Does Your State Want to Replace Electoral College With Popular Vote for President?

Natalie JohnsonBy Natalie Johnson
(Reposted from The Daily Signal)

An 11th state looks ready to join a national movement to sideline the Electoral College and decide presidential elections by popular vote.

A bipartisan bill moving through the Arizona legislature aims to reallocate the state’s 11 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the majority of votes on a national scale rather than the candidate who wins the state.

The legislation is part of a nationwide push called the National Popular Vote plan, an effort to create an agreement among states that vow to automatically elect the president of the United States using the national popular vote instead of the final vote count in each respective state.

Robert Hathorne, a Republican activist residing in Arizona, warns that the initiative would “fundamentally change America” by shifting the national political system from a representative democracy to a pure democracy.

“Majority rules was the greatest fear of our Founding Fathers; this is why ‘democracy’ is not written one time in the 4,543 words of the Constitution,” Hathorne told The Daily Signal.

The framers of the Constitution established the Electoral College to give smaller states a voice against larger states when selecting the nation’s leader. Electoral votes are delegated based on a state’s population. Rhode Island, for example, has four electoral votes, while California has 55.

A presidential candidate currently needs a majority of 270 of the Electoral College’s 538 votes to win the White House.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said the National Popular Vote initiative seeks to breach the Constitution and likely would end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This entirely changes how the president is elected, and therefore, it affects the basic structure of the Electoral College and the Constitution,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.

Advocates are working to secure support from enough states to reach 270 guaranteed electoral votes, which effectively would throw the outcome of presidential races into the hands of the popular vote.

So far, 10 heavily Democratic states—California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—have joined the District of Columbia in signing such legislation into law.

Those states make up 165 electoral votes, meaning the initiative has reached roughly 60 percent of the 270 votes needed to reach its goal of sidelining the Electoral College. Arizona would make it 176. The pact won’t go into effect until enough states sign on to hit 270 votes.

Instead of amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College, popular vote advocates are working around the challenging ratification process by going through the states.

Doing away with the Electoral College completely requires a constitutional amendment, meaning two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to vote for repeal, and then another three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the new amendment.

The National Popular Vote initiative instead works on the state level through an interstate compact requiring far fewer states to support the new process and reach 270 electoral votes. In fact, that number could have been as low as 11 states.

Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution reads: “No state shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power.”

Heritage’s von Spakovsky notes that the Supreme Court clarified this provision in the case Virginia v. Tennessee, ruling that only those interstate agreements that increase state power while diminishing federal power must be submitted for congressional approval.

If the National Popular Vote effort reaches its goal of 270 electoral votes, von Spakovsky predicts, the states that decided not to join the pact immediately will file a lawsuit and ultimately land the case in the Supreme Court.

Opponents of national elections by popular vote, including von Spakovsky and Hathorne, argue that the change would create incentives to commit voter fraud in single-party states and jurisdictions.

In deep-blue New York, for example, the incentive for voter fraud isn’t high, because residents know the state is going to elect a Democrat regardless. But if you move from a state-by-state voting system to a national one, von Spakovsky warns, the incentive to “stuff” voting boxes rises: Not only would a Democrat win New York, but he or she could win the national election.

“Why should as few as 12 to 15 states that make up 270 electoral votes rule over 35 other states?” Hathorne asked.

Proponents such as those working for FairVote, for example, argue that the Electoral College creates a “winner takes all” system that drives disparity between “swing” states, where candidates actively campaign, and “solid” states, which the organization says are largely ignored.

Advocates of a popular vote say the change would make every state significant during the election process.

Today, it’s possible for candidates to secure the White House without winning the popular vote across the nation.

In 2000,  George W. Bush won the presidency after the Supreme Court determined he had won Florida even though Al Gore, his Democratic opponent, won the majority of votes nationally. Bush edged Gore by five electoral votes.

The National Popular Vote movement sprung up in the mid-2000s following Gore’s contentious defeat. Through it, a candidate could win a plurality of the national vote and clinch the big seat.

The change “would make recounts an absolute nightmare,” von Spakovsky said, adding:

If electing a president is based entirely on who wins the national popular vote, if that were the 2000 situation, it would have forced a recount in the entire country because every single vote could’ve made a major difference.
In Arizona, the legislation enjoys broad support from both parties in both the House and Senate. But von Spakovsky says voters actually will lose influence if the state switches to the popular vote idea.

He said paid lobbyists, backed by enormous amounts of money, are feeding state legislators “false information” to advance the movement.

“The legislators who have signed on this are being fooled and are being foolish in voting for it,” von Spakovsky said.

Natalie Johnson is a news reporter for The Daily Signal and graduate of The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. You can follow her on Twitter at @NatalieJohnsonn

POLL: Maricopa County Voters Say Raise Age to 21 to Buy Tobacco, Keep Coyotes in Glendale

MBQF
MarsonMedia

Poll also shows voters want Arizona Coyotes to stay in Glendale

(Phoenix, AZ) — Only adults 21 and over should be able to buy tobacco products, according to a new poll of Maricopa County voters.

Of the 584 respondents to a poll conducted Dec. 29 by MBQF Consulting and Marson Media, 72 percent said they support increasing the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Just 28 percent oppose the move.

The poll also found Maricopa County voters prefer the Arizona Coyotes remain in Glendale, 55-45. And finally, Maricopa County approve of Indian tribes opening Las Vegas-style casinos off traditional reservation land by a margin of 45-39.

“It is clear among all political stripes that voters want to increase the legal age to buy tobacco to 21,” said Barrett Marson, CEO of Marson Media. “As cities in Maricopa County consider these proposals, they can move forward knowing voters support the move.”

Mike Noble Added, “What was interesting was that support to increase the legal age was basically the same between Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters.”

Despite spotty attendance performance throughout its years in Glendale, voters don’t support moving the Arizona Coyotes to a downtown Phoenix or East Valley location, the poll found. The team has said it will explore a move to a new arena downtown or could build an arena on the Salt River Pima Indian Community near Scottsdale.

“The Coyotes are locked in a battle with Glendale but voters actually prefer the team stays in the Gila River Arena,” said Mike Noble, CEO of MBQF Consulting.

As for Indian gaming, county voters appear OK with tribes opening casinos off of traditional reservation land. The Tohono O’odham recently opened a casino near Glendale though it lacks table games like blackjack that are at other casinos.

“Voters don’t mind Indian casinos in the metropolitan area even if they are operated by tribes far away,” Marson said.

In the automated telephonic non-partisan survey of 584 high efficacy voters, conducted on December 29, the survey calculates a 4.06% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points.

For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact Mike Noble or Barrett Marson.

SOS Michele Reagan Refers AZGOP Complaint to AG Mark Brnovich

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan has pushed forward a complaint to the Attorney General Mark Brnovich regarding a complaint filed by the Arizona Republican Party related to a political committee headed by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson. The complaint alleges that Johnson’s political committee, “Open Nonpartisan Elections” or ONE, violated reporting requirements when it failed to report a $10,000 political contribution from Jeff Covill.

Secretary Reagan also did not find reasonable cause regarding other political contributions and expenditures received and made by a parallel 501(c)4 organization registered under the same name. That complaint alleged that the non-profit organization was involved in electioneering when it received a $100,000 donation from Open Primaries and hired the Phoenix-based political firm HighGround. Donations and expenditures $10,000 or greater are required to be reported within 24 hours of receipt.

The matter now proceeds to the Attorney General’s Office where it will be litigated.

To read Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s letter of reasonable cause, click here.

Legalizing Marijuana in Arizona Will Nullify Education Results

By Paul Boyer

Paul BoyerThe marijuana legalization movement in Arizona is relying on a specious study to make the case for recreational marijuana at the ballot next year. Their study says marijuana is 114 times safer than alcohol. Interestingly, it also says meth is ten times safer than alcohol, while heroin and cocaine are twice as safe.  On that logic, why not make meth, heroin, and cocaine like alcohol, as well?

Meanwhile, serious peer reviewed research regarding the effects of marijuana has been shown to increase high school drop outs, lower IQ, induce memory loss, and in some cases cause paranoia and psychosis – especially among adolescents.

For those of us concerned with the state of education in Arizona, this is extremely alarming. With considerable discussion about Arizona’s education funding, along with high school and college graduation rates, we should be working to improve our state of education, not exacerbate an already bad situation by legalizing a substance detrimental to every outcome we want for our children.  And make no mistake, legalizing this dangerous drug for adults will lead to more use by children, just as we see with alcohol.

States that have marijuana-friendly legislation have seen a dramatic spike in marijuana exposure to children.  The Journal Clinical Pediatrics found an over 600 percent increase in the amount of marijuana exposure to children six and under in such states. That study suggests, “the rate of marijuana exposure among children is associated with the number of marijuana users.” We don’t need that here in Arizona.

Nor can the toxic health, educational, and behavioral impacts to children be overstated. A 2014 New England Journal of Medicine study lists the damaging health effects of just short term marijuana use, including: impaired short term memory and motor coordination, altered judgment with an increased risk of catching and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, and paranoia and psychosis in high doses. And let’s not forget that today’s marijuana is much more potent than that of previous decades.  We are not talking about Woodstock and commonly grown marijuana anymore, we are talking about a high potency drug.

Similarly, long term or heavy use effects of marijuana include: addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes with an increased risk of dropping out of school, cognitive impairment with lower IQs among frequent users during adolescence, and diminished life satisfaction and achievement.

And who will have to address the consequences of legalization? All of us, including parents, teachers, and an already over-burdened healthcare system will have to pick up the pieces left in the wake of legalization’s destruction.

Given all our debates about funding education in Arizona, one is left asking what the point of all this would be if we introduce a substance into our society that will nullify, if not reverse, everything we have worked so hard to improve when it comes to our children’s education.  Whatever plan we settle on with education, adding marijuana into the mix will render this debate, and its result, essentially pointless.

State Representative Paul Boyer represents Legislative District 20, which includes Glendale and North Phoenix. He is the Chair of the House Education Committee, a member of the House Health Committee, and teaches 10th grade Humane Letters.

Gov. Ducey’s Republican Education Plan Earns Support of AZ Democratic Party Leader

AZGOPBanner
Ducey Plan Solves One of Arizona’s Oldest and Most Politically Controversial Issues: Education Funding
PHOENIX – This morning Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party congratulated his counterpart, Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron, on her announcement yesterday of her support of Gov. Doug Ducey’s Education Funding Plan. The measure, Proposition 123, will be on the ballot in May of 2016. If approved by voters it will increase K-12 funding by $3.5 billion over the next ten years.
 
“Governor Ducey is a true leader, and he’s put together a plan to address one of Arizona’s most difficult and controversial issues without putting more pressure on hardworking taxpayers,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. “Even the Democrat leadership knows a great leader with a great idea when they see one, and we’re happy to see more and more Democrat Party leaders acknowledge the hard work of our Republican legislature and Governor Ducey, and saying publicly they’re voting for it.”
 
“I want to thank the Chairwoman for publicly announcing her support,” Graham added.
 
Governor Ducey’s plan highlights are here:
 
 
Governor Ducey’s remarks upon signing the legislation to refer the plan to the ballot are here:
 
 
Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Cameron’s remarks, broadcast on 12 News’ “Sunday Square Off” on November 8th, will be available here:
 

OpEd: Colorado’s problems reveal danger of legal pot

By Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk

As Arizonans prepare for a public debate on legalizing marijuana, we encourage a close look at Colorado — the first state to fully legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana – and Ohio, the most recent state to defeat it.

Ohio—a key bellwether state—defeated legalized marijuana this week by a margin of 28 points. What Ohio made clear is that when the facts about today’s more potent and dangerous marijuana are aptly communicated and exposed, there are no good reasons left to make it both legal and more widely available – and it loses.

Perhaps recent news in Colorado is what informed Ohioans. For example: legalization advocates claimed it would help put an end to the black market and illegal sales. In just the last month in Colorado, however, we witnessed the contrary. To wit:

October 28: Officers find 6,400 illegal marijuana plants in southern Colorado forest.

October 9: 32 busted in big Colorado illegal marijuana cultivation crackdown.

October 6: DHS suspends 7 cross country runners.

October 8: Manitou Springs police: Mustangs boys’ soccer marijuana issue handled by school.

As Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs said on 60 Minutes earlier this year, “I can resoundly say that the black market is alive and doing well.”

The largest of these raids, also last month, found 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed, and more than 30 guns. Among those arrested were Honduran, Mexican, and Cuban nationals. Clearly, instead of putting an end to the black market, legalization in Colorado has created a magnet for it as legality and availability drive sales and consumption.

As just this one month in Colorado also reveals, the notion that we can solve an international drug cartel program by legalizing a dangerous product that harms our youth is, quite simply, a fraud.

As noted above, high-school marijuana use—including by those on athletic teams—is also a major problem and growing concern. Why? As explained in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors just last month: “[A]s marijuana has become more accessible and adults have become more tolerant regarding marijuana use, adolescents perceive marijuana as more beneficial and are more likely to use if they are living in an environment that is more tolerant of marijuana use.”

Legalizing an intoxicating substance for adults will not keep it out of the hands of our youth—which is why 77% more of Arizona’s youth use alcohol than marijuana today. Making marijuana like alcohol means more adolescents will use more marijuana…just like they do alcohol. And it’s critical to note that today’s marijuana is not the same as it was in decades past—it’s at least five times more potent, practically an entirely different drug.

One month in Colorado is, of course, not the whole story; we recommend reading September’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This report documents that, since legalization in Colorado, marijuana has been associated with such social fallout as increased homelessness, school suspensions and expulsions, and traffic deaths.

It couldn’t be clearer: Arizonans should not want this for its families and communities, and we certainly do not need it.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show on 960am/KKNT. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney. Respectively, they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Senator Sylvia Allen: Win, Win for Schools and Taxpayers!

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

I am proud of our schools in Arizona.  A number of our high schools are consistently ranked near the top of U.S. studies.  We were one of the first states to create charter schools and our Empowerment Scholarship Accounts allow parents to find the best education option for their children. These two reforms are models being emulated throughout the country.  I personally have toured and seen the excellent achievement of our students and teachers throughout my district.

Friday, October 30, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed an increase of $3.5 billion over the next ten years to our schools.  This will bring new money into our K-12 school system, if voters approve the plan in a special election to be held May 17, 2016.

Part of the funding will come from a new percentage level, 6.9%, distributed to the State Schools Fund from the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Funds (PLETF).  The Arizona Constitution determines the portion of investment earnings the Treasurer must distribute annually to each beneficiary.  Right now annual distributions are set at 2.5% of the average monthly market valuation of the PLETF from the preceding five years.  The voters will be asking to approve the increase above 2.5% in the May election.

Governor Ducey was State Treasurer before being elected Governor, so he understands this trust fund and how it functions.  In 2012 he developed Proposition 118, to move to a fixed rate of 2.5%, instead of a fluctuating rate used at the time.   Voters approved that proposal.

Three years later, the Governor proposed to increase that amount to 6.9%, and the Legislature agreed.  We spent much time in debate and talking to lawyers and staff about the ramifications of the increased percentage.  I am convinced that we have been short changing our schools all these years.  The PLETF is now valued at $5 billion and the consensus of those who voted yes is that we can safely pay this out to our schools and protect the principle of the fund.

Triggers are placed within the law in case we have another major economic downturn. It would require the Directors of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to jointly notify the Governor, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House that a reduction to the distribution is necessary to preserve the safety of the capital in the PLETF, if the value of the PLETF has decreased.  At that point we would return to the 2.5%.

This was a complicated issue that took hundreds of hours of work by all concerned, but I am confident that we have made a very good decision in increasing the payout from the State Schools Trust Fund.

The proposal also included increased money for schools from the General Fund.

  • Increases the per pupil amount by $173.26
  • Increases basic state aid by $248,829,400 in FY2016 by increasing the base level per pupil amount
  • Includes additional inflation of $74,394,000 in FY2016
  • Increases the Permanent State School Fund distribution line item by $172,081,000
  • Appropriates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction additional funding for school districts and charter schools of $50 million annually in FY2016 through FY2020
  • Allows flexibility for school districts to budget the additional funding to where they feel it is needed.

None of this will increase taxes for our citizens and is being done within the capacity of what we have now.  

We hear all the time how bad Arizona ranks in school spending, but those rankings can be very misleading. Other states have 95% of land privately owned and is part of the tax base. In Arizona, we are generating revenue from 13% private property. We will never raise revenues to the level of those other states.

Also, Arizona has a high population of those under 18 years of age and a large population of adults over 65 years of age.  In the 18-64 age bracket where the bulk of taxpayers reside, we have a proportionally small population, so again, we will never be able to reach the revenues of other states without significantly increasing taxes.

This ranking propaganda by our critics is designed to pressure taxpayers to fund more into our schools.  We are short changing our teachers and kids when we constantly focus on a ranking instead of results.   Funding is important but does not guarantee a good education that depends on parents, teachers, and, most of all, students.  

I wish to thank the Arizona taxpayer who is willing to give their hard-earned money to better the life of children through our education system in Arizona.

MBQF Poll: Joe Arpaio Has 50/50 Chance Of Re-Election

Also, Tested was School Bonds, Pot Convention and Education Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public affairs and consulting firm, announced results of a recent survey dealing with the nationally known, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who could be facing his toughest re-election battle yet.  We also looked at several other current issues in Arizona, primarily within Maricopa County.

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 559 high efficacy voters in Maricopa County, conducted on October 19, 2015, the survey calculates a 4.14% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.

The survey asked several questions of voters.  The first was a basic re-elect question regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “Looking ahead to next year’s election for Maricopa County Sheriff, do you think that Joe Arpaio should be re-elected, or do you think that it is time to give someone else a chance?”

Arpaio Re-Elect Question
Results
Should be re-elected
50.45%
Give someone else a chance
49.55%

Party Breakdown

Republicans
Democrats
Independents/PND
Should be re-elected
53%
48%
49%
Give someone else a chance
47%
52%
51%

The second question was phrased, “Recently, the Republican Party of Maricopa County has decided to oppose ALL 28 school district overrides and bond ballot initiatives come this November.  Arizona is one of the lowest ranked states in the United States when it comes to education.  Would you consider the Republican Party of Maricopa Counties stance on these bonds as obstructionist or as fiscal prudence?”

County GOP-No on all Education
Results
Obstructionist
41.50%
Fiscal prudence
39.36%
No opinion
19.14%

The third question was phrased, “Given what you know about Arizona’s education system, would you be willing to pay slightly more generally in taxes to invest in Arizona’s Education System?”

Invest in Education System
Results
Yes
46.33%
No
39.18%
Unsure
14.49%

The fourth question was phrased, “The Phoenix Convention center will be hosting the “Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo” at the end of this month.  Do you think that is a good idea or bad idea to host this event?”

Pot Expo – Good/Bad?
Results
Good idea to host event
36.31%
Bad idea to host event
29.52%
No opinion
34.17%

Michael Noble, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement:

“With Maricopa County voters split on whether America’s Toughest Sheriff deserves another four years, the data shows Sheriff Joe will have his toughest campaign ever.  Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are near evenly split.  In addition, a small plurality of county voters say they are open to paying more for education.  With most eyes focused on the Presidential election next November, Arizona voters have some big choices.”

For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-4.14%.

All Hands on Deck in Tempe! Rally To Stop The TUHSD Override!

By Peggy McClain

Are you tired of governments demanding more of your paycheck with negative results?

Say NO to Tempe Union High School Override (TUHSD)

All are invited to join us on Tuesday, 10-13-15 at 2 PM at the TUHSD office at 500 W. Guadalupe Tempe  85283 (NW corner of Guadalupe and Kyrene)

Let’s let the TUHSD Superintendent and Governing Board know they cannot fool us anymore.  Other districts will be taking notice as these override elections are occurring in many districts.

VOTE NO:  Why does TUHSD need 28,000 devices “for the students” if the student population is 13,600?

VOTE NO:  This is a permanent tax increase as overhead, staff, and increased bandwidth have not been budgeted for.

VOTE NO: There is NO PARENTAL CONTROL over who your student will interact with on-line nor what content your child will download.

VOTE NO: This tax increase WILL NOT lead to more money for teachers but will lead to a decrease in teachers.

(LINK)

Sal DiCiccio: How You Got Duped

SalDiCiccio

Vote YES 487/Stop Pension Abuse 

How (fire/police death and disability claims) became the most important issue in the 487 campaign-and how it’s not true. 

I am writing to show you how you were manipulated by the politicians (mayor & council), the opponents of pension reform and by the media covering this important issue. And, mostly because you need this information before you vote.

The issue of death/disability benefits being cut off are just not true and the media knew this was not true when they wrote their stories.

Here is the technique used to dupe you:

History and Technique

During my re-election campaign the unions filed a lawsuit in court against me, they then got the Media to write about the lawsuit. The unions then did mailers and TV to the public on the their lawsuit using the articles in the newspaper as the foundation.  Yes, the unions file their own lawsuit, get the media to write about it, then use the stories written in the paper in mailers and on TV. Even though the judge quickly threw out the case, the stories were written and used as fact in subsequent mailers and on TV.

Fast forward to The Pension reform (487) campaign:

The unions get their friends on the council to change the wording on the ballot description to add the words “Police Officer and Firefighter,” they then create the death and disability connection, then they get the media to write about it and create a story, then they do mailers and TV based on the confusion that they created using the published stories as the foundation. The unions rig the ballot description, get the media to write about it, then use the stories written in the paper in mailers and TV. The media knew this was not true.

The media can claim ignorance the first time, but a second time?

Hats off to the anti-pension reform campaign for being able to successfully use the media to make an issue that was never an issue as the highlight of the campaign.  Unfortunately, it creates confusion and suppresses voter turnout. The unions want to make sure you don’t vote.

And the media? Well, the same people that complain about low turnout are the same ones who knowingly help write the stories depressing turnout.

Fact: Death/disability claims are a LIFE INSURANCE plan and not a pension.  They’re not even close to being part of this initiative. 487 covers only the City of Phoenix pension plan. The police/fire are covered by the state pension plan not by the city plan. Phoenix cannot opt out of that plan. Police and Fire are clearly excluded.

I thought long and hard whether to write this column, but I believe strongly every vote matters.  Any delay in getting out the reality behind the politics would be doing you and disservice. The only way we will win is if the public gets the truth, please pass this on to your email list!

I am sorry that was to done to you, but you are the last ray of hope if we are going to change and reform our pension system.  Our city needs your help and we need you to vote.  Please don’t let them win by not voting.

Vote YES 487