All state and U.S. Congressional seats as well as state judicial seats are won by the candidates who receive the most votes. Not so for the President of the United States even though the office is responsible to all 300 million voters regardless of their residence or political party.
Currently, the U.S. President is chosen by members of the Electoral College. Population size determines each state’s share of the total 538 electoral votes. This system forces candidates to devote most of their campaigning to so-called “battleground states” (neither reliably Blue nor Red) while ignoring most other states. In effect the votes of residents in battleground states count more heavily than others.
The turmoil of recent elections underscores the need to start electing the president based on the National Popular Vote. Under this system all votes would count equally. The Presidency would be awarded to the candidate who wins the most votes on a nationwide basis rather than at the State level as is the current practice.
Normally, such a change would require amending or eliminating the Electoral College. To do either would be a very time consuming and tedious process. Fortunately, there is another way to accomplish this goal via a simple, non-disruptive solution known as an interstate compact.
States routinely use compacts to work together to achieve common goals, e.g., transportation, commerce and emergency management. The President of the U.S. could also be elected under a similar arrangement called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).
Currently, 16 states have signed onto NPVIC for a combined total of 196 electoral votes. However, the Compact cannot go into effect until it contains the minimum 270 electoral votes needed for the Presidency. Florida’s 29 electoral votes would go a long way towards reaching this critical number of votes.
NPVIC is being introduced as House Bill 39 in the upcoming Florida legislative session. Now is the time to voice your support for this bill to your elected state representatives. Please visit floridiansfornpv.com for more information and help in spreading the word among friends, colleagues and family members.
Helen Kelly of the Village of Winifred is co-chair of Floridians for the National Popular Vote.