Bill Seeks for Georgia to Join National Popular Vote Compact for Presidential Elections
(APN) ATLANTA — HB 929, a bill co-sponsored by State Reps. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), and others, would change Georgia’s allocation of Electoral College votes, in concert with several other U.S. states, to effect a national popular vote for the President of the United States.
Currently, per the federal Constitution, U.S. Presidents are elected not by popular vote, but through a convoluted, undemocratic process called the Electoral College, which gives smaller U.S. states more weight than larger ones.
But that could change if enough state legislatures, including Georgia’s legislature, take action.
Georgia is considering joining a novel effort: Amending the Constitution is a difficult task; however, U.S. states have discretion over how they allocate their Electoral College votes. And if enough U.S. states join a compact to deliver all their EC votes to the national popular vote winner, whoever that is, then those states have effected a national popular vote without actually amending the Constitution or abolishing the electoral college.
Atlanta Progressive News reported that several states were quietly forming this compact, as of 2012:
Georgia is now considering such legislation.
The National Popular Vote bill has already been enacted into law by the States of California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington; and the District of Columbia. In addition, the bill has passed at least one legislative house in an additional twelve states.
Legislators in these blue, or Democratic, states, have been motivated by the fact that Presidential campaigns tend to focus their efforts of the so-called swing states, or purple states, while ignoring solidly blue states.
But Georgia has been ignored too for the last decade at least because it has been perceived as solidly red.
The bill passed the House Committee for Interstate Cooperation on February 17, 2016.
The National Popular Vote bill is endorsed by Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, FairVote, Sierra Club, Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, ACLU, the National Latino Congreso, Asian American Action Fund, DEMOS, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, and by newspapers across the country.
So far, the National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes. This is about half of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring it into effect.
The bill is expected to come up in the House Rules Committee as early as this Friday, February 26, 2016.
Democracy for America and Common Cause have been emailing their members, asking them to lobby in favor of the bill.