Feb 16, 2023

The Movement to Abolish the Electoral College Is Getting Some Traction

Minnesota and Michigan are the latest states to consider joining the effort to abolish the Electoral College.
The Movement to Abolish the Electoral College Is Getting Some Traction
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

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What’s happening: More states are pushing forward bills to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), an agreement between states to give their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote by default. If jurisdictions with a total of 270 electoral votes join, the agreement will take effect and effectively nullify the Electoral College.

Status check: As of now, 15 states and the District of Columbia have joined, with 195 combined votes. The NPVIC has been around since 2007 but gained more traction as polarization surrounding elections rose in recent years. When Donald Trump won the 2016 election despite losing the popular vote, it prompted five states with 33 electoral votes to join.

The debate: The Electoral College ensures that the interests of all American citizens are taken into account. Without it, presidential candidates would be incentivized to pander only to voters in densely populated areas. National popular vote proponents argue the Electoral College undervalues individual votes. Polling has shown that a majority of Americans, and 89 percent of Democrats, support abolishing the Electoral College.

Outlook: Nine states with 92 electoral votes, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, could vote to join the agreement in the coming years if Democrats gain sufficient power. Whether the Electoral College will be overridden depends on Democrats’ success in 2024 and the following midterms. Also, Republicans haven't won the popular vote in 20 years. Removing the Electoral College could prove fatal to the party.

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