The National Popular Vote and You

At our General Meeting on September 15, Ute Haker will talk about the National Popular Vote Coalition of New Mexico – what they are working toward and how we can support their efforts going into this Legislative season.

The “National Popular Vote Coalition of New Mexico” is a joint effort of citizen groups from across New Mexico who have come together to help pass New Mexico’s National Popular Vote bill during the 2019 legislative session

New Mexicans are joining the push for the nonpartisan National Popular Vote, which guarantees the U.S. presidency to the candidate who received the most popular votes in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

They are doing so long before New Mexico’s 2019 state legislative session will begin on January 15.

The National Popular Vote bill ensures that the U.S. president reflects the true political will of American voters, without amending the U.S. Constitution or eliminating the Electoral College.

The problem with the current system is not the Electoral College as such but the state-based “winner-take-all” method of counting votes, which results in three large-scale problems:

  1. The winner-take-all rule risks electing second-place winners as presidents, which already has happened in 5 out of 45 presidents so far, and close calls are frequent as well.
  2. The winner-take-all renders a stunning 75% of the states politically irrelevant because of the resulting focus on only about 12 battleground states.
  3. In purely financial terms, presidential candidates under the winner-take-all set-up rarely, if ever, visit spectator states and spend travel, event, or advertising dollars in these regions, and the financial impact continues even once in office.

New Mexicans and the country as a whole face many important challenges, but it’s important to keep in mind that the National Popular Vote bill is fundamental. The great spectrum of issues that so many of us deeply care about likely will find a much more conducive environment under U.S. presidents elected by the majority of us. So far, 11 states and D.C. have enacted the bill into law.

The National Popular Vote-New Mexico website is New Mexicans’ central information source for information and suggestions for taking action.

The time to act is now. Waiting to get involved until the actual legislative period will be far too late.

Ute Haker, PhD, is a Santa Fe-based writer and historian who founded the “New Mexico Indivisibles for the National Popular Vote” group in early 2017 when New Mexico’s National Popular Vote bill fittingly passed the NM Senate on President’s Day that spring but died in a tie in the last House committee hearing before it would have reached the full House floor and then the governor. Ute also is a steering committee member of the “National Popular Vote Coalition of New Mexico” and the chair of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party’s “Campaign Finance Reform, Elections, and Ethics Subcommittee,” which includes a focus on the National Popular Vote.