LWV supports National Popular Vote movement

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The League of Women Voters of the United States believes the direct-popular-vote method for electing the President and Vice President is essential to representative government. The LWV believes, therefore, that the Electoral College should be abolished.

The League supports the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president, until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished. The National Popular Vote Plan is an agreement among the states to guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This would reform the Electoral College without the need for a constitutional amendment.

Direct election works well for members of Congress, governors, state legislators, mayors, city councilmen, school boards, etc. Why should it not work for President and Vice President? This is a timely LWV issue and non-polarizing issue with support from both major parties. Every vote should count.

Our current system using the winner-take-all rule, awards all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes in the state instead of the candidate who receives the most votes in the country. It is important to note that the winner-take-all model was not the Founders choice and not in the Constitution. It was used by only three states in the first Presidential election in 1789.

There are two major problems with the current system. First, a candidate can win without getting the most popular vote in all 50 states (wrong winner). Secondly, it causes 35 states and voters to be ignored in non-competitive states. In 2008, 98% of all money was spent in just 15 battleground states.

The current system has repeatedly come close to electing the second place candidate. It has happened four times in 56 Presidential elections ... 1 in 14. If you exclude the landslide elections without a close count, the failure rate is 1 in 7. For example, a shift of less than 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have meant a Bush loss despite his 3.5 million vote lead nationwide.

Presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind, the solid red or blue states. Voters in 35 states are ignored. In 2008, two-thirds of the money and time went to only six states.

Under the National Popular Vote Bill, all the electoral votes from enacting states would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of electoral votes — enough to elect a President … 270 of the 538.

So there will be two groups of states: the enacting states (about 25) that are necessary to bring the compact into effect and all 50 states and D.C. that will be added together to determine the winner.

There has been great support for the National Popular Vote Bill which has already passed more than 31 legislative chambers in 21 states. It has been endorsed by more than 2,110 state legislators and broad public support when citizens understand the issue. NPV has been enacted into law by Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington State and D.C. It has also passed one or more houses in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

So the LWV urges Indiana legislators to support the NPV to guarantee that the presidential candidate with most popular votes in the entire country will win the office, that every voter in every state will be politically relevant in every president campaign, and that every vote will be equal.

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