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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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    Winston-Salem Journal
    N.C. urged to support popular-vote movement
    Way of assigning electoral votes for president would change
    By James Romoser
    May 21, 2008

    RALEIGH — When the new session of the state legislature opened last week, Barry Fadem, a lawyer from California, was in town.

    He was meeting with state legislators, coming to them with a simple pitch.

    What if, he asked, it could be ensured that the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in the general election would definitely become president?

    Under the current Electoral College system, that is not guaranteed. In the 2000 election, Al Gore finished slightly ahead of George W. Bush in the national popular vote, but Bush won more electoral votes and won the presidency.

    Fadem's proposal would make such a scenario impossible — and it relies entirely on state legislatures. He wants states to collectively agree to assign their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide.

    Four states have passed laws that would do just that, if enough other states joined in. Fadem wants North Carolina, where a bill is pending, to be the fifth state to join the movement.

    "Everyone should like it for two reasons: One, it's about making the state relevant in the general election, and secondly, it's about making sure whoever gets the most votes wins," said Fadem, who is the president of National Popular Vote, a nonprofit group sponsoring the proposal.

    The group is going all-out this spring to try to get North Carolina to sign on. It has hired a lobbyist with one of the state's top law firms, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and it has also enlisted Gary Pearce, one of the state's top Democratic political consultants.

    Fadem said he hopes to meet, at least briefly, with all 120 members of the N.C. House of Representatives, where the bill's fate lies.

    The N.C. Senate approved the bill last year, but it is unclear whether the House will take it up this year. Some House members are skeptical of the proposal.

    "I'm going to fight it tooth and nail," said state Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, a Wake County Republican and the House minority leader.

    Stam said he believes that if a presidential candidate receives a majority of votes in North Carolina, North Carolina should give its electoral votes to that candidate. That's the way the system works now.

    But Fadem says it shouldn't matter which candidate wins any particular state. It should be only the overall national popular vote that counts in determining the president, he argues.

    "The voters view the presidential election through a national filter," Fadem said. "The fact that they win or lose the state itself is just not of great import."

    One way to change the Electoral College would be through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but that process is extraordinarily difficult. That's why Fadem wants to do it through a collection of state laws that would award electoral votes to the national popular winner.

    None of the state laws would take effect until enough states totaling a majority of the country's 538 electoral votes signed on. The National Popular Vote proposal also has nothing to do with the complicated procedures, based on delegates, that the parties use to nominate presidential candidates; it applies only to the general election.

    Because of its creative avoidance of a constitutional amendment, the National Popular Vote proposal has been derided as an "end-run around the Constitution." But supporters emphasize that the proposal is wholly constitutional, because the Constitution gives the states the power to assign their electoral votes however they choose.

    In North Carolina, and in some other states, the strongest opposition to the proposal has come from Republicans.

    Fadem insists that the proposal is nonpartisan and could help or hurt a presidential candidate from either party. If it had been in place in 2000, Gore would have won the presidency. But in 2004, the situation was nearly reversed: Bush won the popular vote but came very close to losing to John Kerry in the Electoral College.

    Supporters say that the National Popular Vote system would force candidates to campaign all across the country, not just in a small number of battleground states.

    The four states that have passed National Popular Vote bills are Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey. Those four states represent 50 electoral votes. North Carolina has 15 electoral votes.

    North Carolina's bill is sitting in a House committee on election laws. The committee's chairwoman, Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, D-Richmond, said she is not sure if it will come up for debate this session. She said that House leaders would probably move forward with the bill "when enough members feel comfortable with it."


    James Romoser can be reached at 919-210-6794 or at .


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