"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..." -- U.S. Constitution
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In addition to 1,129 state legislative sponsors (shown above), 981 other legislators have cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.
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Short Explanation
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation's voters for President of the United States.   more
11 Enactments
The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law in states possessing 165 electoral votes — 61% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the legislation.

  • Maryland - 10 votes
  • Massachusetts - 11
  • Washington - 12 votes
  • Vermont - 3 votes
  • Rhode Island - 4 votes
  • DC - 3 votes
  • Hawaii - 4 votes
  • New Jersey - 14 votes
  • Illinois - 20 votes
  • New York - 29 votes
  • California - 55 votes

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    Los Angeles Times
    In voting to end electoral college, Maryland dares to go where Schwarzenegger wouldn't
    Los Angeles Times column
    George Skelton
    April 12, 2007

    Sacramento — The governor of Maryland did Tuesday what the governor of California should have done last fall: sign a bill making his state the first to begin junking the electoral college.

    At least, chuck the electoral college as it has evolved. Circumvent the relic, render it moot and elect America's president by popular vote.

    That's the sure way to make California really relevant in presidential elections, to elevate it to being a participant rather than just a spectator. Force candidates to campaign here, not only during an early primary, but also in the general election.

    "The current system bears very little resemblance to the way the electoral college originally was practiced," notes Maryland state Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat and constitutional law professor at American University. He sponsored the legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley.

    The bill makes Maryland the first state to sign an interstate compact that obligates each signatory to cast all its electoral votes for the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact won't go into effect unless it's signed by enough states to comprise a majority of the electoral college vote.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed an identical bill after studying the measure for, it seemed, about three seconds. "It disregards the will of a majority of Californians," he said in his veto message, pointing out that the state's electoral votes could be awarded to a candidate most Californians didn't favor.

    To accept the popular vote concept, one has to support the notion of American citizens being allowed to elect their president directly, rather than it being the privilege of the states.

    "No one can point to a single provision in the Constitution that this compact violates," Raskin says.

    There's nothing sacred in the Constitution about the electoral college's winner-take-all system, in which the candidate who wins a majority of a state's citizen votes wins every one of its electoral votes. In fact, the term electoral college isn't even mentioned in the Constitution.

    The founding fathers merely decreed that the president would be chosen by state "electors," and the legislatures could appoint these electors in any manner they desired. They could have named their drinking buddies, and probably did.

    Electoral votes were allocated to each state based on the number of its U.S. House members, plus two senators.

    In the first election, there were only three winner-take-all states.

    "The founders thought electors were going to be wise men and pick the best person," says John Koza, a Stanford consulting professor who invented the scratch-off lottery ticket and began the National Popular Vote movement. "That survived eight years, until there was a competitive election. After that, the electors became rubber stamps and have remained rubber stamps.

    "It's not like picking the pope, where the cardinals actually exercise judgment."

    The winner-take-all system evolved as states — especially slave states — jockeyed for power leading up to the Civil War.

    "The electoral college was intertwined with slavery," Raskin says. "The electoral college worked like a dream for the slave owners."

    That's because each slave — although denied citizenship and voting rights — counted as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning House seats. And that increased a slave state's electoral votes.

    The modern problems are at least threefold:

    • Big-state votes are devalued. And Republican votes in California in recent elections have been worthless.

    Because of how electoral votes are allocated — with an advantage to rural states — a citizen's vote in Wyoming, say, is worth about four times what it is in California.

    Also, 5.5 million Californians voted for President Bush in 2004 and their votes were wasted. Democratic Sen. John Kerry swept all 55 of the state's electoral votes because more people voted for him.

    • "Safe" states are spectators. Less than a dozen are "battleground" states that see heavy action.

    California recently has been considered safely Democrat, so neither party bothers to compete here. But they'd have to if every vote counted.

    Koza says six of the 10 most populous states are spectators. But so are 12 of the 13 smallest states.

    • It is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote, but still lose in the electoral college.

    This has happened four times in our history, the last in 2000, when nearly 544,000 more people voted for Al Gore than for George Bush.

    That pretty much ended the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument for me. Bush has turned out to be a poster boy for the thesis that the candidate preferred by the most Americans should be elected president.

    The Hawaii Legislature last week voted to join the interstate compact, and Bush was batted all over the House floor as the bill was sent to Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. It's not clear what she'll do.

    In Sacramento, Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) has introduced an identical measure that has cleared its first committee hurdle. But she concedes that scrapping the electoral college will be "a long-term struggle."

    Republicans generally are opposed. It's not exactly clear why.

    Maybe they're defensive about Bush's disputed victory. They do think the current system works best for their presidential candidates, because the big population centers favor Democrats. And I suspect many believe the party fares better in low voter turnouts, and that's what is produced where there is no candidate competition.

    "The biggest factor," says GOP consultant Sal Russo, "is that Republicans tend to be change-averse. We're more comfortable with incremental change. Democrats are more willing to make monumental change."

    That doesn't explain our Republican governor's veto, however. He fashions himself as a bold reformer.

    In this case, I suspect, Schwarzenegger figured he'd already poked Republicans in the eye too often on other issues. Next time, hopefully he'll take longer to think about the concept of one-person, one-vote.


    Reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President