"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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    Sacramento Bee
    Editorial: Rx for U.S. elections
    States can assure the popular vote rules
    Sacramento Bee Editorial
    Saturday, June 3, 2006

    The election of the U.S. president should reflect the directly expressed will of the American people.

    But it doesn't.

    The current Electoral College system can produce perverse results: A candidate can lose the popular vote and win the Electoral College vote and, thus, the presidency. That has happened several times in American history, most recently in 2000. With the nation so closely divided politically, this is likely to be an ongoing problem, undermining the legitimacy of our presidential elections.

    It doesn't have to be that way.

    Polls for the last 30 years have shown that Americans overwhelmingly support direct election of the president, but Congress hasn't budged on a constitutional amendment.

    A new campaign, "National Popular Vote," spearheaded by several former members of Congress, including California's Tom Campbell (most recently Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's finance director), has a creative way to get the same result.

    The campaign uses an old mechanism -- an interstate compact -- to achieve the direct election of the president. The idea is modeled on existing interstate compacts, such the Colorado River Compact, which divides water among seven Western states. The compact depends on states changing their own rules for dividing up their electoral votes.

    We'd prefer a constitutional amendment simply abolishing the Electoral College, but this state-by-state reform is an achievable second-best solution to a defective product that even the Founding Fathers regarded wearily and warily.

    The strongest arguments at the 1787 Constitutional Convention favored direct election of the president by the people. Proponents wanted the president to be the "guardian of the people" and as independent as possible of Congress and the states. But the delegates were hopelessly divided between direct election by the people and election by Congress.

    The Electoral College was a last-minute compromise, reached under what James Madison called the "hurrying influence produced by fatigue and impatience." The Electoral College has been patched many times since.

    The interstate compact proposal wouldn't abolish the Electoral College, but at least it would ensure that it reflects the national popular vote.

    Election officials in the compact states would award all of their electoral votes to the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes nationally.

    Clearly, one state could not do this on its own. So each of the states has the same 888-word bill entering into a binding interstate compact (you can find the text at www.nationalpopularvote.com). States would join the agreement one by one. The compact would take effect only after enough states joined to represent a majority of Americans and electoral votes -- 270 of the 538 electoral votes.

    So far, the bill has been introduced in five legislatures -- California, Illinois, Colorado, Missouri and Louisiana. The campaign's goal is 10 states by the end of 2006 and enough states by the end of 2007 to make direct election the governing rule for the 2008 presidential election.

    In California, the Assembly approved the bill Tuesday. Because California has such strong influence nationally, the governor and senators can get this process rolling in other states by acting this session. Otherwise, in presidential elections, unhappy Americans are bound to continue paying for the Founding Fathers' fatigue.


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