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National Popular Vote Bill

About the National Popular Vote Bill

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. Currently, a candidate can lose the popular vote and still win the Presidency due to the structure of the Electoral College and the winner-take-all principle used in many states. 

You can watch this handy video about the flaws with the current system. Some primary concerns with our system include:

  • Issues in states that are not "swing states" go unheard, while swing states are swarmed with political advertising and campaigning;
  • State winner-take-all statutes have allowed candidates to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in four of our 57 presidential elections.

You can get the details on the status of your state on their website. Here's an overview of the success of The Bill thus far:

  • This Bill has been enacted in: CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA (165 electoral votes)
  • The Bill has been passed by at least one state legislative chamber in: AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR (96 electoral votes)
  • The Bill was unanimously approved by committee votes in: GA, MO (27 electoral votes)

Quick + Dirty Introduction to the ELECTORAL COLLEGE

The system of The Electoral College is made of three components:

  1. The Public: people like you who vote on election day. The candidate that gets the most individual votes from The Public wins the Popular Vote.
    • The Popular Vote: Earlier this month, I found myself chanting "We are the popular vote," down Pennsylvania Avenue. In this case, the "popular vote" is the body of voters that voted for Clinton in 2016. In 2016, Clinton received approximately 65.9 million votes, while "45" received 63 million votes. 
  2. The Electors: These electors cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States.
    • Selecting Electors: the process is controlled by the political parties in each state. Generally, the parties either nominate slates of potential Electors at their state party conventions or they chose them by a vote of the party's central committee. 
  3. The Electoral Votes: 538 "points" available during an election. A President must earn at least 270 "points" to become president.
    • 538: If you're into sports or followed the polls leading up to the 2016 election, you may have heard of a data journalism website by Nate Silver called FiveThirtyEight, it gets its name from the 538 electors in the electoral college.

For our purposes, I've used the word "points" to describe the number of electoral votes a candidate earns. This simplifies it to the concept of "whichever candidate gets the most points wins."

There's a finite number of points a candidate can earn from each state. For example, my native state of California has 55 electoral votes. I live in DC, which has 3 electoral votes. A state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation. One vote for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators, simply: 

# Electoral Votes in a State = # of Representatives + # of Senators

Imagine a State with 5 Available points. Candidate A may win 2 counties (worth 2 points), while Candidate B wins the remaining 3 counties (3 points). In the case of winner-take-all, Candidate B gets all 5 points. Under the National Popular Vote Bill, Candidate A would get 2 points, and Candidate B would get 3 points--representative of the population that candidate won. 

 

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