By Aaron Klein
With little fanfare and nearly no national media attention, the National Popular Vote effort is now 61 percent of the way toward its goal of legally bypassing the Electoral College established in the U.S. Constitution.
Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the National Popular Vote, or NPV, bill, making his state the 11th jurisdiction to enact the plan. With the passage of the bill, the interstate compact now has 61 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to put it into effect.
The NPV campaign seeks to obtain the consent of the majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College to award electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the popular vote in each state.
Aside from New York, other states that already signed up are the heavily blue states of Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, California and Rhode Island. The District of Columbia also has joined the pact.
The states will not be required to award their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner until the NPV has signed up enough states to garner 270 electoral votes.
After Cuomo’s signing of the law, the New York Post warned in an editorial the NPV effort could “undermines small-d democracy.”
The Post quoted then Sen. John F. Kennedy stating, “Direct election would break down the federal system under which states entered the union, which provides a system of checks and balances to ensure that no area or group shall obtain too much power.”
Others have warned a national popular vote could ultimately lead to more voter fraud, arguing the Electoral College isolates the impact of such fraud to each state.
The Founding Fathers firmly rejected a purely popular vote to elect the president, because they wanted to balance the power of the larger and smaller states. The Electoral College was fashioned as a compromise between an election of the president by direct popular vote and election by Congress.
Now the NPV effort could change the way Americans elect the president without amending the U.S. Constitution. The plan simply requires that enough states join through votes in their legislatures along with gubernatorial approval.
It takes two-thirds of both the House and Senate to pass a constitutional amendment to repeal the Electoral College.
To bypass the constitutional amendment process, NPV minimizes the number of states that would need to agree. Instead, once enough states agree to allot its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, the Electoral College becomes irrelevant.
The NPV effort is fully partnered with a George Soros-funded election group, as KleinOnline was first to report.
The group, the Center for Voting and Democracy, received original seed money in 1997 from the Joyce Foundation, a nonprofit that boasted President Obama served on its board at the time of the grant. Obama was a board member from July 1994 until December 2002.
The NPV is run by individuals with a history of support for the Democratic Party, KleinOnline found.
It is partnered with FairVote, a project of the Soros-funded Center for Voting and Democracy that advocates for a national popular vote for president.
FairVote’s website says the organization “has nurtured and supported the National Popular Vote plan to ensure that every vote for president is equally valued no matter where it is cast.”
FairVote’s executive director, Rob Richie, co-authored “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote,” a book explaining how the National Popular Vote plan would work and why he thinks the U.S. “desperately needs it.”
FairVote regularly works with advocacy leaders at the National Popular Vote organization to assist in getting legislation passed.
Richie, executive director of FairVote since he co-founded it in 1992, is also a member of the civil society committee of the Soros-led Bretton Woods Committee, which openly seeks to remake the world economy.
Richie’s book was co-authored with NPV’s founder, John R. Koza.
In a Dec. 15, 2008, Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros, wrote that it was time to junk the Electoral College.
Soros’ Open Society Institute funds the Center for Voting and Democracy, where FairVote is based.
The center’s website notes the group was kick-started in 1997 with two grants – one from the Open Society and another from the Joyce Foundation.
With Obama on its board, the Joyce Foundation also funded the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute; the National Council of La Raza and Physicians for Social Responsibility, among numerous radical groups.
Meanwhile, the NPV leadership is comprised of Democratic Party supporters.
The organization’s chairman and major funder is Koza. He was the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Scientific Games Inc., where he co-invented the rub-off instant ticket used by state lotteries.
Koza, who has reportedly pledged $12 million to NPV, previously gave tens of thousands of dollars to various Democratic Party committees and liberal candidates and was an Al Gore elector in 2000, the Weekly Standard reported.
Another pledged NPV leader is Tom Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex, the nation’s second largest payroll and human resource company. He co-founded the Independence Party of New York in 1994 and ran as the party’s gubernatorial candidate.
Golisano is a registered Republican, even though he supported John Kerry for president and gave $1 million to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
NPV’s secretary, Chris Pearson, served in the Vermont House of Representatives in 2006. In 2005, he was director of the Presidential Election Reform program at the Soros-funded FairVote.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott