Testimony: Prohibiting the Adoption of National Popular Vote
Testimony in Support of LD 1502: “An Act to Provide Consistency of Process for Maine’s Electoral Votes by Prohibiting Enactment of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”
Senator Hickman, Representative Supica, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of LD 1502.
As Maine state lawmakers, you are responsible for representing residents and voters across the various parts of the state, many of whom live in rural areas. Yet, some contend that a national popular vote would be better for Maine voters than the current system, under which the state’s two Congressional districts separately distribute their electoral votes based on residents’ preference, and the remaining are awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote.
By joining the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact, Maine would give up this unique split-vote system for one that would reward large metropolitan areas, none of which are located in the state. Even if Maine allocated its electoral votes like the other 48 states do, our Second Congressional District would forgo the attention it has seen over the last few presidential election cycles. Our current method of allocating electoral votes is useful, and it retains the distinct differences between our two Congressional Districts.
If anything, other small states like Maine—and even big, diverse ones like California or Texas—might find benefit in using a system similar to Maine’s (and Nebraska’s) current division of electoral votes by Congressional districts, instead of shifting to a nationalized vote for president. Energy spent pushing the NPV compact would be better suited encouraging other states to adopt the Maine model.
By moving to a national popular vote system, Maine loses its unique voice in presidential elections. For a Maine state legislator to support NPV is to completely discount the opinions of one’s constituents, and instead defer to national level politics to make their decisions for them. After all, New York City has more residents than 39 individual states. Voting for this tells Mainers that our individual choice doesn’t matter in choosing the President of the United States.
The Electoral College is an historical institution, and one worthy of retaining in our federal system. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that the winner of the presidency gathers a broad swath of support from states across the nation, not only in the large cities. It protects the liberty of minorities from a potentially tyrannical majority.
Finally, the contention that participation in the NPV compact is coherent with ranked-choice voting is absurd. If an RCV election is to count only existing votes in the final round of tabulation, the system would remove valid ballots from Maine’s contribution to the national popular vote count, further diminishing the weight of Mainers’ votes.
If there’s one thing all Mainers abhor, it is ceding our destiny to big cities, high-paid political consultants and those “from away.”. Please deem LD 1502 “Ought To Pass” and preempt this unnecessary and misguided idea to give away Maine’s presidential electoral power to larger, more populous cities and states. Thank you for your time and consideration.