Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Mexico Legislature vs. New Mexico Voters

The New Mexico state legislature is in the middle of its 60 day session. (Legislative sessions in even-numbered years are only 30 days long here.) And it has continued its actions against New Mexico's voters.

For one, the legislature — led by House Speaker Ben Lujan of Santa Fe and Majority Leader W. Ken Martinez of Grants — killed a Republican-sponsored voter ID bill on a straight party-line vote. As noted in the Albuquerque Journal story on the bill (registration/subscription required)

Current New Mexico law, approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, allows voters to identify themselves in one of several ways that don't involve a photo ID, including a “verbal or written statement” by the voter giving their name, registration address and year of birth.
In other words, just walk in and claim to be someone, and you can vote in their place. That's an open invitation to fraud — which has occurred, though the authorities have declined to prosecute even when they had signed confessions. A large majority of New Mexico voters (apparently 80%) favor a voter ID law, but that doesn't matter since that 80% obviously doesn't include the legislators. As I have said before, anyone who opposes a serious voter identification requirement is objectively promoting vote fraud.

In another action, the Mew Mexico House of Representatives told New Mexico voters they shouldn't bother to vote in presidential elections, voting for a "compact" under which New Mexico's electoral college votes would be given to the candidate who got the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of how New Mexico's voters voted. This idea, the National Popular Vote proposal, seems to be a spectacularly bad idea. It sends exactly the wrong message to voters — at least in small states like New Mexico.

Things like this tell my the Democrats have had control of the state legislature FAR too long.

4 comments:

mvymvy said...

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided “battleground” states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 “battleground” states. Similarly, in 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

mvymvy said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

The bill is currently endorsed by 1,246 state legislators — 460 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 786 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

The National Popular Vote bill has been endorsed by the New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Miami Herald, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sacramento Bee, The Tennessean, Fayetteville Observer, Anderson Herald Bulletin, Wichita Falls Times, The Columbian, and other newspapers. The bill has been endorsed by Common Cause, Fair Vote, and numerous other organizations.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado — 68%, Iowa — 75%, Michigan — 73%, Missouri — 70%, New Hampshire — 69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, North Carolina — 74%, Ohio — 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware — 75%, Maine — 71%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire — 69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas —80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi —77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 73% , Massachusetts — 73%, New York — 79%, and Washington — 77%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 23 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

mvymvy said...

76% OF NEW MEXICO VOTERS SUPPORT A NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT IN DECEMBER 2008 POLL

A survey of 800 New Mexico voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 76% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

Support was 84% among Democrats, 64% among Republicans, and 68% among independents.

By age, support was 73% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 78% among 46-65 year olds, and 76% for those older than 65.

By gender, support was 84% among women and 66% among men.

By race, support was 73% among whites (representing 55% of respondents), 83% among Hispanics (representing 38% of respondents), and 57% among Others (representing 7% of respondents).

for more details, see www.NationalPopularVote.com

gdcritter said...

I see what mvymvy and his organization are saying, but the fact remains that if this is passed no New Mexico voter need both to go to the polls. Ever. The whole point of the Electoral College was to give the smaller states at least a little leverage. It's still needed.