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house Bill H. Joint Res. 19

Should the Electoral College be Abolished & the Constitution Amended to Elect the President by Popular Vote?

Argument in favor

The Electoral College is an anachronistic system that’s ill-suited to modern politics, as voters are better able to educate themselves about presidential candidates than they were at the time of the nation’s founding. It should be abolished to ensure that the winner of the nationwide popular vote is elected president and that the will of a majority isn’t subverted.

AlexPanda's Opinion
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10/27/2018
Our country can’t be a true democracy with the Electoral College in place. I think it’s unfair that ~500 people get to override what the rest of the country wants in terms of who will be president. It is also a system that is no longer relevant/needed for modern American society.
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TrulyTexan's Opinion
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10/27/2018
Absolutely! Stop letting a few people decide who will be our president against the will of the citizens of this country. Why should a handful of low population states make decisions for the majority of the country?
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Lucas's Opinion
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10/27/2018
The electoral college is an anti-democratic holdover of a different time. We should move to abolish it before 2020.
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Argument opposed

The Electoral College is enshrined in the Constitution and a key part of America’s constitutional republic. Abolishing the Electoral College would inject poisonous regionalism into American presidential elections and create unstable conditions where a candidate with a small plurality of the vote could win a presidential election with several competitive candidates.

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01/15/2017
Our system of government is a republic, one where the concerns of Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles, do not get to railroad those of Kansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, or Indiana. The Electoral College ensures that our commander in chief is responsive to the needs of the whole, not a privileged few population hubs. One where the votes of the rancher in Montana and the factory worker in Michigan are not railroaded by the cabals of college-educated elites on our coasts. Ours is representative government, not mob rule.
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JakeRose's Opinion
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10/27/2018
The electoral college keeps balance between our large cities and small rural areas.
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Savetheplace's Opinion
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10/27/2018
As Hillary Clinton found out, running up the popular vote in a California is not the same as securing the electoral vote in Pennsylvania. This is an important safeguard to our Republic. It is disingenous to suggest that a “majority” of Americans wanted a particular candidate when clearly that was not the case. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York do NOT get to choose the president for the rest of us. Without the run ups of the popular vote in just California and New York alone, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by more than 3 million votes. It is wrong and naive to suggest the Electorlal Collega failed America in 2016.
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joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 5th, 2017

What is House Bill H. Joint Res. 19?

This resolution would propose an amendment to the Constitution that’d abolish the Electoral College and require that the president and vice president be elected directly by the people of the states and the District of Columbia.

As a joint resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment, the president’s signature wouldn’t be required for this to be enacted. Rather, at least three-fourths of the states — currently 38 — must ratify the amendment for it to take effect.

Impact

The Electoral College; American voters; and the Constitution.

Cost of House Bill H. Joint Res. 19

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced this resolution to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College and require that the president be elected by popular vote:

“For the second time in recent memory, and for the fifth time in our history, the national popular vote winner – including Tennesseans Al Gore and Andrew Jackson -- will not become President of the United States because of the Electoral College. The Electoral College is an antiquated system that was established to prevent citizens from directly electing our nation’s President, yet that notion is antithetical to our understanding of democracy. In our country, ‘We the People’ are supposed to determine who represents us in elective office.
When the Founders established the electoral college it was in an era of limited nationwide communication. It was premised on a theory that citizens would have a better chance of knowing about electors from their home states than about presidential candidates from out-of-state. However, the development of mass media and  the internet has made information about presidential candidates easily accessible to U.S. citizens across the country and around the world. Most people don’t even know who their electors are.
Electors were supposed to be people with good judgment who were trusted with picking a qualified President and Vice President on behalf of the people, but they have evolved into being rubber stamps. Most states legally bind their electors to vote for whomever wins the popular vote of that state, so they can no longer reflect individual judgement for a candidate. As Congress certifies the results of the Electoral College tomorrow, I urge my colleagues to consider this constitutional amendment to fix this anachronistic process for future Presidential elections. We should make our Constitution better reflect the ‘more perfect Union’ to which it aspires.”

A column authored by John Samples, the director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute, argued in defense of the Electoral College:

“First, we must keep in mind the likely effects of direct popular election of the president. We would probably see elections dominated by the most populous regions of the country or by several large metropolitan areas. In the 2000 election, for example, Vice President Gore could have put together a plurality or majority in the Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and California.
The victims in such elections would be those regions too sparsely populated to merit the attention of presidential candidates. Pure democrats would hardly regret that diminished status, but I wonder if a large and diverse nation should write off whole parts of its territory. We should keep in mind the regional conflicts that have plagued large and diverse nations like India, China, and Russia. The Electoral College is a good antidote to the poison of regionalism because it forces presidential candidates to seek support throughout the nation. By making sure no state will be left behind, it provides a measure of coherence to our nation.
Second, the Electoral College makes sure that the states count in presidential elections. As such, it is an important part of our federalist system — a system worth preserving. Historically, federalism is central to our grand constitutional effort to restrain power, but even in our own time we have found that devolving power to the states leads to important policy innovations (welfare reform).
If the Founders had wished to create a pure democracy, they would have done so. Those who now wish to do away with the Electoral College are welcome to amend the Constitution, but if they succeed, they will be taking America further away from its roots as a constitutional republic.”

This legislation has the support of five cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: jakeolimb / iStock)

Official Title

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States.

    Our country can’t be a true democracy with the Electoral College in place. I think it’s unfair that ~500 people get to override what the rest of the country wants in terms of who will be president. It is also a system that is no longer relevant/needed for modern American society.
    Like (274)
    Follow
    Share
    Our system of government is a republic, one where the concerns of Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles, do not get to railroad those of Kansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, or Indiana. The Electoral College ensures that our commander in chief is responsive to the needs of the whole, not a privileged few population hubs. One where the votes of the rancher in Montana and the factory worker in Michigan are not railroaded by the cabals of college-educated elites on our coasts. Ours is representative government, not mob rule.
    Like (562)
    Follow
    Share
    The electoral college keeps balance between our large cities and small rural areas.
    Like (209)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely! Stop letting a few people decide who will be our president against the will of the citizens of this country. Why should a handful of low population states make decisions for the majority of the country?
    Like (182)
    Follow
    Share
    As Hillary Clinton found out, running up the popular vote in a California is not the same as securing the electoral vote in Pennsylvania. This is an important safeguard to our Republic. It is disingenous to suggest that a “majority” of Americans wanted a particular candidate when clearly that was not the case. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York do NOT get to choose the president for the rest of us. Without the run ups of the popular vote in just California and New York alone, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by more than 3 million votes. It is wrong and naive to suggest the Electorlal Collega failed America in 2016.
    Like (176)
    Follow
    Share
    The Electoral College MUST remain unmolested. Not only because we are a Constitutional Republic, which we are and will remain. But more importantly the Electoral College ensures that all states have a voice in our government regardless of population density. For without it, 46 of our states would have no say in our affairs. Texas, California, Florida and New York would run roughshod over everyone else. Further, with California and New York’s influence steadily declining, liberals would soon regret their push to abolish the very system that sustains their existence.
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    The electoral college is an anti-democratic holdover of a different time. We should move to abolish it before 2020.
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    The Electoral College assures that all portions of the country are represented.
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    I think this is something that should have happened a long time ago. The system is biased just because electoral college exist what’s the guarantee they actually represent the people’s vote. I personally feel I want my voice heard directly I don’t want a middle man. No one needs a middle man it’s time we make this change happen.
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    This is the one issue that will make us a democratic country. The one issue we should all rally behind. 1 PERSON, 1 VOTE.
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    While the loosing party always takes issue with the electoral college I feel it was one of if not the greatest things our founding fathers did. It prevents highly populated areas that may be more susceptible to group think due to close living conditions and lack of socioeconomic diversity from controlling the elections. For example it prevents the tech person on the coast who doesn’t understand the needs of the Midwest farmer from completely controlling the decisions and vice versa.
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    The electoral college silences minorities. We need to allow all Americans to have a voice. All of us are equal. According to our current system the Midwest has more of a voice than populated areas. The electoral college was also created because the founding fathers thought the general population were all idiots.
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    The electoral college is embarrassingly outdated. It currently only allows gerrymandering and increasing voter disenfranchisement. So much corruption is enabled with it in place. There are no benefits to the American people to keep the electoral college. It must be abolished!
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    It is one vote per person! People count not land, not corporations! As a rural state westerner friends and family have used the reasoning that people in populous states get more say but the beauty of our congress is that 500,000 people in MT get 2 Senators as does California or New York. 2016 was a perfect example of how the electorate leaves many people uncounted underrepresented and will lead to the end of the democracy experiment. It is too easy to target which attorney generals to pay off in swing states to manipulate votes and the outcome. G W Bush would of never won in 2000 without this.
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    The electoral college was a system implemented to appease the White Southern Slave owners after the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers created our system of government to be flexible enough to change as life and times inevitably do. Time to put this carryover from the time of slavery to bed. No reason why 750,000 Montanans should have the same amount of political power as 40,000,000 Californians. 1 person should = 1 vote.
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    Absolutely not... just because we have a Republican president, libs want to rewrite the constitution. Just vote him out in 2 years! My goodness people...come on now
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    No. The electoral college is the acknowledgement that the population has a proportional say (the House of Representatives portion of the number), AND that each state has an equal say (the Senate portion). You must appeal broadly to the nation - don't just win a whole lot of California, but rather show that you're backed by enough people in Wisconsin and Louisiana and Massachusetts and Nebraska, too. Otherwise you're allowing the population-dense coasts to determine policy for the middle of the country. The electoral college allows for your popular vote, while still allocating additional equal votes to all states regardless of population. It is a feature, not a bug. You want checks and balances? The electoral college is a check against a tyrannical popular majority.
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    Yes Yes Yes, also abolish Gerrymandering and Citizens United. Term limits and politicians get the same healthcare as the people they serve and while your at it make voting mandatory and a national holiday👏👏👏🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊
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    Absolutely not the founding fathers were brilliant they knew what they were doing..It keeps every state relevant
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    In no other place in the world does a candidate win a presidential election without winning the popular vote. Our system is incredibly out of date. If a political party is unable to win the popular vote, we shouldn’t have rigged system where you can win without the popular vote. Instead, that party just needs better ideas that can appeal to a broader range of Americans.
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