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Melissa Seideman

Teacher,

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Direct popular vote should replace the Electoral College.

Please state your opinion here about this debate and respond to one other person.

Pro- Lindy and Miranda
Con- Claudia and Caitriona

Debate is on Thursday.

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  • Jan 3 2013: I can tell, #SusanAnthony, has very strong feelings about this topic.
  • Jan 2 2013: A direct popular vote, although somewhat daunting because I don't trust the majority of Americans, would represent the people's views. Although the electoral college system is a fair one, because whichever party wins in the state wins the electoral votes, (except Maine and Nebraska) people don't really care if the presidential candidate wins their state. Winning the entire election is a much bigger deal. However, because there is so much controversy with voter fraud, trying to account for every single person's vote could be one big mess. On the other hand, only about 50% of Americans actually do cast a vote, so even if a direct popular vote were enacted, would it really be accurate? Half of the country would be missing! Perhaps a direct popular vote would inspire people to vote because they may feel their vote now has more significance, rather than just accepting the fate of their state and not contributing to the political process. But who knows! All I really know is that without the Electoral College, Al Gore would have been President. Maybe he'll run again if we switch to a popular vote! FINGERS CROSSED!
    • Jan 3 2013: The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored. 9 states determined the 2012 election. 10 of the original 13 states are politically irrelevant in presidential campaigns now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. In 2008, 98% of the campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states. 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.
    • Jan 3 2013: Most Americans don't 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's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      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). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

      NationalPopularVote
    • Jan 3 2013: The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

      National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

      The closest popular-vote election in 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.

      For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

      Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
    • Jan 3 2013: In 2008, voter turnout in the then 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.

      In 2012, voter turnout was 11% higher in the battleground states than in the remainder of the country.

      If presidential campaigns now did not ignore more than 200,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80% of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.
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      Jan 3 2013: I think a huge majority of Americans would agree with you Kady. It goes back to the original intention of the framers.
      • Jan 4 2013: The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

        Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

        The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

        Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

        In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.
      • Jan 4 2013: Most Americans don't 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's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

        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). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

        NationalPopularVote
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    Dec 29 2012: In the history of the U.S. the outcome was different from the popular vote I think twice. The reality is it does not matter.

    Additionally there is a reason that the electoral college exists of which a minority understands why.

    This has been discussed many times recently on TED
    • Jan 2 2013: Most Americans don't 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's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 14 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 7 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

      In the current system, battleground states are the only states that matter in presidential elections. Campaigns are tailored to address the issues that matter to voters in these states. 80% of states and voters are ignored.

      Safe red and blue states are considered a waste of time, money and energy to candidates. These "spectator" states receive no campaign attention, visits or ads. Their concerns are utterly ignored.
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        Jan 3 2013: I hear you Susan

        But I think there were only 2 elections that would have had different outcomes if the POTUS was elected by popular vote.

        I wish the Representatives would start voting differently with their electoral votes otherwise this country is toast.
        • Jan 3 2013: Pat, not sure what you mean when you say "I wish the Representatives would start voting differently with their electoral votes..."

          The electors ARE NOT Representatives of the US - they are chosen by respective political parties!!!! This was at first a shock to me!!!

          The U.S. Constitution states only that, "no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector." -- Article II. section 1, clause 2

          Let the people pick the president, not the parties. Although you say the electoral vote only disagreed with the popular vote in 2 presidential elections, an electoral system makes a third-party win fairly impossible. Do electors really represent what the people want?
        • Jan 3 2013: Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in 4 of the nation's 57 (1 in 14 = 7%) presidential elections.

          A shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 14 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 7 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.
        • Jan 3 2013: Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

          If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party's dedicated activists.

          The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).
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        Jan 3 2013: The electoral college can vote in way they feel is best for the country which may not be how the constituents voted.

        Here is a quote of why I feel that way:

        Let's look at what we have learned from this election:

        Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people
        re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about nine percent. This shows, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots. We're now stuck with the same useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve. You can't fix stupid!
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      Jan 3 2013: Thanks for contributing to our classroom discussion!
  • Dec 28 2012: YES! Although candidates might not care as much about a low-populated state like Wyoming (less than 1/2 million people in the state), the electoral college currently gives such states too much weight in presidential elections.

    See this website for useful infographics that show the uneven "distribution" when it comes to electoral points in each state-
    http://www.dailynews.com/politics-national/2012/11/electoral-college-strengthens-wyoming-weakens-california/
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    Jan 7 2013: I am not afraid. In the simplest terms:

    1. National Elections.
    2. Dismantle Electoral College.
    3. Impeachment is to hard, create vote of no confidence.
    4. In light of American competitiveness, we'll have more governments then Italy.

    Seriously, the constitution has been under attack since almost day one. To institute a national election would be as great an assault on the basic tenents of the constitution as the civil war. There are already academics questioning the need for the constitution. Can their voting students be far behind?
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    Jan 4 2013: I'm afraid to reply to this discussion incase Susan Anthony sees it, ha ha.
    shes posted equal to 15 solid pages of text here.
  • Jan 3 2013: The Electoral College is a necessary component of our national government. It need not remove power from the people. Rather it and the currently existing national election act in many ways as an extension of the system of balancing power between large and small states. The national election gives a voice to every American, therefore giving large states more power. The Electoral College, on the other hand, ensures that the small states have some power. That said, I believe the national election should be given more weight, especially when it means the difference between President Gore and President Bush.
  • Jan 3 2013: I find the electoral college to be a much needed institution when it comes to the representation of the American people. Many people find it to be a problem that the American people do not truly have a completely direct vote, and often feel like they have less power than they are told they have. I do not agree. Sure, they are fundamentally correct, they do not have a direct vote, but this is not a true problem. I believe America to be one of the greatest countries in the world, and I find the interaction between the elected and the electors to be one of the finest out of any nation. But I don't really trust the people with this power completely in their hands. Popular Sovereignty seems like the most perfect way to have a complete democracy, but it can be too much power for the people to control. In the years 1854 to 1861, the people of the Kansas territory were given the ability to vote completely on their own accord on the issue of slavery. Obviously, this was a different time, and slavery was an issue that had many fierce supporters on either side, that being said however, it was one of the most violent times in American history, with many riots breaking out, and hundreds killed. My point is not that if the American people are given the right to direct voting there will be people killed over who should be elected president, but many people may abuse the right, including politicians, who could create even harsher targeted advertising, or political groups, who could force people into voting a certain way.
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      Jan 3 2013: What do you mean by "people killed over who should be elected president?"
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    Jan 3 2013: The Electoral College was envisioned to be the states voting for the President of the Federation of the United States. States had differing methods of selecting the electorate members, direct election soon became the most used. The 17th amendment eliminated the state's voice in the legislature of the federation. If we go to direct election of the President, then what would be the need for the states. We would have a unnecessary level of government. The federal government can pretty much do all the activities that states currently do. Now there are laws in some states not in others. Problem solved.
    Of course, we'll have to do something about our name... United ... People of America?
    • Jan 3 2013: With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founders meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it.

      The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

      The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College.

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.

      States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

      Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

      Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).
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        Jan 3 2013: All points well taken. How much power state governments possess relative to the national government? The states poll their electorates to elect the President of the Federation of United States. The National Popular Vote becomes law, the 17th eliminated the states from the national government, so why do we need the states again?
  • Jan 3 2013: I believe that the electoral college is a fair way of choosing the president because the electoral colleges are supposed to have the people who have experience, and they should know what the economy needs and what is the best for America, and its future. The president and vice president should not be picked by the people. If it was based on populations, the less populated areas would not be looked at by the candidates. They would only go to cities with denser populations. Smaller states would never be visited, and they would be seen as not very useful parts of the election. With the Electoral system, it extends the presidential campaign to the smaller states as well as the larger states.
    • Jan 3 2013: I agree that the electoral college is a fair way to gauge the people's views of who should be elected. Particularly because the electoral college is always consistent. Every member of the college votes in every election, where the actual rate of voter turn out has been sharply decreasing over the last few elections. This could create the possibility of a single political party being factored out completely in a single election, because their supporters may not be showing up to the polls.
      • Jan 3 2013: In 2008, voter turnout in the then 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.
        If presidential campaigns now did not ignore more than 200,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80% of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.

        In 2012, voter turnout was 11% higher in the battleground states than in the remainder of the country.

        Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

        National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

        And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

        With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

        Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.
    • Jan 3 2013: The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

      The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored. 9 states determined the 2012 election. 10 of the original 13 states are politically irrelevant in presidential campaigns now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. In 2008, 98% of the campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states. 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections.

      In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states - NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) - got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party.
    • Jan 3 2013: With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
      The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

      Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

      Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

      If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

      A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

      The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

      With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.
  • Jan 2 2013: The Electoral College and a direct popular vote each offer there own benefits, and also downfalls. The Electoral college can offer a say in voting to states with smaller populations in a more proportionate manner. Therefore, I think the electoral college offers a better system of voting because it doesn't allow the uneducated to input their vote without consideration and thought. These votes can lead to an election that doesn't offer as approximate election as the electoral college provides. The Electoral College is overall a better system and the direct popular vote should not replace it.
    • Jan 2 2013: During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

      80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential elections. That's more than 200 million Americans.

      Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

      If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party's dedicated activists.
    • Jan 3 2013: Aaron, I agree with your point of the better representation of the smaller states within the electoral college, and how it does not allow the uneducated and inexperienced to cast a vote, which is very important for the future.
      • Jan 3 2013: The Electoral College does not keep uneducated and inexperienced Americans from voting.

        The smaller states support a national popular vote.

        In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states - NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) - got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

        In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

        Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don't matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

        Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE --75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%, NE - 74%, NH--69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

        Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.
  • Jan 2 2013: I strongly feel that the electoral college does not accurately represent the the nation, let alone the state. For example, the distribution of Electoral votes in the College tends to over-represent people in rural States because the Electors for each State is determined by the number of members it has in the House. It is nearly tyrannical that the outcome of a presidential election relies on the decisions of the Electors. The election of a presidential candidate should be solely based on the favor of the people, not the persons that represent said people. If we continue to do as we do, it is inevitable that the people will rebel against the system and devastating consequences will arise. We must repair the horrible structure of the system before more damage is dealt.
    • Jan 2 2013: Most Americans don't 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's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      In 2008, voter turnout in the then 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.
      If presidential campaigns now did not ignore more than 200,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80% of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.

      In 2012, voter turnout was 11% higher in the battleground states than in the remainder of the country.

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

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

      When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

      The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

      NationalPopularVote
  • Jan 2 2013: I believe the popular vote should replace the Electoral College. However, I believe that we should use the Electoral College as an archetype for a new popular vote system. For example, we could use the number of electoral votes each state has (ex: New york is twenty nine) and divide them according to their percentage of votes. This would help avoid the infinite amount of recounts that would most likely occur in close elections.Its hard to be optimistic when people from all parts of the political spectrum would demand a recount. This number system would also reduce America's stress as to who would be the President of the United States when waiting for the eighteenth recount to be finished . Politicians, just a bunch of babies they are.
    • Jan 2 2013: Any state that enacts the proportional approach on its own would reduce its own influence. This was the most telling argument that caused Colorado voters to agree with Republican Governor Owens and to reject this proposal in November 2004 by a two-to-one margin.

      If the proportional approach were implemented by a state, on its own, it would have to allocate its electoral votes in whole numbers. If a current battleground state were to change its winner-take-all statute to a proportional method for awarding electoral votes, presidential candidates would pay less attention to that state because only one electoral vote would probably be at stake in the state.

      The proportional method also could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

      If the whole-number proportional approach had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

      A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

      Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

      A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate.
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      Jan 3 2013: Interesting idea Kiran
  • Jan 2 2013: I believe that eliminating our Electoral College would bring our country ot a true democracy. The Electoral College diminishes the value of one man's vote but magnifies the vote of another. Depending on where a person lives in our counrty is what determines how much his vote is worth. Candidates and people in certain states always assume that the state will always vote one way or another by what color their state is shaded on the College map. If a state is typically Democratic, the state will assume to be Democratic always. However, if you live in a Swing State, that is where most of the election energy is focused towards. Those are the states in which a Candidate is fighting to get the College votes from. States such as Florida have 29 Electoral Votes and they are a Battle Ground State.That diminishes the value of the consistantly one way states, and our democracy. -Daija Green
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      Jan 3 2013: @Diana The electoral is made to give all minorities a say in an election. Twenty-Nine states have laws and penalties that vote against the way the people had voted in the election. The electors do take into account the word of the people and try to stay faithful to their decisions.
      • Jan 4 2013: National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

        And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

        With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

        Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

        When and where voters matter, then so are the issues they care about most.
  • Jan 2 2013: The popular vote should repace the electoral college, I believe. I'm not old enough to vote (except for in my school's mock election), but if I was then I would really to feel like my vote had its fair share of influence. The electoral college is undermining the claimed fairness and equality in our political system and therefore putting even more political distrust in American minds. The winning candidate should be the candidate with the most votes. Please see link below for a prime example.
    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=al+gore&num=10&hl=en&safe=active&tbo=d&biw=1024&bih=562&tbm=isch&tbnid=hmjbsx2leyg6VM:&imgrefurl=http://www.biography.com/people/al-gore-9316028&docid=owT6TuCFbELUjM&imgurl=http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/G/Al-Gore-9316028-1-402.jpg&w=402&h=402&ei=nFjkUMbxHYGV0QH52oHQDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=2&vpy=35&dur=450&hovh=224&hovw=224&tx=117&ty=150&sig=105362329924787298585&page=1&tbnh=152&tbnw=167&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:89&surl=1
    • Jan 3 2013: What a great picture. I agree that the electoral college undermined the fairness, because the president technically could not be the person that the people truly want representing them.
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      Jan 3 2013: Great point "claimed fairness and equality in our political system" Is it truly a democracy or a representative democracy then?
  • Jan 2 2013: I do not believe Electoral Colleges are good for this country. A big example is the Bush Presidency. The people should have a direct vote. If not, then how are we a true democracy for the people. The elecotral College gives the government the power to chose who gets elected. For example in the Bush/Gore Election. Gore was the winner of the direct election. But when the Electoral College voted, they voted Bush. Bush didn't win the peoples vote, Gore did. What's to stop the government from getting a very bad man into power, through the Electoral College system.
  • Jan 2 2013: I believe that the Electoral College is a fair way to represent the people of the United States but the people who make up the College should be chosen in a popular vote. If the general public has a greater say in who represents them in the college, then the system works out better.
    • Jan 2 2013: This is interesting. A popular vote to elect the Electoral College...good thinking!
    • Jan 2 2013: This is true because it does offer a more fair representations in proportion to population sizes of the states. Your idea to elect the representatives in the College that way is a very valid proposal.
    • Jan 3 2013: This would allow the College to stay in place, but give more power to the people. Great idea
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      Jan 3 2013: Interesting idea Stephen!
  • Jan 2 2013: Al Gore should have won, point proven.
  • Jan 2 2013: i think that the electoral college should not be replaced. Although some people think that using the popular vote would be more democratic, i think it could actually make it less. People are chosen to be the delegates for their states to represent their states decision. it gives the states a say whether small or large. the popular vote would give big states all the say in who gets elected because they have much bigger populations. the person who gets elected affects both big states and small states. the electoral college allows fair representation for the whole nation.
    • Jan 2 2013: That's a really good point. Because not everybody votes, America does need a safety net as to who should be elected. Sometimes, the public's judgement as a whole may not be the best and it's nice to have the government cover those loose ends.
  • Jan 2 2013: I'm Thomas Califano. I couldn't log in, so I'm stealing Koval's thing. Here's mah response:
    The electoral college is very important in our country in that in ensures that, regardless of what the mindless sheep who vote may think is good for the country, there are educated citizens with actually stakes in the government who have a better chance of putting the best guy in charge. If I had my way, we’d use the idea proposed by Alexander Hamilton, where only the people with legitimate stakes in the government can vote. This would ensure that people stay informed and actually learn about the candidates and the issues. Quite frankly, the opinions of the people who know nothing about politics and see voting as a chore are not important and should not be considered serious, as they can greatly influence the country without even knowing why they’re voting for who they’re voting for, or what he even really stands for.
    • Jan 2 2013: I agree, Thomas. The College allows for a better body of people electing the President.
      • Jan 3 2013: The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

        The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders.

        The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored. 9 states determined the 2012 election. 10 of the original 13 states are politically irrelevant in presidential campaigns now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising.
    • Jan 2 2013: The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,453 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome. Since 1796, the Electoral College has had the form, but not the substance, of the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

      If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state's dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party's dedicated activists.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).
    • Jan 3 2013: Thomas, I strongly feel that your view over this subject is exceptionally valid. Even though we have conflicting political views, I concur with your argument.
  • Jan 2 2013: The United States of America is the face of democracy, or representative republic. Technically we do not have a true democracy, but we tend to act like we do. When it comes down to voting for our President we spend millions of dollars on campaigns, the election, and everything in between, but what is all for when in the end the Electoral College can over rule the popular vote? If the popular vote almost always votes the way the Electoral College does then why do we need it? We live as the face of choice, yet in reality our choice doesn’t matter in the end. The representatives who are chosen for the Electoral College are supposed to have to vote due to the citizen’s choice, but not all states have the law that the Electoral College has to choose that candidate. Our system of federalism has created a way that each branch of government can check and balance each other out, and with these powers if the President was not carrying out his executive duty the House of Representatives could impose impeachment. In the end, there is no way our government could truly suffer if we do not have an Electoral College. It is becoming more of a tradition in our society, and takes away one of our greatest rights as citizens. We the people should fully own the right to vote who our president is, and not just put on a show to make it seem like we are.
    • Jan 2 2013: Even though some states allow electoral college voters to go against what the people voted for it's not going to happen. The party that wins the popular vote picks the electors ensuring they will vote for the winning party. The electoral college may not be perfect and could use some revisions but it is not taking away from the democratic process. The popular vote in each state is still taken into account.
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      Jan 3 2013: Great Points Kit- ". Technically we do not have a true democracy, but we tend to act like we do." I like the point about the EC being like a show!
  • Jan 2 2013: @Diana The electoral is made to give all minorities a say in an election. Twenty-Nine states have laws and penalties that vote against the way the people had voted in the election. The electors do take into account the word of the people and try to stay faithful to their decisions.
  • Jan 2 2013: I think that the electoral college should not be replaced. The electoral college provides states with low populations to have their own say in the election. This gives some sort of equality to the smaller states but the larger states still have a bigger impact on the elections. Also, voters in the electoral college base their votes on the results of the popular vote in each state. Therefore their are still elements of a direct popular vote in the electoral college system. Getting rid of the electoral college would not change election results dramatically. In most elections the winner has had the majority of popular votes.
    • Jan 2 2013: i agree. i think that states should have a say rather than just the people. if popular vote replaced the electoral college the decision would be left entirely up to the people instead of states.
    • Jan 2 2013: In my opinion, the electoral college should not remain, but at the same time i do agree with your point. The fact that small states have equal representation always gives them an opportunity to have a voice.
      • Jan 2 2013: Small states do not have equal representation. Delaware has 3 electoral votes. California 55.

        In 2008, of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes), 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. Of the seven smallest states with any post-convention visits, Only 4 of the smallest states - NH (12 events), NM (8), NV (12), and IA (7) - got the outsized attention of 39 of the 43 total events in the 25 smallest states. In contrast, Ohio (with only 20 electoral votes) was lavishly wooed with 62 of the total 300 post-convention campaign events in the whole country.

        In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

        Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don't matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

        Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE --75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%, NE - 74%, NH--69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

        Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.
    • Jan 2 2013: Hello, Thomas is still using Koval's thing here because I haven't gotten the confirmation email thing. It also ensures that the vote of the educated upper class with actual stakes in the outcome of the elections have a bigger voice in electing the President, thus increasing the credibility of elections and stuff.
    • Jan 2 2013: The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 14 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 7 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

      The National Popular Vote bill would change current state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

      The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.
  • Jan 2 2013: I believe that the electoral college provides an equal say for all people. Twenty nine states have penalties against the electoral college if they do not vote the way the people had voted. Only twice has an election been changed by the electoral college. Honestly the electoral college gives every minority of people a say in the government. Every group has the chance to be represented in the electoral college. So to be honest the popular vote is taken into account during the elections, they just may not be the deciding factor.
    • Jan 2 2013: That's the problem, the popular vote should be the deciding factor. Why is the government voteing for itself, or in other words getting itself elected. It's like the court system, where even though the jury has the power to decide, the judge has the final say. So why even have a jury.
    • Jan 3 2013: Ryan, while I do respect your point that the electoral system rarely alters the outcome of an election, I also believe that these instances have the ability to impact society as negative as it can positive. In other words, the president elected from the electoral college rather then from the popular vote may, by chance, may profoundly effect the ruling of a nation. To oppose this from happening, the United States should base the outcome of an election solely from the favor of the people,
  • Jan 2 2013: I think that the popular vote should be used over the electoral college because it ensures equal representation among the entire nation. With the electoral college, a candidate in an election may have more people that actually voted for them in a particular state however that doesn't mean they necessarily win because the electors may vote the opposite way. I feel that it is unjust to have our system work this way especially with the win or take all system.
  • Dec 30 2012: Yes, Popular vote should replace the electoral college. No, elections will not be vastly improved. What really needs to be addressed is the sheer amount of uneducated votes that get counted. I can't think of a method, but we need a way to make the votes be more informed and less passionate.
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    Dec 29 2012: Much to the annoyance of a certain commenter, being ok with the electoral college is really going to work against his side.
    The distribution and ratio of Democrats:Republicans makes it almost certain that Democrats will win every election until the college can be theoretically removed (which wont be for approximately 3 more elections), so there will almost certainly be a democrat in the whitehouse for the next 12 years + the 4 we have now.

    Even though I'd hate the idea of any republican having office again (besides the very select few who wont run, but should) if one side can win, even when losing the popular vote by a large margin, then its hardly a democratic process.

    One man + one vote + Government funded campaigns.
  • Dec 29 2012: How can one top Pat? It generally doesn't influence the outcome. Why change what isn't broken? A good reason to leave it alone will probably appear right after we get rid of it.
    • Jan 2 2013: The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 14 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 7 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

      If you support the current presidential election system, believing it is what the Founders intended and that it is in the Constitution, then you are mistaken The current presidential election system does not function, at all, the way that the Founders thought that it would.

      Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse the current electoral system where 80% of the states and voters now are completely politically irrelevant. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10.

      With National Popular Vote, with every vote equal, candidates will truly have to care about the issues and voters in all 50 states and DC. A vote in any state will be as sought after as a vote in Florida. Part of the genius of the Founding Fathers was allowing for change as needed. When they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t give us the right to vote, or establish state-by-state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes, or establish any method, for how states should award electoral votes. Fortunately, the Constitution allowed state legislatures to enact laws allowing people to vote and how to award electoral votes.

      NationalPopularVote