Michigan Musings

2010/04/30
By

Yesterday I posted the information for our “Protect Michigan Votes” briefing in Redford, MI.  After cross-posting on www.LibertyLive.org, one commenter asked why Save Our States—a group based in Olympia, WA—cares what happens to Michigan’s electoral votes? There are three reasons (in addition to my being a native Michigander, of course).

First, Michigan citizens and policymakers deserve the facts before they make their decision. NPV wants states to sidestep the Constitution and reconfigure a system that has its origins in the first Constitutional Convention. More than bills dealing with transportation, waste, or the state bird, this is a matter of historic magnitude.

Our goal is to offer reliable, educational resources that detail how and why the Electoral College works and what citizens could expect under a national popular vote for president. The short answers: the Electoral College works to the benefit of American stability, prosperity, representation, and freedom; NPV would likely produce instability, radical geographic imbalance, massive litigation, and decreased representation in presidential elections.

Whether it’s Maine, Wisconsin, Nevada, or Michigan, citizens deserve the facts.

NPV operates under the radar. This is unfair to the citizens. Their strategy usually involves targeting specific legislators and not raising public attention. Why? Take Wisconsin, for example. Once the public became aware that their legislators were considering passing legislation that could potentially force Wisconsin’s electors to ignore the way Wisconsin voters voted—well, they weren’t didn’t sit still for long. Citizens, bloggers, and private organizations were buzzing with opposition.

Washington is an example of NPV’s success in flying under the radar. Here they focused exclusively on legislators. Those legislators pointedly ignored the testimony of the concerned citizens who did find out and understand the implications of NPV. Shortly after the governor signed the NPV legislation, the Seattle Times, Washington’s biggest newspaper, came down on state policymakers for sliding this through “with little public notice.” It concluded, “There is time for other states to consider this proposal more deeply than we have — and for people here to make up that lack by signing a petition for referendum so that the question can be referred to the people. It is, after all, their business.” Save Our States agrees.

Ultimately, what happens in Michigan affects the whole country. Manipulating the Electoral College (to essentially eliminate its very function) is an issue that residents of each individual state will experience. If NPV’s lobbyists win over states amounting to 270 electoral votes (the minimum to win the presidency), it won’t matter if other states refrain.

Michigan deserves the facts, and all Americans may be affected by what they do with them.

On a somewhat related note, those in Michigan might be interested in the podcast of my interview on the Paul Edwards Show yesterday. The interview begins at 28 min.

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The genius of the United States of America: we are both United and States. The American system of states is Federalism. One part of it is the Electoral College, the state-by-state way we elect the President of the United States.

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