The Tennessee Republican Party has issued a statement condemning an effort to make the presidential candidate with the most votes the automatic winner of the national election, saying the idea is “a direct assault on our Constitution.”
In a statement issued Monday, the TNGOP said its executive committee had unanimously passed a resolution in support of the current Electoral College system. It rejected something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which calls on states to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who received the most votes nationwide, regardless of the outcome in those states.
The plan would eliminate elections in which the more popular presidential candidate failed to win the electoral college. This can happen when the one candidate’s support is large in a few big states, but the other candidate sweeps the small states. Three presidential candidates have won election this way, all of them Republicans: Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush.
Supporters of a national compact, including former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, say states can switch to a popular vote by simply agreeing with one another to give all of their electoral votes to the national winner. No change to the U.S. Constitution is needed, they say.
But Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney said in a statement the Electoral College has worked just fine.
“[T]his compact between states is a direct assault on our Constitution and any attempt by other states to improperly influence and usurp another’s rights is blatantly unconstitutional. Our nation is a Constitutional Republic and any attempt to change the electoral process should be done so by a Constitutional Amendment,” said Devaney.
Their complete statement follows:
TNGOP STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING CONSTITUTIONAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE
NASHVILLE, TN – On Saturday, the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party unanimously passed a resolution supporting the constitutional Electoral College process of electing the President of the United States.
“Electing the President of the United States through the Electoral College was the method deemed best by our founding fathers. It ensures that all states, regardless of size, are included in the presidential election process, and it helps to preserve the balance of power between the federal government and state governments,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
The resolution reads, in part, “…the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee does fully endorse retaining the constitutionally approved and time-tested Electoral College method of awarding electoral votes to candidates to win the office of President of the United States of America…”
“While some in the National Popular Vote movement have good intentions, this compact between states is a direct assault on our Constitution and any attempt by other states to improperly influence and usurp another’s rights is blatantly unconstitutional. Our nation is a Constitutional Republic and any attempt to change the electoral process should be done so by a Constitutional Amendment,” said Devaney.
This resolution comes in response to a controversial national movement to implement the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.” The compact would radically change the way we elect the President through a questionable legal maneuver, creating a compact between states that would mandate them to recognize the winner of the national popular vote. The compact needs enough states to equal 270 electoral votes, the number of electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. By changing the rules of Presidential elections via a compact, supporters theoretically could have support from as few as 12 states like California and New York, instead of the normal 38 states needed to amend the Constitution.
The SEC resolution, originally sponsored by State Executive Committee member Nathan James, was passed by a 61-0 vote. Five members were not present. All members voting in favor of the resolution have also been listed as co-sponsors. The move follows a recent resolution passed by the Republican National Committee at its quarterly meeting in Tampa this month. Devaney, along with National Committeeman John Ryder and National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert were original co-sponsors of the RNC resolution.