"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..." -- U.S. Constitution
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In addition to 1,129 state legislative sponsors (shown above), 981 other legislators have cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.
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Short Explanation
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation's voters for President of the United States.   more
11 Enactments
The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law in states possessing 165 electoral votes — 61% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the legislation.

  • Maryland - 10 votes
  • Massachusetts - 11
  • Washington - 12 votes
  • Vermont - 3 votes
  • Rhode Island - 4 votes
  • DC - 3 votes
  • Hawaii - 4 votes
  • New Jersey - 14 votes
  • Illinois - 20 votes
  • New York - 29 votes
  • California - 55 votes

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    Baltimore Sun
    State takes first step toward direct presidential elections
    By Jennifer Skalka
    April 2, 2007

    The House of Delegates approved a proposal Monday that could make Maryland the first state in the nation to award its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections.

    The bill commits Maryland to a national compact that would go into effect only after states with electoral votes representing a national majority -- the 270 required to win the presidency -- also sign on. As such, it would likely not impact how the state's votes are counted in the 2008 contest -- and could never be implemented if other states fail to approve similar measures.

    The final House vote was 85 to 54; the Sen ate passed the bill last week. Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign it.

    "We are organizing an insurrection of the spectator states who have been completely sidelined and ignored in presidential elections," said Montgomery County Sen. Jamie Raskin, the proposal's lead Senate sponsor.

    The measure represents a nascent national grassroots effort for the direct election of the president, a move to change the dynamics of a contest that has become focused on battleground states with big electoral kitties -- such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Proponents of the plan say it could prevent a repeat of the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush lost the national popular vote but won the Electoral College when Florida was declared for the Republican over Democrat Al Gore.

    In contrast, if the proposed system had been in place in 2004, Maryland's electoral votes would have gone to Bush, who won the national popular vote, even though Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry won the state decisively.

    Supporters also argued Monday during extensive House debate that the plan will make Maryland a player in national contests, drawing candidates and campaign cash to the state. Maryland, which tilts reliably Democratic during presidential races and offers the victor a scant 10 electoral votes, is not a frequent stop along the campaign trail for White House hopefuls.

    But opponents said the plan would complicate an effective system, and violates the Constitution and the Founding Fathers' intentions in crafting the Electoral College. They argued that the General Assembly was acting in haste and without fully studying the full impact of such an enormous change.

    "To fix a problem with something that has even more glaring flaws to me is ill-advised," said Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell, the House minority leader and a Republican from Southern Maryland.

    Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, said Maryland's proposal is a "bad idea" that could thwart grassroots activism and coalition- building during presidential contests.

    "It will be one great big giant national media campaign," Gans said. "Essentially what you'll have is television and tarmac campaigns."<

    The U.S. Constitution allows states to determine how they pick electors. In most states, including Maryland, political parties nominate a slate of electors to represent the party's candidate. The slate representing the winner's party ultimately casts Maryland's electoral votes.

    Other states have attempted to join the proposed compact. Last year, the California Assembly approved membership in a popular- vote plan, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

    The plan's detractors find another fault with Maryland's plan -- that a tight contest would require a national recount, a prospect that makes the cumbersome 2000 recount in Florida seem modest by comparison.

    "If we had a seven-week disaster in Florida over 500 votes that got resolved by the Supreme Court, think if we had to have a recount of the entire nation, which is what we would be at if we had a direct election," Gans said.

    But supporters see the flip side, that the influence of one state over the rest of the country would be mitigated.

    "This bill will prevent the nightmare scenario of a repeat of the 2000 presidential election when 500 votes in Florida settled the election in the entire country despite a popular majority for Vice President Gore," Raskin said.

    While Del. Jon S. Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat who lobbied for the bill Monday, said that "the current system doesn't treat every vote equally," his colleague, Del. Luiz Simmons, argued that the Electoral College provides minorities stronger representation. Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat, voted against the bill, saying that Jews in New York City, Mormons in Utah, Cubans in Florida and Christian fundamentalists across the country, among others, could be marginalized by the national popular vote bill.

    Representatives from the Legislative Black Caucus said, however, said that their group backs the bill.

    Other than 2000, the country sent presidents to the White House three times without the majority of the popular vote: 1824, 1876 and 1888.


    Reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President