The Electoral College is a blemish on our representative democracy. While other elections are determined by a simple tally of everyone’s vote, presidential elections segregate votes by state. Presidents are elected — not by the people — but by Electoral College electors appointed by the states. In most, the winner of the popular vote claims all of the state’s electors. This winner-take-all rule makes some states “safe” and others “swing” — rendering most people’s votes less relevant than they otherwise would be.

When a state is safely either “red,” like Texas, or “blue,” like California, neither candidate has any incentive to campaign there. One side already has the state as a probable win, and gains nothing from increasing its margin of victory. The other side gains nothing from narrowing its margin of loss. Major-party presidential nominees ignore safe states, except as sources of money to spend elsewhere.

Eliminating the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment approved by three-fourths of the states — a high hurdle. However, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact offers a way to make the popular vote decisive without requiring an amendment. It would ensure that every American’s vote is valued, not just those in swing states.

How does the compact work?

Each member state agrees to appoint a slate of electors pledged to vote for whoever wins the most votes nationwide — regardless of who wins in their state. The agreement doesn’t take effect until the member states command the 270 electors required to win the presidency.

Why would electors all vote for someone who didn’t win their state? States have the right to appoint electors however they see fit. Texas now appoints its electors according to the state popular vote. Under the compact Texas would appoint them according to the national popular vote, thus ensuring that the presidential outcome reflects the national will. “One person, one vote” is the most fundamental democratic principle, one that we will only attain when we value every presidential vote equally.

Ten states and the District of Columbia have already joined the compact. Members of the compact boast 165 electors — or 61 percent of the number needed to ensure a popularly elected president. If Texas and enough other states join, our next president could be elected by a national popular vote. Texas House members Ina Minjarez and Celia Israel recently introduced a bill adopting the compact (HB 496). Texans who want their votes to matter should urge their state representatives to support this legislation.

The Electoral College is a relic of the 18th century, when many people were denied the right to vote. The Founding Fathers expected electors to deliberate before voting; they thought that most elections would be decided finally in the House. Neither prediction proved accurate. Isn’t it time to bring our democracy into the 21st century?

No person’s vote should have more — or less — importance than any other’s. Make them all count equally. Pass HB 496 for Texas to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Elaine Wiant is president of the League of Women Voters of Texas; and Dan Eckam is secretary of Common Ground for Texans.

(27) comments

Carlos Ponce

No. Eliminating the Electoral College goes against the Founding Fathers intent. There's a reason why were are called the United STATES of America, not the United CITIES of America. If changed, election by popular vote would concentrate the decision of who becomes president in the hands of the big cities. The authors know that the big cities are heavily Democrat. The opinion of those of us in what they consider "fly over country" would be muted.
This bill written was by State Representative Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) and Celia Israel (D-Austin) who heavily campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to Politifact: "[Celia] Israel said Trump’s Make America Great Again caps are made in China. Far as we can tell, that’s still not correct--as widely reported starting 10 months ago. Pants on Fire!" This bill is just a knee jerk reaction to Hillary not being elected. But Hillary did not win in Texas either, Ina and Celia.
What we need is a Texas law so our Electors honor their oath to vote for the candidate we Texans select. No last minute grandstanding and changing at whim or pressure from non-Texan partisans.
Get over it. Hillary lost, Donald Trump is the president of the United STATES. God Bless the USA!

Jim Forsythe

As Texas moves from red to purple and then to blue, the one's that wants the  Electoral College, may change what they think is right.
"Critics of the Electoral College system call it a relic of the 18th century—when only three-fifths of a black person was counted, and black men, women and white men who didn’t own property couldn’t vote—and argue that it doesn’t fairly represent our nation as it exists today. In recent elections, national campaigns have increasingly focused on a small handful of “battleground” states whose electoral votes are up for grabs, effectively depriving millions of citizens (as many as four out of every five Americans, according to some analysts) of their voice in the electoral process."

Carlos Ponce

"Texas moves from red to purple then to blue" Where have we heard that before? Wendy Davis vowed that Texas would turn blue in the last gubernatorial election, which she lost. She wore pink tennis shoes. Jim, what are you wearing?

"when only three-fifths of a black person was counted" - That was done so that the slave owning states would not have too much power. If each was counted "1" the Northerners demanded that their cattle and horses also be counted.
"Mr. Elbridge Gerry (signer of the Declaration from Massachusetts) thought property not the rule of representation. Why then should the blacks, who were property in the South, be in the rule of representation more than the cattle and horses of the North?" "James Wilson of Pennsylvania, a signer both of the Declaration and the Constitution, agreed: Are they (slaves) admitted as citizens? Then why are they not admitted on an equality with white citizens? Are they (slaves) admitted as property? Then why is not other property admitted into computation?"
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-537422
Unfortunate that some people were considered "property" at the time of this nation's founding. But it's history and hundreds of thousands died to remove it.

Jim Forsythe

"Texas, like California, is now a minority-majority state. This means that Hispanics, African Americans and other minorities constitute the majority of the state (Hispanics can be of any race and were traditionally classified as white following the United States acquisition of Mexico's territory.) The Hispanic population had continued to increase, based on both natural increase and continued immigration from Mexico. It accounted for 38.1% of the state's population as of 2011 (compared to 44.8% for non-Hispanic whites).
The state's changing demographics may result in a change in its overall political alignment, as most Hispanic and Latino voters support the Democratic Party. Mark Yzaguirre questioned forecasts of Democratic dominance by highlighting Governor Rick Perry's courting of 39% of Hispanics in his victory in the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial. Analysts with Gallup suggest that low turnout among Texas Hispanics is all that enables continued Republican dominance"

George Croix

Which, of course, presumes continued or expanding monolithic voting behavior.
Taking votes/voters for granted just got Hillary dumped, and for one guy an 'insult to my legacy'.
Not all Hispanics are in favor of illegal invasion of this country and not all want government to direct their lives and give them stuff, any more than all of any other demographic does.
If nothing else this last election should have taught us not to continue to pigeonhole people.
Eventually, it may well come to pass that a reevaluation of block voting and identity politics will take place nationwide, where the value of being less dependent on others is re-learned and/or re-appreciated, and being condescended to will be too distasteful to tolerate.
Maybe.
After all, this did not become the greatest country the world has ever known by being populated with a majority of 'what's-in-it-for-me' types and foreign flag waving, and it can recover from 'fundamental change' and get back on track.
A track that leads more toward good citizenship and self-reliance and less towards dependency and division and selling bait and a bunch of headcases with their privates on their heads, or who can't figure out how to go P.
imho

Don Ciaccio

Once we deport the illegals& build the wall, Texas will look differently!! It will remain RED!

Carlos Ponce

You cannot paint all Hispanics with a Liberal paintbrush. In Mexico, Mexicans are generally Pro-Life.
See "Mexico’s Abortion Wars, American-Style - After Mexico City liberalized its abortion law, a fierce backlash followed. Is its striking resemblance to the US “pro-life” movement a coincidence?"
https://www.thenation.com/article/mexicos-abortion-wars-american-style/
On same sex marriage "In Mexico, only civil marriages are recognized by law, and all its proceedings fall under state legislation." Sounds like Trump's view.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Mexico
If you are going to use Mexico as an example of how Hispanics will vote in this country you will find Mexicanos are generally Conservative. Mexico has Liberals and Conservatives. Most Liberals are the Elite found in the big cities. The common Mexicano is church going and follows church values.
But if you listen to Spanish language television and radio in this country you will find a strong push to demonize Conservatives. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

PD Hyatt

Mr. Ponce, liberals do not care about truth just like they do not care about real historical facts.... They lost because they were running a filthy corrupt candidate that did not have a clue about what she wanted to do other than continuing to destroy this great nation....

Claudia Burnam

NO! Never.
E G Wiley

Doyle Beard

Elaine Wiant and Dan Eckam no matter how you try to slice. Teh democrats beat them selves and here you are trying to justify it. the democrats nedd to listen to the people and quit being power hungry. I lknew a house rep (D) that one time said"no matter what I do people will still vote for me." They got what they deserved this last november. Democrats need to ask themselves why have we lost so many governorships,house members and Senators. They need to serve the people not themselves.
Wakeup you so called democrats and quit trying to serve so many special interest groups.You are the problem in the country and cant figure that out but yet want the people to vote for you
I have vote for more democrats in my lifetime but they no longer serve the American people.

Doyle Beard

Your first paragraph is about as shallow as a puddle of water. Other elections are usually city, county, districts or state elections. I bet our forefathers were a group of intelligent people and came up with a brilliant idea . Now you in losing want to say its a blemish on democracy. I bet the blemish is the people who lost an election. Taking people for granted. Come on get real. Get a life.

Bruce Henderson

The top 10 states carry more population that the the lower 40 states. With your "Compact", why would anyone bother to campaign in the other 40? Our states are of many difference sizes and populations. Your concept would take away any hope of representation from the Executive Branch from the lower 40 states. The electoral College trumping the popular vote has only happened 5 times in American history, yet as the populace moves closer to urban areas, I can see it happening more often. The original intent was people throughout the country would have a voice and not just people in concentrated areas...The men that wrote our constitution had the ability to see many problems in our future, some that are only really coming to fruition 241 years later, so regardless of what some may think, I personally do not look at Our Constitution or the Electoral College as relics from the 18th century.

Don Schlessinger

Critics are right you know, the Electoral College IS a relic of the past. It's old and clunky and it works just as intended. It allows every every state a fair chance to vote and have it count. It works.

Like an old Harley, it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Josh Butler

mob rule is cool for libs.

Diane Turski

I support "one person = one vote"! I resent the outdated electoral college system overriding my vote! I support ending the electoral college!

Dan Freeman

Controversy on Electoral College
The Electoral College was discussed both in Federalist Paper 68 which includes a too optimistic paragraph: “The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.” (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp)

The opposite view appears “Anti-Federalist Paper” 72 where it is objected that “Is it then become necessary, that a free people should first resign their right of suffrage into other hands besides their own, and then, secondly, that they to whom they resign it should be compelled to choose men, whose persons, characters, manners, or principles they know nothing of? And, after all (excepting some such change as is not likely to happen twice in the same century) to intrust Congress with the final decision at last? Is it necessary, is it rational, that the sacred rights of mankind should thus dwindle down to Electors of electors, and those again electors of other electors? This seems to be degrading them even below the prophetical curse denounced by the good old patriarch, on the offspring of his degenerate son: "servant of servants". http://www.thisnation.com/library/antifederalist/72.html

I think that the latter position is correct.

Doyle Beard

Dan turn on the waterworks.

Doyle Beard

As I recall Hillary was all about the road to 270. Now that she was a flop you want something different. Take your toys home and dont play

Doyle Beard

Libs always want it their way. They need to grow up and accept the rules. Libs want to think they should always win. It is not reality cupcakes, twinkies and snowflakes

Willis Briggs

In other words, you want your vote to be the only one that counts. Typical LIB.[beam]

George Croix

Yep, we NEED to fundamentally change a system that made the country the world's best and gave it's citizens a chance to live where they choose or can and not be excluded from consideration by the nation as a whole because of the efforts of people looking down their noses at them.

George Croix

Did I mention looking down noses....?[whistling]

Bill Sargent

Back on January 2nd the Three Musketeers wrote a column on this same subject which some of you might find of interest. You can find the text by doing a search of the Daily News' website or athttp://www.sarges.com/AResource/GDNColumns/2017/Jan2_ElectorialCollegeWorked.html
We read a lot about who won the popular vote. The large vote differences in New York City, Los Angeles County, and San Francisco County, completely makeup that difference. To allow the wishes of two or three populous cities/counties to dictate their views on the rest of the nation is exactly what the Founders wanted to prevent. Our view? The Electoral College worked as designed once again.

George Croix

"To allow the wishes of two or three populous cities/counties to dictate their views on the rest of the nation is exactly what the Founders wanted to prevent."
True, Bill, but most, imho, 'progressives' are as much like the Founders as tar is like chocolate fudge...

George Croix

ps:
Got note, but am regrettably unable to do so at this time.
Gimme a rain check for later, please......

Doyle Beard

You are kinda weak explaining i how electors are chosen. In Texas each party provides a list of elector to the Texas Election Bureau. The state really does not appoint the. Red or blue only means the red electors will for president if their party wins the state and the blue likewise. Again the parties select the electors.

David Schuler

I have no doubt that if Hillary had lost the popular vote but won in the Electoral College, the EC would be touted as the savior of democracy by the very folks demanding it's elimination today.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.