National Popular Vote plan is hardly a threat to democracy

REUTERS/Derek Hauck
I can't figure out what's wrong with a system that allows a candidate to seek votes wherever the voters are, as opposed to the current system, which incentivizes a candidate to concentrate on wooing votes only in a relative few "swing states."

In an op-ed in the Strib’s Sunday opinion section, Annette Meeks, CEO of the righty Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, argued that the so-called National Popular Vote plan would be a danger to something deeply valuable about the current U.S. system of choosing presidents, but I can’t quite say what she thinks the danger is.

As she presents it, the problem seems to be this: If all a presidential candidate had to do to get elected was to get the most votes, it would incentivize the campaigns to campaign where the most voters are. I’ve heard this argument several times but I can’t figure out what’s wrong with a system that allows a candidate to seek votes wherever the voters are, as opposed to the current system, which incentivizes a candidate to concentrate on wooing votes only in a relative few “swing states.”

Meeks is a friend of mine, and I hope she will still be. But her argument is built on faulty logic, ancestor worship and historical and factual error and perhaps a dash of partisanship, although I’m confused about the partisan angle. Because of my obsession with the history of the U.S. system of government, and because I am way-less-than worshipful toward the Electoral College system, I’m subjecting Meeks op-ed to a minor “fisking.”

I’ve written before about the plan that inspired Meeks’ piece. I favor it mildly, and don’t know how far it will get. It’s called National Popular Vote (NPV) by its promoters, and would take effect when (and not until) enough states have adopted state laws binding them to give their electoral votes to whichever presidential ticket gets the most votes nationwide. “Enough” means states with enough combined electoral votes (the magic number is 270)  to guarantee that that ticket would win the election.

Nine states (plus the District of Columbia) with a combined 136 electoral votes, have passed laws committing to this plan. (That’s just more than halfway to 270.) 

Invoking the Framers?

Minnesota has not adopted the law, although it came to a vote in the House in the last legislative session. Meeks says that the NPV lobbyists have targeted Minnesota in the current session, and I’m told it is likely to come to a vote again. Meeks alluded to “paid lobbyists” working for the law and said that the NPV is supported by a “millionaire activist.” Meeks doesn’t explicitly say there’s anything wrong with “paid lobbyists” or “millionaire activists.” But if she is ready to join a coalition to reduce the impact of lobbyists and millionaires, I am with her, as would be a lot of allies who don’t agree with everything Freedom Foundation stands for. But OK — politics, strange bedfellows.

In explaining the NPV plan, Meeks leaves out one crucial fact. She wrote that if Minnesota passes the bill: “It would dictate that Minnesota’s 10 presidential electors be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote for president, rather than to the candidate who received the highest number of votes from Minnesotans.” That would be crazy if it wasn’t part of a compact among all the signatory states. The compact has no effect unless and until the states in the compact have enough electoral votes to guarantee that the national popular vote winner would become president. Meeks uses the word “compact,” but never makes clear that it takes effect only in those circumstances. But let’s assume she meant to make that clear. What bothers her about the idea?

The system we have is working “pretty good,” Meeks suggests. Only four times out of 57 presidential elections has someone become president after finishing second on the popular vote, most recently in the Bush-Gore election of 2000. Each of the cases led to legitimacy problems for the loser/winner who took office. But, what the heck, a system that allowed the popular vote winner to win the presidency just four times amounts to “a pretty good track record for the Electoral College system,”  Meeks wrote. Why switch to a system that would reduce the chance to zero?

The Framers were against it, she says, quoting Constitutional Convention delegate Charles Pinckney of South Carolina who was concerned that the “most populous States, by combining in favor of the same individual, will be able to carry their points.”

Omigod. The Framers were never anywhere near empowering the national electorate to choose a president. The Framers didn’t even empower the voters to directly elect their senators, who were to be chosen by the state legislatures. But when Pinckney made the remark quoted, he was arguing in favor of having the president chosen by Congress! As far as the most populous being able to “carry their points,” what the heck? Under the current system, the most populous 11 states control 270 electoral votes. Under the existing system, if they could “combine in favor of the same individual,” they could elect him or her under the current system without any support from the smaller 39 states (plus D.C.)

A form of tyranny?

It would be a form of federal tyranny, Meeks says. At least I guess that’s what she meant when she wrote: “This compact seeks to destroy the genius of the existing electoral process and federalize our presidential election.” What’s “federalize” doing in there, other than as a word that makes conservatives cringe? This compact idea seems more of a rebellion against federalism than an extension of “federalization,” and it would be enacted by state, not federal, statutes.

Perhaps Meeks’ key argument, and it’s the one I hear most often from opponents of the NPV idea, is that under NPV candidates would have an incentive to focus their campaigns on big population areas. That’s almost certainly correct, and maybe it’s troubling. But let’s look that one square in the face.

Although Meeks makes the strange, untrue statement that the existing system “has made Minnesota a player in nearly every presidential election,” that opposite is true. I’ve lived here only since 1977, and I do recall every once in an occasional quadrennium somebody writing a story that some Republican strategist thought it might be possible to put Minnesota into play. But it never pans out. Minnesota is never on the list of the final eight or 10 swing states that get all the late TV advertising and big-buck campaign events.

Iowa, yes. If you want to see what having your local TV advertising taken over by presidential campaign ads looks like, just drive far enough south to pick up the stations that reach Iowans. Wisconsin, sometimes. Minnesota? We’re lucky to get a token visit by a candidate raising money.

It’s about the swing states

That’s the thing about the current system. I’m sure Meeks knows this. The three biggest population states — California, Texas and New York — get taken for granted because they are so reliably red or blue. The smallest states — Wyoming, Vermont, Delaware, both Dakotas — get ignored, not just because they are small but mostly because they don’t swing. Minnesota, which is near the middle of the pack in population, gets ignored.  It’s all about “swing states,” and in recent cycles it’s mostly Florida (the fourth biggest) and Ohio (seventh) that determine the outcome of the election. What sense does that make? It makes “swing state sense.” I don’t much care about living in a state that gets a lot of 30-second attack ads or candidate fly-throughs.

So the argument is that under NPV, the candidates would try to get the most votes, wherever they can find them. I just can’t get what’s less democratic about that than about trying to get the most votes in Florida and Ohio.

Lastly, I assume there is something partisan going on, although Meeks make no direct partisan argument. In the last vote on the bill in the Minnesota House, the bill got support from members of both parties, but more from Democrats. And I note that the nine states (plus D.C.) that have adopted NPV so far are all blue states.

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Comments (38)

  1. Submitted by Mark Viste on 03/17/2014 - 12:07 pm.

    Who decides?

    This sounds like a good, democratic idea in principle.
    Who would decide who won the popular vote? What if it was close? Would everyone have recounts?

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 03/17/2014 - 12:46 pm.

      Good questions

      Those are good questions. The answer is that it would work exactly as it does now. There would be no change to how the popular vote is counted or when a recount happens.

    • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 02:42 pm.

      We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

      The popular-vote count from each state would be added up to obtain the nationwide total for each candidate. The candidate with the most votes wins.

      Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the “canvas”) in what is called a “Certificate of Ascertainment.” They list the electors and the number of votes cast for each. You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site.

      The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

    • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 02:52 pm.

      No recount would have been warranted

      in any of the nation’s 57 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

      The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

      The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

      The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the meeting of the Electoral College. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their “final determination” six days before the Electoral College meets.

  2. Submitted by Mike Worcester on 03/17/2014 - 12:09 pm.

    I Used to Support the E.C.

    Not that long ago, I used to support the concept of the electoral college for the simple reason that I thought–mistakenly–that it protected the interests of the small population states. But after watching four consecutive presidential elections where three, or less, states were the obsessive focus of media and campaigns, no longer.

    The vote of a conservative Republican in New York or a liberal Democrat in Mississippi should carry equal weight. But under our current system, they do not. This is tantamount to passive disenfranchisement.

    When Ms. Meeks uses the term “federalize”, I see “nationalize”. We are electing a *national* leader, not the leader of four swing states. It will also end the games being played in some states where proposals have been pitched to alter how e.c. votes are allocated. Do any states use a form of the e.c. to choose their governors? Do any cities use a form of e.c. to choose their mayor?

    The e.c. was an idea that may have seemed to make sense at the time, but so was Prohibition. I like to think we have matured some and can accept choosing a national leader via a national election. It’s not that difficult.

    And finally, if the electoral college is such a grand idea, why hasn’t any other democracy adopted it?

    • Submitted by Jeff Schwartz on 03/17/2014 - 01:44 pm.

      Agreed but you could have picked a better example. Both voters have the same weight under our current system, zero, since neither vote will result in an e.c. vote. And for those who disagree with you the answer to your last question is as plain as the nose on your face, American Exceptionalism. (See Russian Exceptionalism, but in reverse ;-> )

  3. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/17/2014 - 12:25 pm.

    NPV hawk?

    Eric, are you now a” NPV hawk” rather than a “deficit hawk?”

  4. Submitted by Marc Post on 03/17/2014 - 12:44 pm.

    It’s about time

    The Electoral College is an out-dated mechanism. It’s a system where the loser of the election, by vote count, can still be President. How can anyone who believes in democracy defend such a farce?

    What the NPV stands for is a more representative, democratic process. If we can’t get rid of the Electoral College all together, the least we can do is fix the obvious error.

  5. Submitted by Leo Pusateri on 03/17/2014 - 01:20 pm.

    re: Democracy vs…..

    A small, yet not insignificant point:

    Our system of governance is not one of democracy.

    Ours is a Constitutionally-based, representative republic.

    Democracy is mob rule, something to which the Electoral College was designed to be a speed bump.

    In Gore v. Bush 2000, one will note that Gore won in centralized, heavily populated areas, while Bush won in the vast majority of counties across the nation.

    Geographically speaking, in terms of counties and the overall geographic makeup of the United States, Bush won by a landslide.

    This is why we have an electoral college– to give lesser-populated areas of the United States a greater weight so as to prevent the governance of the nation to be perpetually decided by concentrated urban areas.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 03/17/2014 - 02:10 pm.

      You’re right on most points, Leo. That’s exactly why the system needs changing.

      One person = one vote. Geography should not give one person’s vote more value than any others. Gore v. Bush is an excellent example of the utter failure of the system. Over 500,000 more votes were cast for Gore. He should have been President. If you live in the USA, that’s the only geography that should matter because it’s a national office.

      And as far as the “Democracy is mob rule”, that’s your opinion and I disagree. But even if you were right, it’s still a better, fairer, more representative system than the Electoral College. I’ll take my democracy, thank you very much.

      And lastly, the NPV IS “Constitutionally-based”. It works within the existing framework to make the presidential election more democratic. It does not change our status as a Constitutionally-based, representative republic. Your point is moot.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/17/2014 - 02:32 pm.

      The founders *thought of* democracy as meaning “mob rule,” but

      that’s not what it means now.

      When I was in school, we were taught that there were two types of democracies: 1) Direct democracies, in which everyone votes on everything. (This is feasible only in groups of no more than a couple hundred people and is never used above the village level), 2) Indirect democracies, in which people vote for representatives to make decisions for them.

      Indirect democracy is the most common form of government among the Western industrialized nations.

      “Representative republic” is a term that seems to have sprung up among right-wingers in the past five years or so, probably to avoid referring to “democratic” (which sounds too much like the name of the other political party) in positive terms.

      A republic is nothing more than a country without a monarch. That’s why Finland and Iceland are republics while Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are not. Germany is a republic, but the Netherlands are not. South Korea is a republic, but Japan is not. Vietnam is a republic, but Thailand is not. In most of the world, if you say you’re a republican, it means that you want to abolish the monarchy.

      The fact that the states that went for George W. Bush won states that cover more territory than the states that went for Gore is irrelevant. Nowhere in any interpretation of the Constitution does it say that acreage has a vote. Even the snootiest of the founders would say that only human beings (white male property owners, but human beings nonetheless) have the vote.

      Votes are strictly for people, and more people live in the areas that went for Gore.

      Rather than trying rhetorical tricks, the Republicans need to take a serious look at why they have such a poor reputation in urban areas, and no, it’s not because of “the culture of dependency.” My corner of Minneapolis, where most people are far more affluent than I am, consistently votes 80% DFL.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/18/2014 - 07:02 am.

      Why?

      Why should a person’s vote have more or less weight because of where they choose to live?

      Gore had half a million more votes than Bush. The argument that Bush won in a landslide because he won more counties with a few thousand or even a few hundred voters is pure nonsense.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2014 - 09:36 am.

      Governance by areas

      We are not governed by “areas,” we are (in theory) governed by people. Geographic areas–whether densely populated or not–are not the basis for governance.

      In 2000, Gore won in centralized heavily populated areas. In other words, more people voted for him than voted for Bush. Bush may have won more “counties,” but fewer people voted for him (there are counties that have fewer than 200 residents).

      You do raise a question: Why is it worse to have a President elected by voters in urban areas?

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/18/2014 - 08:16 pm.

        Because more of “those other people” live in urban areas?

        That’s what I infer when I hear right-wingers disparage urban voters or make silly remarks about the DFL busing “welfare mothers and illegal immigrants” from polling place to polling place on Election Day.

        If there’s another reason why it’s bad to have large numbers of urban residents voting, I’d like to hear it.

  6. Submitted by Niel Ritchie on 03/17/2014 - 01:36 pm.

    Here’s another effort Meeks should worry about…

    I’m no fan of the direct vote movement but the repeated attempts to change the state apportionment rules to award electors based on the results within congressional districts are partially responsible for the increased energy behind it.

    These seem to be driven almost exclusively by Republican legislatures and governors….much like photo ID.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/17/2014 - 02:03 pm.

    Restriction of voting rights is almost a platform plank of the Republican party.

    The narrower the franchise, the higher the hurdles–so much the better for the Republicans.

    Of course they don’t want NPV–it’s too easy in a time when the Republican party is trying every ruse to remain demographically relevant.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/17/2014 - 02:34 pm.

      In other words

      all votes are equal,
      but votes cast by ‘those people’ aren’t as equal as ‘ours’.
      And the point about our system being designed as a republic (a representative democracy) rather than a direct democracy is a good one.
      Of course, if we go back to the original Latin and Greek respectively, both systems are ‘things of the people’. Just a question of how literally we take that.

      • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 02:44 pm.

        National Popular Vote has nothing to do with direct democracy

        Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly.

        With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/17/2014 - 03:47 pm.

          So

          In an NPV system could a President be elected by a minority of voters?
          If not, we’re fiddling with the system to keep the Electoral College in theory but make it irrelevant in practice.

          And you are right that direct democracy is the town hall sort of government where individuals vote directly on proposals. That’s what Athens (Greece, not NY) tried originally, with messy results.

          • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 04:24 pm.

            Candidate with most votes would win, as in every other election

            The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

            With NPV a President could be elected without a majority of voters.

            Keep in mind that

            Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.– including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912 and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996)

            With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation’s votes!

          • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 04:11 pm.

            Now no state requires a presidential candidate receive majority

            With the current system of electing the President, none of the states requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state’s or district’s electoral votes.

            Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation’s 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.

            In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

            Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

  8. Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/17/2014 - 02:29 pm.

    75% of Minnesota Voters Support a National Popular Vote

    A survey of Minnesota voters showed 75% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 84% among Democrats, 69% among Republicans, and 68% among others.

    By age, support was 74% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 77% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 83% among women and 67% among men.

    NationalPopularVote

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/18/2014 - 09:24 am.

      For this particular schema

      or for the general concept ?

      • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/18/2014 - 11:50 am.

        Minnesota voters were asked: “How do you think we should elect the President: should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current electoral college system?”

        In state polls of voters each with a second question that specifically emphasized that their state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states, not necessarily their state’s winner, there was only a 4-8% decrease of support.

        Question 2: “Do you think it more important that a state’s electoral votes be cast for the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state, or is it more important to guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states becomes president?”

        Support for a National Popular Vote
        South Dakota — 75% for Question 1, 67% for Question 2.
        Connecticut — 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2.
        Utah — 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2.

        In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

        Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

        NationalPopularVote

  9. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 03/17/2014 - 02:31 pm.

    Represent people, not parcels of land.

    When the Founders said “mob rule,” they meant government that would directly represent people whom they pointedly denied the right to vote: women, Blacks, and in some cases white men without property.

    When the Founders said “small states,” they meant states whose voting populations were shrunk by unabashedly discriminatory state charters that withheld the right to vote from the majority of adult residents.

    The Electoral College did indeed protect “small states” against “mob rule.” It even provided extra electors for states that were extra stingy with the right to vote, by means of the clever rule that apportioned electors by counting three-fifths of all non-voting residents (“excluding Indians”) and adding this number to the total to be “represented,” albeit without their vote. So I’ll admit that the Electoral College once had a purpose. That purpose was to defend the political power of a bewigged white male minority against the threat of majority rule.

    Don’t we all agree by now that the Founders’ aristocratic, not to mention racist and sexist, view of republican government is antiquated? Nonetheless, we maintain the Electoral College for what I believe are sentimental reasons, despite the fact that it distorts election results arbitrarily in favor of low-population states. Unsurprisingly, no other country in the world has copied our Electoral College.

    Every person’s vote should have the same weight as every other person’s vote. No other arrangement is democratic. No other arrangement is fair. I applaud the National Popular Vote plan as a step in the right direction, but I won’t really celebrate until the Electoral College is finally retired for good.

    The Electoral College doesn’t even benefit rural voters, an argument that one occasionally hears. As I have demonstrated in a previous comment back in 2012, an absolute majority of our country’s rural voters in 2000 lived in the 15 most densely populated states. They are just as badly cheated by the Electoral College as urban voters in these states.

    http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2012/10/10-reasons-why-electoral-college-problem#comment-155584

  10. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/17/2014 - 07:37 pm.

    In a World Where Campaign Money Rules the Day

    (apologies to the late Hal Douglas),…

    NPV ensures that $Billions get spent to try to sway the population of the most populated states and metropolitan areas in the nation, while lesser populated areas, not having enough votes to make a difference, simply cease to exist as far as campaigns (and, therefore, the news media) are concerned.

    Sparsely populated rural areas will hardly realize a presidential election campaign is even happening. They will feel and, in effect BE irrelevant to those running for president and to those who now spend all that money each cycle trying to buy the election.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/18/2014 - 09:26 am.

      A good description

      of the current situation.

    • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/18/2014 - 11:55 am.

      Now presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win.
      10 of the original 13 states are ignored now.
      Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election.
      None of the 10 most rural states mattered, as usual.
      24 of the 27 lowest population and medium-small states, and 13 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX, were ignored.
      10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election.

      That behavior is precisely what candidates should do in order to get elected with the current system, because the voters of 80% of the states simply don’t matter. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the concerns of voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Over 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, are ignored.

      Presidential candidates currently do everything within their power to raise as much money as they possibly can from donors throughout the country. They then allocate their time and the money that they raise nationally to places where it will do the most good toward their goal of winning the election.

      Money doesn’t grow on trees. The fact that candidates would spend their money more broadly (that is, in all 50 states and DC) would not, in itself, loosen up the wallet of a single donor anywhere in the country. Candidates will continue to try to raise as much money as economic considerations permit. Economic considerations by donors determines how much money will be available, not the existence of an increases number of places where the money might be spent.

      If every voter mattered throughout the United States, as it would under a national popular vote, candidates would reallocate their time and the money they raise.

  11. Submitted by william parkhill on 03/17/2014 - 07:50 pm.

    Popular vote

    The popular vote (at least to me) has always been more important and interesting than the electoral college. It represents who America really want’s in office. I think that if a politician wins the popular vote and not the electoral vote the election should be reversed to represent the popular vote. The little people need the same opportunities to change things politically and get credit for doing so.

  12. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/17/2014 - 08:55 pm.

    So if

    Everyone in the state of Minnesota chooses candidate A for president but candidate B collects the most votes in the group of states we joined, Minnesota casts all of it’s electoral votes to candidate B. I can’t see why anyone would object to this.

  13. Submitted by Joel Fischer on 03/18/2014 - 12:05 am.

    Voting power is higher in a districted election.

    I read this article a long time ago, but it seemed germane to this discussion.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2004/sep/math-against-tyranny#.UyfQj6hdUrU

  14. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/18/2014 - 05:48 am.

    Alaskans

    I just don’t know why the vote of an Alaskan should count more than a vote of a Minnesotan.

  15. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/18/2014 - 09:32 am.

    Our current system

    was set up by (with a few exceptions) a group of elitists who had no problem with rule by an elite; they just wanted to be that elite. If they had an objection on principle, it was to the idea of an inherited monarchy ruling by divine right.

    They had no interest in a system that guaranteed every citizen by the then limited criteria, much less every legal resident, an equal say in the process of government.

    Citizens were supposed to know who their political betters were, and chose them as representatives to run the government.
    Those were the founders.
    Our history since then (with occasional setbacks) has been broadening the right to vote.

  16. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/18/2014 - 11:44 am.

    The Brits

    Perhaps the thing I admire most about the British Parliamentary system is that it never occurs to anyone involved in it that anything anyone thought who happened to be a member of Parliament in 1787 should have any impact at all on any of the policy discussions of today. No one was making health care policy back then, and thanks to their system, nobody in Britain has to pretend that they were.

  17. Submitted by Steve Haes on 03/18/2014 - 03:35 pm.

    Money and Parties

    The sad fact to this arguement is that it does not matter.

    Overall in the US who ever spends the most money wins – this is the case is 95% of all elections.

    What we need to do is sponsor very heavily third party canidates, left or right or even center. That is the only way things are going to change for the better.

    For those that want a direct democracy approach, third parties have no change of winning under that approach, they are better off in this enviroment but need to work hand in hand with other thrid parties to make substial gains.

    In the end Republicans and Democrats are exactlyt the same, they do the bidding of corporations with the money.

    • Submitted by Susan Anthony on 03/18/2014 - 04:18 pm.

      Of course Republicans and Democrats are not exactly the same.

      Of course, voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      National Popular Vote will ensure that every voter is equal, and politically relevant to the candidates, everywhere, in every presidential election, and the candidate who received the most popular votes will become president.

      The current state-by-state winner-take-all system discriminates against third-party candidates with broad-based support, while rewarding regional third-party candidates. In 1948, Strom Thurmond and Henry Wallace both got about 1.1 million popular votes, but Thurmond got 39 electoral votes (because his vote was concentrated in southern states), whereas Henry Wallace got none. Similarly, George Wallace got 46 electoral votes with 13% of the votes in 1968, while Ross Perot got 0 electoral votes with 19% of the national popular vote in 1992.

  18. Submitted by Robert Thayer on 09/29/2014 - 09:45 am.

    Doing away with the electoral college is convenient for some

    I live in Maryland. In Maryland we have 23 counties, and Baltimore City. Each election for Governor, Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, And Montgomery County elect our Governor and decide where our electoral college votes go on the National Ballots. The arguments you use for getting rid of the electoral college are convenient for some since others who have a smaller but equal voice disagree with the voice concentrated in cities.

    Politically, most of Maryland is Republican with 21 counties voting for Republican consistently, yet their voice is not heard. Democrats need only campaign in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County to win the majority of the popular vote. Republicans complain that their conservative values and general will for how their state is run is largely ignored. Democrats celebrate a larger expansion of their ideology. If we go to a no electoral college system and replace it with popular vote only, California and New York will decide our Presidents and the rest of America will no longer have a voice.

    Another alternative I have been pondering for years would be to scrap the electoral college and require that all candidates win the popular vote county wide, the most counties won wins the state, the most states won wins the White House. We should not allow our states’ elected officials to decide how National elections are tallied, whoever has the power at the time will as they already have,introduce legislation that would swing districts in their favor with the electoral college through gerrymandering. Both parties do this. With this system, most of America would have more of a voice and the country could have more than two options for political parties to choose from. This would have some drastic consequences yes, One would be Maryland would not be known as a Blue State with this system and it would be fair for all counties to have a voice in deciding the Governor of our State.

    Doing away with the electoral college should favor the current major cities in America. Most of these cities appear to be heavily Democrat and that would be convenient for just some, not all, as the constitution wished all to have an equal opportunity to have a voice, regardless of lifestyle one chooses or where they choose to live.

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