Effort to bypass Electoral College gains momentum

One News Now (Link) - Chad Groening (July 20, 2010)

An author and political analyst reports an effort is afoot by well-funded liberal activists to effectively get rid of the Electoral College in its present form, without having to use the constitutional amendment process.

A group called National Popular Vote (NPV) is pushing state legislatures to enter into a compact that calls for them to allocate their electoral votes in a particular presidential election to the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide rather than to the contender who gets the most votes in their state. NPV argues that the legislation �would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the choice of the nation�s voters� for president.

However, Tara Ross, author of Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College, cautions that under such a plan, the 11 largest states -- with a total of 271 electoral votes -- could band together and elect the president.

�If you got those 11 biggest states to all agree to do that, you would be switching to a direct election system,� she explains. �By contrast, if you were to try to formally get rid of the Electoral College through a constitutional amendment, that would take 38 states, which is a much higher hurdle to climb and one they think they can�t climb, which is why they�re trying to do it through this kind of end-run around the constitutional process.�

Ross has a suggestion as to why the NPV is pushing for this change. �What I think they must think is that they have strength in the urban areas and in the heavily populated areas,� she suspects. �So therefore, if you switch to an individual election, then they can just go focus on those people and rack up votes there, and it will end up helping their cause.�

The political analyst notes that five states have already joined the compact -- Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington (a total of 61 electoral votes). Five more states (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont) could join in the near future.

Read �Legal and Logistical Ramifications of the National Popular Vote Plan� [PDF] by Tara Ross

Steel on Steel: John Loeffler & Tara Ross

Tara Ross July 17, 2010 - �Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College�