Controversial electoral college bill passes senate, moves on to the house

DOVER, Del. – After spirited debate, Senate Bill 22, which would change the way Delaware’s three electoral votes are allocated, passed the senate by a vote of 14-7. But we’re told this fight will continue.

Senators Colin Bonini and Brian Pettyjohn each voted no to the bill. Bonini says this vote basically tells Delawareans, “in the future, their vote for president isn’t going to matter.”

Pettyjohn echoed those sentiments, and went a step further to say this fight will continue in the court system.”

“I am sure that it’s going to be litigated for a long period of time, probably end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Pettyjohn questions whether the agreement among states is even constitutional, citing article one, section ten of the constitution, which says congress must give consent to interstate agreements.

“If the framers wanted a popular vote, they would’ve instituted a popular vote at the Constitutional Convention.”

Bonini erupted before a vote was held, asking how those who voted yes would explain this to their constituents.

“A strong majority of people believe that whichever presidential candidate receives the most votes all across the country should be the president,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend, a democrat representing district 16.

One of the arguments for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is that under the current winner-take-all system campaigns focus their money and resources on swing states. Under this new compact, it’s argued every vote will become more equal.

“It’s where the campaigns spend all of their money, it’s where campaigns go to visit, and then after the election, it’s where campaigns serve more than they serve other states,” said Townsend.

Those opposed to the bill say there are valid arguments to be made that swing states get the bulk of attention from campaigns, including money that pours in. But a presidential election based on national popular votes, detractors like Bonini and Pettyjohn argue, will mean campaigns focus on big metropolitan cities, leaving rural areas like Delmarva behind.

“There will be zero effort to get votes outside of the large metropolitan areas, because that’s where the population is,” said Bonini.

Now that Senate Bill 22 has passed in the senate it moves to the house for a vote, and if it passes there it will move to the governors desk for it to be signed.

This compact will not take effect until enough states sign on whose electoral votes add up to 270, a majority in the electoral college.

As of now, eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, have signed on bringing the current total to 172.

Similar legislation was passed in the Delaware house twice during the Obama presidency, but was never taken up in the senate.

Senator Townsend said Governor Carney’s people have indicated he would sign this legislation if it reaches his desk.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics