Saturday, September 16, 2017

CONYERS: Ahead Of Constitution Day, Conyers Introduces Resolution Urging Congress And The States To Reform The Electoral College

Washington, D.C. – In advance of Sunday’s Constitution Day, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced H. Con. Res. 79, a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that it and the States should consider a constitutional amendment to reform the Electoral College and to establish a process for electing the President and Vice President by a national popular vote.  The resolution also encourages the states to further their efforts to form an interstate compact to award their Electoral College votes to the national popular vote winner.  Rep. Conyers released the following statement upon the bill’s introduction: 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, jr.
“This Sunday, September 17 is Constitution Day, which marks the 230th anniversary of the Philadelphia Convention’s approval of the Constitution.  We should rightly celebrate the day that the Framers endorsed the basic framework of our democratic system of government enshrined in our Nation’s governing charter.  Yet, we should also use this day as an opportunity to reflect on the fact that the Constitution still retains the Electoral College, a fundamentally anti-democratic process for electing our Nation’s highest federal officeholders.

“On five occasions in our history, the Electoral College has permitted the national popular vote winner to lose the presidential election, including the most recent election, where Hillary Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Electoral College winner Donald Trump. This occurs because a presidential candidate needs only 270 electoral votes and 48 states award their electoral votes on a “winner-take-all” basis.  As a result, the Electoral College creates perverse incentives for candidates that further distort the presidential campaign process in undemocratic ways.

“For example, the Electoral College encourages candidates to focus their campaign efforts on only a handful of so-called swing states.  During the last presidential campaign, for example, both major party candidates largely bypassed three of the four states with the largest populations and skipped campaigning in 12 of the 13 smallest states as well.  

“Additionally, the Electoral College is an anachronistic institution intended, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. According to Yale Law School Professor Akhil Reed Amar, who participated in a forum on Electoral College reform sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Democrats last year, the Electoral College was established, in part, to preserve the political influence of slaveholding states. Although enslaved populations were not allowed to vote, slave states insisted that three-fifths of enslaved persons be counted when determining a state’s representation in the House, which in turn affected the number of Electoral College votes allotted to the state.
“Given its history and undemocratic nature, it is clear that the Electoral College system must be replaced with a process that determines the election of the president and vice president by a national popular vote.  As such, Congress and the States should consider a constitutional amendment to reform the Electoral College.

“And, Congress should also encourage the States to reform the Electoral College through the formation of an interstate compact. Eleven states representing 165 electoral votes have already entered into an interstate compact to cast their electoral votes for the national popular vote winner.  When enough states – representing 270 electoral votes – join the compact, the presidential election will essentially be determined by national popular vote, obviating the need for a constitutional amendment.
“In a democracy, no person’s vote should be worth more than any other person’s vote.  Congress should affirm its commitment to this essential principle and definitively declare that the American people, not state-based Electors, should have the power to directly select the President and Vice President of the United States.”

Original cosponsors include,  Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Al Green (D-TX).

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

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