"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..." -- U.S. Constitution
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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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    Advisory Board
    John Anderson (R-I–IL)
    Birch Bayh (D–IN)
    John Buchanan (R–AL)
    Tom Campbell (R–CA)
    Tom Downey (D–NY)
    D. Durenberger (R–MN)
    Jake Garn (R–UT)
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    The candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states.
    The current Electoral College system.

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    Congressional Quarterly
    Group Presses States to Team Up Against Electoral College
    By Marc Rehmann
    February 27, 2006

    There has long been a movement to abolish the electoral vote as the nationals means for electing its president. Critics of the current system, which awards electoral votes based on the results of the popular vote in individual states, have long argued that the nation would be better-served by electing the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide.

    A bipartisan group of former members of Congress and other advocates of overhauling the presidential election process held a press conference Thursday to air their grievances about the present system and to reiterate their call for a national popular-vote system of electing the president.

    Because the Electoral College system awards electoral votes based on the cumulative outcomes of state-by-state elections, it is possible that the candidate who receives the most electoral votes will not receive the most popular votes nationwide. This has happened four times in history ­ most recently in 2000, when Democratic nominee Al Gore received more popular votes than Republican George W. Bush, who prevailed because he won enough individual states that collectively comprised a majority of the 538 electoral college votes.

    Opponents of the present system also say voters in politically one-sided states are effectively disenfranchised because of the winner-take-all format of apportioning electoral votes, which prevails in all but two states. Safely Democratic states such as California and strongly Republican states such as Texas are populous, but they do not draw many campaign visits from presidential or vice-presidential candidates.

    Former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., a longtime proponent of establishing a national popular vote election for president, said less than 20 states have been considered battleground states in the past five presidential elections.

    "Let the people of the country decide who their president is," Bayh said.

    Chellie Pingree, a former Democratic legislator from Maine who is president of Common Cause, said 92 percent of the 307 campaign events held by a presidential or vice-presidential nominee in the final month of the 2004 campaign were held in 16 closely contested states. Nearly all of the campaigns' advertising dollars were concentrated in this subset of states. As a result, voter turnout was robust.

    Bayh and Pingree advocate implementing a national popular vote for president through a unique process ­ an interstate compact between states thatt cumulatively have 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes. The proposed compact would not actually abolish the Electoral College system, but it would require that each member state award its electoral votes to the candidate who received the most popular votes.

    Supporters say the Constitution allows for interstate compacts and that hundreds of such binding agreements exist today. The Colorado River Compact, for example, apportions the waters of that river among the signatory states.

    "It is an innovative approach that is politically practical and it would achieve the goal of a nationwide popular election of the President," said John Anderson, a former House member from Illinois (1961-1981) and independent candidate for president in 1980, who now serves as president of the board of directors for The Center for Voting and Democracy.

    Bipartisan legislators from Illinois already have introduced legislation, which is formally known as the 'Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote Act.' Advocates expect more states to follow suit in the coming year.

    Advocates have tried ­ and failed ­ to implement a nationional popular vote system by constitutional amendment. An effort in 1969 ­ one year aftter Republican Richard M. Nixon barely defeated Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey in a race that was complicated by the third-party candidacy of George C. Wallace ­ easily won the required two-thirds majority in the House, but it died in the Senate.

    Bayh introduced a constitutional amendment in 1979, when interest in overhauling the electoral vote system was rekindled following the close 1976 victory by Democrat Jimmy Carter over President Gerald R. Ford. But that effort also failed to get out of the Senate.

    It will be a significant challenge to enact compacts in the requisite number of states. Backers of the current Electoral College system say a national popular vote system would be more vulnerable to vote fraud and dragged-out recounts than under the status quo.

    Backers of the present system also argue it promotes the two-party system and checks third-party and independent campaigns for president. In the 1992 presidential election, Texas billionaire Ross Perot received 19 percent of the popular vote but no electoral votes because he did not carry a state.

    Program officials billed Thursday's event, at which they released a lengthy book promoting the idea, as the first stage of a grassroots effort to educate the public and policymakers about their campaign. In upcoming months, they hope to launch tools that would allow citizens to voice their support.


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