The NH House Election Law Committee voted unanimously this morning to recommend Interim Study, or ‘polite death’, for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact bill. The bill, introduced this year, was retained in Committee and must be acted upon in the second year of session under NH House Rules.
The whole House must adopt the recommendation of the Committee in January when session reconvenes. The bill will likely be on the consent calendar, and the recommendation can be adopted with a slew of other bill’s recommendations in one voice vote.
Governor Chris Sununu was quick to use the vote to condemn Senators Hassan and Shaheen, both of whom have supported eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with the popular vote countrywide.
What is the NPVIC?
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an end-run on the Electoral College that subverts the Constitution, without even attempting to pass a Constitutional Amendment. It’s cheating, in a way. Supporters of the NPVIC argue that too few states receive too much attention, like New Hampshire.
New Hampshire, as the First In The Nation primary holder, generally receives an outsized number of Campaign visits and events, despite our population being 42nd smallest. The Granite State holds an important role in choosing the nominees during Presidential runs, but only contributes four electoral votes during the general due to the disbursement of electors based on the number of Representatives plus the number of Senators a State holds.
NPVIC proponents argue that the attention paid to states like ours influences the nominees in a negative way, as our small population gets a disproportionate influence on the issues discussed during Presidential campaigns, and that the “swing” states matter too much. States like California, Massachusetts, and Texas all get largely ignored – because the outcome of their general elections are hardly ever up for grabs.
Of course, if the NPVIC, which ties electors in States that adopt the measure to the winner of the popular vote nationwide, were to become effective (meaning they achieve 270 sworn electors) the only thing that would change would be which states get the attention. California, New York, and a few select cities would get nearly all of the attention, as they could easily sway the popular vote nationwide.
Presidential politics would be dictated by left-leaning population centers and cities. New Hampshire would be left in the cold.
Interim Study is the polite death for bad bills in New Hampshire when compared to Inexpedient to Legislate. A study committee is formed when that recommendation is adopted, and the committee can present it’s findings to the next legislature when and if the bill is re-filed to be introduced.
Surely, it’s disappointing that Democrats won’t be put on the record on this bill. A roll call to see which Democrats support eliminating New Hampshire’s electoral rights would be largely helpful in an election year for Republicans. It would also be good, just to check, if any Republicans support the measure against our Constitution.
It’s a relief to see Governor Sununu does not.