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Electoral College Dropout

02/14/2020 5:34 pm ET Brian Frazer

Flickr: Josh Berglund

Virginia is for lovers… of democracy!

As you may have heard, back in 2016, Hillary Clinton had three million more votes than Donald Trump, but the former is now hiking in Chappaqua while the latter is in the White House destroying our democracy. Virginia is trying to do something about this for future elections.

House Bill 177 passed in the Virginia House just passed a bill. The bill awards all of the state’s electoral votes to the national winner of the presidential popular vote. The backers of the bill hope that leveling the playing field will increase voter turnout.

Jumping on the bandwagon  

Virginia would join 15 other states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Oregon joined in June.

Not so fast

Sound too good to be true? Because it is. The compact requires that the total of the states’ electoral votes exceeds the 270 threshold needed for a candidate to win. If Virginia’s bill makes it through their Senate, the number of states represented with their electoral votes would be at 209 – still 61 shy of the goal. What does that mean? That means that a handful of Trump’s red states would need to join the compact. Tough but not impossible, especially if larger states like Florida can be enticed. However, the clock is ticking. In order to take effect for November, the additional states would need to join by July 20th.

Key quotes

“This idea that some American citizens should have more power than other American citizens to choose the president of the United States, I, frankly, find profoundly offensive.”

“The campaign in ’20 may well come down to five or six or seven states. That means the vast majority of Americans are left out of the presidential campaign, and we think that is wrong.”

“It allows every single citizen of the United States to have a free and equal vote, and in doing so, everyone has an incentive to vote.”

What you can do

Write to your state representatives and ask them your state joins the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

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