Why we need a National Popular Vote
Due to the “winner-take-all” rules of the States, the votes of 4 out of 5 Americans for the President don’t matter
The Electoral College isn’t a building you can visit or an office you can email. It is the process by which a few people in each state cast votes for the President and Vice-President of the United States.
Whichever candidate gets the most votes in your state gets all the Electoral College votes from your state (unless you live in Nebraska or Maine). That means that, if you didn’t vote for the winner in your state, your vote doesn’t matter to the Electoral College.
Electoral votes are divided between the states mostly by population. Population is updated every 10 years in the census and some states gain or lose votes according to changes in the total number of people who live in each state. States with more people get more electoral votes than states with fewer people.
It isn’t totally based on population. Every state gets a minimum of three electoral votes. There are 538 electoral votes in total. In the 2010 US Census there were 308,745,538 people in the United States. If votes were divided evenly, that would mean one electoral vote for every 573,877 people. But, because votes are first allocated at three per state, small states get more than their fair share.
This is how many electoral votes each state has in the 2012 and 2016 elections.
We want the winner of the popular vote, not the winner of the electoral vote, to become our President.
Once the Electors get the outcome of their state’s popular vote, they then cast their vote for President and Vice-President. The Electors sign their names to old-timey pieces of paper that show how they voted.
This has happened 157 times as of 2015.
So what? What’s the problem with this process?
The Electoral College no longer serves a useful purpose.
The Electoral College is preventing the votes of Americans from being directly counted in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections.
Because nearly all states have “winner takes all” allocations of the popular vote, everyone who voted for someone other than the winning candidate in that state immediately has their vote erased.
It is possible for someone to win the popular vote but not win the presidential election because they lose the Electoral College.
In the 241 years since the US was founded in 1776, there have been 57 Presidential elections – one every 4 years.
Out of those 57 elections there have been 5 elections in which the popular vote candidate didn’t win the election.
Well, we’ve mostly got it right, so what’s the big deal?
We got it wrong 9% of the time. That is not acceptable when the fate of the country is in the balance.
Policies get more rigid.
Politicians need to be uncompromising to get elected.
Less gets done.
It seems like your vote doesn’t matter.
The needs of the country don’t matter.
Voters stay home.