Debaters Take On Topic of Popular Vote
Recently, four members of the Pinecrest High School Debate team debated the issue of adopting the National Popular Vote Compact (for electing the U.S. president) at a meeting of the League of Women Voters of Moore County.
Students participating in the debate were Meredith Potter and Caleb Frye (national debate champions) as well as John Wheeler and Doug Tableman. They addressed the issue, "Should the U.S. adopt the National Popular Vote Compact?"
The NVP Compact is a way to change the way the U.S. president is elected without having to amend the Constitution; it is a compact of participating states. Affirming the position was the suggestion that it is not opposed by the Constitution. It was also mentioned that people want to feel their vote counts. Some of the "pillars of democracy" are popular sovereignty, pluralism (many interests represented) and majority rule and rights -- all of these rights may be strengthened by the NPV, according to the affirmative side.
However, on the opposing side of the issue, the debater said although democracy may be flawed, it has worked for over 200 years: but there are problems in all political systems. A NPV highlights third party candidates, which may be a "spoiler" effect, taking votes away from other candidates.
The NPV Compact does not have "run-off" procedures if one candidate receives less that 50 percent of the votes. Also, compacts are usually business in nature, not political. The NPV could shift more power to the heavily populated cities and states than is true today, under the Electoral College method of choosing the president.
Then the students gave rebuttals of the points mentioned. The "spoiler effect" of a third party candidate takes place anyway. Under NPV Compact, the most populated urban areas, and California and Texas will be heavily important. The Compact will take effect only when states sign on to it with a total of 270 or more total electoral votes. New battleground states will develop -- now 30 percent of campaign funds are spent in Florida and 20 percent in Ohio. Under the NPV there is less chance of the winner not having the majority of the votes. The point was made that under the Electoral College system, the small states have some political power, less under NPV.
Leagues across the U.S. are studying this issue and will address consensus questions concerning the National Popular Vote compact before May 1.
The National League of Women Voters will publish the results. Members of the Moore County League may contact Jo Nicholas, president, at 673-3604, with their opinions on the League consensus questions.
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