disproportionate effects that a handful of states like Iowa and New
Hampshire have on the nominating process, but that is just a shadow of
the far larger distortion of our democracy due to the Electoral
It’s not just that the candidate who has won the popular vote can lose
the Presidency. As this Stateside Dispatch will emphasize, the
distortions in our political life, particularly to debates around civil
rights, due to the Electoral College are even more profound. Every
Presidential election year is warped by the disproportionate attention
to a few “swing” states even as most states and their concerns are
ignored by the candidates, leading to depressed turnout by many voters
in less competitive states.
But ending the anachronism of the Electoral College is moving forward
in the states. Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor John Corzine signed a bill, S2695/A4225, making New Jersey the second state after Maryland
to adopt the National Popular Vote interstate compact, an agreement to
allocate the state’s Presidential electors to whoever wins the popular
vote nationally once a sufficient number of states adopt the compact.
The Illinois legislature also approved National Popular Vote this month and the bill awaits the governor’s signature.
Along with both chambers in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois, seven
other legislative chambers have adopted National Popular Vote,
including Arkansas House, California Senate, California Assembly,
Colorado Senate, Hawaii House, Hawaii Senate, and the North Carolina
Senate. In fact, 391 state legislators
in 47 states have sponsored National Popular Vote legislation, so many
other states are considering the reform this year. Given the
overwhelming 70% plus support in polls for having the President elected by a majority of the nation’s votes, this is welcome progress.