The Popular Vote Bill That Disappeared In The Georgia Senate
December 13, 2016
(AJC) - A week before Christmas, a group of Republican men and women of proven loyalty will gather in the state Capitol to cast the only Georgia votes in the 2016 presidential contest that constitutionally matter.
Back in August, one prospective member of the state’s Electoral College had balked at the prospect of voting for a President Donald Trump. But he was quickly replaced.
So the New York businessman will get all 16 of Georgia’s electoral ballots, thanks to his 51 percent to 46 percent victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton here.
It didn’t have to be this way.
Only a few months ago, the state Legislature had before it two bills that, on paper, were among the most popular of the 2016 session. Each measure, Republican-driven in both the House and Senate, would have pledged Georgia’s
Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes.
Had that pledge been in effect six weeks ago, Georgia electors on Monday, Dec. 19, would be voting for Clinton, who leads Trump by 2.5 million in the popular vote. It’s the biggest winning margin by a losing presidential candidate in U.S. history.
But both House Bill 929 and Senate Bill 376 hit mysterious, invisible walls as last winter edged toward spring. The former received approval from a House committee and then disappeared. According to its primary sponsor, S.B. 376 had the signatures of 50 senators – in a chamber with only 56 members. The bill never even got a hearing.
“I suspended my support of the bill in an effort to better understand the issue,” said David Shafer, R-Duluth, who as Senate president pro tem is the chamber’s ranking member. “We have received new data and I no longer support the bill.”
Shafer didn’t specify what the new data was. Presumably, it includes Trump’s Nov. 8 victory – and perhaps polling data as well.