An alternate use of the Electoral College was the subject Tuesday of a presentation by the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County at the Columbia Public Library.
League member Angie Dunlap informed around 60 attendees about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
States that join the compact agree to give all of their electoral votes to whichever candidate has the most popular votes nationally, rather than who won the popular vote in their state, she said. This approach, if adopted by all states, would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide — without changing the Constitution — according to Dunlap.
“The current Electoral College really doesn’t allow for each person to have an equal voice,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap highlighted several reasons to support the compact. She pointed to five instances in which the person who won the popular vote nationally did not become elected as president: Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.
Dunlap also said that with the current way the Electoral College works, voters think that their votes do not matter.
“We want everyone to have confidence that they’re voting,” Dunlap said. “We want everyone to know that their voice is going to be heard.”
So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed the agreement, according to Dunlap, representing a total of 196 electoral votes, she said.
Dunlap said once the compact includes states with a combined 270 electoral votes — the total required to elect a president — that will trigger the compact to go into effect and ensure the presidency to the candidate who wins the popular vote.
“So there are states who have passed this law, but it hasn’t gone into effect yet,” Dunlap said. “Because the totality of the states joined is not yet at 270 electoral votes.”
Elaine Blodgett of the League of Women Voters said she has been a member of the group for 45 years. She said there’s no need for the Electoral College to be complicated.
“Over the past 200 years, we’ve allowed more people to be able to vote,” Blodgett, who supports the compact, said. “Now, it’s just more logical to make one person equal one vote,” Blodgett said.
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