Transforming the Electoral College to a National Popular Vote

January 29, 2020 Updated: January 30, 2020
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Commentary

Voters who fancied Al Gore over George Bush, or Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, are likely to love faithless electors and attempts to transform the Electoral College into a popular vote mechanism through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). If the NPVIC had been in effect, Gore and Hillary Clinton would have become president.

The left is presenting alternative ways to circumvent the Electoral College because it would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to change how the president of the United States is elected.

America’s founders were concerned with the prospect of large-population states controlling presidential elections. In 1787, they created the Electoral College as an inter-state remedy, which requires a successful candidate to get support from a broad coalition of states across the country. Electoral College members are chosen every four years by their state party. Most states have laws compelling electors to vote for the pledged candidate.

The number of Electoral College votes for each state is determined by adding the number of senators (two) to its number of representatives in the House. Congressional districts are determined by population numbers in the census, conducted every 10 years. A citizenship question has been on and off the census form over the decades. President Donald Trump wanted it on the 2020 census, but the left kept it off.

The total number of people (citizens or not) living in a district determines the number of congressional seats. The more congressional seats, the more Electoral College votes a state is awarded. The most populous state, California, has 55 seats. Vermont has three. Of the 538 electoral votes, 270 are needed to win the presidency.

A “faithless elector” is one who doesn’t vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in his or her state, but switches to someone else. After the 2016 election, electors who tried to switch votes in Washington state and Colorado were subject to legal repercussions. The Washington state Supreme Court ruled that a state could fine a faithless elector. In Colorado, the court ruled that electors have the right to vote any way they want.

Both cases were appealed and will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices will decide whether electors must vote for the candidate who received the popular vote in their state. That decision is anticipated before June.

Another way to render the Electoral College invalid is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). States enrolled in the NPVIC must award their electoral college votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, disregarding in-state voters.

For example, if you lived in Wisconsin and voted for Trump, and Trump won the popular vote in Wisconsin, but Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote, then Wisconsin would have to cast all of its electoral votes for Clinton, not Trump.

As of January, the NPVIC has been adopted by 15 states and the District of Columbia, and has 196 electoral votes. It needs 270 votes to take effect. No Republican governor has signed the NPVIC into law.

California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts would determine every presidential outcome if the NPVIC becomes law. The other 45 states would be powerless.

Each of the Democratic presidential candidates is in favor of a “popular vote” system. Leftists want the population centers of big cities to determine who is president; in an across-the-country vote, Trump would be reelected. Could the Electoral College be in danger? Be certain the left is working to accomplish such a goal.

Darlene Casella is a former English teacher, stockbroker, and owner/president of a small corporation. She is active with the Federated Republican Women, the Lincoln Club, and the California Republican Party.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.