Analysis of Voter Choice Ballot (Unilateral Awarding of Electoral Votes)

A group called “Making Every Vote Count” (MEVC) is advocating that individual states unilaterally enact laws that award their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner—without the requirement (contained in the National Popular Vote compact) that a group of states possessing a majority of the electoral votes have all agreed to award their electoral votes to the nationwide winner. 

National Popular Vote (NPV) only learned about the “Voter Choice Ballot” (VCB) proposal after the group called “Making Every Vote Count” (MEVC) announced it publicly.  The VCB proposal was not as a result of any collaboration with NPV.  NPV does not endorse VCB.  National Popular Vote is not affiliated with MEVC. 

Under MEVC’s proposed “Voter Choice Ballot” (VCB), voters would first cast their vote for President in the usual way, and then vote on the following yes-no question:  

“Do you want the candidate who receives the most votes in the nation to become the President? If you do, fill in the oval next to YES.” 

After the voter answers this appealingly worded yes-no question, the voter is told:

“The state will count the votes for all those who filled in the YES oval as cast for the winner of the national popular vote for the purpose of appointing electors as otherwise provided by this state’s law.”  

The opaque phrase “as otherwise provided by this state’s law” means that the vote that the voter just cast for President will be subtracted from the voter’s preferred candidate and added to the opposing candidate that the voter just voted against—if (1) the voter’s preferred choice for President is ahead in the voter’s own state, and (2) the opposing candidate is ahead in the national popular vote. 

The “Voter Choice Ballot” (VCB) has the following major flaws:

  • The appealingly-worded yes-no question on the VCB ballot is superfluous window-dressing.  Enacting VCB is, for all practical purposes, equivalent to the state unilaterally giving its electoral votes to the national winner. Therefore, the VCB proposal must be evaluated as if it were simply a proposal to unilaterally award the state’s electoral votes to the nationwide winner.
  • Enactment of VCB by a state such as Minnesota (and many other states) would give the Republican presidential nominee a one-sided partisan advantage, while not giving a like benefit to the Democratic nominee.   
  • The “Voter Choice Ballot” would not motivate presidential candidates to campaign outside of the dozen or so closely divided battleground states—and would actually increase their clout. 
  • No battleground state will enact the “Voter Choice Ballot” because it would be exchanging more attention than its population warrants for considerably less attention than its population warrants.
  • Enactment of the “Voter Choice Ballot” would not come close to making every vote equal throughout the United States. 
  • No reliably red state or reliably blue state will enact the “Voter Choice Ballot” because it would be unilaterally turning its electoral votes over to the opposing party.
  • Enactment of the “Voter Choice Ballot” by one state, or a few states, would not come close to guaranteeing the Presidency to the national popular vote winner.
  • The opaque wording and arrangement of the “Voter Choice Ballot” obscures the fact that a voter’s vote may be transferred to the presidential candidate the voter just voted against.
  • The reality of real-world lobbying is that there is no pool of incremental, gettable state legislative votes that would support the enactment of the “Voter Choice Ballot."
  • The “Voter Choice Ballot” would hinder enactment of the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact because it is confusingly similar to NPV, and cannot withstand scrutiny.  VCB’s flaws would inevitably be incorrectly attributed to NPV, thus creating doubt and delay.

Click here for detailed discussion of the flaws of the Voter Choice Ballot