Oklahoma State CapitolSome things you would think should never come out of a Republican-controlled legislature – gun control, higher taxes, or in this case, anything that undermines the US Constitution, and the way it was designed to work.

But last Wednesday, to the surprise of many, Senate Bill 906 passed the Republican-led Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 28 to 12. Also called the National Popular Vote Compact, SB906 puts into place a trigger, which would cause our electoral college to vote with the popular vote nationwide after a threshold of 270 electoral votes is reached. Republican Senators who voted for this include Rob Johnson (the author of the bill), Ralph Shortey, Kyle Loveless, Brian Bingman, and Bryce Marlatt, totaling 16. Among the Republicans who voted no are Greg Treat, Nathan Dahm, and Clark Jolley (a good thing for him, too, since he’s running for the 5th Congressional District House seat).

The National Popular Vote Compact is part of a larger movement, backed by FairVote, a 501(c)(3) organization that has been trying for years to change presidential elections to a national popular vote. Their current fight is in the states, and they are already halfway to their goal.

What’s the big deal?

Though the Constitution does not specifically state how electoral votes are to be cast, it does specifically call for electors. Electors are representatives of states.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

So after reading the words “each State shall appoint,” which I carefully and conveniently highlighted in bold for those short on time or attention span, could someone please explain to me how any other state could possibly affect the way my state electors vote? Maybe proponents of the national popular vote aren’t aware of this, but the Constitution designs here a mechanism by which States may elect a President. It isn’t a direct democratic election.

What’s more, the party that is authored and promoted this legislation would have caused its own state’s electoral votes to have gone to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, simply because he won the popular vote! In effect, it would not matter how Oklahoma voted. In 2000, our votes would have gone to Al Gore.

Echoing the words of State Republican Chairman Dave Weston, the Oklahoma County GOP has issued a resolution expressing strong disapproval over the passage of SB 906, which states:

The Oklahoma County Republican Executive Committee is disturbed by the recent passage in the Oklahoma State Senate of SB 906 – the National Popular Vote Compact. This legislation, if passed and enacted into law, would drastically change how Oklahoma votes cast in future Presidential Elections would be counted.

…Our founding fathers created the Electoral College and the US Senate with the purpose of giving a heavier voice to smaller states like Oklahoma to prevent dominance of a handful of populous states and thereby limit the possibility for tyranny.

The Oklahoma Republican 2013 Platform clearly states “We support continuation for the Electoral College for the election of the U.S. President instead of the national popular vote election.”

I think that’s pretty strong language. This resolution will be delivered to the Republican Senators in Oklahoma County, as well as other counties, who voted for SB906. It especially needs to go to any and all Senators who have been invited to all-expense paid trips to attend seminars being put on by National Popular Vote lobbyist groups. Michael Bates has exposed this at length on his blog BatesLine.

Status of the bill

As of right now, the bill’s first reading has taken place in the House. Yesterday I spoke with Speaker Jeff Hickman’s office to find out its status and try to determine which committee the bill would be assigned to. At this point, no assignment has been made, so it’s possible it could just sit there and not be dealt with this year.

Some want this legislation to ‘die’ in the House, and not receive a hearing, but I think it would be better for it to be struck down in a committee vote or on the House floor if necessary. Mainly, I think this is a good idea because this is actually a bill from 2013 that was not taken up. It was quickly and quietly brought back into play this year, and passed before most of us ordinary citizens could have any idea it was even going to be considered.

Either way, call your state Representative and let him or her know where you stand on this bill! I doubt anyone would have thought this would have passed the Senate, so let’s make sure it does not gain traction in the House.

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