Pat Forgey’s report on the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Senate Bill 39 (see Thursday’s Empire) reviews a bill that would join Alaska in the National Poplar Vote (NPV) Compact with other states to cast Alaska’s electoral votes for the presidential and vice presidential winners of the popular vote. One of the concerns mentioned involved the notion that Alaska, a conservative or red state, might be required by the compact to cast its electoral votes for progressive candidates if those candidates won the popular vote.
I propose that we look at this issue with these points in mind.
The National Popular Vote Compact has bipartisan support nationwide.
It is not the brainchild of one party or the other. There are many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents across the nation who have voted for the Compact at the state level. The NPV Advisory Board includes seven Republicans and three Democrats. To date, eight states and Washington D. C. have adopted the compact.
Those interested in more information can go to the following web address: www.NationalPopularVote.com
When we vote for the President, we are voting for the leader of the entire nation, the leader who represents all citizens, the leader who (we would hope) would work to craft policies and compromises that would benefit the entire citizenry.
Alaska is part of that nation, and very few Alaskans wish it to be any other way.
We are citizens of the United States first and residents of the great state of Alaska. We have rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States.
The U. S. military serves to protect all of us. At the state level, when we elect our governor, the candidate with the most votes wins.
The votes of all Alaskans count, and if we happen to vote for the losing candidate, it is our duty as a citizen to support the winner and most importantly, follow that winner’s actions and proposed policies. If we see something we don’t support, we need to communicate our reaction in a civil and thoughtful manner.
This citizen’s responsibility also applies to our national leaders. If the majority’s choice was not our personal choice at the national level, we need perhaps to be even more vigilant, read more from a variety of sources, check those sources and their biases, and communicate the best information we have to our elected leaders. This is our civic responsibility if we want to remain truly free.
We can’t always vote for the winner; I certainly haven’t. But I do have a problem with casting our electoral votes for the losing presidential and vice presidential candidates a month after the election’s winners are clearly evident. That seems counterproductive and does nothing to bring the country together behind duly elected leaders.
Under the National Popular Vote Compact (SB 39), those elected leaders will have won a majority of the popular vote rather than the 270 electoral votes plucked from a few states (and those states never include Alaska).
Voters in all states will have their votes counted whether they are conservative, progressive, or independent. When those elected leaders are inaugurated, the rest of us must stay informed, remain civil, and participate in our democracy.
• Andree is a 45-year resident of Alaska who has lived in Juneau for the last 25 years.