MichiganVotes Bills

National Popular Vote bill advances to Michigan House

If Michigan threw in its 15 electoral votes, interstate scheme would have 220 of 270 votes needed to take effect

A committee of Michigan lawmakers voted Tuesday to enroll the state in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. By a vote of 6-2, the House Elections Committee approved House Bill 4156.

The compact will take effect when signed on by states with a combined 270 or more electoral votes, enough to elect the president. When Minnesota joined the compact last month, it reached 205 electoral votes. With Michigan’s 15, it would reach 220.

Currently, the winner of the Michigan vote tally gets Michigan’s 15 electoral votes. That would change under the National Popular Vote plan, as a candidate could lose Michigan but still be awarded its votes — all based on a noncertified result.

Read it for yourself: House Bill 4156 of 2023: The National Popular Vote bill

There is no official count of a national popular vote, nor is there any federal agency authorized to produce one. This bill empowers secretaries of state in National Popular Vote states not only to read their own election results but to determine the “popular vote” winner among 50 states.

The relevant portion of the bill reads:

Prior to the time set by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each presidential slate in each State of the United States and in the District of Columbia in which votes have been cast in a statewide popular election and shall add such votes together to produce a "national popular vote total" for each presidential slate.

The words “shall determine,” and the lack of a certified result, mean the judgments of secretaries of state would be subjective. Secretaries of state would choose the president.

The candidate they deem the winner would get all 270-plus electoral votes from compact states. A plan that presents itself as an alternative to the winner-takes-all system would only accelerate it. With a victory margin of one vote, a candidate would be awarded a bloc of 270 votes, regardless of the vote tallies in each state.

As the House Fiscal Agency analysis notes, only in the event of a tie — a nationwide tie — would the Michigan vote tally be the deciding factor.

The analysis reads:

In the case of a tie for the national popular vote winner, each member state would appoint electors pledged to the candidate that won the popular vote in that state. (This is the “winner takes all” system currently used by most states).

Even the National Popular Vote initiative affirms the value of a winner-take-all system by reverting to it in the event of a tie.

The Mackinac Center has testified against House Bill 4156.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.