New York State Joins Battle Against Electoral College

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 16 2014 3:44 PM

U.S. Takes Small Step Toward Having System of Electing Its President That Actually Makes Sense

51674157

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The National Popular Vote “interstate compact” movement aims to replace the electoral college via a simple but clever strategy. Instead of pushing for a Constitutional amendment, which would have to be ratified in 38 states, advocates ask individual state legislatures to pass an agreement: that they’ll pledge all their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote as soon as enough other states pass the law to ensure that the candidate who wins said vote would have the 270 electoral votes required to become president. And today New York became the 10th state to pass that agreement as law. (Washington D.C. has three electoral votes and has also joined the agreement.) New York’s move puts the total of electoral votes pledged under the compact to 165.

The best case for passing the law might be this map from the National Popular Vote group, which shows how many 2012 presidential campaign events were held in each state between the party conventions and the election:

screen_shot_20140416_at_3.25.59_pm

National Popular Vote

You’ll notice that the majority of states never saw Romney or Obama at all, because their electoral votes were already foregone conclusions. And when a president can get elected by basically ignoring the specific needs and interests of most of the states in the country, that is, like, pretty messed up.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.