Letter to the Editor: National Popular Vote 101

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) does not do away with the Electoral College. A constitutional amendment would be required to abolish the Electoral College. Several efforts to so amend the Constitution have been hampered by the demanding process involved.

The NPVIC recognizes that the Electoral College is not the real problem with our current electoral system. Rather, the shortcomings of our system stem from the “winner-take-all” approach to allocating electoral votes practiced in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Maine and Nebraska award two of their electoral votes to the statewide winner but award the remainder of their electoral votes to the candidates receiving the most popular votes in each congressional district.

The shortcomings caused by the winner-take-all approach are numerous and include the following: (1) A candidate can win the presidency without winning the popular vote, as happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016. (2) Candidates are encouraged to focus disproportionately on a limited set of swing states (and in the case of Maine and Nebraska, swing districts), and this focus also adversely affects governance by the winning candidate. (3) Voter turnout is decreased in states without close races.

The electoral system we have today was not designed, anticipated nor favored by the Founding Fathers. Instead, it is the result of decades of change driven primarily by the emergence of political parties and the desire of each state’s ruling party not to give any of the state’s electoral votes to the minority party.

While certain founders conceived of the Electoral College as a deliberative body, from 1796 onward electors have instead acted as “rubber stamps” for their parties’ nominees.

States that join the NPVIC agree to award all their electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide. The NPVIC laws adopted by member states will go into effect when enough states have joined the compact such that their electoral votes constitute a majority vote in the Electoral College, currently 270. As of this writing, the member states have electoral votes totaling 196.
Please join me this November in voting YES on the National Popular Vote referendum here in Colorado. A YES vote supports Colorado’s current position in the compact and the compact’s goal of eliminating the shortcomings of the winner-take-all approach to electing our nation’s president.

 Nancy Harcourt
Del Norte, Colorado
Volunteer, Yes on National Popular Vote


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