FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2009
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PROGRESSIVE STATES NETWORK LAUDS GOV. GREGOIRE AND WA LEGISLATORS FOR SUPPORTING NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE
Passage grows ranks of national popular vote agreement to five states, 61 Electoral College votes
OLYMPIA - With Gov. Gregoire's signature, Washington State today became the fifth state in the nation to enact the National Popular Vote bill, joining Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois. The state's 11 electoral votes combine with 50 from the other four states to bring the total number of electoral votes to 61 — 22% of the 270 needed to implement a National Popular Vote. In addition to today's victory, legislative chambers in Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont have passed popular vote legislation so far this year.
“This is a big victory for the over three-quarters of Washington voters who would prefer a national popular vote for president, and indeed for all voters who are now one step closer to having their voices heard equally in our presidential elections,” said Nathan Newman, Interim Executive Director of the Progressive States Network.
Currently only a small handful of “battleground states” are competitive in the presidential election. For the rest of the “spectator states,” including Washington, the outcome is known in advance and candidates therefore have no incentive to campaign in those states or to pay close attention to the needs of voters in those states.
Just as big a problem is that spectator states like Washington, where there is no real competition in the presidential election, have consistently lower voter turnout than battleground states. During the last presidential election the 12 least competitive states had an average turnout 7% below the dozen most competitive. Even with the tremendous excitement surrounding the last election, voter turnout in Washington only increased one-tenth of one percent over 2004.
Summing up the victory, Mr. Newman enthused that “Washington has a distinguished history of leading the movement for open and accountable government. The National Popular Vote bill is another feather in that state's good government cap.”