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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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    The Columbian Editorials




    In our view, April 17: Equal Voting
    Legislature sends Electoral College reform measure to governor for signature
    The Columbian editorial
    April 17, 2009

    Washington will become the fifth state to join an interstate compact that would essentially bypass the Electoral College and assure the leading national vote-getter of winning presidential elections. The state House on Wednesday night approved the measure by a 52-42 vote. The Senate had approved the bill earlier, and Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign it soon.

    The national popular vote bill was approved in both chambers largely by Democrats. Clark County Democratic legislators supported the reform while local Republican lawmakers opposed it.

    This effort in our state will add momentum to the national movement to bypass the Electoral College, which four times in our nation's history (most recently in 2000, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore) has allowed a candidate who did not win the national popular vote to become president.

    As we have editorialized often, this is undemocratic and un-American. Only one public election in the nation allows the possibility of the leading vote-getter to losing, and it's not some local race for dogcatcher. It's the most vital decision Americans make, to select the most powerful person in the world.

    Abolishing the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment; it's supported by Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution. But in this case a more direct reform is needed, and here's how the interstate compact would work: It would only take effect when adopted by enough states to form 270 electoral votes (the minimum to win the presidency), at which time all electors from those states would agree to vote for the national popular winner.

    Voters (the ones who matter most) make their voices heard in November, and electors vote in December. Last year, Jane Buchanan-Banks of Felida was one of Washington's 11 electors, all of whom voted for Barack Obama.

    He, of course, was the national winner, but what those 11 electors did at that Dec. 15 meeting in Olympia should make all Republicans absolutely livid. On that day, the 1.2 million Washingtonians who voted for John McCain instantly became meaningless. It was as if they had never voted.

    Ironically, it is Republican lawmakers in Olympia who opposed efforts to repair this abominable system, generally because they believe the Founding

    Fathers knew best how to elect a president. Also ironically, it is Republicans who often scream loudest about counting every vote and making sure every vote counts equally, yet the Electoral College threatens those noble concepts. And here's a scenario that should especially outrage Republicans:

    Had George W. Bush not won Ohio in 2004 (it was a close race there), he would have lost to John Kerry despite receiving 3 million more votes … because of the Electoral College.

    Washingtonians largely support this common-sense reform. Four months ago, a statewide poll of 800 voters by the national firm Public Policy Polling showed that 77 percent wanted the leading vote-getter to win the presidency; among Democrats, there was 85 percent support, and among Republicans it was 68 percent.

    When Washington becomes the fifth state to join the compact, it will give the movement 23 percent of the needed electoral votes. Similar efforts are under way in several other states. For the sake of every vote counting equally in America's most vital election, we hope those efforts move forward.





    Opinion - Behold the purple people
    The Columbian editorial
    JOHN LAIRD Columbian editorial page editor
    Sunday, March 5, 2006

    Frequently I have written about red states and blue states. That makes me as guilty as any other journalist of perpetuating one of the greatest myths in America. There are, in fact, no red states or blue states.

    No matter how often the blow-dried boys on TV rush to colorize their election coverage, no matter how passionately Republicans salivate over their maps of "red" America, all 50 states are varying shades of purple. The political philosophy across our land is just as purple as the majesty of our mountains.

    This is especially true in Clark County. In the 2004 presidential election, our county was 52.0 percent red and 46.6 blue. As my kindergarten teacher would insist, that's purple. In 2000, our county was even more amalgamated: 49.6 percent red and 45.6 percent blue. What's so aggravating is that our supposedly red county had virtually no impact in either presidential election. All 11 of our state's electoral votes went blue, to John Kerry in 2004 and to Al Gore in 2000.

    So we have these huge mischaracterizations of large groups of people as red or blue when not one of the groups is either. The root of this problem is the Electoral College, without which there probably would be no red or blue states.

    Every time this subject comes up, I repeat my mantra question that no one has convincingly answered: What could possibly be wrong with the leading vote-getter winning an election?

    Truthfully speaking, both political parties should be furious about the Electoral College. In 2000, it cost Democrats the White House, when Gore was the top vote-getter. And in 2004, it almost cost Republicans the White House. Change just 60,000 votes in Ohio, and Kerry would've won the presidency via the Electoral College despite Bush having 3.5 million more votes nationally.

    Alas, abolishing the Electoral College is out of the question. It would require a constitutional amendment, and if Americans can't even ratify equal rights for women, it's doubtful that we'd agree to close the Electoral College, which some dolts probably think is a school, perhaps a member of the Pac 10 Conference.

    A reasonable path to reform

    But there's hope. It appeared on the political horizon only recently. A bipartisan group is promoting a plan called the Campaign for the National Popular Vote. Here's how it would work:

    Instead of abolishing the Electoral College, the states would enter into a compact and agree to give their Electoral College votes to the national winner. This is not as startling as it sounds; states already are free to allocate their votes however they choose. In fact, Maine and Nebraska award some of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins each congressional district.

    Of course, no state wants to be first to take this step. So the legislation, already introduced in Illinois, would not take effect until enough states join the compact to represent 270 electoral votes, the number required to win the presidency. Then, electoral votes would be awarded according to the national popular vote, and the leading vote-getter would always be assured of becoming president.

    Why is this necessary? Two reasons:

  • With the Electoral College, Wyoming has one vote per 164,592 residents while California has one vote per 627,253 residents. That's un-American.
  • Presidential candidates always ignore heavily partisan states and focus on "swing" states." In 2000 and again in 2004, they flocked to Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and even desolate New Mexico while ignoring Illinois, California, Texas and New York, which leaned heavily toward one candidate. This dysfunctional system has been criticized by former presidential candidate John Anderson, a National Popular Vote advocate, this way: "We shouldn't make irrelevant 10 out of the 13 most populous states. Why should people feel they should even vote if they are irrelevant to the process?"
  • So true. Especially here in Washington state, where 748,000 people voted for Bush in 2004. Their votes did not mean diddly-squat. They might as well have stayed home. All 11 of the state's electoral votes went to Kerry, the loser.

    Those people were neither red nor blue, just purple ... with rage.

    And that's just wrong.

    John Laird is The Columbian's editorial page editor. His column of personal opinion appears on the View page each Sunday. Reach him at: .



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