Ever since Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the 2000 presidential election, there has been a major push to abandon the Electoral College system. Superficially, there is a sense that the election was unfair and everyone’s vote did not count equally. Three or four times in history we have elected a president who did not win the popular vote. The election of the president is determined by the Electoral College, not a national popular vote. In every state but two, Maine and Nebraska, all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in that state. Each state is allotted as many electoral votes as they have U.S. Senators and Representatives. This results in smaller states having more electoral votes proportionate to their populations, and larger states having less. Since smaller states tend to be more conservative, this makes it more likely that a Democrat could win the popular vote by winning large urban areas in big states, while still losing the election.
Realizing they can rig the system, Democrats are advocating replacing our current system with the National Popular Vote Compact (NPV). They would get around the difficulty of amending the Constitution by instead having states voluntarily enter into a compact to participate. States would agree to assign all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the total popular vote across the country, not just within that state. As soon as enough states pass this legislation and surpass half the electoral votes, 270, it will go into effect. Currently eight states and the District of Columbia have joined, totaling 132 electoral votes so far.
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