"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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    Seattle Post Intelligencer
    Electoral College is past its prime
    Seattle Post Intelligencer column
    By Joel Connelly
    November 20, 2007

    WHEN A PRESIDENT is elected after losing the popular vote, and installed by U.S. Supreme Court fiat, it's high time for this country to reform its archaic Electoral College system.

    If George Bush had won the 2000 vote -- and Al Gore won the Electoral College -- the Republicans' media machine and legal machinery were ready to go on the attack.

    The reverse happened. Gore chose to be a gentleman, grow a beard and go off to Europe.

    A new bipartisan campaign, National Popular Vote, aims to overturn a system produced by what James Madison called "fatigue and impatience."

    The new campaign's proposition: The candidate who gets the most votes gets elected president.

    "The most compelling argument is that suddenly every vote in America will matter no matter where it is cast," said campaign leader Dr. John Koza, a Stanford professor (and inventor of the scratch-off lottery ticket).

    He has a point. Look at the 2004 general election campaign.

    As recently as 1960, 32 states were at play in the contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. With Bush-Kerry, however, two-thirds of campaign dollars were spent in just six "battleground states," most notably Florida and Ohio. More than 90 percent of candidates' visits were paid to 13 states.

    President Bush never campaigned in populous New York and made just one stop in California.

    The Democratic ticket steered clear of Texas.

    Illinois used to be considered a bellwether. Chicago was the launching site for Richard Nixon's 1968 fall campaign. Democratic nominees used to cap the contest with a torchlight parade through the Windy City.

    The "Land of Lincoln" was completely ignored by nominees of both parties in the 2004 general election.

    Small-state voters have substantially greater clout than residents of larger states.

    Twelve states and the District of Columbia have either three or four electoral votes. Six are GOP strongholds. Five and the District of Columbia went solidly Democratic in 2004. One -- New Hampshire -- was a battleground.

    "The Bakers Dozen" are home to 11 million Americans who cast 40 Electoral College votes. The battleground of Ohio has the same total population and just 20 electoral votes.

    Twice in the late 19th century, candidates lost the popular vote but prevailed in the Electoral College. In 2000, Bush trailed Gore by 600,000 in the popular vote tally, but won the requisite electoral vote when the Supremes stepped in and decreed no recount in Florida.

    "The Electoral College is a slot machine that can throw lightning bolts at anybody," Koza argues.

    If you are a Republican, consider this: If John Kerry had gained 60,000 votes in Ohio, he would be president -- despite the fact that Bush received 3 million more votes nationwide.

    A cold shoulder at the top can ripple down the ticket. Considered safely Democratic, Washington was ignored in 2004 by the Republican ticket -- save for a million-dollar Bush fundraiser on a billionaire's lawn.

    The vote percentage in November was highest in Democrat-voting population centers. If Republican-leaning rural counties had turned out with the same percentage as King County, Gov. Dino Rossi would be planning his re-election campaign.

    Battleground states are able to monopolize issues of concern to the White House.

    Iowa has the advantage of holding America's first presidential caucuses and being a general election battleground.

    Is there any other reason why this country is spending billions to subsidize corn ethanol when its production consumes almost as much energy as is "saved" at the gas pump?

    Auto-industry states -- Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin -- are battlegrounds. A trio of vital issues -- rising U.S. oil imports, fuel efficiency standards for cars and sport utility vehicles, and carbon emissions in the atmosphere -- were barely mentioned in the 2000 and 2004 fall campaigns.

    We've seen a few ersatz efforts to "reform" the Electoral College.

    Republicans are pushing a proposition to steal 20 of California's 55 electoral votes away from the Democrats. It would divvy up electoral votes on the basis of which presidential candidate won which congressional district.

    Given difficulties of amending the U.S. Constitution, Koza's group has come up with an alternative. It would use the device of an interstate compact to achieve direct election of a president. States would change their own rules for allocating their electoral votes.

    Under the formula, election officials in compact states would allocate all of their electoral votes to the candidate who has won the national popular vote.

    With legislative approval, states would join the compact one by one. The compact would take effect if and when states representing at least 270 of the nation's 538 electoral votes approve the compact. The winner of the national popular vote would become president.

    The plan has passed 11 legislative bodies so far and been introduced in 49 states. One state, Maryland, has signed it into law. Democraticrun legislatures in California and Hawaii passed the measure, only to have it vetoed by Republican governors.

    The United States came together in the late 18th century as a union of states. We are now a nation, dedicated to the proposition that all citizens were created equal ... not just those who live in "battleground states."

    P-I columnist Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or .


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