Monday, February 11, 2008

National Popular Vote

I hadn't thought of this -- or heard of it. It isn't necessary to amend the US Constitution to abolish the Electoral College choose the President by direct national vote, since each state already has the power to direct its electors to vote as it sees fit. If enough states have their electors vote for the national popular vote winner, the meltdown of 2000 won't happen again. Via AP/Yahoo News.

Plan would sidestep Electoral College

By NGUYEN HUY VU, Associated Press Writer Sun Feb 10, 2:16 PM ET

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - If John R. Koza gets his way, American voters will never again have to wonder about the workings of the Electoral College and why it decides who sits in the White House.

Koza is behind a push to have states circumvent the odd political math of the Electoral College and ensure that the presidency always goes to the winner of the popular vote.

Basically, states would promise to award their electoral votes to the candidate with the most support nationwide, regardless of who carries each particular state.

"We're just coming along and saying, 'Why not add up the votes of all 50 states and award the electoral votes to the 50-state winner?'" said Koza, chairman of National Popular Vote Inc. "I think that the candidate who gets the most votes should win the office."

So far, Maryland and New Jersey have signed up for the plan. Legislation that would include Illinois is on the governor's desk. But dozens more states would have to join before the plan could take effect.

The idea is a long shot. But it appears to be easier than the approach tried previously — amending the Constitution, which takes approval by Congress and then ratification by 38 states.
Additional information is available at

1-Sentence Description
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee that the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will win the Presidency.

3-Sentence Description
Under the U.S. Constitution, the states have exclusive and plenary (complete) power to allocate their electoral votes, and may change their state laws concerning the awarding of their electoral votes at any time. Under the National Popular Vote bill, all of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
In less than two years, the National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law in Maryland and New Jersey. The bill has passed 13 legislative houses (one house in Arkansas, Colorado, and North Carolina and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland).

The Founding Fathers gave the states exclusive and plenary control over the manner of awarding of their electoral votes. The winner-take-all rule is not in the U.S. Constitution. It was used by only 3 states in the nation’s first presidential election. Maine (since 1969) and Nebraska (since 1992) award electoral votes by congressional districts—another reminder that a federal constitutional amendment is not required to change the way the President is elected.

The bill has been endorsed by the New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Sacramento Bee, Common Cause and Fair Vote.

70% of the public has long supported nationwide election of the president.

Read or download the book Every Vote Equal.

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