HB-1095, the bill by Democratic House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger, III, to provide for the popular election of Presidents of the United States will be up for final passage on the floor of the Louisiana House this afternoon (May 7).
HB-1095 would authorize the state to join a compact with other states willing to commit their electoral votes to the candidate obtaining the most votes in presidential elections. If HB-1095 were to become law, Louisiana's eight electoral votes would automatically go to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of how Louisiana voters cast their votes on November 6.
Representative Leger notes that the U.S. Constitution is very clear, leaving to the States the authority to allocate electoral votes among candidates. Opponents have argued that HB 1095 undermines States' Rights.
In a press release, Leger stated:
"The Louisiana Legislature debating this bill highlights and underscores States' Rights and renews our focus on doing what is best for Louisiana.
"Presidential Campaigns recognize that a small number of swing states are the ultimate decider of who wins the Presidency. That is why in 2008 over 98% of campaign advertising dollars were spent in 15 states, and Louisiana wasn't one of them. Now that primary season is over, it is highly unlikely we will see any visits from Presidenitial Candidates leading up to the 2012 election.
"In Louisiana, we need to be as significant in Presidential politics as we are in the important role we play in commerce, transportation of goods, and delivery of energy and other resources to the Nation. Our people deserve to have their voices heard loud and clear, and the passage of this bill will make every one of our citizens votes count.
"A candidate could carry just the 11 largest states and obtain 270 electoral votes, enough to win the White House.
"Campaigns recognize this and spend almost all of their money in those states during the general election cycle.
"HB-1095 provides for the popular election of our presidents," Rep. Leger explains. "It makes every vote count, regardless of where you live - large state or small state; a state that's considered 'in-play' or not."
"I believe this bill would restore the significance of states like Louisiana to the presidential election process by making a vote here just as important as a vote in other battleground state," Rep. Leger adds.
The bill was approved by the Committee on House and Governmental Affairs on April 25.
Rep. Leger expects a tough fight in the House. He asks that Democrats supporting his bill contact their House members and encourage their support of the bill when it is brought up for debate on Monday afternoon.
"This bill isn't about party politics, partisanship, or about a single election," Representative Leger says. "This bill is about the People...and the People's votes should be counted, and the candidate with the most votes should win. Just like in every other political election we have in this Nation."
The House is scheduled to be called to order at 2 p.m. on Monday.
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* The 11 largest states and their electoral vote totals are: California (55); Texas (38); New York (29); Florida (29); Pennsylvania (20); Illinois (20); Ohio (18); Michigan (16); Georgia (16); North Carolina (15); New Jersey (14). Together, the electoral votes for these states total 270, which constitutes the exact number of electoral votes it takes to elect a president.