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Michigan House Leader Won’t Support, Hold Vote On Popular Vote Proposal

Dome of State Capitol building

The speaker of the state House won’t support a proposal aimed at electing presidents based on the national popular vote.

There’s bipartisan support in the Legislature for Michigan to join a compact that 12 states have already joined called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Once enough states have entered into the compact to decide a presidential election, those states would cast their Electoral College votes for the candidate who won the national popular vote.

It’s not something Republican state House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) supports.

“I have no intention of supporting this or putting it up for a vote,” Leonard told reporters this week.

“Our founders knew what they were doing,” he said. “They wanted to make certain that every single state had a voice, especially the small ones. I believe that was their intent. And I have no interest in pushing any legislation that is going to go around that.”

Leonard says he is not the only House Republican who opposes the measure.

“I would be shocked if there were more than 20 of the House Republicans that currently support this,” he said. “It’s a bad bill.”

Supporters of the national popular vote compact say the Electoral College system gives too much power to battleground states. They say it would force candidates to talk about issues that affect voters in all states.

Jake Neher is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He covers the State Legislature and other political events in Lansing.
Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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