Lawrence Lessig on why the Electoral College should be reformed or eliminated:
Yet this debate is much more interesting—and important—than a typical left/right fight. For the college, as it is, gives no one what they should want. It certainly does not give us what the Framers expected. And if we’re going to reform what everyone should recognize as a broken institution, we need strategies beyond amending the Constitution. (Any amendment from Congress would require 2/3ds of Congress to support it, and then 38 states to ratify it. That’s not even conceivable in the current political climate.)
The Electoral College today is defined by a choice that all but two states have made to allocate their electors to the winner of the popular vote in their state. If a candidate gets even a single vote more than the others, he or she gets all of the Electoral College votes in that state.
This is the “winner-take-all” system. And the consequence of winner-take-all is that candidates for president focus their campaigns exclusively on the so-called “battleground states.” In 2016, 99 percent of campaign spending was in just 14 states — states representing 35 percent of America, and an older and whiter America.
The most plausible alternative to the Electoral College as it is is the National Popular Vote Compact. If states representing the equivalent of 270 electoral college votes commit to this plan, then those states would select electors committed to the winner of the national popular vote — regardless of who wins in the state. This change could happen without an amendment to the Constitution. It is certainly constitutional under the framers’ design.
The advantage of this alternative is that it would end the exclusive hold that the battleground states have on our presidential elections, and hence, on the president. Candidates would have an interest in getting votes from wherever they could get them. That might be New York or Texas (states that now just don’t matter). It might be Missouri or Kansas. The National Popular Vote Compact would make every vote in America count equally — and thus end the possibility that a president would be selected by a minority of American voters.
(click here to continue reading Electoral College confusions | TheHill.)
It is time to ring some changes…
From their website:
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Explanation It has been enacted into law in 12 states with 172 electoral votes (CA, CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). Map showing status in states. The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 98 more electoral votes. It has passed at least one house in 11 additional states with 89 electoral votes (AR, AZ, CO, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR) and has been approved unanimously by committee votes in two additional states with 26 electoral votes (GA, MO).
The bill has recently been passed by a 40–16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House, 28–18 in Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate, 57–4 in Republican-controlled New York Senate, 34-23 in Democratic-controlled Oregon House, and 26-16 in the New Mexico Senate.
State winner-take-all statutes adversely affect governance. “Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.
Also, because of state winner-take-all statutes, five of our 45 Presidents have come into office without having won the most popular votes nationwide. The 2000 and 2016 elections are the most recent examples of elections in which a second-place candidate won the White House. Near-misses are also common under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes. A shift of 59,393 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected John Kerry despite President Bush’s nationwide lead of over 3,000,000 votes.
The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789.
The National Popular Vote interstate compact would not take effect until enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). Under the compact, the national popular vote winner would be the candidate who received the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) on Election Day. When the Electoral College meets in mid-December, the national popular vote winner would receive all of the electoral votes of the enacting states.
The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.
(click here to continue reading National Popular Vote.)