BACKERS OF POPULAR VOTE PUSH DRIVE TO JUNK ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Opponents of the Electoral College are pushing for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to get rid of a system that killed the one man-one vote principle and institutionalized an anti-democratic system of choosing the US president, Andrew Selsky reported for the Associated Press (AP).
“It’s an old, ugly mess that frankly should have been obviated some time ago,” said Virginia House of Delegates member Mark Levine, a Democrat who introduced a bill that would have Virginia sign on to the National Popular Vote movement. It would compel member states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. The proposal to incinerate the Electoral College is opposed by smaller Midwest and Southern states but is generally backed by Democrats. The late Sen. Birch Bayh championed it. Levine’s measure passed the Virginia House earlier this year. Passage by the Senate would bring the movement 13 electoral votes closer to its goal. So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have signed on.
National Popular Vote, the group pushing the compact, is focusing in 2021 on Virginia and eight other states: Arizona, Arkansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma. The initiative has made progress in those states by passing at least one legislative chamber, but didn’t clear the finish line, spokesman Patrick Rosenstiel said. They have a combined total of 88 electoral votes, enough to surpass 270 as the current count is already 196. “We’ll focus on any states that offer a credible chance of enactment between now and the 2024 presidential election,” Rosenstiel said.
The US is the only modern democracy with such a system, according to the Pew Research Center. Most others elect their leader by national popular vote or the parliamentary system in which the winning party chooses the head of government. Opponents say the US system violates the one person-one vote principle, encourages candidates to ignore states that are either firmly Democratic or Republican, and gives disproportionate power to voters in just a few states. But Electoral College supporters say it adheres to federalism by preserving the role of states in presidential elections. If the movement to change the system reaches the 270 threshold, those supporters might sue on constitutional grounds. The Constitution says Congress must consent to interstate compacts. However, the US Supreme Court has ruled that some compacts don’t require congressional consent.