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Author Topic: California change to distirct method proceeding  (Read 5812 times)
zorkpolitics
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« on: November 24, 2007, 04:16:07 pm »
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Although only ME and NE currently allocate Electoral Votes by Congressional district (and 2 to the state winner), supporters of an initiative to change the CA allocation of electoral votes is on track to collect the signatures needed.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1107/7002.html
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20071119-9999-1n19elect.html

So far about 400,000 signatures have been collected of the 700,000 goal (434,000 valid signatures required).

If passed (and the only poll I saw had it favored) CA 55 for-sure Electoral Votes for the Democratic candidate in 2008 would be split, around 35-D and 20-R. 
 
If a Republican were to win in 2008 because of the "extra" votes form CA, do you think that would inspire either:
1) More states to go by districts?
2) More support to switch to the National Popular Vote method?  Which currently has passed only one state (http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/index.php)?
3) Just more gnashing of teeth that the Republican Stole the election?
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jfern
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2007, 04:31:01 pm »
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This is only qualifying for the ballot because of dishonest signature gatherers. They ask you to sign for cancer treatment for children, and then ask you to sign 3 more times without telling you that those are different Propositions.  I expect it to be defeated, but it will cost the Democrats resources to defeat this utter garbage. Hopefully the National popular vote compact Prop. qualifies and passes instead.

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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 05:09:19 pm »
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What happens if both the National Popular Vote Compact and the District Method propositions are on the ballot, and both pass? Which would take precedence?
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 10:16:47 pm »
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What happens if both the National Popular Vote Compact and the District Method propositions are on the ballot, and both pass? Which would take precedence?

The Compact would have to take precedence...as soon as enough states pass it. You can pull out up to 6 months before the next Presidential election, so they would also have that option if both pass. But remember, a district method is no more special than the method already on the books (which the compact would clearly override). It just isn't used as much as winner take all.
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 10:17:57 pm »
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I remember this. I think it's dead. What crap.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 07:09:21 am »
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What happens if both the National Popular Vote Compact and the District Method propositions are on the ballot, and both pass? Which would take precedence?
The California initiative for the National Popular Vote Compact has language that says in the event of conflicting measures, that it will take effect if receives more votes than any other initiative (it doesn't say what would happen if both passed, and the NPVC received fewer votes).

There are actually two versions of the National Popular Vote Compact initiative that received the approval by the AG before petitions could be circulated.  This appears to be a fairly common practice in California, so there must be some practical reason for doing so.  I can't conceive of trying to collect signatures for two almost identical initiatives.

The filing deadline (for both versions) was March 10.  In California, initiatives are filed with the individual counties (voters have to sign a petition in the county where they are registered).  The counties then make a raw count of signatures and report that to the Secretary of State.  They have 8 working days to make the raw count, and the SoS has another 9 days to decide whether there is a minimum number filed.

During that period the SoS web site doesn't show any indication what has happened.  In most cases, the initiative is way short of signatures, and they don't even get filed with the counties - but officially the SoS is presuming that the counties may be making signature counts.

If there are minimum raw signatures, the SoS then directs the counties to make random checks of signatures (using a 3% sample) against voting rolls.  The random check will generate an estimate of valid signatures.  If this is greater than 110% of the needed signatures, the measure qualifies for the ballot.  If it is less than 95% of the needed signatures, the measure fails.  If it is between 95% and 110% then the counties will do a full check of all signatures.

There have actually been 3 separate initiatives for the district method, that have been filed to begin the petitioning process, and there may be a 4th.

The first was withdrawn just before its filing deadline, which gave the impression that the real effort was going into the 2nd one.

There were press reports that the 2nd version was going to be filed early in order that it could be on the June primary ballot, and they were doing everything possible to get enough signatures to withstand signatures being ruled invalid.  Nothing happened.  And then when the regular deadline came up nothing was filed.

The 3rd version had a filing deadline of March 18.  It is slightly different in that it would not go into effect until a majority of States had adopted some form of proportional allocation of electors (eg until 23 other States join ME, NE, and CA).  I suspect it was just created in order to provide an alternative to the 2nd version.  Since the 2nd wasn't filed, I imagine that the 3rd wasn't either.

There is a rumor of a 4th version to be filed with the AG.  If it is, I don't think there is chance to be on the ballot this year.

There is a possibility that it is unconstitutional to for a State to determine its method of appointing electors via the initiative process. 

Article II, Section 1 says: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature may direct, a Number of Electors ..."

The SCOTUS would have to determine whether "Legislature" is the body that meets in Sacramento, or whether it represents the "legislative process" of California.  The principle behind the initiative, is that all legislative power is vested in the People, and that the legislature only acts under a conditional grant of authority.  In California it might also face a court challenge because California does not permit the legislature to modify an initiated measure without a referendum.  Article II, Section 1 could imply that the legislature of a State could change the manner of appointment at will.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 07:22:53 am by jimrtex »Logged
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 03:01:10 pm »
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There is a possibility that it is unconstitutional to for a State to determine its method of appointing electors via the initiative process. 

Article II, Section 1 says: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature may direct, a Number of Electors ..."

The SCOTUS would have to determine whether "Legislature" is the body that meets in Sacramento, or whether it represents the "legislative process" of California.  The principle behind the initiative, is that all legislative power is vested in the People, and that the legislature only acts under a conditional grant of authority.  In California it might also face a court challenge because California does not permit the legislature to modify an initiated measure without a referendum.  Article II, Section 1 could imply that the legislature of a State could change the manner of appointment at will.

Depends.  Some states that use the initiative process explicitly state in their constitution that the people as a whole are effectively a third house of the legislature.  However, the California constitution makes a distinction between the Legislature and the people.  Thus if a case were to be made, I suspect that the Supreme Court would first ask the California Supreme Court to rule on whether they consider the people to be a legislative body under the California Constitution.

Another consideration is standing.  I can't see a case being accepted until such time as the California Legislature attempts to change the result of an initiative.

Finally as an aside, has there ever been a case where a Governor vetoed or attempted to veto a measure passed by the Legislature that specified how electors are to be chosen?  Such a case if has occurred would have considerable value as a precedent.
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My ballot:
Haley(R) Gov.
Sellers(D) Lt. Gov.
Hammond(R) Sec. of State
Diggs(D) Att. Gen.
Herbert(D) Comptroller Gen.
Spearman(R) Supt. of Education
DeFelice(American) Commissioner of Agriculture
Hutto(D/Working Families) US Sen (full)
Scott(R) US Sen (special)
Geddings(Labor) US House SC-2
Quinn(R) SC House District 69
TBD: Lex 1 School Board
Yes: Am. 1 (allow charity raffles)
No: Am. 2 (end election of the Adj. General)
No: Local Sales Tax
Yes: Temp Beer/Wine Permits
jimrtex
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2008, 01:09:53 am »
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There is a possibility that it is unconstitutional to for a State to determine its method of appointing electors via the initiative process. 

Article II, Section 1 says: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature may direct, a Number of Electors ..."

The SCOTUS would have to determine whether "Legislature" is the body that meets in Sacramento, or whether it represents the "legislative process" of California.  The principle behind the initiative, is that all legislative power is vested in the People, and that the legislature only acts under a conditional grant of authority.  In California it might also face a court challenge because California does not permit the legislature to modify an initiated measure without a referendum.  Article II, Section 1 could imply that the legislature of a State could change the manner of appointment at will.
Depends.  Some states that use the initiative process explicitly state in their constitution that the people as a whole are effectively a third house of the legislature.  However, the California constitution makes a distinction between the Legislature and the people.  Thus if a case were to be made, I suspect that the Supreme Court would first ask the California Supreme Court to rule on whether they consider the people to be a legislative body under the California Constitution.

Another consideration is standing.  I can't see a case being accepted until such time as the California Legislature attempts to change the result of an initiative.

Finally as an aside, has there ever been a case where a Governor vetoed or attempted to veto a measure passed by the Legislature that specified how electors are to be chosen?  Such a case if has occurred would have considerable value as a precedent.
In Minnesota, a governor vetoed a reapportionment bill, and it was ruled that he was a part of the legislative process, and so that the legislated districts did not go in to effect.  CD boundaries are considered to be part of the "manner" in which elections for US representative are conducted.

The legislative power of States with regard to popular election of representatives and senators and the legislative power of States with regard to the manner in which electors are appointed are vested in the same way.  Remember that both houses of the California legislature did pass the National Popular Vote legislation, and it was then vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger,

This is different than other powers that the US Constitution has vested in the State legislatures as a body, such as election of Senators (pre-17th Amendment); consent to purchase places for forts, etc.; consenting to formation of new States within their territory etc.; ratifying amendments to the Constitutionl applying to the United States for protection from invasion; or (individual members) being required to take an oath to uphold the US Constitution.

The US Constitution authorizes the legislature of each state to change the manner in which electors are chosen willy nilly, or effectively every 4 years.  Massachusetts in fact did use a different system for each of the first 9 elections from 1789 to 1820.  So the question is, can a State constitution restrict this authority.  In California, the initiative and referendum process are provied in its constitution, including the restrictions on subsequent changes to initiated legislation by the legislature proper.  Is this simply a matter of process (for example, akin to Nebraska switching to a unicameral legislature,
so that legislation is no longer passed by concurrent action of two houses); or is it a matter of the California constitution attempting to restrict the authority of the legislature to willy nilly change the manner in which electors are chosen, that is (attempting to) override the US Constitution.

Note that the NPV initiative in California would also cause (or purport to cause) California to enter into an interstate compact.  Is entering into an interstate compact something that is vested in the legislature (or legislative process)?  Or is it more like the treating making power of the United States which is vested in the executive with ratification by the Senate.

Related issues might have arisen in Colorado in 2004, since the provisions for apportioning electoral votes was being placed in the constitution.  But a State's constitution is created by the People, and not by its legislature (or even a legislative process than includes the People through the initiative process).  OTOH, the Colorado constitution provided for the manner in which the electors would be chosen in 1876, and purports to restrict the legislature to providing for the appointment of electors via the popular vote.

See Justice Stevens' dissent in 'California Democratic Party v. Jones'.  Note: his dissent was actually arguing for upholding the blanket primary that had been created by initiative in California; but he was also questioning the use of initiative process in its creation.  Justice Breyer did not join him in that part of the dissent regarding the use of the initiative process.  And Justice Stevens concluded by pointing out that no parties to the case had actually raised the issue.
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 03:12:14 pm »
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Note that the NPV initiative in California would also cause (or purport to cause) California to enter into an interstate compact.  Is entering into an interstate compact something that is vested in the legislature (or legislative process)?  Or is it more like the treating making power of the United States which is vested in the executive with ratification by the Senate.

Interstate compacts are governed by Article I Section 10 Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution and thus would require the "Consent of Congress" to be enforceable.  Potentially a State could agree to the NPV and then decide after the election results are in to break its word and it wouldn't suffer any repercussions unless Congress had agreed to the NPV nonsense.
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My ballot:
Haley(R) Gov.
Sellers(D) Lt. Gov.
Hammond(R) Sec. of State
Diggs(D) Att. Gen.
Herbert(D) Comptroller Gen.
Spearman(R) Supt. of Education
DeFelice(American) Commissioner of Agriculture
Hutto(D/Working Families) US Sen (full)
Scott(R) US Sen (special)
Geddings(Labor) US House SC-2
Quinn(R) SC House District 69
TBD: Lex 1 School Board
Yes: Am. 1 (allow charity raffles)
No: Am. 2 (end election of the Adj. General)
No: Local Sales Tax
Yes: Temp Beer/Wine Permits
jimrtex
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2008, 02:52:58 am »
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The effort to qualify the NPV initiative in California has failed.
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Verily
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2008, 10:06:22 pm »
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I remember this. I think it's dead. What crap.

It is. They didn't get enough signatures to put it on the primary ballot on June.
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