” smaller and typically more conservative states will be marginalized in favor of states that have previously supported candidates like Gore, Kerry and Obama.
Here in Oklahoma, The COMPACT is being pushed at the State Capitol by lobbyists from Michigan and California who shrewdly claim to be Republicans; perhaps they should focus their efforts on fixing the rampant problems within their own states before they come back to Oklahoma with such misguided suggestions.
At present, Washington DC and nine states representing 50.4% (136) of the total Electoral Votes needed (270) to enact The COMPACT have approved this measure. These jurisdictions with their electoral votes in parenthesis are: Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Maryland (10), Washington (12), Illinois (21), New Jersey (14), Massachusetts (12), California (55), Hawaii (4) and the District of Columbia (3). And you should not be surprised to know that, each one of these dominions has voted in lock-step with the Democrat Nominee since 2000.
Our founding fathers created the Electoral College and the US Senate with the purpose of giving a heavier voice to smaller states like Oklahoma to prevent dominance of a handful of populous states and thereby limit the possibility for tyranny. The number of Electoral Votes within our Union of States, is apportioned to each based upon their number of Congressman (5 for Oklahoma, 435 Total) plus two for their number of Senators (2 more for Oklahoma, 100 Total), while the District of Columbia is awarded three. (Total Electoral Votes – 538). So rather than one national election, we have fifty state elections plus the District of Columbia and each state may decide how to apportion their Electoral Votes. Thus joining The COMPACT takes away the advantage that the founders afforded states like Oklahoma and reduces our influence by 12%. So by approving The COMPACT we are surrendering the advantage given to us by our forefathers and we get nothing in return.
Much has also been made by advocates of The COMPACT that Presidential Candidates don’t spend their time and money, on Television Commercials and Direct Mail, for the General Election in Oklahoma. I think it should be a source of pride that our decision for President is made early and Republican candidates do come here for the primary. Being a reliable red state gives strength to our Republican Nominee and allows their campaigns to focus limited resources upon promoting the principles of conservatism to purple and blue states in need of repentance for their previous choices. Plus Oklahoman’s aren’t particularly fond of Political Commercials and we tend to sort our Direct Mail over the trash can.
Additionally, selecting a President should not be Oklahoma’s only purpose in the General Election. If we are going to be the party which advocates the benefits of “local-control” then we need to better remind our voters that local elections are just as important as federal races. That should be enough for us as a Party to remind constituents to show up and vote in November.
Supporters of The COMPACT wrongly assert that scandalous recounts, like Florida 2000, would be history. Yet, in states with low ballot security, fraud would be incentivized and Oklahoman’s would have no remedy for controlling such travesty other than lawsuits that would accompany ceaseless suspicions about the legality of the ultimate victor. Thus, the subsequent step would necessitate uniform election criteria and then our state’s independence will be further endangered by handing over one more control of sovereignty to the Federal Government.
Oklahoma Republican activists fully understand the ramifications of neutering the Electoral College and oppose the National Popular Vote in any form, as evidenced by the ratification of the 2013 Platform, Section III, Article C, Item 16 (Page #11) which clearly states.” We support continuation of the Electoral College for the election of the U.S. President instead of the national popular vote election.”
Over Seventy-five percent of Oklahoma Republican Primary Voters also oppose the consequences of The Compact and they agree that this bill should be defeated to avoid weakening their voting power in future Presidential Elections. In fact, last Thursday Evening, Nine-Hundred-Thirteen republican constituents were surveyed; who have voted in each of the last four primaries and these same citizens also expressed similar opposition when informed that this measure would have benefitted a candidate like Al Gore in previous elections. They were equally concerned that organizations like the ACLU and the Sierra Club think that The COMPACT is a good idea.
It makes sense that less populous states with conservative values have been smart to strongly oppose The COMPACT because of its potential to disenfranchise the voice of their people. My hope and prayer is that our State Senators who voted for this measure will realize that they have made a mistake and that the State Representatives will fix this error by killing The COMPACT in committee.
Moving forward it is important to remember that we are flawed individuals and we all make errors in judgment because we exist in a fallen state. Our elected officials are no different and they often come under immense pressure which can lead to some hasty decisions and occasional mistakes. Yet, if we always demand an eye for eye, ear for an ear and a tongue for a tongue, we will all wind up blind, deaf, speechless and useless.
I’m hopeful that the Republican State Senators who voted for The COMPACT will recant and acknowledge their error, that we will defeat this bad idea in the State House and thus avoid the circular firing squads that will work to the advantage of our adversaries.