Earnest Dialogue in Michigan

Michigan recently joined three other states—North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania— which all have legislation pending in state legislatures in support of a national popular vote initiative.

Michigan State Senator Mike Shirkey (Republican) introduced the bill into the senate, where it has gone into committee as of September 6th. It was co-sponsored by Senate Republican Eric Leutheuser.

The proposed legislation drew bi-partisan support, and both the Michigan House of Representatives and the State Senate have bills pending which support the national popular vote initiative.

The bi-partisan support is especially noteworthy considering that many Democrats and Republicans in the Michigan’s legislature believe that the popular vote would benefit both parties; it is thought that the passage of national popular vote legislation would give Michigan more influence in the presidential election by increasing the number of votes that matter.

The path to changing the presidential selection system is itself a matter of some contention; while Senator Leutheuser acknowledged that there are “some of the issues with the current electoral system in the U.S.,” he said that his decision to co-sponsor the legislation is “not necessarily an endorsement of the NPVIC [National Popular Vote Interstate Compact], but merely an effort to start an earnest dialogue about it.

At a time when hard-line partisanship and political polarization may seem like insurmountable problems, it is heartening to observe the dialogue opening up at the state level.

Change, it would seem, is not impossible.