La. House committee approves electing president by popular vote
From: Town Talk.com
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana would join a national movement to elect the president of the United States by popular vote if legislation approved in committee Tuesday becomes law.
Rep. Nickie Monica, R-LaPlace, told the House and Governmental Affairs Committee that by switching from the current way the Electoral College works, “every vote would count” in electing the president, and candidates would have to pay attention to Louisiana.
Currently, he said, Louisiana is a “fly-over state,” because candidates know they can get more Electoral College votes in key states. He said it is one of 35 states that “sit on the sidelines” while 95 percent of presidential candidate visits are in 15 states — 70 percent in only five states.
Baton Rouge attorney Johnny Koch, who is working to get House Bill 388 approved, said legislators should be familiar with the concept since “you were selected because you got the most votes.”
That doesn’t always happen in presidential campaigns, he said.
Ray Haynes, a Republican former California state senator who travels nationwide promoting the National Popular Vote initiative, said fly-over states aren’t just ignored at election time. He said that while in office, presidents make decisions based on whether states that got them elected are involved, so Ohio, Florida and Iowa get a lot of attention.
He said President Obama already has said he needs four of six states to be re-elected, and former President George W. Bush made decisions on where to visit disaster sites according to where it would win the most votes.
Haynes said Louisiana residents contributed $4.3 million to candidates in the most recent presidential election, but the candidates spent $2,279 visiting Louisiana.
John Ringo of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office argued against the bill and tried to kill it.
He said the problem is that “Louisiana’s votes go to whoever won nationally, not who won in Louisiana.”
The bill doesn’t eliminate the Electoral College but instead alters the way delegates are selected to vote. Major parties would still select Electoral College delegates, but the candidate who gets the most popular votes then would capture states’ Electoral College votes, too.
Ringo said he prefers the current system in which whoever wins in Louisiana gets the state’s Electoral College votes.
An attempt to defer the bill failed on an 8-6 vote. After that move failed, the bill was unanimously sent to the House for debate