Ohio is one of the most hotly contested swing states in any presidential election, delivering 18 coveted electoral votes to the victor. Now, as part of their attempted end-runs around the Constitution, the Democrats could make it so that the Buckeye State’s electoral votes go to whoever wins the popular vote.
According to The Associated Press, a ballot proposal might be headed for voters in November that would give the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes around the country.
“The proposed constitutional amendment, whose summary language was certified Monday, would force state lawmakers to assure the powerful Electoral College’s votes are delivered to whichever candidate wins the most votes nationally, rather than the most votes within Ohio,” the AP reported.
To get the proposal on the ballot this November, proponents needed to get 1,000 signatures for an initial review. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported those signatures were submitted to the attorney general’s office this week.
“The proposed amendment now heads to the Ohio Ballot Board, which has 10 days to decide whether the submitted ballot language only contains one proposed constitutional amendment. If the board decides it does, supporters would then have until July 3 to collect 442,958 valid signatures from registered voters in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties,” the Plain Dealer reported.
“It’s not clear which group is behind the proposal, though the committee representing the petitioners includes Franklin County Democratic Party Executive Director Dan McKay and Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Secretary Carole DePaola, according to documents released by Yost’s office.”
Ohio would be the first swing state to propose awarding its electoral votes to the popular vote winner. It’s also a state that gave President Trump a resounding victory in 2016.
The proposed ballot initiative is distinct, however, from the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
That effort is focused on getting enough states to pass legislation to give their electoral votes to the popular vote winner to reach 270 electoral votes — the number necessary to elect the president. Once that number is reached, the compact would go into effect.
The interstate compact has been passed by the legislatures of 14 states and signed by their governors. Ohio, which has Republican majorities in both houses as well as the governor’s mansion, isn’t likely to be passing the compact anytime soon.
Crucially, if Ohio’s ballot initiative passes this November, it wouldn’t actually add to the number of electoral votes needed to trigger the compact and the advocates for the compact are actually opposed to the Ohio ballot measure, according to the Plain Dealer.
“We are focused on efforts to get state legislatures to pass legislation to enact the National Popular Vote interstate compact,” John Koza, chair of National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, told the Plain Dealer in an email.
Beyond that, however, the Ohio amendment would create an odd situation where candidates would simultaneously need to campaign for the popular vote as well as individual states.
That asymmetry would also be compounded with the loss of Ohio itself as a focus of presidential candidates.
The wider issue is, as always, the attack on the Electoral College, which the Democrats blame for their losses in the 2000 and 2016 elections. I don’t necessarily buy into the fact that Republicans would have lost those elections if the rules had changed and the popular vote was the determining factor, because the candidates would have run their campaigns differently.
But I do think that the reduction of the election campaign to America’s largest population centers represents a grave threat to presidential legitimacy.
You’ve probably seen this map before, but I think it’s worth seeing again. This is the 2016 vote by county:
Massachusetts and Hawaii were the *only* two states to have every single county vote for Clinton 8n 2016. Even Vermont had a Trump county. Would love to see a map of current approval rating polling by county for today. pic.twitter.com/obko2Lwn8j
— J. P. Gownder (@jgownder) May 20, 2018
How, precisely, can a candidate claim to represent the entirety of our United States when she won so little of it in geographic terms?
The Electoral College was adopted by the Founders for a number of reasons, but one of them was that it balanced popular sentiment with geographic interests. It guaranteed a say to less-populous states that would typically be ignored by politicians seeking support in the big cities.
If you’re an Ohioan and you live outside of Cincinnati, Cleveland or Columbus, there isn’t going to be a single presidential candidate who cares what you think if the focus is solely on major population centers. The swing-state system works inasmuch as those states represent a cross-section of America.
If you live in the Buckeye State, this is nothing but a diminution of your importance in the name of the Democrat agenda.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.