Friday, September 13, 2019

Senate Pro-Tem Treat opposes National Popular Vote effort

Yesterday, I wrote about the ongoing effort by out-of-state groups to lobby the Oklahoma Legislature to ditch the Electoral College and instead hitch Oklahoma's electoral votes to the National Popular Vote, thus disenfranchising Oklahoma voters from giving their voice in presidential elections.

Since December 2017, National Popular Vote groups have spent over $47,000 to bring 15 GOP legislators and 12 Democratic legislators to wine-and-dine events in Utah, California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, and New York City.

Members of the State Senate have been particularly targeted, with 20% of the Senate GOP caucus and nearly the entire Democratic caucus having gone on these paid-for junkets. Almost a full third of the entire Senate has been on an out-of-state IRPE trip since 2017.

I asked Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC) for his position on the National Popular Vote concept, and whether he would support or oppose such a measure if advanced in the 2020 legislative session. I got a pretty quick response:


“The framers of the federal Constitution devised the electoral college to protect states like Oklahoma from being disenfranchised by voters in states with much larger populations. I previously have opposed and will continue to oppose any legislation that enables a national popular vote.” – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

In 2014, when a National Popular Vote bill passed the Oklahoma State Senate, Treat was one of 18 Republicans who opposed the measure. 16 Republicans and all 12 Democrats voted together to approve SB 906, which would have bound Oklahoma's vote to the winner of the "popular vote" nationwide as opposed to the candidate who won the most votes in Oklahoma. The National Popular Vote campaign has held that vote up as a trophy in the years since, even though it never received a hearing in the House.

Fortunately, Sen. Treat's position has been pretty consistent on this issue. I'm awaiting comment from Governor Stitt, Lt. Governor Pinnell, and House Speaker McCall on the topic. Stay tuned.

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