Towards a National Popular Vote
It makes sense that every vote should count and basically that is the foundation of democracy.” — Linda Sorauf
Since Donald Trump won the electoral college in the 2016 presidential election, but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, more attention has been paid to the current system of electing presidents, and more questions are being asked about whether it serves the American people.
Linda Sorauf, one of the co-founders of Colorado National Popular Vote, a volunteer grassroots organization dedicated to getting Colorado to adopt National Popular Vote for president and vice-president of the United States told told KGNU’s Rossana Longo that while the current system allows every state to decide how they award their electors, it no longer works for the United States.”
“The problem with the current system, is that long ago after the founding fathers passed away and many years after the constitution, they went a different way and decided to award their electors by winner take all throughout their whole state, and once the winner take all was introduced, we got the swing states effect in elections. I think that everyone can understand the importance of a swing state in an election, they get all the attention while the other states are known as spectator states because they basically don’t take active role in the general elections.”
Supporters of a national popular vote say it would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states. “It will guarantee that every vote in every state, will matter for every presidential election. I want to point out that this is a bipartisan effort, it has support by both Republican and Democrats. It has been passed in both democrat control legislators and republican control legislators.
Linda Sorauf, a member of the League of Women Voters Jefferson County, will speak on the National Popular Vote Compact on Monday, February 26th, at 5.30pm. at the St. Vrain Cidery, 350 Terry St., Suite 130 Longmont. The event is being organized by the League of Women Voters of Boulder County.
What is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact?
“It is actually very simple in concept, it has two main provisions. The first provision is that it will required state to add up all the votes in all 50 states in every presidential election and the candidate with the most popular vote is awarded the electors pretty simple. It would take effect when state possessing a majority of the electoral popular votes enacts National Popular Vote.”
Is Colorado a member of the Compact?
“Colorado has not yet join the Compact. There are actually right now 10 states, and the District of Colombia have passed and are supporting National Popular Vote. Colorado was actually interestingly one of the first of the legislatures to have it passed in one of the chambers. Colorado passed it back in 2006 in the Senate we passed it again in 2007 in the Senate and we passed it in the House in 2009. But It has to be passed in both Houses in the same year and be signed by the Governor, in order it to be law in Colorado and that is why our grassroots effort in really trying to get Colorado to join National Popular Vote.”
What support is there to pass the National Popular Vote?
“The support, I am going to reiterate this, the support is bipartisan so it has passed right now in 10 states and in the District of Columbia. It has also passed, at least one legislature chamber and 23 additional states. For example it has passed in the Oklahoma Senate which is Republican, it has passed in Arizona House which is Republican, it has passed in the Oregon (legislature) which is Democrat and other states. In fact, so far there are over 3100 legislators across both parties that have endorsed or supported National Popular Vote.”
Every vote in every state should count in every state that is my thinking?
“Yes, and that is the simplicity of this. In an intuitive sense, it makes sense that every vote should count and basically that is the foundation of democracy. The beauty of this is that the founders in the constitution did say that the state select their electors so through National Popular Vote the state can say “hey we are going to award our electors to whoever gets the most votes across all 50 states” and then we would have every vote equal and every vote count.”
You can find out more at www.nationalpopularvote.com which shows the status in each state and has answers to questions about National Popular Vote.
- Rossana Longo Better is the KGNU/League of Women Voters Boulder County public policy/media intern.