"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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    Fort-Worth Star-Telegram
    Bypassing the Electoral College
    Fort-Worth Star-Telegram op-Ed
    By Jim Wright
    March 12, 2006

    John B. Anderson is still as creative an advocate at 84 as he was when first elected to Congress in his 30s. The former House Republican Conference chairman and 1980 independent candidate for president has a new cause to champion.

    Last week in Fort Worth, Anderson -- a lifelong constitutional scholar and reformer -- told how he and others hope to circumvent the antiquated Electoral College and see an American president elected by the people themselves.

    The Electoral College isn't just a quaint relic of a bygone age. It has become an inadvertent hindrance to our modern democracy.

    Arbitrarily bundling all the votes of each state into the column of whichever party ekes out the barest statewide plurality, it devalues individual voters in predictable states.

    In the 2004 presidential election, the two parties reported spending some $338 million, much of it for last-minute television commercials. None of this was directed at voters in 10 of the 13 most populous states.

    Measured in money, time and effort by the national candidates and party machineries, voters in states such as California, New York, Texas and Illinois were uniformly ignored while those in Ohio and Florida were courted with the zeal of lovesick suitors.

    In the closing week, George W. Bush and John Kerry shuttled feverishly among Ohio, Michigan and Florida, where the typical voter got easily 10 times the attention given to average voters in more than half the country. To party strategists, each vote in Ohio was worth 10 in Texas.

    One person, one vote?

    The winner-take-all system actually discourages voting in predictable red and blue states. Some know that their side will carry the state, with or without their help, and therefore doesn't really need them. Others realize balefully that their particular vote, however ardently cast, cannot be among their state's majority and therefore will make no difference whatever in the Electoral College.

    This sense of fatalism among presumed state winners and losers in predictable states contributes to abysmally low voter turnouts that increasingly plague our quadrennial presidential elections.

    Winner-take-all in each state, and the wet blanket of perceived individual powerlessness that it engenders among voters -- especially in so rich and blessed a country as ours -- are difficult to explain to people in various underdeveloped countries whom we're seeking to persuade to follow "our example" and adopt our "democratic" systems.

    In the 18th century -- before television, radio or any form of telecommunications, with poor roads and people scattered in remote settlements -- it seemed to make some sense. Most folks would never see, hear or know much about presidentially qualified people. So they were asked to pick out one wise and trustworthy person from among their local number and send that individual to meet with others so chosen elsewhere. The idea was that these "electors" would discuss among themselves the merits of various candidates and make the actual choices.

    Everyone knows that it doesn't work that way. So why have we tolerated it all these years, and how do we get rid of it?

    A generation ago, Anderson and I, among other lawmakers, tried to amend the Constitution to choose our president as we do every other official: by direct election.

    On that occasion, our proposed constitutional amendment moved decisively through the House of Representatives, with only some 10 votes against it. In the Senate, it was successfully stalled by a handful of filibuster-threatening senators from small states, intent on holding onto their disproportionate parochial power.

    Now an impressive group of determined reformers has surfaced another lawful way to establish direct popular presidential election. The group includes former prominent Republicans such as Anderson and popular Democrats such as former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh.

    As an alternative to constitutional amendment, they'd establish an "interstate compact," as validated in the Constitution. Each state would be asked to agree with others to cast all its electoral votes for the candidates certified as winning the majority of the popular vote.

    If enough states buy into this, we won't have to amend the Constitution to rid America of the unintended evils that the Electoral College has spawned. It will be a fait accompli.

    The reform is being tested now, by a state referendum, in Anderson's home state of Illinois. Stay tuned. If the people of that state vote to support this sensible modernization, we may be in store for an interesting constitutional experiment.

    Jim Wright is a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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