"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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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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    Midwest CEO
    Politics — The Electoral Turmoil
    By Brad Ketcher
    November 2008

    Most Americans think the presidential election will happen November 4. It will really happen December 15. On that date, presidential electors gather in state capitol buildings throughout the country to cast their votes. As we learned in ninth grade civics, the president is not elected by the popular vote but by the Electoral College vote.

    Most states award all their electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in their state, even if it is less than a majority. This is often referred to as β€œwinner-take-all.” Only Nebraska and Maine use a different approach, giving two of their electoral votes to the statewide winner and one vote to the winner of each congressional district.

    A long-standing argument against the Electoral College and its winner-take-all administration is that it can elect a president who does not carry the nationwide popular vote. It has happened four times: in 2000, 1888, 1876 and 1824.

    In recent years, an additional opposition argument has been emerging. If you don't live in a competitive swing state, your vote is of little interest to the presidential candidates and unimportant in determining the outcome. In essence, you are disenfranchised.

    Throughout the fall, proof of this proposition has been on display across the Midwest. With limited exceptions, the presidential candidates have not campaigned in states where they are far ahead. John McCain has largely ignored the GOP-dominated states of Oklahoma and Kansas, while Barack Obama has largely ignored his Democratic dominated home state of Illinois.

    Why? Because they don't receive additional electoral votes by running up their winning margins.

    Acting on the same incentive, the presidential campaigns have largely ignored states where they are far behind. They have nothing to gain by losing unwinnable states by smaller, insurmountable margins.

    Instead, the presidential campaigns have focused their attention and resources on competitive swing states where the outcome of the popular vote is in question. Those are states such as Missouri, Iowa and Colorado.

    Nebraska offers a case study in both dynamics. The division of its electoral vote between its statewide and individual congressional district winners means that the politically competitive 2nd Congressional District around Omaha attracts the candidates' attention, while the GOP-dominated balance of the state is largely ignored.

    These undemocratic implications have bred growing calls for reform of the winner-take-all application of the Electoral College. And at least one creative reform proposal is gaining ground in the states.

    Called the National Popular Vote Act, the proposal would ensure that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) would win the presidency. The proposal relies on two long-established but little-remembered legal propositions.

    First, the U.S. Constitution gives each state the authority to allocate its electoral vote any way it chooses. In the early years of the republic, a variety of methods were used, including allocation by the legislature. The current winner-take-all system did not take hold until 1876. The alternative al-location systems in Maine and Nebraska are reminders of the system's flexibility.

    Second, the U.S. Constitution gives the states the power to enter into legally binding interstate compacts. The National Popular Vote Act is just such a compact. By enacting the model legislation, a state joins the compact. It becomes fully effective once states holding enough electoral votes to elect a president (270 votes) have enacted it.

    Once effective, the compact requires the member states to collectively cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote for president rather than the winner in their individual state.

    The proposal is gaining momentum. Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii and Maryland have recently adopted it. Those states represent 50 electoral votes, or 19 percent of the 270 needed to fully activate the compact. The proposal has also passed both legislative houses in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

    With National Popular Vote proponents making progress, Americans may soon experience the first true national campaign and election.

    Brad Ketcher, attorney and former chief of staff to Gov. Mel Carnahan; Tracy Thomas, former president, Shawnee [Kansas] City Council; Steve Patterson, consultant; Bob Jacobi, Labor-Management Council of Greater KC; Mike Shanin, veteran broadcaster; Kris W. Kobach, UMKC Professor of Law, former counsel to the U.S. Attorney General; Edward Lawlor, Ph.D., dean, George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University; and Jim Talent, Fleishman-Hillard Inc. and former U.S. Senator, rotate in writing this column. To respond to this column, send comments to editorial@MidwestCEOmagazine.com.

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