Democrats Propose Switch to Popular Vote

by Ryan Duvall ’21

Earlier this Spring, multiple high-profile Democratic candidates for President, including Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, called for the Electoral College to be abolished. While at a town hall in Mississippi, Warren explained that the country needs a new, different system where “every vote counts.”

Democrats have cited the 2000 and 2016 elections when addressing the problem in the Electoral College since Al Gore and Hillary Clinton (both Democrats) won the popular vote but lost in the electoral vote.

The Electoral College has been a cornerstone of American elections since its creation in 1787 and getting rid of it now would be very difficult because it would require a constitutional amendment. To do this, two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and Senate would need to be in favor of abolishing the Electoral College.

However, there is a different way to end the Electoral College. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement in which states would be required to use their Electoral votes on whoever wins the popular vote. For the agreement to have a practical effect, 270 Electoral votes of the 538 that are possible would have to be present from all states that sign on. Fourteen states including Maryland and the District of Columbia have signed on, making the current tally 189 votes.

Republicans largely have rejected the idea of abolishing the Electoral College. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, “#Electoral College was work of Genius by founders … It requires candidates for President to earn multiple votes from various parts of the country. And it makes sure interest of less populated areas aren’t ignored.”