Popular Vote Bill

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It’s always the unexpected fights that pique my interest, well, except when they are with my wife. Are you following this fight over the “Popular Vote Bill”? It scraps the electoral college method of picking a president (of course, it’s dependant on other states approving this, too). Instead we would choose our next leader based simply on which candidate gets the most votes. Remember 2000-Gore vs. Bush? Supporters say it’s a way to make sure every vote really matters and gets counted. Critics say it’s the end of smaller states like Iowa getting any attention since the candidates will just fly over us and focus on the states with bigger populations.

Today, the Iowa Republican Party started this three-way fight. State Chairman Matt Strawn sent a letter to State Democratic Chairman Michael Kiernan asking him to oppose the bill. Then Democratic Secretary of State Michael Mauro sent out a statement siding with the Republicans. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal then went against Mauro. Here’s the blow by blow (or word by word) account:

Strawn: Keep Iowa Relevant in Presidential Elections
Republicans call on Dem Leadership, IDP to denounce national popular vote scheme

“Keeping Iowa relevant in presidential elections should not be a partisan issue. Iowans of all party affiliations and ideologies suffer under this scheme to ditch the Electoral College and elect future presidents by national popular vote,” Strawn said.

Underscoring the non-partisan nature of keeping Iowa relevant, Strawn also called on new Iowa Democrat Party Chairman Michael Kiernan to join forces with the Republican Party of Iowa to defeat this legislation and ensure Iowa will continue to have a prominent – and relevant – position in choosing America’s presidents.

Noting that Iowa has only 1/100 of the nation’s population and contains little in the way of urban centers, Strawn said there would be little possible motivation for future presidential candidates to come to our state and develop concern for Iowa’s particular issues. “This legislation places all the power in the hands of the highly populated states and urban centers that have little in common with Iowa or our state’s needs,” Strawn commented.

DES MOINES – Secretary of State Michael A. Mauro issued the following statement regarding recent discussion of the popular vote bill:

“I caution lawmakers in leading a charge to adopt a resolution that could be detrimental to Iowa and our important role in choosing the President of the United States. Our nation’s current Electoral College system was created to protect less populated states like Iowa to ensure we were included in the process. “As we know, Iowa plays a very important role not only in the nomination process but also during the General Election. In the past twenty years Iowa has been a battleground state in determining our president. There’s a reason each party’s nominee visited our state days before Election Day – because our state still mattered.
“I believe if this were to play out, it would have a dramatic effect. Under this proposal, it is hard to foresee Iowa maintaining its dominant role and expect candidates to spend their final hours campaigning in our state when they will be focused on capturing the popular vote in much larger states.” “As I see it, toying with our nation’s current system could only have a negative effect on Iowa’s historically important role.”

A Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal Regarding reforms designed to ensure that every Iowa vote is counted

“I support the popular vote reforms because they will ensure that every Iowan’s vote is counted in presidential elections. It is mystifying to me why anyone would cling to an antiquated, winner-take-all Electoral College system that allows a person to be elected to the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. The popular vote reforms will fix this problem and make sure that every Iowan’s vote is counted in every election. “In addition, as a member of the Democratic National Committee, I am confident that Iowa will retain its first-in-the-nation caucus status if we adopt the National Popular Vote Act.”


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