September 2007 Home   Newsletters

December 2007

April 2008

President's Report (Jackie Parnell)
Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
Con Con (Jean Aoki)
LWV-US on Presidentional Selection (Jackie Parnell & Jackie Parnell)
Elections (Jean Aoki)
Chapter Reports - Honolulu (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Chapter Reports - Hawaii (Leilani Bronson-Crelly & Sue Dursin)
Chapter Reports - Kauai (Carol Bain & Lisa Ellen Smith)
Calendar Items? (Stephen Trussel)
Calendar of Events

President's Report

I want to begin my message not only with Season's Greetings but also with news of a forthcoming gala event: I can't tell you much about it yet, but save the evening of March 10! Although that is a Monday -- a rather unusual night for a gala -- that is the only night we could bring you CNN political commentator Bill Schneider who will talk with us about the election, which should have heated up considerably as of that date. More about that later. Meanwhile, I want to deal here with a different aspect of presidential elections.

National Popular Vote

One of the perks of being president of a state league is being on the 'state presidents' list and finding out what other state leagues are doing. New York State is undertaking a special project and is seeking our help. At their convention in May 2007, they enthusiastically adopted the non-recommended study “Should NYS Join the Compact for a National Popular Vote?”By the time of the final vote at the Sunday morning plenary session there was only one "no" vote. The motion to adopt the study more than met the requirement of support from 3/5 of the voting delegates.

In June, the National Popular Vote State Study Committee began its research. The timetable approved by LWV-NYS board required that all study materials, including consensus questions, would be out to local Leagues by the end of January 2008. In fact, the NPV study guide is near completion.

What NPV Is All About

Under the U.S. Constitution, the states have full and exclusive power to allocate their electoral votes, and may change their state laws concerning the awarding of their electoral votes at any time. Under the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill, all of a state's electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. 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 --- meaning 270 of 538.

As of November 11th, the bill has the support of 366 legislators in 47 states. Forty-three bills have been introduced in all but eight States, and 10 Legislatures have now passed the bill: Maryland became the first state to enact the National Popular Vote bill on April 10, 2007. The bill has also passed the Hawaii House (35-12) and the Hawaii Senate (19-4). The bill has passed the Colorado Senate and the Arkansas House. On May 2, 2007, the Illinois House of Representatives passed the National Popular Vote bill. On May 14th the California and the North Carolina Senates passed the National Popular Vote bill.

Clearly, the time is ripe to study this issue so that we know whether we support using a compact as a method for electing the President by National Popular Vote.

LWV-US Decides LWV-NYS Can Not Adopt a Position on NPV

While conducting their research, NYS's NPV Study Committee heard from Leagues across the country that they had been told that, for a variety of reasons, they could/should not do the NPV study. This concerned the LWV-NYS NPV Study Committee which on September 17th requested clarification and assurances from LWV-US. On October 25th, after four months of work, LWV-NYS was notified by our LWV-US liaison that LWV-NYS could not adopt a position on the NPV because a State can not adopt a position on a national issue.

Many of New York's members were distraught that LWV-US had allowed them to spend precious resources on this endeavor. For four months, local Leagues had been holding education sessions, publishing articles, and educating themselves about the NPV compact. Leagues also reported that the study was generating a lot of interest from current, as well as potential new members.

What Leagues Can Do: RECOMMEND A NEW STUDY at LWV-US Program Planning Time

The League of Women Voters of New York State respectfully requests Leagues across the country to recommend the adoption (at the National Convention in 2008) of a National Study entitled:

"The Advisability of Using the National Popular Vote Compact among the States as a Method for Electing the President."

Leagues are urged to recommend this exact wording when returning their Program Planning Report Forms to LWV-US by March 1st.

So that the LWV-US can build on the foundation of its work, New York asks Leagues to:

  1. On the Program Planning Report Form: in the section New Study/Program Item, under the heading Representative Government, enter: New Study of "The Advisability of Using the National Popular Vote Compact among the States as a Method for Electing the President."

  2. Help us spread the word to your League contacts across the country.

  3. Let us know if you will recommend the study to LWV-US so we can track our lobbying efforts.

  4. Send delegates to LWV-US Convention June13-17, 2008 to vote in favor of this study.

In order to see why this idea merits further consideration go to: www.lwvny.org/npv.html or go to www.nationalpopularvote.com/index.php. For more information contact: Lori Dawson, LWV Saratoga, lddawson@skidmore.edu, 518-580-0547 or Carol Mellor LWV Hamptons, camellor@aol.com.

So, dear Leaguers, I am going to do as New York requests unless I hear some strong and well-reasoned objections. Please see accompanying article on the LWV-US position on abolishing the electoral college and electing the president by popular vote (page 4). And please, please, let me know whether or not you support New York's request.

Jackie Parnell

P.S. Note that both the Hawaii House and Senate have voted for NPV. Apparently the Governor is the stumbling block here. So, if we are in favor of it, we here in Hawaii should also lobby for enactment of the bill on NPV in our State during the next session.

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