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May 15, 2007

Is Maryland risking its congressional representation?

Last month, I wrote about the bill passed in Maryland that would "throw out the traditional winner-takes-all method of assigning electoral votes for the state and substitute a rule that gives all of the state's electoral votes to the national popular vote winner," if enough states passed similar legislation. I analyzed this as a manifestation of Bush Derangement Syndrome, in which Democrats were refighting the 2000 presidential election.

Now, via Instapundit, I notice there's a decent argument that joining the interstate voting compact (which is how this is described) risks depriving states of their congressional representation under section 2 of the 14th amendment, which says that "when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State."

Please read the argument I've linked, but the basic idea is that if a state ignores the vote of its citizens and throws its electoral votes to the popular-vote winner (assume for now it's someone different), that would abridge their right to vote for electors. The constitutional remedy would be to reduce the state's representation proportionately.