Action Alerts & Updates

Fix the Electoral College

March 1, 2017 / Sarah Andrews / Blogroll, National Popular Vote Compact

Make Oregon Count

The system of electing the President needs changing:

  • Five out of our 45 Presidents have come into office without receiving the most popular votes nationwide.
  • Oregon was one of the numerous states that were totally ignored in the 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2004 general-election campaigns.
  • Please email your Oregon legislators and urge them to pass the National Popular Vote bill (Senate bill SB823).

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

State winner-take-all laws are the reason why a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the national popular vote. Under these state laws, all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each separate state. Given that the average margin in the national popular vote has been only 5% since 1988, undemocratic outcomes will continue to occur if the system for electing the President is not changed.

Existing state winner-take-all laws create another problem in every election. Presidential candidates only campaign in a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Voters in other states get ignored because candidates write off states where they are hopelessly behind, and take for granted states where they are safely ahead. Of the 399 campaign events in the 2016 general-election campaign:

  • Over half of the events (57%) were held in just four states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).
  • Virtually all of the events (94%) were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population). Details.
    Two-thirds of Presidential Campaign Is in Just 6 States
    Two-thirds of Presidential Campaign Is in Just 6 States

As presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) accurately stated in 2015,

The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president. Twelve states are.

Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution empowers state legislatures to change the method of awarding their electoral votes without amending the U.S. Constitution. Article II says:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

Existing state winner-take-all laws may be changed in the same way they were originally enacted — namely by passing a different state law in the state legislature.

Under the National Popular Vote bill, the winner will be the candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes — 270 of 538. All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC — thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

Please tell your Oregon legislators to pass the National Popular Vote bill (Senate bill SB823).

A national popular vote for President is an achievable political goal that can be in place in time for the 2020 election. The bill has already been enacted into law in 11 states possessing 165 electoral votes, including four small jurisdictions (Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia), three medium-sized states (Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington state), and four large states (New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and California). It will take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). Thus, it will take effect when enacted by additional states having 105 electoral votes. The bill has passed at least one chamber in 12 additional states with 96 electoral votes (AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR) and was approved by unanimous bipartisan committee votes in 2016 in two other states with 26 electoral votes (MO and GA). A total of 2,955 state legislators have endorsed it.

Recently, the National Popular Vote bill received bipartisan support in

  • 40-16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House
  • 28-18 vote in the Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate
  • 57-4 vote in the Republican-controlled New York Senate
  • 37-21 vote in the Democratic-controlled Oregon House

The National Popular Vote bill passed the Oregon House of Representatives in 2009, 2013, and 2015, but has not previously received a hearing in the Oregon Senate.

The National Popular Vote bill will make every vote equal throughout the United States. It would ensure that every voter, in every state, will be politically relevant in every presidential election.

Learn more at www.NationalPopularVote.com.

Please tell your Oregon legislators to pass the National Popular Vote bill (Senate bill SB823).

 

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