17 States Trying An End Run Around The Electoral College
The Electoral College was established by the Founding Fathers in the US Constitution as a compromise between the election of the president by a vote in congress and election of the president by a vote of the people.
The EC consists of 538 total electors. A majority of 270 Electoral votes are needed to elect the president.
Each state gets one electoral vote for each Senator and one vote for each representative in Congress. Montana has three electoral votes. Two senators and one representative.
Who Gets To Be An Elector?
In most cases electors are chosen by the political party that won the states popular vote. These electors are party loyalists who will not go their own way when voting.
Seventeen States Want To Break This Tradition
Since it would take a Constitutional Amendment to either change or abolish the Electoral College a few states think they may have found a way around it without amendment.
Seventeen states have or are voting to award all their electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote rather than holding elector’s allegiance to the party that won the state.
270 Votes Needed
It’s unclear as to how the Supreme Court might rule in a case like this because states have the right to direct their electors without federal or even constitutional direction.
If enough states decide on this their total electoral votes would have to equal or surpass the 270-vote threshold for those states to swing the election based solely on the popular vote.
Some Final Thoughts
There have only been four presidential elections in history where the EC elected a president over a popular vote of the people.
The more recent would be George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 and Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Bush got 271 EC votes — one more than needed to win.
The states that have signed on so far are solidly Democrat. What a surprise.
The states in the pact have 172 electoral votes — 98 short of the 270 needed to win the Electoral College.
Even if enough states sign on it will still face a tough court challenge because it could be used to show voter suppression of high minority numbers in some states.
This is obviously not over — or maybe it is — but the states just don’t realize it yet.