Direct election of the president

We support a constitutional amendment replacing the Electoral College with direct election by the people, preferably using ranked-choice voting. That is the preferred method to address the problem of the Electoral College overriding the vote of the people.

The delegates to the convention that drafted our Constitution provided for the Electoral College to elect the president and vice-president because they did not trust voters to choose wisely. It is a thoroughly undemocratic institution.

Another way, perhaps easier, to put an end to the winner of the popular vote losing presidential elections is The National Popular Vote Compact. States participating in The National Popular Vote Compact agree to award all of their electoral votes to presidential electors associated with the candidate who wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a result, the winner of the national popular vote would always win the presidency by always securing a majority of votes in the Electoral College.

The National Popular Vote Compact will go into effect once it has been ratified by states with a total of 270 or more electoral votes (the number of electoral votes needed to win a presidential election). Until the compact’s conditions are met, all states award electoral votes in their current manner.

The National Popular Vote Compact has already been ratified by eleven states with a total of 165 electoral votes (CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA).  It will take effect when enacted by states with 105 more electoral votes.

Legislation that has been introduced in Congress:

A resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that replaces the Electoral College with direct election of the president and vice-president [H. J. Res 19].

Major party platforms on this issue:

The Democratic Party platform:

“It’s time we give back control of our elections to those to whom it belongs—the American people.”

The Republican Party platform

“We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.”

Polling on this issue:

“Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans believe that presidential elections should be decided based on the national popular vote, while about one-third (32%) believe they should be decided through the Electoral College.” [From a poll conducted by PRRI.]

Gallup polling (dating to 2000) has consistently shown overwhelming support for replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote. Support was especially strong support the election in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote, but President Bush won the Electoral College.

An interesting possibility:

States that have the initiative, but have not yet ratified have a total of 159 electoral votes between them. States with 105 more electoral votes are needed to put The National Popular Vote Compact into effect. This means the necessary additional states could be lined up through direct action on the part of voters in some of those states.