Myths of NPV

May 11th, 2011 by Amy


Myth 1. The Koza scheme is constitutionally sound.

Facts: The Art I, Section 10(3), specifically forbids any from entering “into any agreement or compact with another state” without the consent of Congress. Although the Supreme Court has upheld narrowly drawn agreements resolving actual disputes between states, such as over water rights, etc., it has NEVER upheld any scheme, compact, or agreement or conspiracy between the states which would reformulate federalism, the structure of the federal government, or the constitutional process for electing a president.

MYTH 2. In the case of a presidential election in which the popular vote is very close and a recount were demanded, there is a way that a Koza state could force a non-Koza state to conduct a recount, even if such a recount were contrary to the law in the non-Koza state.

FACTS: There exists no provision in the U.S. Constitution whereby one state can force another state to violate its own election laws or to otherwise enforce any agreement, compact, or conspiracy.

MYTH 3: Under a Koza scheme, presidential campaigns would be more likely to campaign in under populated states.

FACTS: Under the Electoral College, candidates have an incentive to visit small states since, as in 2000, even the smallest states have electoral votes which can determine the winner in an election. Under the Koza scheme, the incentive would be to campaign only in the areas of the greatest concentration of population in order to win the most popular votes.

MYTH 4: Elections in which the popular vote is close occus on average only once in “362” years, so there need be no concern about recounts would be conducted under Koza (which has no provision at all for a nationwide recount). In 1960, Kennedy “won” the popular vote by 118,000 votes.

FACTS: Kennedy’s popular vote margin was reported by the media based on counting all of the popular votes cast in Alabama for both unpledged electors and electors pledged in to Byrd. According to the Congressional Quarterly, however, only five elevenths of the popular votes cast for Democratic electors in Alabama should have been allocated to Kennedy. Under the CQ tally, Nixon won the national popular vote by a handful of popular votes. `As Pierce and Longley’s massive study of American elections observed: “It is impossible to determine what Kennedy’s voter plurality—if it existed at all—really was.”(Emphasis added).

MYTH 5: Under the Electoral College, the “wrong winner” was elected 7% of the time. (“Wrong” being defined as a candidate who won the electoral vote, but not the popular vote).

FACTS: In any parliamentary or Republican democracy, it is possible that the popular vote does not tally precisely with the parliamentary or electoral vote. In 1974 in England, for example, Labor lost the popular vote but gained three more seats in parliament and was able to form the government. Was the labor election “wrong”? A much better example of a “wrong” winner would be in countries such as Russian and Mexico, where the proliferation of parties results in run-off elections between minority candidates who are opposed by the vast majority of the people.

The only elections in which the popular vote did not match the electoral vote were in 1888 and 2000. (The election of 1876 was decided by a “bi-partisan electoral commission” compromise without regard to either the electoral or the popular vote). (Perhaps the Koza myth makers are counting the election of 1960, though this seems unlikely given that they have chosen to adopt the media’s tally of popular votes instead of the tally conducted by the Congressional Quarterly.)