While citizens lose jobs and revolt against tax increases, majority wants to debate national electoral process

Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, expressed disgust that two hours were wasted on the House floor Wednesday evening debating a bill to change how Washington’s electoral votes are distributed in a presidential election.

"Don’t we have more pressing issues to deal with in this state?" Walsh questioned. "More than 50,000 people have lost their jobs since the Legislature convened in January. Today we had 5,000 people rally on the front steps of the Capitol about their taxes and the government’s spending. The discussion this evening is not a priority of the state, and it’s a waste of time."

Senate Bill 5599 would require Washington’s electors to direct all of its votes based on the popular vote within a compact of states.

"If voters in our state think their vote doesn’t count now, if they think candidates don’t campaign in our state now, wait until our electors are forced to give our state’s votes away based on California and Illinois’ votes," Walsh said. "This legislation gives presidential candidates the incentive to go where there are large populations."

Washington ranks 15 out of the 50 states for population, explained Walsh. Candidates would only need to convince voters in Texas, New York and California to vote for them in order to become president over the entire United States.

Walsh also noted the electoral college created by America’s founders was intended to protect the country’s smaller states.

"We’re talking about making a fundamental change to how we elect our president – a system that we’ve used since the inception of our country – and challenging the balance of power amongst states," Walsh said. "Quite frankly, I think this legislation is a huge distraction from the real issues our state is dealing with, and takes time away from the work we should be focusing on, which is helping the people suffering in our state."

The bill passed the House 52-42 and now goes to the governor’s desk for consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications