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National Popular Vote Is Not Electoral Reform

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NPV doesn’t mean that “every vote matters,” but would undermine the perceived legitimacy of a close election winner.

 

By Gary M. Galles

 

After it became clear Donald Trump’s Electoral College triumph would be accompanied by a popular vote loss, USA Today predicted renewed attempts “to kill the Electoral College.” Since then, Oregon has joined those national popular vote (NPV) efforts, and Colorado is poised to, pending its governor’s signature.

Supposedly premised in “advancing democracy” and “making every vote count,” the NPV compact would pledge each adopting state’s electoral votes to whoever received the largest national vote if states representing 270 or more electoral votes did the same. It would sidestep the rules necessary for changing the Electoral College constitutionally, as even Justice Ginsburg, who has voiced support for NPV, argues, because supporters do not command the level of agreement that would require. Colorado would raise the electoral votes represented by signatory states to 181.

Seldom mentioned, however, is that the premises claimed by NPV’s supporters are false and that the intended effect is actually to give Democratic constituencies more political power to disenfranchise Americans from choices they would like to make for themselves.

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