Governor vetoes bill adding Nevada to states spurning the Electoral College
Proponents of electing the president by popular vote had a setback when Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoed legislation committing Nevada's six electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
Sisolak, a Democrat, said joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact "could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada's electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose."
That was the argument Republicans in the state legislature used against the bill. But the Democratic majorities pushed it through along party lines.
Bypassing the Electoral College has become popular mostly in Democratic-controlled states since Hillary Clinton secured 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump but lost on electoral votes. Democrat Al Gore also outpolled Republican George W. Bush but lost the 2000 election.
Supporters of the idea say having the president elected by popular vote would shift the focus of candidates away from just a handful of swing states and allow more voters to see the candidates in action.
The interstate compact that Nevada has now stepped away from would take effect when embraced by states with a combined 270 electoral votes, an outright majority. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia, with189 electoral votes, have joined so far – three this year (the Oregon legislature is still debating the idea).
"We will continue our bipartisan work in every state until the National Popular Vote proposal takes effect and every American voter is politically relevant in every presidential election," said Patrick Rosenstiel of National Popular Vote, the group leading the campaign for the compact.
Some question the constitutionality of the compact and therefore whether it would ever go into effect even if enough states passed legislation to reach the 270-electoral-vote threshold.
With the presidency on the ballot in less than a year, fears of another attempt by Russia or other foreign powers to interfere in the election seem to grow with each passing day.
But in the battlegrounds where the outcome will be decided — the 13 states almost certain to be most hotly contested by both parties — election security has been tightening and the opportunities for a successful hacking of American democracy are being greatly reduced, a review of the procedures and equipment on course to be used in each state in November 2020 makes clear.
"There's been a huge amount of progress since 2016," says Elaine Kamarck, an election security expert at the Brookings Institution. James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, says his assessment of the fight against election interference results in feeling "confident that a lot has been done to make it better."
In fact, many who work on the issue now cite the public's perception that our election systems are vulnerable as a problem at least as great as the actual threat.
Along with the candidates and the issues, the 2020 presidential election is also going to be about the voting process itself.
Russian efforts to hack into the voting systems of 2016 have boosted election security to a critical concern this time, prompting states to spend tens of millions buying new equipment, hiring cybersecurity wizards and installing software that warns of intrusions — among numerous other steps. More purchases of hardware, software and expertise are coming in the months ahead.
Whether enough money gets spent, and wisely, won't be known for sure until Nov. 3, 2020 — when the system will be subject to the one test that really matters. And whether the country decides the presidential election result is trustworthy will likely come down to how reliably things work in the relatively small number of states both nominees are contesting.
With 11 months to go, The Fulcrum reviewed information from state elections officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Election Assistance Commission and news reports to get a sense of the election security landscape. Here's the state of play in the 13 states likeliest to be presidential battlegrounds.
Gatheru is the outreach manager at American Promise, which advocates for amending the Constitution to permit laws that regulate the raising and spending of campaign funds. She graduated two years ago from the University of Connecticut.
When young Americans come together, we can make a big impact. That's what we've seen throughout history. Alexander Hamilton and Betsy Ross were in their early 20s during the American Revolution. Frederick Douglass was 23 years old when he took the stage at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Alice Paul through her 20s led the fight for the 19th Amendment and women's voting rights.
And that's what we're seeing today in youth-led climate movements around the globe and the movement to end mass shootings here in the United States. But one issue that doesn't get as much attention sits at the root of our modern problems: big money in politics.
Money in our political system has completely eroded the promise of a functioning and just democracy. Due to a series of Supreme Court cases, corporations have the same rights as humans, special interests control Capitol Hill and democracy only works for those who can afford it. This is the dystopia my generation has inherited.
The explosion of small-donor political contributions is often celebrated and extolled as one of the few positive developments amid all the problems facing the democracy reform movement.
Not so fast, argues New York University law school professor Richard Pildes. In a new essay published in the Yale Law Journal Forum, he argues the proliferation of modest contributions to candidates may be contributing to more political polarization and, at least, requires more careful examination.
Pildes also says the proposals to promote more small-donor giving that are part of the House Democrats' comprehensive political process overhaul, known as HR 1, could have unintended negative consequences.