by Janine Hansen, National Constitutional Issues Chairman Eagle Forum
The First Danger of NPV:
The National Popular Vote Compact has no minimum percentage for a candidate to be declared the National Popular Vote Winner. What this means is in a 3-way race a candidate could win with 35% of the popular vote or even less.
If we look at recent Presidential Election history from 1992, we will see that Ross Perot, an Independent millionaire, and self-financed Candidate, received 19% of the vote most likely causing George H. W. Bush to lose his second term.
Before Ross Perot withdrew and then reentered the race, he was polling at 39%. Although Ross Perot received no Electoral College Votes, in a National Popular Vote Election that does not matter. If he or some other Independent Candidate received 39% of the popular vote, they would probably have obtained enough votes to be named the National Popular Vote winner. Before the 1992 election, Republican Bush was polling at 31% and the Democrat Clinton had 25%.
This could happen again in the 2020 Presidential Election. Starbucks mogul Howard Schultz has announced he is running for the Presidency as a “centrist independent”. If National Popular Vote is in force Schultz as an Independent Candidate, could win the presidency with only 39% or less of the popular vote.
His candidacy could devastate the Democrat Presidential Candidate. Like Ross Perot he is a millionaire and could be self-financed.
Up to 42% of Americans identify as “Independents”. People are increasingly becoming disenchanted with both political parties. There are other third parties, which would also deprive the major parties of some of the national popular votes including the Libertarian Party, Independent American/Constitution Party, Green Party and others.
Because the National Popular Vote Compact has NO minimum percentage required for the NPV Winner we could elect a candidate with no national mandate.
The United States has had more than one 3 way race for the presidency. In 1912 Teddy Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party and organized the Bull Moose Party. His success was to split the Republican vote so that William Howard Taft lost, electing Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Teddy Roosevelt, as a former President and as a third Party candidate actually garnered more popular votes than the Republican candidate. Wilson received 41% of the popular vote with Roosevelt receiving 27% and Taft 23%.
In 1860 when Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected there were actually four candidates in the race. Lincoln received 39% of the popular vote, Stephen A. Douglas (Northern Democrat Party) received 29.5%, John Breckenridge (Southern Democrat Party) received 18%, and John Bell (Constitutional Union Party) received 12% of the popular vote.
We know what happened with the election of Lincoln. He had no national mandate winning with only 39% of the Popular Vote. The stark divisions in the nation at that time resulted in the Civil War and the bloodshed and death of 620,000 Americans.
The Second Danger of NPV:
There is No National Authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote for President. The Nevada legislative proposal AB186 is exactly the same as proposals in other states. AB186 requires on page 2 line 26: …the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each presidential slate IN EACH STATE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA in which votes have been cast in a statewide popular election and SHALL ADD SUCH VOTES TOGETHER TO PRODUCE A “NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE TOTAL” for each presidential slate.
Wow! So our Secretary of State is responsible for determining the validity of the presidential election vote in 50 states and the District of Columbia. And that is also true for each “chief election officer in each state.” Who is the arbitrator if states don’t agree? There is no answer in the NPV Compact.
Currently, the Director of the Federal Register has been designated by the Archivist of the United States and is responsible for obtaining from the states the certificated results of the election. There is a careful process for determining the correct election results. There is nothing comparable to that well defined and safeguarded process in the National Popular Vote Compact. How will the public be able to trust the election results by 51 chief election officers when there is no national process to certify the votes? In the past, some states have even failed to send their results to the Archivist of the United States.
What happens if, as a part of the Compact, Nevada’s Secretary of State designates a different National Popular Vote Winner than one of the other states in the Compact designate? What if a Chief Election Officer of a state wherein the Popular Vote differs from the National Popular Vote “Winner” REFUSES to betray the voters of his state and does not certify the electors for the National Popular Vote “Winner”? Will the other States take that State to Court? Will it throw the election into the hands of the Supreme Court? What happens, as just happened in North Carolina, if Voter Fraud is discovered and the election is overturned? Does that nullify the National Popular Vote Total and nullify the Presidential election? Does it delay the election of the President throwing the nation into a Constitutional Crisis and political chaos? Will it result in endless recounts and lawsuits?
The Third Danger of NPV
National Popular Vote sets up a system of betrayal of the Voters. Under NPV if Nevada votes for the Democrat Presidential Candidate, but the National Popular Vote winner is determined to be the Republican or the Independent, the Secretary of State in Nevada will be forced to betray the Voters of Nevada certifying presidential electors for the candidate who did not receive the popular vote in Nevada. This kind of betrayal will infuriate the voters of Nevada and subject those who supported such a vote-stealing scheme to their wrath of the voters!
National Popular Vote creates instability jeopardizing what the Electoral College has provided for over 200 years — the peaceful transfer of power.