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NY Times endorses plan for national popular vote

by Jack Santucci // Published March 14, 2006
The New York Times has endorsed the plan to implement a national popular vote for president.

FairVote is proud to be a leader in the National Popular Vote coalition.

...There is an innovative new proposal for states to take the lead in undoing the Electoral College. Legislatures across the country should get behind it.

Both parties should have reason to fear the college's perverse effects. In 2000, the Democrats lost out. But in 2004, a shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio would have elected John Kerry, even though he lost the national popular vote decisively.

Just as serious is the way the Electoral College distorts presidential campaigns. Candidates have no incentive to campaign in, or address the concerns of, states that reliably vote for a particular party. In recent years, the battleground in presidential elections has shrunk drastically. In 1960, 24 states, with 327 electoral votes, were battleground states, according to estimates by National Popular Vote, the bipartisan coalition making the new proposal. In 2004, only 13 states, with 159 electoral votes, were. As a result, campaigns and national priorities are stacked in favor of a few strategic states. Ethanol fuel, a pet issue of Iowa farmers, is discussed a lot. But issues of equal concern to states like Alabama, California, New York and Indiana are not...

Past attempts to abolish the Electoral College by amending the Constitution have run into difficulty. But National Popular Vote, which includes several former members of Congress, is offering an ingenious solution that would not require a constitutional amendment. It proposes that states commit to casting their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote. These promises would become binding only when states representing a majority of the Electoral College signed on. Then any candidate who won the popular vote would be sure to win the White House.

For more information: FairVote's Presidential Elections Reform Program.