NPV Tabled Amidst Some Confusion

 

Jon Reisman

LD 1578, An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote (NPVIC) was introduced by Rep. Arthur Bell (D-Yarmouth) and co-sponsored by Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson. LD 1578 was held over until the second session and has been making steady progress. The plurality report of the Veterans and Legal Affairs committee, signed by all five Republicans and one Democrat, was ought not to pass. Five House Democrats supported ought to pass with technical amendments only. The two Senate Democrats, including the Chair, Craig Hickman of Kennebec, supported ought to pass as amended with statewide referendum.

1578 co-sponsor Speaker Talbot Ross chose to bypass tradition and the plurality committee report and bring the minority ought to pass report directly to the floor. It passed 74-67, with 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats “absent”. President Jackson brought the plurality VLA “ought not to pass” report first, and it was defeated 15-20, with 3 Democrats (Duson, Hickman, and Nangle) joining 12 Republicans and Republican co-sponsor Pouliot joining 19 Democrats. Then the House approved ought to pass with technical amendments only version passed the Senate 22-13.

NPVIC secured initial House (3/5) and Senate (3/13) passage despite the three-way committee report, erroneous media accounts, and confusion and assumptions of likely nonconcurrence between the Senate and House. Amidst the confusion, Republicans staged a late effort to flip the second vote in the House (3/19). The Democrats chose to table 1578 by a 74-63 with 14 absences. The exact reasons why are a Scooby-Doo mystery, but could well include an uncomfortably close potential vote, gubernatorial concerns from the Sphinx-like Janet Mills, or even a growing understanding even amongst partisan 1st District activists of how divisive the NPV will be for Maine.

The practical effect of NPV is to disenfranchise every right-of-center voter in the Second Congressional District. IF NPVIC had been in effect in 2016 and 2020, the second District’s electoral vote would not have gone to the candidate with the most votes in the 2nd CD, but to his opponent. Considering how often the left wails about protecting Democracy, their advocacy for disenfranchising their political opponents is shamelessly hypocritical. It is, in my opinion, the real reason for Democrat NPV enthusiasm- the second District’s electoral choices really stick in their craw and cannot be allowed to continue.

It seems likely that the Democrats running the legislature will push NPV forward, in which case appeals for a gubernatorial veto should be made. Janet Mills should be reminded that the NPVIC will deeply divide Maine along partisan, geographic, and age lines- right vs left, Republican vs. Democrat, rural vs urban, 1st CD vs. 2nd CD. Many older voters, including left-of-center voters, do not approve of doing an end-run around the Constitutional Amendment process. There is the small matter of the Compact Clause (Art. 1, section 10) constitutionally requiring congressional approval of interstate compacts. Oddly, the three members of our Congregational delegation who appear to support NPV (King, Golden, and Pingree) have declined to submit such legislation. Senator Collins has demurred, although she did support keeping Maine’s current Congressional District method of awarding electoral votes. Without either a gubernatorial or People’s veto, disenfranchisement and division are looming.

Electoral disputes will likely escalate under NPVIC. There is no actual “National Popular Vote” certified by a Federal Secretary of State, and recounts and election integrity disputes and nightmares under NPV are guaranteed. However, as Rep. Anne Perry stated when voting for NPV, it is all about equity, and if you question that, you are an oppressor racist white supremacist. That is what the DEI czarinas working at the Ministry of Truth say.

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own, and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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