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American Legislative Exchange Council

To: Michigan Legislative ALEC Members
From: ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force
Date: October 14, 2010
Re: Michigan HB6536 and SB0598 - National Popular Vote

If enacted, Michigan HB6536 and SB0598 – National Popular Vote would radically change the state’s presidential election method by awarding the state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote instead of the winner of Michigan’s popular vote. These bills show a disregard for the principles of federalism and the historical importance of the Electoral College.

Under the current system, states are granted one Electoral College vote for every member of Congress from their state. There are a total of 538 Electoral College votes, and a candidate must win at least 270 in order to become president. Our Founding Fathers created the Electoral College to ensure a balance is maintained between large and small states and among different interest groups in the country.

The National Popular vote system creates a national presidential vote through an interstate compact. This system creates several different problems. First, the system cannot ensure that states won’t withdraw from the compact late in the election, or even afterwards. This will trigger a constitutional crisis. A state may consider withdrawing if doing so would likely elect a President the state overwhelmingly favored, but who did not receive the most popular votes nationwide. For example, Massachusetts has changed their election laws for vacant U.S. Senate seats twice in the span of a few years in order to achieve results consistent with partisan interests of the legislature’s majority party. 

Second, this interstate compact is an end-run around the Constitution. The appropriate way to change the nation’s voting system would be to amend the U.S. Constitution, but the inventors of this compact know this will be difficult because Congress has previously rejected more than 1,000 amendments to alter the Electoral College.

Finally, a National Popular Vote will further federalize elections and give Congress more reason to pass election mandates, rules, and procedures down to the states. States will lose their distinct and important roles in presidential elections.

Michigan should remain with the system put in place by our Founding Fathers and reject the interstate compact known as the “Agreement among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”

It is with these guiding principles of federalism and protecting the U.S. Constitution that the American Legislative Exchange Council opposes the policies within HB6536 and SB0598. Click here to see the
ALEC “Resolution in Support of the Electoral College” and “Resolution in Opposition to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”

For more information, contact Courtney O’Brien at cobrien@alec.orgor 202-742-8504.


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