"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..." -- U.S. Constitution
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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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    What Do You Think
    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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    One Person, One Vote, Really
    TomPaine.Com op-Ed
    by Jamie Raskin
    May 1, 2007

    Jamie Raskin is a Maryland State Senator and a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law. He introduced the legislation that made Maryland the first state in the Union to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

    Sometimes it is said that the president is the only leader in America that the whole nation elects. But this is wrong. The nation does not act as a nation in our presidential elections. It acts through the filter of 51 separate popular elections in which electors are appointed on a winner-take-all basis in all states but two, Maine and Nebraska, which each award two electors statewide and the others by congressional district. In this fragmented system, the goal of presidential candidates is not to win a majority vote in the nation but to sew together enough states and districts to accumulate 270 electoral college votes so as to avoid a “contingent election” in the House of Representatives in which each state (California and North Dakota alike) cast one vote.

    Most Americans live in the two-thirds of the states where our Electoral College votes are safely taken for granted by one major party or the other. I live in Maryland, which is safely blue. My brother and older sister live in Virginia, safely red. My younger sister is in Washington, D.C., which is blue. I have family and close friends in New York (blue), Connecticut (blue), Massachusetts (blue) and California (blue). I also have friends in perma-red country, like Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah, Alaska and South Dakota. All of our votes are considered a lock for one party and a lost cause for the other.

    The campaigns fly over and ignore all of us in red and blue states in search of “swing voters” in the dwindling group of purplish “swing states.” Ninety-nine percent of all campaign resources in the last two campaigns went to move voters in a mere 16 states, and two-thirds of the money was spent in five states. The majority of people living in the majority of states have become spectators. We watch the candidates, the political ads, the campaign staff and the media bear down on Florida, Ohio, New Mexico and a handful of others states blessed with closely divided electorates.

    My friend Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur, who ran John Kerry’s presidential campaign in Maryland in 2004, told me that her explicit assignment was to raise money and volunteers to send into Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is hardly surprising that voter turn-out in the general election passes 70 percent in big swing states like Florida while it peaks in the low-50s in demoralized spectator states like mine.

    At the national level, the system is an accident waiting to happen. The 2000 presidential election, a dramatic turning point in American history, propelled the national popular vote loser, George W. Bush, to the White House for the fourth time in our history. Vice-President Gore, the winner of the national popular vote by more than 540,000 ballots, was denied office because Florida’s Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, removed more than 17,000 voters from the voter rolls in her state, falsely accusing them of being felons, and because more than 175,000 ballots were left on the table after a 5-4 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court ordered them not to be counted. Mischief in the Electoral College—which is perhaps the biggest party school in America—made the South solid for Bush and thwarted the national political will.

    Are we, the people of the United States, finally ready to elect as our President the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia? Are we ready to give equal weight to all of our votes regardless of where we live?

    Public opinion polls have shown that upwards of 65 percent of Americans have long supported a direct national popular vote for president. But now the state of Maryland has actually taken a bold step to make it happen.

    On April 10, 2007, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a plan to have Maryland enter and launch an interstate compact in which member states cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement takes effect when it is enacted by a number of states representing a majority of electoral votes (270).

    The National Popular Vote plan rests on the powers that states have to create interstate compacts and to appoint electors. Article II, Section I provides: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…” This power has been deployed by legislatures in different ways. When the nation began, the legislatures mostly named electors directly and they operated as a deliberative body with split votes. In 1800, for example, Maryland saw seven of its electors vote for Adams and four for Jefferson. When states began in the last century to award their electors in winner-take-all fashion based on the statewide popular vote, smaller states complained that this newfangled “unit” bloc voting diluted the power of small states and sued. In the aptly-named Delaware v. New York (1966), the Supreme Court rejected this challenge and emphasized that the state’s power to award electors may be exercised (or not exercised at all!) in any manner it sees fit.

    Thus, from California to New York, from Texas to Minnesota, our legislatures—led by the spectator states—can now unite to give America something we have promoted for the rest of the world but never achieved ourselves: a truly national election for President based on principles of majority rule, one person-one vote and all votes counting equally. Such an election will revitalize our democracy and provide a fitting end to the long national nightmare that began with the toxic election of 2000.

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