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February  2009 - Volume 34, Issue 5      
In This Issue
General Meeting - February 16

Lively League - February 16

President's Message

LWVCC Endorses "Project Innovation"

League Bus Trip to Immokalee

Education Committee Update

Government Committee Update

Justice Committee Update

Social Policy Committee Update

Voter Service Committee

Membership Update

Condolences

League Information Meeting February 23

LWVF Legislative Priorities

Don't Miss These Future League Events!

Background for National Popular Vote Compact

February at a Glance

See related articles in this issue for more details.  All League members are welcome at committee meetings; reservations required.

2 - Board Meeting
9:30AM
N Collier Government Center
2335 Orange Blossom Drive

4 - "Development Services Advisory Committee"
hosted by the Government Committee
 3PM
2800 N. Horseshoe Drive
Rooms 609/610

9 - "The Public Defender's Office"
hosted by the Justice Committee
9:30AM
Community Room
N Collier Government Center
2335 Orange Blossom Drive
 
11 - "The Women's Initiative of Collier County"
hosted by the Social Policy Committee
8AM
Wildside Cafe
5026 Airport Pulling Rd N
$12 - Reservations Required
 
16 - Lively League
National Popular Vote Information Meeting
10AM
Collier Athletic Club
710 Goodlette Rd N

16 - General Meeting
"Becoming Energy Independent"
1PM
Collier Athletic Club
710 Goodlette Rd N
 
16 - Evening Program
"Becoming Energy Independent"
7PM
Naples Hilton
5111 Tamiami Trail N
 
19 - Field trip - School Board Meeting in Immokalee
hosted by the Education Committee
2PM
Meet at Sam's Club parking lot for carpooling
 
23 - Information Meeting for New and Prospective Members
hosted by Chris Straton
7PM
Private Home in N. Naples
 
26 - Bus Trip - A Day in Immokalee
hosted by the Social Policy Committee
9AM - 4:30PM
$50 - Reservations Required

28 - Lunch and the Capitol Report
hosted by the Government Committee 12:30PM
Private Home in Naples

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Tips from the Web Manager
 
TIP #1
 Contact information for members can be found in the "For Members" section of www.lwvcolliercounty.org.  Log in with your email address as your user name and your zipcode as your password.
 
TIP #2
 A printer-friendly copy of our Membership Roster is at www.lwvcolliercounty.org.  Log on at the "For Members" page and click "Access the LWVCC Membership Roster."   
__________________
Article1General Meeting - February 16Top   
 

Becoming Energy Independent: 
Our Community Taking Charge

Solar PanelJoin us as we hear about efforts in our community to reduce energy consumption and become more environmentally friendly.  Not only is reduced energy consumption good for the environment, but it saves money and reduces our dependency on foreign oil. 
 
Our panel of experts includes Cloe Waterfield who has done the energy audit for the City of Naples and Skip Camp who is in charge of efforts for the Board of County Commissioners.  We promise you will walk away proud of what your community has begun and ready to do your own part.  This program will be given twice; come to the one most convenient for you: 1PM at the Collier Athletic Club, and 7PM at the Naples Hilton.
 
Lunch at 11:30AM in the Club's main dining room
($20 members; $25 nonmembers)
Business Meeting at 12:30PM
 
Program at 1PM

 COLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB

710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263-2566
Get directions
 
OR
 
Program at 7PM
NAPLES HILTON
5111 Tamiami Trail N
Naples, FL  34103 
(239) 430-4900
Get directions
 
RSVP for lunch by 5PM Thursday, 2/12 to
or 263-4656
 

Article2Lively League - February 16   
Liese Barnes and Judy Salzer 
 

National Popular Vote Compact
Information Meeting

national_popular_voteSince 1970, the LWV has had a position supporting direct election of the President by popular vote.  Thirty-eight years later, the Electoral College has not been abolished.  Many different proposals to alter the process by amending the Constitution have been offered over the years, but none have been passed by Congress.
 
At the 2008 LWV Convention, delegates voted to adopt a new study: "The Advisability of Using the National Popular Vote Compact (NPV) among the States as a method for electing the President."
 
We will have an opportunity to learn more about the NPV Compact at an Informational Meeting on Monday, February 16, 10-11:15AM, prior to the General Meeting, at the Collier Athletic Club.  On Monday, March 16, again before the General Meeting, we will come to consensus. 
 
For the background material, and papers both in support of and in opposition to the NPV Compact, go to the end of this Voter.
 

Article3President's Message
Chris Straton, President
Chris Straton
Today is January 20, 2009, and I just watched the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.  I cried, I smiled, I got goose bumps and I felt tremendous pride for our country.  Like many others, I never thought that I would see the day that this country would elect an African-American. 
 
This is a proud moment in our country's history.  As I listened to the President's acceptance speech, I realized that he touched upon so many of the issues that have been priorities for the national League for many years:  issues such as civil liberties, global climate change, health care reform, and tax policy. I thought that you might be interested in the letter sent to President-Elect Obama from Mary Wilson, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States.
 
 
December 8, 2008

Dear Mr. President-Elect,

First, the League of Women Voters would like to congratulate you on your election. The League has a deep commitment to promoting the informed and active participation of citizens in their government.  This year's election was an impressive example of the kind of widespread involvement of citizens that makes our democracy strong!

It is with that same commitment to true citizen participation that I write to you now as you assemble the members of the administration that will govern for the next four years.

We all recognize the extraordinary number of issues facing your Administration.  In subsequent letters to you and the appropriate members of your Cabinet, I will address the League's specific concerns about such major problems as health care, climate change and partisan tensions in our nation's government.

But, the most important message I want to send to you now is that none of the issues can truly be resolved by the officials in your Administration without the full and active participation of multiple voices.  Nor can problems be solved if they are discussed behind closed doors.  Please encourage each of your Cabinet nominees to commit now to explore new ways to bring all Americans into the policymaking efforts of their departments.  We see your health care policy team's current efforts as an excellent start in that direction.

For almost 89 years, the League has been well known for our work in engaging the public in the policymaking work of government at all levels, and in holding those governments accountable.  Many organizations are expert at bringing their organizations' points of view to the attention of elected officials.  But, the members of our 850 state and local Leagues around the country and the dedicated staff at our national office in Washington, DC, are not concerned just about making our organization's voice heard.  We work to make sure that everyday Americans, who are affected by government policies, have a chance to be heard by both elected officials and the federal bureaucracy.

The League of Women Voters looks forward to working with you to help bring transparency to the federal government and opportunities for the public to be heard.

Sincerely,
Mary G. Wilson
President
League of Women Voters of the United States

Now that everyone that was elected on November 4, 2008 has been installed into office, it is now time to turn our attention to issues of governance.

Article4LWVCC Endorses "Project Innovation"
Sandy Parker, Vice President 

Project Innovation LogoIn January, the LWVCC became an official endorser of the Economic Development Council of Collier County's "Project Innovation."  
 
What is Project Innovation, and why did your Board decide to become an endorser?
 
Project Innovation is about diversifying our economy beyond its reliance on agriculture, tourism and construction.  According to its website, it is "an exploration into economic innovation and productivity, and how we can create a prosperous and sustainable business community in Collier County."  Its goal is "a specific, actionable plan to build a healthy economic foundation for current and future generations."
 
The League is a firm believer in citizen participation in government, and citizen involvement in all the decisions that affect our community goes hand in hand with this belief. 
 
As a Project Innovation endorser, our League joins the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Naples Better Government Committee, the Community Foundation of Collier County, the District School Board of Collier County, and many other community organizations (click here for list) that support its vision and share its premise that "given participation, ideas and support from people throughout Collier County, Project Innovation will put the means of building our economy in our hands."
 
In her letter of endorsement of Project Innovation, LWVCC President Chris Straton said, "The League of Women Voters of Collier County Board of Directors unanimously voted at their January 5, 2009 meeting to become an endorser of Project Innovation.  We support the process and are pleased to have been asked to participate in this important effort.  The League's 2008/2009 program includes 'Support measures to provide adequate living and working conditions in Collier County.'  We, as the EDC, are hopeful that Project Innovation will provide a roadmap to achieving this goal.... [We] withhold any endorsement of the actual outcome."
 
Upcoming Project Innovation programs exploring economic innovation and how it can be brought to Collier County are:

  • Preparing for Global Competition - February 19, 2009, 3:30 - 5:30PM, Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
  • Research, Development and Commercialization of Innovation - March 19, 2009, 3:30 - 5:30PM, Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
  • Regionalism in the Innovation Economy - April 16, 2009, 3:30 - 5:30 PM, Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
  • It Pays to Be Creative - May 20, 2009, Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club

For more information, visit www.projectinnovation.cc.  


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Article5League Bus Trip to Immokalee
Ann Campbell, Chair - Social Policy Committee 
Fields of HopeSeats are available for our bus trip to Immokalee on Thursday, February 26 with an 8:30 AM meeting time, a 9:00 AM departure and a 4:30 PM return to our vehicles at Publix' parking lot at the Strand.
 
The cost of $50.00 will cover the air conditioned bus, luncheon and incidental expenses.
 
On the bus, we will hear about the people of Immokalee from Carlene Thissen, who wrote Immokalee's Fields of Hope. Carlene will show her video and answer questions. 
 
In Immokalee, we will visit the Marian E. Fether Clinic, hear about the program to train medical students, and view the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.  We will have a tour of the new Vocational-Technical School, iTECH, enjoy a luncheon prepared by the Culinary Arts students and hear from a panel of Emergency Services providers.  From there, we will have a tour and a panel discussion about nonprofit programs which work to provide housing for Immokalee residents
 
Barbara Cacchione, of the Community Foundation of Collier County's Immokalee Initiative, has helped us to plan this program and will be our guide. The Initiative was founded to help nonprofits better serve that unique community through collaboration and capacity building. We will see results of their efforts in the way the various agencies are working together.
 
To reserve a seat, contact Anne Lewallen at  lewallennaples@comcast.net or 435-1845.  Anne will give you further instructions. Your seat will be reserved upon receipt of your check for $50.00 made out to LWVCC Ed Fund.  Seating is limited. For further information, contact Ann Campbell at 263-1755 or acamp1082@aol.com.

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Article6Education Committee Update
Marilyn Bogen, Committee Chair 
Marilyn Bogen
 
Field trip, anyone?  The February 19, 2009, School Board meeting is in Immokalee where the new Immokalee Technical Center will be dedicated.  The March 19, 2009, School Board meeting is in Everglades City.  What a wonderful opportunity to get an overview of some of the unique challenges facing our school system.  Please join me for field trips to these diverse communities.  We will carpool and depart from the Sam's Club parking lot on Immokalee Road around 2PM on February 19th and depart from the K-Mart parking lot at U.S. 41 and Collier Blvd. around 2PM on March 19th.  Call 263-4656 to make your reservations.  Depending upon the meeting agendas, we may leave later so make sure that you sign up.
 
Article7Government Committee Update
Lydia Galton, Committee Chair
Lydia Galton

Government Committee members will be attending the Development Services Advisory Committee meeting on February 4 at 3PM in Room 610 at the CDES building, 2800 N Horseshoe Drive.   

The Government Committee is reviewing the state League's legislative priorities and has identified and is tracking those bills pending in both the Florida House and Senate that fall within this purview.

These bills include:  HB031/SB472 Gibbons/Aronberg (Early Voting); S566/H081 Repeal of Campaign Finance Reform; S536/H301 Non-partisan elections of voting supervisors; S202 Redistricting;  S216  Justice/Gaetz Prohibits a local government from expending public funds for a political ads; S240/H213  Ability to vote for "none of the above;"  H013  Concerns civics in the school curriculum.

We plan to start tracking these bills more closely at Lunch and the Capitol Report starting on Saturday, February 28th at 12:30PM at Lydia Galton's, 442 Rosemeade Lane (Wyndemere).  Please bring a brown-bag lunch.  We changed the meeting time from Friday morning so that we would access to the Capitol Report as soon as it is issued.  Non-Government Committee members are most welcome. Please RSVP to Lydia at 262-3137 or lgalton@comcast.net
Article8Justice Committee Update
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair
Bernice Schmelz
One of the LWVUS policy positions is to "Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all."  LWVFlorida is even more specific with its support of a "... judicial system that provides ... equal access to legal services."
 
Join the Justice Committee on February 9 to learn about the Public Defender's Office, one of the agencies that helps to assure equal access to legal services.  Michael Orlando, Deputy Public Defender for Collier, Glades and Hendry Counties, will be enlightening us on the work of the office, how one qualifies for a public defender and what seem to be the most frequent needs.  Included in his presentation will be information on the use of his office by families of juveniles needing representation. 
 
The Office of the Public Defender represents individuals who have been arrested for a crime and have applied and been found to be indigent.  Public Defender Offices in the State of Florida as well as other states across the country were established as a result of a 1963 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright wherein the right to appointed counsel for the indigent charged with felonies extended to the states.   The goal of the Public Defender's Office is to make sure that indigent people, including children, that are accused of a crime are provided competent legal representation.   No person should ever be denied representation simply because they can't afford to hire their own lawyer.
 
To give an idea of the scope of the need, according to the Public Defender website, in Florida there were 82,604 juvenile cases alone handled by a Public Defender in fiscal year 2006-07, a 3.7% increase (2,950 cases) from the previous year.
 
The Justice Committee meets from 9:30-11:30 AM in the Community Room at the North Collier Government Center, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive.  Please RSVP your attendance to berniceas@embarqmail.com by February 5 to assure adequate materials are provided.  All League members and their guests are welcome to attend.

Future Meetings

  • TUESDAY, March 10,  Lesley Medley, Coordinator of School Accountability Board, Institute for Youth and Justice Studies  (Note that the committee will meet on Tuesday in March.)
  • Monday, April 13, Jackie Stephens, Director and CEO, Children's Advocacy Center, presentation and tour of the Center 
Article9Social Policy Committee Update
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair

Ann Campbell - Social Policy

February meeting will address the well-being of seniors in Collier County
 
The Social Policy Committee has invited Jane Billings, Director of the Women's Initiative of the Community Foundation of Collier County to its Wednesday, February 11th breakfast meeting at 8:00 AM at the Wildside Café (formerly Crissy's Wildside). Jane will explain the work and goals of the newly formed Women's Initiative, sharing the findings of the Initiative and what has led them to convene the Leadership Council on Aging. Jane feels that anyone concerned for the well-being of seniors in our community will find this talk most eye-opening. What we learn may shock us, according to Jane. However, in these challenging times, the public/private partnership being created by the Women's Initiative can provide some very innovative solutions to pressing community needs.
 
All members are invited to the Social Policy Committee meetings. Guests are welcome too. The restaurant offers our group a choice of four items, including a fruit plate. Cost is $12.00 which includes tax and tip.  Those planning to attend should reserve a place by contacting Ann Campbell at 263-1755 or email: acamp1082@aol.com.  Reservations are due by Monday, February 9.
 
Volunteers Needed at Vision and Hearing Fair '09
 
At our January breakfast meeting we met with Rand Bass of the Collier County Public Library and Sandra Martin of Lighthouse of Collier for a very informative session concerning the needs, met and unmet, of Collier residents with impaired vision and hearing. Sandra said that this community is not pedestrian-friendly and especially not so for the estimated 14,000 individuals who are blind or severely vision impaired. The Lighthouse group is working steadily toward obtaining a center where the visually handicapped can learn independent-living skills.
 
Toward that goal, Lighthouse of Collier is hosting a Vision and Hearing Fair on Friday, February 27, 2009 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway. The Fair will showcase: government and nonprofit agencies offering special needs services; local optometrists, ophthalmologists and audiologists; vision and hearing aid sales professionals; free vision screens; free bone marrow screens.  The Fair is sponsored in part by the Friends of the Library of Collier County.  People who come to the Fair may need assistance navigating the various booths. 
 
Anyone interested in volunteering to help can let Ann Campbell know at acamp1082@aol.com. In addition, the League is planning to have a booth where individuals can register to vote. Chris Straton, in her role as Voter Service Chair, wants to learn about voting-related experiences of the vision and hearing impaired. 
  
Article10Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair
ballot box
We are looking for League members to take on some specific tasks to facilitate our Voter Registration efforts as well as our efforts to reach out to the community to improve the voter turnout for the next election. 
 
These one-time tasks can be done from the luxury of your own home and should take no more than a few hours. 
 
 
Look over the following list and let me know what you can do:
  • Develop a list of PTA/PTO contacts for the Collier County Public Schools.
  • Create a database of names, addresses and email addresses of civic organizations in Collier County.
  • Create a database of names, addresses and email addresses of religious institutions in Collier County.
  • Create a database of names; addresses and email addresses of nursing and life care facilities in Collier County.
Call me at 597-8849 or email me at ChrisStraton@yahoo.com.
 
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Article11Membership Update
Anne Lewallen, Committee Member
 
Men Can Join TooPlease welcome new members Victoria DiNardo and Amy Saad!

Just a reminder to members who have not yet sent in their renewal: please try to do so right away.  We need your financial support for all the  great projects planned for the new year.  You can print a membership renewal form by clicking here, complete it and mail it with your check to LWVCC, P.O. Box 9883, Naples, FL  34101. 
 
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Up to Date - You can update your contact information on the For Members page of our website or by calling 263-4656 and providing your new information on the answering machine.  If you have moved or your email address has changed in the past year, please ensure that the League has your correct information by emailing lwvcc@lwvcolliercounty.org or calling 263-4656.
 
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact lewallennaples@comcast.net, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application. Dues are $65.00 for an individual member and $97.50 for a family membership.

 
Article12Condolences
I am sorry to report that LWVCC member Carol Moseman lost her battle with cancer. 
 
Chris Straton
 
Article13League Information Meeting February 23
Sandy Parker, Membership Committee Member
LWV logoAre you a new League member?  Are you a "friend of the League'" who is considering joining?  Or are you a long-time League member wanting a "League 101" refresher?
 
Come to an informational meeting to meet members of our board and committee chairs and get answers to your questions about League.
 
These are just some of the topics we will cover:
  • Our history and mission
  • Our principles
  • How we operate
  • Our committees
  • Our voter service activities
  • How we determine League positions
  • How League's activities are financed

We will meet at the home of Chris Straton in North Naples on Monday, February 23, from 7-8:30PM..  Join us!  Please contact Chris at 597-8849 or ChrisStraton@yahoo.com for directions.

Article14LWVF Legislative Priorities
Lydia Galton, Chair - Government Committee
Florida CapitolThe regular session of the 2009 Florida Legislative Session begins on March 3, 2009.  The League and their lobbyist will be focusing on the following list of priorities, which were selected by the LWVF Board using input from local Leagues, the LWVF Board and other sources. A summary statement of the LWVF's position on each priority is included.

 
Government: Promote an open government that is responsive to the people of the state.
  • Finance and Taxation:  Support a state fiscal structure that is equitable in its distribution of the tax responsibility and responsive to public needs.
  • Redistricting:  Support single-member election districts that are equal in population, provide access for minorities, and are not determined by the Legislature.
  • Citizen Initiatives including the Statutory Initiative:  Support citizens' right to have both constitutional and statutory initiatives.
  • Election Law: Promote integrity of process for matching voters to statewide database under HAVA; support automatic restoration of voting rights for felons who have been released from prison. 

Education in Florida:  Support for a free public school system for Florida with high standards for student achievement and with equality of education opportunity for all.

  • Funding:  Support adequate funding for the public school system,
  • Accountability:  Support a reliable accountability system that measures the achievement of all students whose education is provided by public expenditures.
  • Civics Education:  Promote the extension of the civics education requirement. 

Social Policy in Florida:  Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all.  Promote social and economic justice, and the health and safety of all Americans.

  • Health Care:  Support a health care system that provides access to a basic level of  quality health care for all Florida residents and controls health care costs. 

These are the priorities that we will be monitoring during Lunch and the Capitol Report (see Government Committee).

Article15Don't Miss These Future League Events! 
CalendarMarch 22-24, 2009 - LWVF Legislative Seminar - The LWVF Legislative Seminar in Tallahassee (March 22-24) provides an opportunity for League members to make personal contact with government leaders. Effective grassroots lobbying begins by building a relationship with elected officials. Leaguers can influence members of our Legislature by talking to them face-to-face in Tallahassee. All League members are encouraged to attend the receptions, workshops and meeting with legislators. If you would like to attend seminar please contact Lydia Galton (lgalton@comcast.net) for information.
 
May 15-17, 2009 - LWVF State Convention - The 2009 Convention will be held in Jacksonville, FL.  Members are encouraged to attend and some funding is available.  Contact Chris Straton if you are interested. 
 
Mark your calendars and plan to attend!
 
Article16Background for National Popular Vote Compact
Liese Barnes and Judy Salzer, LWVCC, and 
the LWVUS National Popular Vote Study Committee
 

NPV logoThe League has a long-standing position in support of the direct election of the president by popular vote. Now, League members have the opportunity to consider whether to support the National Popular Vote Compact (NPV Compact) as a viable process to achieve that result. The NPV Compact would avoid the need for a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College (EC), and would assure that the individual receiving the most votes would become president.
 
The NPV Compact proposal uses the mechanism of the EC. States that legislatively enact the NPV Compact would agree that their state electors would vote for the individual that received the most votes nationwide. Thus, the popular vote count from all 50 states and the District of Columbia would be added together. State elections officials in all states participating would award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the largest number of popular votes.
 
This alternative method of assigning a state's EC votes would take effect only when enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes. This 270-vote threshold also corresponds essentially to states representing a majority of the people of the United States.
 
The plan includes procedural provisions to help assure smooth functioning of the agreement - conditions that deal with states deciding to withdraw from the Compact at the last moment, enforcement issues and recounts. 
 
Currently four states have passed legislation to enact the NPV Compact. 
     
Opposition to the National Popular Vote Compact
 
There is little respect for the Electoral College (EC). The League opposes it and most voters want a direct popular vote. But is the National Popular Vote Compact (NPV Compact) an appropriate way to achieve that result?
 
Evaluating Fairness Voters supporting the candidate who receives the majority of votes in their state want their state's electors to support their choice. Adoption of the NPV Compact may require a state elections official to direct its state's electors to cast their ballots in support of a candidate who was not favored by the voters of that state.
 
Passage of the NPV Compact will result in the emphasis of presidential campaigns shifting from the battleground states to areas of large concentrations of population. So, while some voters are disenfranchised by the EC, others might be disenfranchised by the NPV Compact. Because the Compact requires entry into a contract with other states, which binds state elections officials to direct electors to vote in a certain way, regardless of the outcome of the election in their state, states' rights are diminished.
 
In addition, one can question the advisability of a method that bypasses the normal constitutional amendment process in this manner.
 
Constitutional Issues  Many constitutional scholars argue that this plan will lead to extensive litigation involving challenges to the NPV Compact on issues such as the scope of constitutional powers, the Compact itself, the need for congressional approval, the concerns of non-compacting states, and constitutional protections of state interests and their role in elections.
 
Mechanical Issues/Flaws The methods for enforcement of this plan are unclear. Opponents question the power and timing to withdraw from the Compact and the power to enforce compliance.
 
Others express concern about an onslaught of lawsuits between compacting and non-compacting states, as well as procedures in close elections. 
 
The plan, allowing the election of a president by a plurality of votes, does not improve on the current system; neither the present system nor the NPV Compact requires that the president be elected by a majority.
 
Other Issues The Voting Rights Act requires pre-clearance for legislative changes. This, too, has the capacity to engender lawsuits to ensure compliance.
 
League Issues This proposal does nothing to achieve the goal of uniform standards of voting. The NPV Compact is effective when passed by states representing 270 electoral votes, effectively negating the impact on presidential elections of the voters in states which represent the other half of electoral votes. A system which assures no voter disenfranchisement is a better way to assure that every person's vote counts.
 
The League has long supported the abolition of the EC. Although the NPV Compact purports to foster the same result, it creates additional concerns. Amending the U.S. Constitution is a difficult process, and we should seriously consider supporting the normal amendment procedures to abolish the EC versus this specific "work-around."

Support for the National Popular Vote Compact

Because the League already supports direct election of the president, arguments against the Electoral College (EC) are not included in the material supporting the National Popular Vote Compact (NPV Compact).
 
Constitutional Issues The NPV Compact is a way to assure that every person's vote counts equally and that the person receiving the most votes is the winner of the presidency. The same result would be achieved by constitutional amendment but the U.S. Constitution is difficult to amend. The NPV Compact is a viable way to attain the same goal as amending the Constitution to eliminate the EC.
 
A constitutional amendment is not needed to effectuate the NPV Compact because states already have the right to implement changes in how electors are appointed.
 
The NPV Compact is a compact between states - a method of concerted state action that has long been sanctioned by the Constitution and the courts. 
 
Evaluating Fairness A candidate can be elected president by receiving the most electoral votes even though he or she did not receive the most popular votes. This is not a result voters expect or desire. As election campaigns are now waged, major emphasis and resources are concentrated in key EC battleground states because that is where elections are won or lost. The NPV Compact would eliminate the emphasis on battleground states and would be more apt to assure campaign strategies that appeal to a broad spectrum of the electorate which would foster greater voter participation.
 
The argument that the plan would negatively impact states' rights is countered by poll results showing that most voters want their individual vote to count, rather than allotting them to electors representing the state as a whole.
 
Any claim that the NPV Compact is an unprecedented disregard for the U.S. Constitution ignores the reality that voting rights have been changed through state action many time. Women's suffrage, for example, was instituted by twenty states before passage of the constitutional amendment that made the right universal
 
Mechanical Considerations Those opposed to the NPV Compact cite mechanical issues that might lead the NPV to fail, but the Compact includes provisions that address issues of enforcement, winning levels and recounts.
 
Other Issues The Voting Rights Act and the NPV Compact are in harmony, assuring equality of votes throughout the United States.
 
League Issues Opponents say that the NPV Compact conflicts with the League's support of uniform voting standards. Supporters of the Compact advocate its passage in all states, which would result in uniform voting standards. It is true that the NPV Compact could be in effect for an interlude when not all states had signed on to it. The same could be demonstrated for other laws, such as the Equal Rights Amendment. Nonetheless, it must be remembered that uniform voting standards are not now in effect. The NPV Compact could help assure that every vote would be counted equally.
 
Further, implementation of a method which assures direct election of the president by popular vote is in keeping with the League's long-held position.  

© 2008 by the League of Women Voters of the United States
 
 
To prepare for the consensus meeting, please read the complete version of this paper (available at http://www.lwv.org/NPV)
by the LWVUS National Popular Voter Compact Study Committee.
 
About Us
 

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  Our goal is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.

Visit our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org for our current list of officers, directors, and off-board members , our 2008-2009 Program, Diversity Policy, Nonpartisan Policy, By-Laws and more.

 
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League of Women Voters of Collier County  I  P.O. Box 9883  I  Naples, FL  34101