On Wednesday, CNN hosted a town hall featuring Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). During the event, an audience member named Theresa asked Booker about the Electoral College:
THERESA: Do you believe that there should be some type of reform to the Electoral College, or should it remain as it is?
BOOKER: Theresa, thank you for the question. I believe very simply that in presidential elections, the person with the most votes should be the president of the United States. But I want to tell you, for us ever to get to a point where we can address that issue, we have got to win this next election under the rules that are there now.
The movement for the abolition of the Electoral College is not a new one, but it has been gaining steam ever since Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election (Trump won the electoral vote 304 to 227, while Clinton won the popular vote 65.7 million to 62.9 million).
As the movement to abolish the Electoral College has developed, many high-profile Democratic politicians have begun to publicly support the cause.
The National Popular Vote (NPV) compact is an effort to circumvent the Constitution by having states enact legislation that “would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
On Thursday, Delaware joined the compact after Governor John Carney (D) signed state Senate Bill 22 into law. 13 other states and localities have entered the compact, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. These states (and D.C.) control 184 Electoral votes.
The NPV would only be activated if enough states joined the compact to provide it with control over 270 Electoral votes, the number necessary to win the presidency. However, there would certainly be legal challenges if the initiative reached that number.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich writes:
Opponents may brandish the part of the Constitution that says that interstate compacts require the consent of Congress, or they may argue that it runs afoul of the Voting Rights Act because it may diminish the clout of minority voters. And, of course, there is the fact that it circumvents what the founders intended — the Electoral College was designed to be an indirect method of electing the president.
According to the NPV official website:
The National Popular Vote bill has now passed a total of 37 state legislative chambers in 23 states. It has also passed one legislative chamber in 8 states possessing 72 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, NC, NV, OK, OR). It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 more electoral votes (GA, MO).
The only way to truly abolish the Electoral College would be through a constitutional amendment, which would have to pass a two-thirds vote in the House (290 of 435) and Senate (67 of 100), then be ratified by three-fourths (38) of state legislatures. Another means by which a constitutional amendment can be passed is if two-thirds of state legislatures call for a Constitutional Convention, propose an amendment, then have it ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures.