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Mauro speaks out against effort to abandon electoral college
A bill passed last week by a Senate committee that would allocate Iowa’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote would have a detrimental effect on the Hawkeye State, Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro said today.
“I caution lawmakers in leading a charge to adopt a resolution that could be detrimental to Iowa and our important role in choosing the President of the United States,” Mauro, a Democrat from Des Moines, said in a statement. “Our nation’s current Electoral College system was created to protect less populated states like Iowa to ensure we were included in the process.”
The National Popular Vote Act is part of a movement to break from the Electoral College system. If passed, Iowa’s seven electoral votes would be given to the presidential candidate who garnered the most votes nationwide, regardless of the outcome in Iowa. However, that wouldn’t take effect until it passed in enough states to equal 270 electoral votes, the number needed to be elected president. At least two states — New Jersey and Maryland — have already entered the compact.
Republicans have come out strongly against the plan, calling it the “Iowa Voter Irrelevancy Act.” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn, along with county chairs from around the state, held a rally today calling on legislators to abandon the plan.
Critics of the bill also believe if voters want to end the Electoral College system they should go through the lengthy process of amending the U.S. Constitution.
Supporters of the bill say Iowa’s influence is during the Caucuses, which would not be impacted at all by this legislation. They also contend that because Democrats currently hold a sizable voter registration edge in Iowa, the state would likely to be ignored in future presidential campaigns anyway, with candidates focusing on those states considered “battlegrounds.”
Support for such a move has been building nationally since 2000, when Republican George W. Bush became president despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore.
Mauro is the first high-profile Iowa Democrat to speak out against the bill.
“I believe if this were to play out, it would have a dramatic effect,” he said. “Under this proposal, it is hard to foresee Iowa maintaining its dominant role and expect candidates to spend their final hours campaigning in our state when they will be focused on capturing the popular vote in much larger states.”
Democratic leaders in the Senate have said they believes there is broad support for the measure. Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg, was one of eight senators to vote the bill out of committee.