Sivarajah Comes Out Swinging Against National Popular Vote

Source: Anoka County

Source: Anoka County

PoliticsMN_WEBSITELogo6th Congressional District candidate Rhonda Sivarajah sent a letter Republican members of the Minnesota House and Senate on Friday about an issue of “grave and genuine concern for the people of Minnesota” – National Popular Vote (NPV).

Sivarajah’s letter had two objectives: raise public awareness about NPV and connect her Republican opponent in the primary election, Tom Emmer, to NPV. Emmer has been a supporter of NPV in the past, but hasn’t focused on the issue while running for Congress.

From Sivarajah’s letter:

Our primary responsibility as elected officials is to represent the interests of the people of Minnesota. With that in mind, I humbly ask you to refrain from considering any National Popular Vote amendment at this time. I do not want to see our party, its leadership and office holders make the same type of mistake our federal counterparts did when they, “Passed the bill, so we could see what was in it”. Many of you may not be aware or have forgotten that in our own party platform, there is a plank which details our opposition to National Popular Vote.

Sivarajah has rebooted her campaign for Congress since losing the Republican Party’s endorsement in the 6th Congressional District to Emmer in April. In the last few weeks, Sivarajah has hired Patrick Davis as the campaign’s general consultant, released a new campaign website, been more aggressive on social media and also in contrasting her positions with Emmer.

Polling released from Emmer’s campaign showed Emmer maintaining a big lead over Sivarajah in the upcoming primary election. Please check back to politics.mn for additional analysis on the 2014 elections.

8 Comments

  1. National Popular Vote is not an amendment.
    National Popular Vote did not invent popular elections. Having election results determined by the candidate getting the most individual votes is not some scary, untested idea loaded with unintended consequences. The candidate with the most votes will win, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    The National Popular Vote bill is a state law.
    It would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    The National Popular Vote bill would replace state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

    The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every voter, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    When states with a combined total of at least 270 electoral votes enact the bill, the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed majority of 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate. In 2012, 56,256,178 (44%) of the 128,954,498 voters had their vote diverted by the winner-take-all rule to a candidate they opposed (namely, their state’s first-place candidate).

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    With National Popular Vote, every popular vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every voter is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    When and where voters matter, then so do the issues they care about most.

  2. I’m with Rhonda on this one, but not for the same reasons, perhaps obviously. In round numbers 120 million people voted in 2012’s presidential election. Half a percent of that number, a common figure used for recounts, is 600,000.

    Let’s say you had a presidential election with a quarter of a million voters separating the candidates. Operatives in both parties would be clambering for a recount in areas where they thought their candidate could pick up votes.

    But how could you decide where to recount and preserve the equal protection of voters? You probably can’t, which means recounting the entire country. Only the callowest among you think Inauguration Day would be in January in the event of a nation-wide recount.

    There are some things to dislike about the Electoral College, but anybody who’s been through the Franken and Dayton recounts should have no stomach for visiting a national recount on anybody.

  3. Denise Rene Hannah says:

    Polling released from EMMER’s Campaign…is the key word for the polling results. What were the questions, who did the campaign poll, was the order of the ballot names random. I have yet to find a conservative in the 6th district involved in their community that supports Emmer over Rhonda, but again that is just community members and real voters. Release the method and questions of the poll than everyone will see really who is leading in the sixth district.

  4. A survey of Minnesota voters showed 75% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 84% among Democrats, 69% among Republicans, and 68% among others.

    By age, support was 74% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 77% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 83% among women and 67% among men.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls
    in recent or past closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA –75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%;
    in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%;
    in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and
    in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Republican, Democratic, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

  5. A survey of Minnesota voters showed 75% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 84% among Democrats, 69% among Republicans, and 68% among others.

    By age, support was 74% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 77% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 83% among women and 67% among men.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls
    in recent or past closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA –75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%;
    in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%;
    in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and
    in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Republican, Democratic, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

  6. Unlike Franken and Dayton:

    With both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the common nationwide date for the meeting of the Electoral College. The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their “final determination” six days before the Electoral College meets.

    Neither the current system nor the National Popular Vote compact permits any state to get involved in judging the election returns of other states. Existing federal law (the “safe harbor” provision in section 5 of title 3 of the United States Code) specifies that a state’s “final determination” of its presidential election returns is “conclusive”(if done in a timely manner and in accordance with laws that existed prior to Election Day).

    The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and requires each state to treat as “conclusive” each other state’s “final determination” of its vote for President. No state has any power to examine or judge the presidential election returns of any other state under the National Popular Vote compact.

  7. No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 57 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

    The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
    “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

    The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush’s lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore’s nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

    Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state by-state winner-take-all methods.

    The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

    The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

    We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

    Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

    The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

  8. We do and would vote state by state.
    Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
    Now and with National Popular Vote it is up to each state how and even whether to conduct a recount.

    A recount is not a logistical impossibility or an unimaginable horror. The task of counting the votes cast for President in the nation’s 186,000 precincts is not a logistical impossibility, as evidenced by the fact that the original is not a logistical impossibility. A recount is a recognized ever-present contingency whenever a statewide election is conducted.

    Nineteen states provide for “automatic” recounts of elections that are triggered because the original difference between the candidates is less than some pre-specified statutory percentage or numerical trigger. The government pays for automatic recounts. The percentage or numerical trigger for an automatic recount varies considerably among the 19 states. In many of the 19 states, an automatic recount will be conducted if the difference in the initial count between the first-place and second-place candidate (or ballot alternative, in the case of ballot propositions) is less than 0.5% of the votes cast (that is, about 1% of the votes cast). Several states mandate automatic recounts only with even larger differences.

    42 states allow candidates to petition for a recount. One of the most common forms of state recount laws is to permit a recount if the disgruntled candidate pays for all of the recount’s administrative costs in advance (with the candidate typically being reimbursed if he or she is vindicated).

    There is no ability to obtain a recount in situations “close enough to warrant a recount” in the states that do not have recount laws (e.g., Mississippi).

    Recounts appear to be becoming rarer in recent years.

    The frequency of recounts has dropped by about half in recent years.

    There were no recounts at all among the 419 statewide elections in November 2012.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their “final determination” six days before the Electoral College meets.

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