Voices & Choices

National Popular Vote: A Status Update

National Popular Vote: A Status Update

FairVote has a long history with respect to the National Popular Vote; in 2006, FairVote helped launch the advocacy drive for the National Popular Vote interstate compact (NPVIC). Likewise, FairVote President Rob Richie co-authored the book Every Vote Equal, which explains and defends the proposal. 

Situated in Maryland, FairVote is headquartered in the first state to enact the NPVIC in 2007. Our research into the problem of Presidential Election Inequality has strengthened the case against the current system that divides the nation into a handful of states that matter to presidential campaigns in the general election and the great majority of states that do not.

The NPVIC is an agreement among states designed to guarantee election of the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. NPV is grounded in two powers delegated to states by the Constitution: the power to design rules for awarding their electoral votes and the power to enter into interstate compacts with the ultimate goal of erasing the gulf between swing states and “spectator states.” 

Historically, there have been five occasions when the candidate who won the Electoral College did not receive the most votes, most recently in 2016 and 2000. If enacted, the NPVIC would guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia becomes the next President regardless of whether that candidate won the Electoral College. 

States passing NPVIC agree to give all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote rather than the statewide popular vote (as now done in 48 states and DC) or congressional district vote (as done in Maine and Nebraska). Since 2006, sixteen states have entered the compact individually, and NPVIC will go into effect once enacted by states with a total of at least 270 electoral votes -- enough electoral votes to guarantee the election of the president.

National Popular Vote Chairman John Koza has been the driving force behind the compact and continues to do so. Ten years ago in 2009, all 50 states had introduced and considered NPVIC. By 2016, ten states and DC, with a total of 165 electoral votes had passed the compact, and it was gaining traction in a wide range of states, including passage in the Arizona house in 2016 and introduced in the Georgia state senate by nearly every one of its members.

Right now, it has been passed in 16 jurisdictions totaling 196 Electoral College votes, which is 72.6 percent of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force. This means that states totaling at least 74 more electoral votes have to pass the NPVIC in order for it to go into effect --  votes totaling 36.4 percent of the Electoral College. According to the National Popular Vote website,

“The bill is a constitutionally conservative, state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected. Under the current system, a voter has a direct voice in electing only the small number of presidential electors to which their state is entitled. Under NPV, every voter directly elects 270+ electors.” 

When Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by two percentage points in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election but ultimately lost the Electoral College, the issue of the NPVIC gained more prominence. Support for the NPVIC is popular with the public -- according to a March 2018 study done by the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of Americans supported replacing the Electoral College with a national popular vote. 

In early 2019, the NPV Interstate Compact was introduced in the legislative bodies of nineteen states and passed in four. This marks a record number of states for the NPV bill to be passed in a year. However, because most state legislatures only meet a few early months of the year, the bill will not be further considered in the states it did not pass in.

In light of the recent Democratic primary debates, we compiled a history of how states have attempted to reform their Electoral College rules by adopting the NPVIC.  

 

Alabama (9 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2017: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced and failed in the House

 

Alaska (3 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Failed in the House
  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Introduced in the House
  • 2016: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the Senate
  • 2009: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the Senate

 

Arizona (11 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Introduced in the House -- legislative session adjourned May 28 without voting on the bill
  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Failed in the House
  • 2016: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2015: Failed in the Senate
  • 2014: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the House
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the House

 

Arkansas (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • February 2009: Passed in the House
  • 2007: Failed in the House

 

California (55 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • August 8, 2011: Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown
  • 9th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Colorado (9 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • March 15, 2019: Signed into law by Governor Jared Polis
  • 13th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Connecticut (7 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • May 24, 2018: Signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy
  • 12th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

District of Columbia (3 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • October 12, 2010: Signed into law by Mayor Adrian Fenty
  • 7th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Delaware (3 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • March 28, 2019: Signed into law by Governor John Carney
  • 14th state to join the compact

 

Florida (29 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • March 2019: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2018: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2017: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the Senate
  • 2009: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the Senate

 

Georgia (16 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Introduced in the Senate -- legislative session adjourned April 2 without voting on the bill
  • 2018: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2016: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2012: Bill enacted to create a House Study Committee on the NPVIC
  • 2012: Failed in the House
  • 2011: Failed in the House
  • 2010: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2009: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • March 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Hawaii (4 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • May 1, 2008: both chambers overrode Governor Linda Lingle's veto of the bill making it law
  • 4th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Idaho (4 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Failed in the House
  • 2011: Failed in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House

 

Illinois (20 Electoral College votes): Enacted into Law

  • April 7, 2008: Signed into law by Governor Rod Blagojevich
  • 3rd jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Indiana (11 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Failed in the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the House

 

Iowa (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the Senate

 

Kansas (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Introduced in the Senate -- legislative session adjourned May 29 without voting on the bill
  • 2018: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the Senate

 

Kentucky (8 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • 2007: Failed in the House

 

Louisiana (8 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • 2006: Introduced and failed in the Senate

 

Maine (4 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted 

  • June 2019: Failed 74-69 in the House
  • May 2019: Passed in the Senate
  • March 2019: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Failed in the House
  • 2014: Failed in the Senate
  • 2013: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Maryland (10 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • April 10, 2007: Signed into law by Governor Martin O'Malley
  • 1st jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Massachusetts (11 Electoral College votes):  Enacted into law

  • August 4, 2010: Signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick
  • 6th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Michigan (16 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2018: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2016: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2015: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2014: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2013: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2009: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the House

 

Minnesota (10 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • March 2019: Passed 73-58 in the House, not voted on in the Senate
  • 2018: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2016: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2015: Introduced in the House
  • 2014: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2013: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2009: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Mississippi (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Failed in the House
  • 2018: Failed in the House 
  • 2011: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2007: Failed in the Senate

 

Missouri (10 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2016: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2013: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the House
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2006: Failed in the House

 

Montana (3 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2017: Failed in the senate. 
  • 2011: Failed in the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the Senate

 

Nebraska (5 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2016: Failed in the House
  • 2015: Failed in the House
  • 2014: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the House
  • 2011: Introduced in the House
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the Senate

 

Nevada (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • May 2019: Vetoed by Governor Steve Sisolak
  • May 2019: Passed in the Senate
  • April 2019: Passed in the Assembly 
  • 2017: Failed in the Assembly
  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2009: Failed in the Assembly
  • 2007: Failed in the Assembly

 

New Hampshire (4 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Introduced in House
  • 2017: Died in the House
  • 2014: Failed in the House
  • 2013: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Passed a bill expressing opposition to the NPVIC
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House

 

New Jersey (14 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • January 13, 2008: Signed into law by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine
  • 2nd jurisdiction to join the compact

 

New Mexico (5 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • April 3, 2019: Signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
  • 15th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

New York (29 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • April 15, 2014: Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • 11th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

North Carolina (15 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • February 2019: Introduced in Senate
  • 2018: Failed in the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in Senate 
  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2009: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the Senate
  • May 2007: Passed in Senate

 

North Dakota (3 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2007: Introduced in the House and the Senate

Ohio (18 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • February 2019: Introduced in the House
  • 2018: Introduced in the House
  • 2017: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House

 

Oklahoma (7 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2016: Failed in the House
  • 2015: Introduced in the House
  • 2014: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2013: Introduced in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • January 2009: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • January 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Oregon (7 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • June 12, 2019: Signed into law by Governor Kate Brown
  • 16th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Pennsylvania (20 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2018: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2017: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2016: Failed in the House
  • 2015: Introduced in the House
  • 2014: Introduced in the House
  • 2013: Introduced in the House
  • 2012: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the House and the Senate 
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Rhode Island (4 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • July 12, 2013: Signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee
  • 10th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

South Carolina (9 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • March 2019: Introduced in the House
  • 2012: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • 2007: Introduced in the House

 

South Dakota (3 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2011: Introduced in the Senate
  • 2007: Failed in the House

 

Tennessee (11 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2016: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the House and Senate 
  • 2008: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the House and Senate 

 

Texas (38 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2017: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Introduced in the House and the Senate
  • 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Utah (6 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2012: Failed in the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Introduced in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House
  • January 2007: Introduced in the House

 

Vermont (3 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • April 22, 2011: Signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin
  • 8th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

Virginia (13 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • January 2019: Failed in the House
  • 2018: Failed in the House
  • 2017: Failed in the House
  • 2009: Failed in the Senate
  • 2008: Failed in the House and the Senate

 

Washington (12 Electoral College votes): Enacted into law

  • April 28, 2009: Signed into law by Governor Chris Gregorie
  • 5th jurisdiction to join the compact

 

West Virginia (5 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2013: Failed in the Senate
  • 2012: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2011: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2010: Failed in the House and the Senate
  • 2009: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House and the Senate

 

Wisconsin (10 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • April 2019: Introduced in House
  • 2010: Failed in the Senate and the Senate

 

Wyoming (3 Electoral College votes): Not Enacted

  • 2011: Failed in the House
  • 2008: Failed in the House

 

If you would like more information on the NPV Interstate Compact, you can find it at The NPV Official Website, Ballotpedia, or your individual state legislature’s websites.



 

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