Most of us believe that every American deserves an equal voice and equal say in our democracy, no matter where they live. A voter in California or Oklahoma should have just as much say in choosing our leaders as a voter in Florida or Pennsylvania.
But because of the Electoral College, we do not choose our presidents based on who wins the most votes, but on who wins a small number of critical swing states. This undemocratic system effectively disenfranchises millions of Americans who live in safe “red” or “blue” states, and it amplifies the power of small, largely white states.
The Electoral College was designed to keep power in the hands of white voters — and this is still the case three centuries later. For example, the concentration of Black voters is highest in the south, yet the electoral votes of southern states are most often awarded to the Republican candidate, despite Black Americans overwhelmingly voting Democratic.
In the 21st century alone, two out of four presidents — including Donald Trump — got fewer votes than their opponents, but still won the White House. And it could have happened again in 2020 if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had not won close states like Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia.
We can fix the Electoral College — and ensure that the candidate with the most votes wins — by amending the U.S. Constitution or, more realistically, by passing laws in states across the country in support of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
The NPV Interstate Compact is an agreement between states to pledge their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes nationwide, rather than the winner of just their own state. Once enough states have passed NPV laws to total 270 electoral votes, we can finally elect our presidents directly. If this had been in place in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency — as would Al Gore in 2000.
THE PATH TO WINNING
Already, 15 states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws to join the NPV Interstate Compact, totaling 196 Electoral College votes. To reach the goal of 270, we will need to pass NPV in several more states. And to do that, we will need to elect state legislators who support electing the president by national popular vote.
In 2021, Stand Up America will fight to pass NPV in Virginia, adding the state’s 13 electoral votes to the cause and bringing us one step closer to giving power back to the American people, no matter where they live.