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Letter: New Bill Could Give RI No Voice In Presidential Elections

A Letter to the Editor from Marina Peterson

On February 2, 2012, the National Popular Vote bill (H7388) was introduced into the Rhode Island House of Representatives by Representatives Gallison, Blazejewski, Valencia, Serpa, and Chippendale.

The House bill has a total of 45 sponsors (in a 75-member chamber), including Representatives Christopher R. Blazejewski, Edith H. Ajello, Raymond A. Hull, Maria E. Cimini, Michael A. Tarro, Anastasia P. Williams, Scott A. Slater, Leo Medina, Charlene M. Lima, Peter G. Palumbo, Arthur Handy, David A. Bennett, Eileen S. Naughton, Frank G. Ferri, Robert E. Flaherty, Jared R. Nunes, Patricia A. Serpa, Scott J. Guthrie, Lisa P. Tomasso, Doreen Marie Costa, Donald J. Lally, Jr., Teresa Ann Tanzi, Spencer E. Dickinson, Donna M. Walsh, Samuel A. Azzinaro, Larry Valencia, Michael W. Chippendale, Deborah A. Fellela, Jeremiah T. O'Grady, Cale P. Keable, Gregory J. Schadone, Agostinho F. Silva, James N. McLaughlin, William San Bento, Jr., J. Patrick O'Neill, Elaine A. Coderre, Raymond H. Johnston Jr., Mary Duffy Messier, Joy Hearn, Jan P. Malik, Richard P. Morrison, Raymond E. Gallison, Jr., John G. Edwards, Deborah Ruggiero, and Peter Martin.  

House bill #7388 which will implement a National Popular Vote interstate compact is scheduled for a vote on April 11th. This bill has already passed in our State Senate. It will effectively transform our US Presidential elections into a popular vote contest, and take away any influence RI would have as a sovereign state on the Presidential election.  

This is NOT a vote for a Constitutional Amendment. It is a “work-around” interstate compact whereby participants would agree to cast their votes for the person who won the most votes. This would effectively eliminate lesser populated areas from being included in campaigns and their views would not be heard.  

Not only does this threaten some of the constitutional foundations of Federalism, it would open the door for potential “doomsday” election recount scenarios.  The fact that some states would be participating, and others would  not would throw our electoral process into chaos!  The electoral college system was created to insure that EVERY state had an independent voice in Presidential elections. I would encourage you all to become educated about this issue and make your opinion heard, one way or the other, before the vote.  As a non-partisan bill, the voice of the public should hold significant sway with legislators.    

Please take special note of the co-sponsors of this bill.  In my opinion they are signing away your influence on any Presidential election.  Let them know if you approve or disapprove.  

I personally believe that this is the first step towards moving away from being a Republic, and moving towards a Democracy.  A republic and a democracy are identical in every aspect except one.  In a republic the sovereignty is in each INDIVIDUAL PERSON. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the GROUP.  In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. "Republic" is the proper description of our government, not "democracy."  

There are 270 electoral votes required to enact this compact.  There are already 132.  Please weigh in on this!  

Thank you!

Marina Peterson, Bristol

Jack Baillargeron April 09, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Sorry for the long post, Just pretty upset by all this ;-}
Sean Parnell April 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Marina raises some great points. I think a lot of us remember the debacle of Florida in 2000, when at different points some counties were doing recounts, some weren't, judges and election officers were making conflicting decisions, and both sides of the aisle were angry and upset, convinced that the other side was 'stealing' the election. Now imagine a close national election when all 50 states are following different procedures, some doing recounts and some not, judges in different states interpreting similar laws in different ways, and partisans on both sides enraged about the political gamesmanship being played. I understand that several Representatives have decided to vote 'no' after being co-sponsors, and Rhode Islanders should be grateful to them for being willing to consider the very serious objections that have been raised to this bill. This legislation would be an electoral disaster, and would also strip Rhode Island of it's influence in selecting our President. Why on earth would a Rhode Island legislator favor that? Sean Parnell Legislative Outreach Director, Save Our States http://www.saveourstates.org/
JACK April 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Do not drink the tea
marina peterson April 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Bulletin! Vote has been postponed until May 1st.The momentum that we all created to defeat this bill came into play and they have decided to postpone it until May 1st. Thanks for all your help!!!
marina peterson May 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Interesting quote from article by Jim Baron, Southern RI newspapers: The NPV people are trying to enlist states into an agreement to allocate all of their electoral votes to whichever candidate gets the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of how the citizens in that state voted. So if this bogus “compact” had been in effect in 2004, when 259,760 Rhode Islanders voted for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and only 169,046 of us voted for President George W. Bush, all four of Rhode Island’s electoral votes would have gone to re-elect President Bush. In other words, “fie on all you silly people who cast votes, we are going to render them meaningless, and the votes cast on your behalf are going to go to the other guy.” You can’t hold an election and then give the votes cast the exact opposite effect than that which the voters intended. That’s perverse. Article at http://www.ricentral.com/content/politics-usual-switch-popular-vote-not-so-fast-folks-opinion

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