"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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    The candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states.
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    International Herald Tribune
    Under US system, presidential votes really matter only in swing states
    The Associated Press
    June 29, 2008

    WASHINGTON: Burdett Loomis plans to vote for Barack Obama in November even though he knows his ballot for president won't make a difference.

    The University of Kansas political science professor says it's been that way since 1977 when he first arrived in the state. Kansas has not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

    "Even though we have this single election where all Americans go to the polls on the same day to vote for president, the reality is we have 51 separate winner-take-all contests," said the 63-year-old Loomis.

    He is talking about the Electoral College, the compromise method of choosing the president — Loomis calls it an "anachronism" — hammered out among the founders of the United States more than two centuries ago.

    That explains why Obama and Republican John McCain will labor so long and spend so much over the next four months in no more than 15 of 50 U.S. states where the results of the presidential race are not easily predicted based on historical voting patterns.

    Obama intends to use his record-breaking fundraising amounts to make himself competitive in some of the states his party typically ignores, particularly in the South and Mountain West. He believes that will give the Democrats a better chance to win the White House and force McCain spend time campaigning in states that Republicans can normally count on.

    The Electoral College compromise was crafted to overcome concerns about states' rights, to insure that small states were not swept along voiceless by their larger-population brethren.

    Simply put, the system guarantees each state at least three electors in the 578-member group that takes the real presidential vote in mid-December. The candidate who wins at least 270 votes will win.

    Critics of the electoral college system want it torn down and replaced by one that depends solely on popular vote. In 2000, that change would have put Al Gore in the White House over President George W. Bush. Gore won the national popular vote, but Bush won a combination of states that gave him the most electoral votes.

    Also, because 35 to 40 states have reliably voted in recent years for the presidential candidate of only one party, the relative certainty of the outcome this year in those states — like Republican Kansas — tends to leave them on the campaign sidelines.

    Obama can't be faulted for not spending much time or money on Kansas, his mother's home state where he is almost certain to lose its six electoral votes. McCain, likewise, will not devote significant resources in the state, which is a virtual sure victory for him.

    That leaves voters in 10 to 15 so-called swing states basking in lavish attention from the candidates, who will pay repeated visits and spend heavily there on television advertising.

    Two of the most critical of those swing states are Ohio and Florida, which have 20 and 27 electoral votes respectively. Bush's disputed victory in Florida eight years ago put him in the White House. His win in Ohio four years later kept him there.

    Close attention also falls this year on traditionally Republican Virginia, where growing population in the north of the state around Washington, D.C., suggest to some that the Republican hold could be broken this year.

    Obama also is trying to put other formerly dependable "red" or Republican states in play this year, either in real hopes of capturing Republican bastions or at least of forcing McCain to defend Republican ground with time and money.

    McCain is mining for support in industrial states like Pennyslvania and Michigan that traditional are Democratic strongholds.

    Democrat and Republican parties in each state designate their slate of electors, but only one party delegation makes it to the electoral college, participation determined by the winner of the popular vote for president in the state — regardless of how narrow the margin.

    The size of a state's party electoral delegation is based upon congressional representation. Each state has two senators and at least one member of the House of Representatives. A state's Electoral College muscle from that minimal representation grows according to population, which is also reflected in the number of House members it is allocated.

    California, for example, has 55 electors, the most of any state. Seven states and Washington, D.C., have only three electors.

    Loomis and, polls show, a large majority of Americans would rather see the president chosen by national popular vote. That, however, requires amending the Constitution, something that has happened just 27 times since the founding document was adopted in 1787.

    Amendments require passage by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress and then ratification in three-fourths of the states.

    But that hasn't stopped Barry Fadem, a California lawyer and president of National Popular Vote, from pushing an alternative. The independent organization is promoting a system in which states would agree to commit all their electors to the winner of the nationwide popular vote.

    He says the constitution allows such interstate compacts. Once states with a total of 270 electoral votes pass such legislation they would put all their votes behind the winner of the popular vote, regardless of the outcome in their state, negating the possibility of a repeat of the 2000 outcome.

    The measure has passed in Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland and New Jersey, which have a total of 50 electoral votes, still a long way from the 270 needed to make it effective in diminishing the Electoral College lock on the system.

    Fadem contends the measure would put all states back in play overcoming a system that in 2004, he said, "saw 99 percent of all campaign money spent in 16 states and two-thirds of that in just five states."

    "Right now," he says, "if you're not in a battleground (swing) state you just don't count."

    But changing the system faces heavy odds.

    Small-populations states would lose their minimal clout and big states like California jealously guard their influence. Swing states likely would not want to give up their place in the election limelight, given their potential to affect presidential election outcomes.


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