Is voting a right, privilege, responsibility or something else?

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Melanie Friebel 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #113035

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Your input is welcome. I'm working on a book chapter and your responses are welcomed and appreciated. I'm considering conceptual ideas where voting is tied to other rights, privileges and responsibilites we have and exercise (or not) as US citizens. Thank you, Dan

  • #113115

    Melanie Friebel
    Participant

    Hey Daniel,

    I think voting is both a priviledge and a responsibility. Case in point, I hold duall citizenship with Canada and America, however am currently living in Canada. With the upcoming election I have been frantically trying to find information on the issues and candidates of my voting district (in Tennessee), which was very difficult - difficult to find impartial or just plain open facts.

    A point of contention however, comes because I've been gone from TN for four years. Do I still have the right to vote there since:
    a) I don't know the issues, and
    b) I'm not affected by them

    Having the right to vote is more than just casting your choice for President. It's a responsibility to the State and County elections as well as Federal. Thus in this case, I did my best to research and learn as much as I could to make a fair decision (at least as best as I could).

    However, this experience has made me look into moving my ballot (??) to Washington State which borders me and at least I am more aware of the issues and candidates there.

    Any of this make sense??

    Thanks,
    Melanie

  • #113113

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I consider it a right....but honestly I feel like we should make it more responsibility. I care about politics and government and I still don't vote in all the local elections every year. Maybe I should be forced to...or encouraged more as a responsibility

  • #113111

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Steve -
    Perhaps not a "use it or lose it" penalty, but if one is a registered voter, then maybe there should be some requirement to exercise that right/privilege/responsibility on occasion.

  • #113109

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Punishment or reward maybe....Citizen points?

  • #113107

    DavidR8
    Participant

    I believe voting is a privilege given to us by those that fought in the great wars and maintained by the duly elected officials. Given this, it is our responsibility to exercise that privilege when the opportunity arises. I'll bet the Chinese fellow recently awarded the Nobel Prize would vote every chance he got.

    The notion of voting as a right is interesting, particularly in the case of people who are incarcerated. A quick search provided this statistic "Although blacks account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population, 44 percent of all prisoners in the United States are black" http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/usa/incarceration/

    It is my understanding that when incarcerated, a person cannot vote. As such, a large percentage of a particular demographic cannot vote therefore cannot possibly influence the political direction that influences their lives while in prison.

    As an aside, it was interesting to see the voter turnout in the last US election compared to the last Canadian election. (full disclosure: I am Canadian) For federal elections we barely crack 60% which is shocking. Municipal elections are worse; the last mayoral race for my municipality saw just shy of 30% voter turnout. And that for an election where the elected officials can have a direct impact on your daily life by changing bylaws, tax rates and the like.

  • #113105

    Cindie Apruzzese
    Participant

    I feel that voting should be an obligation.

  • #113103

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    Well, if we follow election law, voting is a right of citizenship based on residence in a jurisdiction which can be revoked, suspended or extended based on clear criteria established by the constitution or legislature governing the jurisdiction. Jurisdictions within the United States generally extend voting rights to all adult citizens of the United States who are resident within thier jurisdiction by physical presence as well as to members of the military and U.S. citizens living abroad who claim primary residence in the jurisdiction and have indicated a clear intent to return to the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions within the U.S. extend voting rights to individuals who are not citizens. It is a violation of federal law for noncitizens to vote in federal elections and they are subject to fine, imprisonment and deportation if caught. Neverthless, some jurisdictions ignore federal law and encourage voting by noncitizens. Most, but not all, jurisdictions revoke the voting rights of individuals incarcerated for felony convictions. Some, but not all, restore those rights when the individual is released from prison.

    More generally, voting has aspects of both a right and a privilage. Individuals who have not discraced their citizenship by committing serious crimes against the community or swearing an oath of aliegence to a foriegn nation have the right to excercise control over the decisions governing their local, state and federal government. They excercise that right through voting. However, voting is also a privilage which is not, and should not, be extended to individuals who have not embraced the community by becoming legal citizens of the nation and it is appropriate to withdraw the privilage from individuals, regardless of citizenship, who have committed such serious crimes agaisnt the community as to require long term incarceration.

  • #113101

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Melanie

    Thank you for commenting. Yes, it does make sense. Looks like you have identified the key issues you are wrestling with. While national issues can be easily tracked regardless of one's location, following local issues from afar can be challenging. Thanks to the Internet, we can stay abreast of local issues. Still, one must have a sense of association to a locality (as well as established residency) to want to participate in those elections while not there on a full-time basis.

  • #113099

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    David

    You touch on an important aspect of voting where it does become a "right" albeit the situation where you lose that right. I found that in 46 states and D.C., criminal disenfranchisement laws deny the vote to all convicted adults in prison; 32 states also disenfranchise felons on parole; 29 disenfranchise those on probation. And, due to laws that may be unique in the world, in 14 states even ex-offenders who have fully served their sentences remain barred for life from voting.

    Many states are now exploring "Restorative Rights" reforms as part of their justice reform measures. My organization, Collins Center for Public Policy has an initiative, http://www.SmartJusticeFlorida.org , that is looking into both social and economic justice reform measures. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  • #113097

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Thanks, Cindi. Do you believe there should be any repercussions if this obligation is never exercised?

  • #113095

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Peter,

    Thank you for your informative response. You covered the spectrum and hit on some key issues. Besides the infractions stated in state and federal law regarding how one may lose their right/privilege to vote, can you see any circumstances that could also penalize the "non-criminal" that is, law-abiding citizens to losing or having this privilege suspended?

    David touched upon the poor turnout of registered voters, especially at the local level. As a part of our right and responsibility of citizenship, could you see moving toward a voting system where registered voters be required to vote within a prescribed timeframe (e.g. cannot miss more than two consecutive general elections) or risk having some action or some other privilege taken from them?

  • #113093

    Michael McKittrick
    Participant

    I also consider having the ability to vote a right. To answer the follow-up question, there shouldn't be any requirement to exercise that right. We don't require to exercise all of their rights. If everyone on the Metro had a gun, it would be a much more entertaining (and scary) commute. Attaching anything to the vote (requirements, penalties, rewards) would just serve to have some (not all) people mark a ballot without any real consideration. "If I don't vote this year, I won't be able to vote in next year's presidential election...so I'll chose everyone by alpabetical order."

  • #113091

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Michael

    I hear you on that reasoning. However, if one of those random candidates you chose turned out to be a crook and/or a poor administrator, might one have just an ilk of guilt knowing they voted for that person w/o giving him/her any consideration of their qualities/abilities? Thanks for commenting.

  • #113089

    Melanie Friebel
    Participant

    Hi again Daniel! Great post, btw - good topic and a fantastic turnout of responses. I just wanted to add two more cents worth, if I may.

    If regards to what Steve (and a few others) mentioned about punishment, rewards or citizen points...I believe it is Australia that has 95% voter turnout - only because if they do not vote they get fined. But in such a case I think you open the ballot to an eenie meenie moe selection process or (as in my case as a younger voter) the most radical group (Greenpeace or the Marijuana party). Isn't it better to have well informed constituents turning out than a bitter 'I'm forced to and don't care' voter.

    Which leads me to my other cent and what DavidR8 talked about. North America as a whole has become extremely apathetic and complacent. Having been in Canada during the last election David spoke of, I too was shocked at the low voter turnout. Canada has always had a laid back sort of persona, but when it comes to issues it's almost as if they can't be bothered. And on the west coast there's a feeling of 'we don't matter anyhow, the hill (Ottawa) doesn't give a damn about anything out west'. Population in Eastern Canada is so concentrated that any federal decision is usually made by the time you get to Saskatchewan (heading westbound).

    Maybe I'm romanticizing the era of the 60s, but where are our watchdogs and groups that refuse to be walked over and say "HEY, our opinion matters!!!"?

  • #113087

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Melanie
    Great points! Yes, the Australian model probably would not work here. I would not think our civic fabric would improve with punitive fines from not voting. However, I lean toward some sort of incentive to visit the voting booth on occasion. Perhaps tied to driver's license renewals, e.g., must vote in a primary or general election within a designated timeframe --four years?-- or you cannot renew your driver's license. Just a thought.

    Apathy is noteworthy and today permeates all areas of citizenship from political campaigns or voting to actual governance processes and citizen (dis)interest and participation. We could have a whole forum devoted to identifying and discussing those social and economic reasons.

  • #113085

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    I believe coercing low interest citizens into voting would be a very bad idea. In my experience, their knowledge of public affairs is limited and their votes are swayed by trivia. I would rather not have critical public policies determined by representatives elected by marginally attached citizens motivated by coercion who at best use an eenie, meanie, minie, moe selection process for their vote and at worst sell their votes to whichever candidate promises the most unrealistic package of benefits. If individuals are not motivated enough to vote without coercion, the rest of us are better off if they stay home.

  • #113083

    DavidR8
    Participant

    Thanks Daniel and to all for your insightful posts.

    Peter's last post made me think deeper about the ways to address the issue of low voter turnout. I fully agree that being pushed into voting is not likely to be effective and will likely produce aberrant results.

    Perhaps part of the answer is to compel people to vote by presenting new ideas and real issues and refrain from the typical candidate mud-slinging, which drives people away from the democratic process.

    Simply put, if the the issues as presented don't resonate with the people and the candidates act like children, why would anyone support such a system? It's human nature to reject that which is unpleasant, ergo low voter turnout.

  • #113081

    Kevin Elliott
    Participant

    Daniel,

    My take on this is that voting is both a right and a privilege. It is a right, guaranteed by law; but it is also a privilege that must be used. I spent 26 years on active duty and I always voted absentee, because I maintained my Texas state residency until I retired. Now I work in DC and live in Virginia. I put in for administrative leave so that I can go home early enough to go to the polls and perform my civic duty. Duty. That’s another great word to use in this discussion.

    Two quick points and I will relinquish the soap box.
    1) I remember being told many years ago that if you vote, the opposition has to have two votes to beat you. That should be more than enough reason to get out and check a box, pull a lever, or punch out a hanging chad.
    2) When I do enter into a political discussion, I always ask if the other person if they were able to vote and if they voted. If they were able to but didn’t vote, I won’t discuss this issue with them. If it isn’t important enough for them to act on during the election, it’s not important enough now for me to hear your views.

    Thanks,

    Kevin

  • #113079

    Kristi
    Participant

    I once was discussing voting with a friend who never voted. I said to him, "People died so that I could have the right to vote so I consider it my responsibility." His response was, "They also died so that I didn't have to vote if I didn't want to." Years later, that still sticks with me.

  • #113077

    Lourdes K. Adair
    Participant

    Peter, I totally agree with you. I would also add that a valid form of ID be required before allowing anyone to vote.

  • #113075

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    In regards to your question, the issue which is a hot topic since the Bush/Gore debacle is does an individual's vote count or not in a country that still uses the Electoral College?

    I believe that is what has put many people off of voting because their vote doesn't really count because the Electoral College is what makes the final decision and they vote however they choose to vote. They do not have to vote the way of their constituients.

    So is our vote counted? Is our vote necessary?

  • #113073

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    David and Lourdes -

    Politics focused on the policies and not on personalities. Great concept. Of course that has more to do with citizens becoming informed about the issues, and less about "he/she said/did." Could it be that politicians use, and get away with mud-slinging because their "handlers" know the public is generally ignorant of the issues or only know them superficially, hence the battle is over who comes out looking better?

  • #113071

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Kevin - Great words of wisdom. Thanks for adding to the discussion. And a steller voting record I think everyone would agree. BTW, I have to be out of town on election day, so today, I took advantage of "early voting" available in Florida. I think this concept could really catch on.

  • #113069

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Kristi - Two valid points. Take a read on Kevin's comments above. thanks for commenting.

  • #113067

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Jenyfer - My teen daughter stated pretty much the same thing to me at dinner last night. However, at the state and local level... My answers would be "defiintely."

  • #113065

    I consider voting as both a right and privilege, but not a responsibility or obligation.

    This may be contrary to mainstream “get out the vote” schools of thought, but I think its fine when citizens don’t bother to vote – it makes my vote that much more meaningful. Why twist the arms of the dispassionate / neutral / unconcerned people to invest an hour of their lives every couple of years to vote their own interests? Let them stay home and watch TMZ, it will result in a better parking spot for me!

  • #113063

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Daniel - I fully agree with you that on a local and state level your vote counts and you should vote because it affects you very personally...it is about where you live, work, send your children to school, etc.

    But until this country wakes up and eliminates the out-dated Electoral College system, our single votes DO NOT count when it comes to choosing a president. Honestly, the plans for the presidental party were made before the vote was even taken and counted...and if anyone doesn't believe me, I know someone that was in on it in years past. They need weeks to plan the security and all that sort of thing. Our single votes don't matter...the Electoral College votes elect the President. That's a shame because we try to teach our children that every vote counts and all about change and the day I realized that I was very disillusioned in my government.

  • #113061

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    Yes, your votes count. Every campaign manager on both sides of the aisle can recount elections that were won or lost with very slim majorities or in some cases pluralities. I have seen elections come down to a margin of less than 1 percent.

    No, the system is not perfect. The U.S. presidential election has actually had several "anomalies". John Quincy Adams took the office for one term despite coming in second in the popular vote and the electoral college when the electoral collage deadlocked and the House of Representatives choose the President. Ruthorford B. Hayes "won" after a Congressional dispute over who should get the electoral votes from several southern states was settled by a Congressional Commission which agreed that federal troops would be withdrawn from the south (allowing the defacto repeal of most reconstruction initiatives) if those states would allow their electoral votes to go to Hayes. Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 100,000 but won the electoral college by 233 to 168. John F. Kennedy won the crucial electoral votes of Illinois when Cook county's paper ballots were counted late and ballots from heavily Republican precincts were found floating in the Chicago river the next day. (Nixon decided not to contest the election on the grounds that it would be too divisive for the nation.) And yes, in 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote by about 500,000 while losing the electoral college vote. However, it should be noted that ALL subsequent recounts of the Florida votes, including 2 by the press using data gathered under the Freedom Of Information Act showed that Bush had in fact won the electoral votes in Florida legally.

    Also, the "faithless elector" who does not follow the vote of his or her state is a myth. In the entire history of the electoral college their have been only a handful (I believe less than a dozen) who did not cast their electoral ballot for the winner of the popular vote in their state.

    So yes your vote counts. Is it necessary? If the Democrat turnout in Ohio had been about 1 percent higher in 2000, Florida's electoral votes would have been meaningless.

  • #113059

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    Okay, if I buy your arguement then why do we need the Electoral College at this point in time?

    I can understand it's use way back when it was invented but now in this day and age it really serves no purpose in the age of computers. Does it? Isn't it a little antiquated? Aren't we really just wasting taxpayer dollars on an outdated system...when really we should just be counting we single person's vote?

  • #113057

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Jenyfer - That topic has merit for further discussion. Peter or others may be able to add to this. I suspect it is rooted in our system of Federalism, however, I may be wrong.

  • #113055

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Peter - Great round up of historical examples!

  • #113053

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Bryan -

    Thank you for your comment. Could we consider there is a a larger issue beyond voter apathy? And that it is also a symptom or result of citizen apathy or indifference toward government in general?

  • #113051

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    We talk about voter rights and responsibilities as if they were monolithic.

    Voter interest is not assured to be equivalently distributed across levels. We have a municipal election coming up here on Monday, and quite honestly, while I am eternally fascinated by federal politics, and keep abreast of those candidates, I have precious little interest in politics at the provincial/state or municipal level, and honestly can't imagine what issues at those levels would be important enough to me to look into them and vote. As near as I can tell, things trundle along, mired in a bureaucracy that will precede and linger after any municipal/provincial politician's career. I have no quarrel whatsoever when it comes to taxes. I pay them willingly and happily, and if they go up, it is never by an amount as large as if I was a little more conscientious about bringing a lunch to work, or finishing produce before it goes bad; i.e, there's never been anything to complain about.

    I'm not saying I'm proud of that attitude. I'm just saying that it's a reality that people can find policy debates engrossing at one level, but not necessarily at all others. There are folks who are completely engrossed in municipal politics, but never lift their head above that level, and folks who are engrossed in several, but not all levels. So if I don't vote for mayor and city councillor next Monday, but DO vote next federal election, have I abdicated my social responsibility or simply pursued those aspects of democracy that interest me deeply and have led to enough of a point of view on something to elicit action?

    And keep in mind that this is coming from a Canadian, where we have even LESS to vote on than you folks do. Next federal or provincial election, when I walk into a voting booth, I get one X to make, and that's it. No propositions to vote on, no sheriffs or judges or senators to elect. No split vote between president and congressman. One simple vote.

    Just exactly how many things, at how many levels, can we expect citizens to have an opinion about?

    So I'm not sure voting is a right, privilege or responsibility. My sense is that it falls squarely in the "something else" camp. Maybe it's more like an affection. Affection is not a right, privilege, or responsibility. I wouldn't expect someone with 15 children or three successive spouses to be able to lavish love equally on all of them, but I would expect someone to be less than human if they never had ANY affection in their life whatsoever. I don't think anyone has an obligation/responsibility to care about and vote on everything, and voting on something you don't care about is not a right or privilege, just an empty gesture. So I dunno, whaddya call that?

  • #113049

    Jenyfer Johnson
    Participant

    @Mark - You make some very excellent points, especially concerning voting on issues/candidates you may not care about or know nothing about. As you stated above, "Just exactly how many things, at how many levels, can we expect citizens to have an opinion about?"

    I for one have trouble keeping up with my day-to-day personal life and work since chemo has robbed me of much of my memory capacity. I find that keeping up with so much politics is extremely difficult and really hard for me. Not only that, I have to make a choice in life about what I will devote my time and energy to keeping up with...my life, my health, my work, my friends, my family, my hobbies, my charities...or the blah, blah talking heads that change every 2, 4 or 6 years depending on the level of government.

    I like Mark's idea that people choose what level they focus on and some people choose all levels, but others choose only one perhaps. But there is nothing wrong with either decision. Each decision is made on an individual level and for individual reasons. In a democracy (which we really aren't; we are a republic) but under a democratic vote every is entitled to choose to vote or abstain and questioning an abstension isn't really an option.

  • #113047

    Lourdes K. Adair
    Participant

    Politicians do count on the public being generally ignorant on issues. If voters were surveyed right before stepping into the voting booth, I bet 90% don't know the issues and only go by what they heard without questioning anything. People that vote without researching issues and are just following the tide cause more harm than good. These voters are influencing an outcome that they don't even know they helped cause or exacerbate.
    Another problem is the way propositions are written (yes really means no and voting no really means yes, etc.). These are really confusing even to those of us with a brain cell or two, so I can only imagine how these are deciphered and voted on by others who are only going through the motions.
    Educated voters and proof of ID are prerequisites in my mind.

  • #113045

    Welton
    Participant

    Dan,
    I think voting is a right and ones responsibilitiy in America. Voting provide the future leaders of local, state, and federal government. Citizens are responsible for there community, they are the ones who I feel live in the communities and know exactly what there communitity needs. Therefore, it is the citizens right to vote for the person who will continue to help that community move forward for the best.

    Welton

  • #113043

    John F Myers
    Participant

    Hi Dan. That is an interesting topic of discussion and I love the responses...In my opion, voting is a right and a privilege and a choice. I am a 14 year veteran and hope to retire in 6 more years. I strongly believe that it is everyones choice whether they vote or not. As far as penalties and repercussions? I think they are already in place if you don't vote. By that I mean, if you do not like a law or proposition or elected official that got passed or elected, then you need to ask yourself, "Did I vote?" If the answer to that question is a flat NO, then you have no right to complain about the issue...They had their chance at the election and they CHOSE not to vote. I think voting is an important part of our democracy and should be exercised by every citizen. But if they choose not to vote, then they have no right to complain about the laws, elected officials or issues. If they want to complain then they need to do something about it and vote...Just my two cents worth.

  • #113041

    Henry Brown
    Participant

    Yes (GRIN)

    Voting is a right: Millions of people have died in numerous wars to insure that right existed for all Americans and probably a few billion others internationally.

    Voting is a privilege: Of course! and one can and should loose that privilege, Different states have different rules for reinstating the privilege of voting for those who have been stripped of that right. And if you don't exercise your "requirement" to vote MOST states will remove you from the voting rolls at one time or another. requiring to re-register if you want to vote again

    Voting is a responsibility: Yes BUT, a good comparison could be just because you have the right a way doesn't mean you should go through the intersection without looking if you want to survive to do it again.

    As Cindi said "it is also an obligation" which as all obligations should carry a price for carrying out or NOT... The price that I place on the voting obligation is if you didn't vote you probably don't have much room to complain about how your elected officials are performing.

  • #113039

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    "Voting" means something diferent in different places. Obviously, voting in places where there is essentially one party/candidate to "choose" is barely voting at all. Voting in places, or at times, where one had been previously prohibitted from voting, is a gesture of empowerment, and a thrill for those who do it. In still other places, voting feels futile. "Choosing" the best of a bad lot starts to feel little different than "choosing" under one-party rule.

    At this time in history, I think it also bears noting that while we have traditionally equated voting with participation in civic life, voting has begun to slide as the torchbearer of democracy. If I vote every 2 or 4 years for some level of government, and simply ignore that part of civic life until the next election rolls around, am I engaged in civic life? Alternatively, if I decline to vote, but show up at city council and school board meetings, follow the relevant news closely, action for things through petitions or committee work or some other means, perhaps through electronic communities, am I uninvolved in civic life?

    For me, voting is certainly an expression of civic life, but it is not isomorphic with it. These days, in western industrialized nations, voting is only a small fraction of participation in civic life. Ultimately, the responsibility of any citizen is to civic life. Voting is a valuable part of that, but its not everything.

  • #113037

    s e
    Participant

    The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but now used by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states (with less than 7 electoral college votes) were not among them. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia).

    Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

    Voter turnout in the "battleground" states has been 67%, while turnout in the "spectator" states was 61%.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in 4 of the nation's 56 (1 in 14) presidential elections. Near misses are now frequently common. 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of 3,500,000 votes.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Every vote would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    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 in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes -- 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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