"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..." -- U.S. Constitution
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Endorsed by 2,110
State Legislators
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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Tom Golisano

Entrepreneur Tom Golisano Endorses National Popular Vote

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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    How should we elect the President?
    The candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states.
    The current Electoral College system.

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    What About the Proposal to Allocate Electoral Votes by Congressional District?

    One of the possible alternatives to the current system of electing the President is the "congressional district" approach in which the voters would elect two presidential electors statewide and one presidential elector for each of a state's congressional districts.

    The "congressional district" approach may be implemented in two ways. First, an individual state may decide to allocate its electoral votes in this manner. Maine and Nebraska have enacted state laws to do this. Second, a federal constitutional amendment could be adopted to implement the system on a nationwide basis.

    The "congressional district" approach

    • would not improve upon the current situation in which most areas of the country are non-competitive but, instead, would simply create a small set of battleground congressional districts (with most districts being non-competitive),
    • would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote; and
    • not every vote is equal.

    As to competitiveness, there were only 55 congressional districts in which the difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore was 4% or less in the 2000 presidential election. The difference in the presidential vote was 2% or less in only 6.7% of the congressional districts (29 of 435). One reason why the congressional-district approach is so much less competitive than the existing statewide winner-take-all approach is that congressional districts are gerrymandered in many states.

    Moreover, the congressional districts that are close in the presidential race are heavily concentrated in the 10 largest states. Specifically, 58% of the close congressional districts (32 of the 55) lie in eight of the 10 largest states. Thus, the congressional-district approach would not only focus presidential campaigns on a tiny fraction of the nation's congressional-districts, but it would also concentrate the presidential race on the 10 largest states to a degree that exceeds their share of the nation's population and that exceeds the current degree of concentration under the statewide winner-take-all system.

    Whatever the merits of the congressional-district approach, there is a prohibitive practical impediment associated with the adoption of this approach on a piecemeal basis by individual states.

    In 1800, Thomas Jefferson argued that Virginia should switch from its then-existing district system to the statewide winner-take-all system because of the political disadvantage suffered by states that divided their electoral votes by districts in a political environment in which other states use the winner-take-all approach by saying "while 10. states chuse either by their legislatures or by a general ticket [winner-take-all], it is folly & worse than folly for the other 6. not to do it."

    Indeed, the now-prevailing statewide winner-take-all system became entrenched in the political landscape in the 1830s precisely because dividing a state's electoral votes diminishes the state's political influence relative to states employing the statewide winner-take-all approach.

    The "folly" of individual states adopting the congressional-district approach on a piecemeal basis is shown by the fact that there were only 55 congressional districts in which the difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore was 4% or less in the 2000 presidential election. Suppose that 49 of the 50 states were to allocate electoral votes by district but that California (with 55 electoral votes) did not. California would immediately become the only state that would matter in presidential politics. The same thing would happen if two or three medium-sized states were to retain the now-prevailing winner-take-all system while the remaining 48 or 49 states decided to employ the congressional-district approach. The congressional-district approach only makes sense if 100% of the states adopt it.

    Moreover, if states started adopting the congressional-district approach on a piecemeal basis, each additional state adopting the approach would increase the influence of the remaining states and thereby would increase the disincentive for the remaining states to adopt it. Thus, a state-by-state process adopting the congressional-district approach would bring itself to a halt.

    Of course, the above impediment associated with piecemeal adoption of the congressional-district approach would not apply if the system were adopted simultaneously on a nationwide basis as a federal constitutional amendment.

    If the congressional-district approach were applied to the results of the 2000 presidential election, then Bush would have received 288 electoral votes (53.3% of the total number of electoral votes), and Gore would have received 250 electoral votes (46.5% of the total). That is, the congressional-district approach would have given Bush a 6.8% lead in electoral votes over Gore in 2000. Gore received 50,992,335 popular votes (50.2% of the two-party popular vote), whereas Bush received 50,455,156 (49.7% of the two-party popular vote). Under the existing system, Bush received 271 electoral votes in 2000 (50.4% of the total number of electoral votes)—a 0.8% lead in electoral votes over Gore. In summary, the congressional-district approach would have been even less accurate than the existing statewide winner-take-all system in terms of mirroring the nationwide popular vote in 2000.

    In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush carried 255 (59%) of the 435 congressional districts, whereas John Kerry carried 180. Bush also carried 31 (61%) of the 51 jurisdictions entitled to appoint presidential electors. If the congressional-district approach had been in place nationwide for the 2004 presidential election, Bush would have won 317 (59%) of the 538 electoral votes in an election in which he received 51.5% of the two-party popular vote.

    For more details, see section 3.3 and 4.2 of the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote.

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