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National Popular Vote


The League of Women Voters of Colorado supports the direct popular vote method for electing the President and Vice-President.

Americans elect all officials, from mayors to governors and state legislators to U.S. senators, via popular vote, except two—the President and Vice President of the United States.

The LWVCO believes it is time electors are awarded based on the majority of Americans who agree on the person who should lead the nation. Acting in concert with the electoral system, we are working to educate the public and legislators about the benefits of legislation that would instruct our electors to vote for the presidential candidate who captures the most votes in all 50 states. The League of Women Voters has supported direct election of the President since 1970, believing that popular vote is essential to representative government.

The main issue with presidential elections today is the “winner-take-all” practice, in which the person who wins the most votes in a state gains all of the electoral votes for that state. This system does not appear in the Constitution, was not used in the first presidential elections, and was established by 48 states throughout the 1800s.

“Winner-take-all” has created so-called “battleground states” or “swing states” which are neither reliably Republican nor Democratic. The voters in these 12 or so states, representing a small percentage of Americans, determine the selection of President. Voters in the remaining states (even the big ones like Texas and California) are ignored by candidates who realize their state’s winner-take-all electors are not going to be swayed by presidential campaigns.

Fortunately, the Constitution contains the means by which the winner-take-all system can be replaced to ensure ALL Americans count. States are granted exclusive control by the Constitution over national elections and can chose ANY method of instructing their electors how to vote (in fact, two states, Maine and Nebraska, chose methods other than ‘winner-take-all'). No Constitutional amendment is required for a state to change their method of instructing electors—just state legislation. 

A growing number of states are now passing state legislation to instruct their electors to vote for the person who wins the national popular vote. This state legislation – called National Popular Vote Interstate Compact -- is an agreement among states to award their electors based on whoever gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC. It will take effect only when enough states have signed on to the compact to represent more than half of the electoral votes. Two-thirds of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the national popular vote have been secured. Connecticut enacted such legislation in 2018. Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico joined the compact in 2019 and many other states are considering joining. 

National popular vote state laws provide the only system that:

  • Works within the Constitutional framework established by the Founders.

  • Does NOT require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution

  • Makes every vote, in every state, count equally

  • Guarantees the candidate with the majority of popular votes nationwide wins the Presidency, thus reducing cynicism

  • Ensures candidates campaign to every voter no matter where they live

  • Honors the will of the American People as a whole

  • Pools Colorado’s voters with all of America, so that all Colorado votes will be in the total

Enacting the national popular vote in enough states to replace the ‘winner-take-all’ system would ensure that the voices of Coloradans are just as important as the votes of every other American in all future presidential elections.

 


Consult the resources available in the National Popular Vote Toolkit: 

National Popular Vote Toolkit June 2019