Reps look at popular vote for president

Dec 03, 2016

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Rep. William Pearson has requested a 2017 bill related to the popular election of the U.S. President.

According to the U.S. Constitution, the president is elected not by the popular vote, but by the Electoral College. Each state gets the same number of "electors" as it does U.S. Representatives and Senators.

It's possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally but still lose in the Electoral College, because smaller states have an edge with electors. This happened in 2016, with Clinton winning the popular vote but Trump winning the electors. 

It would take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College. States have found a way around this, however, by enacting laws that assign their electors to whoever wins the national popular vote. Ten states and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation to this effect. 

Rep. Pearson has requested a 2017 bill "relative to allocating electoral college electors based on the national popular vote." The text of that bill is not yet public, but it might suggest a system in New Hampshire that favors the national popular vote.

Rep. Robert Theberge has also requested a bill "relative to general election presidential candidates," and Rep. David Murotake has requested a bill "relative to allocation of electoral votes."

Supporters of the national popular vote argue that it's illogical and unjust for a candidate who wins the most individual votes to lose the presidency. The system also results in hotly contested "swing states" getting the most visits from presidential candidates.

Supporters of the Electoral College argue the system ensures that small states are not ignored as candidates campaign throughout election season. The Electoral College also requires presidential candidates to appeal to voters with diverse interests, including rural interests, not just voters in densely populated urban areas.

Do you support the Electoral College? Let us know in the comments.

(Electoral college map image created by Ali Zifan)

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