Two Democratic Senators, Charles Wiger and John Marty, have introduced S.F.34, a bill that would enlist Minnesota in the national effort to do away with the Electoral College and decide the presidency on the basis of the “national popular vote,” a journalistic construct with no constitutional significance. The proposed legislation is called the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. States that subscribe to it pledge to choose their electors not according to the wishes of that state’s voters, but rather in obedience to the “national popular vote.” The Agreement goes into effect when it has been enacted by states having a majority of votes in the Electoral College.
What this means is that Minnesota will outsource its voters’ rights to residents of larger, sometimes predominantly one-party states like California, New York, Texas and Illinois. Minnesotans may vote for candidate X, but their votes won’t count–or at least, won’t have any particular significance in casting Minnesota’s votes for president. If enough voters in other states prefer candidate Y, then the votes of Minnesotans will be entirely disregarded, and the state’s electoral votes will go to candidate Y.
Why would any state disenfranchise its own citizens in this manner? The motive, presumably, is political. It happens that in two recent elections, 2000 and 2016, Republican candidates won the presidency even though the Democrat reportedly got more votes nationwide. This fact is insignificant. If the rules were different–if the “national popular vote” had any legal significance–then campaigns would be conducted differently. The results of the “national popular vote” would have been different. But candidates conduct their campaigns according to the rules that govern the election.
Why would any politician offer legislation that would totally suppress and nullify the votes of Minnesotans, thereby disenfranchising all of the state’s voters? I don’t know. Someone should ask Senators Wiger and Marty.