As already noted, today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state initiative process can be used to change laws affecting congressional elections. Rick Hasen notes today that Article II, which describes the presidency and presidential elections, also says, “the legislature” shall pass election laws concerning presidential elections. It says, “Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…”. Hasen notes that it now seems obvious that state initiatives can also amend state laws concerning presidential elections.
This is good news for the National Popular Vote movement, which has been trying for years to get state legislatures to pass the National Popular Vote Plan. The group has had some success, but is still not close to meeting the legal requirement that states holding a majority of the electoral college must sign up before the plan goes into effect. No state has passed the plan during 2015. The National Popular Vote organization has been mulling over using the initiative process to approve the plan in certain states. Now the group can feel confident that it is constitutional to use the initiative to advance its idea. Michigan is a state that has the initiative process, and which has a fairly large number of electoral votes, and in which the voters might plausibly approve the plan.