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Maine Senate Backs Switch to National Popular Vote Model – Is It Time to Eliminate the Electoral College?

Should the U.S. abandon the Electoral College?

by Countable | 5.15.19

Update - April 10, 2019:

  • Maine could become the latest state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, after the Senate voted to pledge its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact only goes into effect if laws pass in enough states to represent an electoral majority (i.e., the states joining the coalition must have a combined electoral vote of 270 or above). The total is now at 189, with 14 states and Washington, D.C., having joined the pact.
“We’re not in the 1700s any more,” said Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden. “Sometimes we change the laws because we live in a modern century. It happens a lot. This one needs to be changed.”
  • Opponents have warned that moving away from the Electoral College will further minimize the political influence of smaller states like Maine.
“The national popular vote would effectively nullify the votes from Maine and other small states,” said Sen. Stacey Guerin, R-Glenburn.
  • Maine is one of two states that awards its electors by congressional district.

Read Countable's other updates below.


Update - April 10, 2019:

  • Oregon could become the 16th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, after the Senate voted to pledge its 7 electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact only goes into effect if laws pass in enough states to represent an electoral majority (i.e., the states joining the coalition must have a combined electoral vote of 270 or above). The total is now at 189. If Oregon's House passes the law, and the governor signs it, the total would stand at 196.
  • New Mexico joined the compact last week, which was already adopted by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia.
"This is the fully constitutional way to ensure that every voter is politically relevant in every presidential election while preserving the Electoral College as the founders intended," John Koza, chairman of the National Popular Vote group, said following Oregon's vote.
  • Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) joined two others in her party in arguing against entering the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, saying it should be decided by the voters.
“If we’re going to change how we elect the president of the United States, it should be referred to voters. One Oregonian, one vote.”
  • Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) was more blunt:
“If we get to the national popular vote, I don’t ever see a Republican president…in the future."

Read Countable's other updates below.


Update - March 29, 2019:

  • The First State has become the 13th state to pledge its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
  • Delaware Governor John Carney (D) on Thursday signed SB22 in law, bringing his state into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact only goes into effect if laws pass in enough states to represent an electoral majority (i.e., the states joining the coalition must have a combined electoral vote of 270 or above). The total is now at 184.

Read Countable's original story below.


Update - March 20, 2019:

  • A president is saying we should keep the electoral college, a presidential candidate is urging the U.S. to go popular.
  • President Donald Trump, who had called the electoral college a "disaster for democracy," said he now realizes it's "far better for the U.S.A."
"The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win," Trump said in a tweet. "With the Popular Vote, you go to just the large States - the Cities would end up running the Country. Smaller States & the entire Midwest would end up losing all power — & we can’t let that happen. "
  • At the same time, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is calling for ending the electoral college.
“Every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College."

Countable's original stories appear below.


Update - March 18, 2019:

  • Delaware's House has passed a bill that would award the state's 3 Electoral College votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote.
  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact only goes into effect if laws pass in enough states to represent an electoral majority (i.e., the states joining the coalition must have a combined electoral vote of 270 or above). Colorado recently joined the compact, bringing the total to 181.
  • State Rep. David Bentz (D), the sponsor of the bill, said the legislation would force politicians to take notice of the Diamond State:
“We’re already overlooked. Delaware is seen as this true blue state. And if you’re a Republican voter what is your motivation to vote? Because you know at the end of the day Delaware’s three electoral votes will go to that Democrat. If you’re a Democrat maybe you’re not motivated either because you know you don’t have to.”
  • President Donald Trump marked the second time in five voting cycles that a Democrat lost the presidency while winning the popular vote.

Countable's original story appears below.


What’s the story?

  • Colorado and New Mexico are moving ahead with plans to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of which candidate wins each state.
  • President Donald Trump marked the second time in five voting cycles that a Democrat lost the presidency while winning the popular vote.

What’s the “national popular vote interstate compact”?

  • Colorado and New Mexico would become the 12th and 13th state to join the “national popular vote interstate compact.”
  • The compact only goes into effect if laws pass in enough states to represent an electoral majority (this means the states joining the coalition must have a combined electoral vote of 270 or above).

What are both sides saying?

Abolish the Electoral College

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) called the Electoral College an “undemocratic relic” of the nation’s past.
“I’ve long supported electing the president by who gets the most votes,” Polis told The Hill. “It’s a way to move towards direct election of the president.”
  • Colorado state Sen. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette), who sponsored the legislation, said the bill’s passage “is a victory for those who believe that every vote should be counted equally.”
"Right now, if you live in a state that is not a battleground state, then your vote doesn't count nearly as much."

Keep the Electoral College

  • During a debate on the Colorado House floor, NPR writes, one Republican "suggested renaming the bill the ‘We Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Hate Donald Trump Act of 2019.’”
  • "You drop us from nine [electoral] votes to 5.5 million people, all of sudden Colorado is irrelevant," said Colorado state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). "This is all about making sure presidential candidates realize Colorado is important to the rest of the country."
  • This partisan divide represents a national trend: A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that while a majority of the country supports awarding the presidency based on the popular vote – 55 percent – there remains D/R divides. Three-quarters of Democrats are in favor of amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College while less than a third of Republicans support the move.

What do you think?

Do you support replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: RingOfFire.com)

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