National Popular Vote – A Solution to the Electoral College
The following article is copied from Common Cause at the website listed below:
“How does the system currently work?
Right now, the President of the United States is not elected by a popular vote. Instead, each state and Washington D.C. is assigned a certain number of electoral votes based on its population. And in all states but Maine and Nebraska, the candidate who receives the most votes in that state is awarded all of its electoral votes, whether the split is 51% to 49% or 99% to 1%. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president.
What are the problems with this system?
The Electoral College is very undemocratic and riddled with issues. For example:
· The candidate who placed second in the popular vote was elected in 2016, 2000, 1888, 1876, and 1824.
· A shift of a relative handful of votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in six of the last 12 presidential elections.
· The votes of those who do not live in closely divided “battleground” states effectively count less.
· Presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, or campaign in states that they cannot possibly win or lose; in 2016, 68% of presidential campaign visits took place in just six states.
· Voters in “spectator states,” including five of the nation’s 10 most populous states (California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey), and 12 of the 13 least populous states (all but New Hampshire) have no real incentive to go to the polls as their votes do not affect the outcome of the election.
How would National Popular Vote work?
States already have the power to award their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, although this would be disadvantageous to the state that did so unless it was joined simultaneously by other states that represent a majority of electoral votes. Hence, the National Popular Vote plan is an interstate compact— a type of state law authorized by the U.S. Constitution that enables states to enter into a legally enforceable, contractual obligation to undertake agreed joint actions, which may be delayed in implementation until a requisite number of states join in.
Under the National Popular Vote plan, the compact would take effect only when enabling legislation has been enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes: 270 of 538 total.
Once effective, states could withdraw from the compact at any time except during the six-month window between July 20 of an election year and Inauguration Day (January 20).
To determine the National Popular Vote winner, state election officials simply would tally the nationwide vote for president based on each state’s official results. Then, election officials in all participating states would choose the electors sworn to support the presidential candidate who received the largest number of popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The winner would receive all of the compact states’ electoral votes, giving them at least the necessary 270 to win the White House. The National Popular Vote compact would have the same effect as a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College but has the benefit of retaining the power to control presidential elections in states’ hands. This feature is critical to the passionate bipartisan support the compact receives.”
For more information on this topic, see the FAQs at the link below:
Note: “On April 10, 2007, Governor Martin O'Malley today signed the National Popular Vote bill (HB 148 and SB 634). Maryland thus became the first state to enact the National Popular Vote bill, which guarantees the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.”