|National Popular Vote Interstate Compact|
|Member jurisdictions:|| 9|
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an interstate compact among eight states - California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington - and the District of Columbia. The compact would guarantee the presidency to the winner of the national popular vote, and will be enacted when states representing at least 270 electoral college votes adopt the legislation.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives states the authority to determine how their electoral votes will be awarded: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…." This compact does not abolish the electoral college system; it merely awards all of the electoral votes from the members states to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire nation.
In the 2000, George W. Bush won the presidential election with 271 electoral votes despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore. Most states have a "winner-take-all" system of awarding electoral votes - a candidate who receives 51% of the popular vote would receive 100% of the electoral votes. The 2000 election is not the only instance in which the winner did not receive the most popular votes; it has happened in four of the 56 presidential elections in our nation's history.
Critics of the electoral college system are quick to point out how candidates can discount the needs of voters in states where they have either a commanding lead or little chance of winning. According to the National Popular Vote, Inc., the organization behind the push for state legislatures to adopt the compact, "in 2004 and 2008, candidates concentrated two-thirds of their visits and ad money in the post-convention campaign in just six closely divided "battleground" states— with 98% going to just 15 states. Two thirds of the states were ignored."
California is the most recent state to adopt compact legislation, giving the movement a much-needed boost. Governor Jerry Brown signed the compact into law, adding California's 55 electoral college votes to bring the total to 132 - 49% of the votes needed for enactment.
Text of the compact
The legislature of each member state passes the laws with certain and modifications, but the core of the legislation remains the same.
Article I: Membership
Any State of the United States and the District of Columbia may become a member of this agreement by enacting this agreement.
Article II: Right of the People in Member States to Vote for President and Vice President
Each member state shall conduct a statewide popular election for President and Vice President of the United States.
Article III: Manner of Appointing Presidential Electors in Member States
- Prior to the time set by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each presidential slate in each State of the United States and in the District of Columbia in which votes have been cast in a statewide popular election and shall add such votes together to produce a “national popular vote total” for each presidential slate.
- The chief election official of each member state shall designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the “national popular vote winner.”
- The presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment in that official’s own state of the elector slate nominated in that state in association with the national popular vote winner.
- At least six days before the day fixed by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, each member state shall make a final determination of the number of popular votes cast in the state for each presidential slate and shall communicate an official statement of such determination within 24 hours to the chief election official of each other member state.
- The chief election official of each member state shall treat as conclusive an official statement containing the number of popular votes in a state for each presidential slate made by the day established by federal law for making a state’s final determination conclusive as to the counting of electoral votes by Congress.
- In event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, the presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment of the elector slate nominated in association with the presidential slate receiving the largest number of popular votes within that official’s own state.
- If, for any reason, the number of presidential electors nominated in a member state in association with the national popular vote winner is less than or greater than that state’s number of electoral votes, the presidential candidate on the presidential slate that has been designated as the national popular vote winner shall have the power to nominate the presidential electors for that state and that state’s presidential elector certifying official shall certify the appointment of such nominees. The chief election official of each member state shall immediately release to the public all vote counts or statements of votes as they are determined or obtained.
- This article shall govern the appointment of presidential electors in each member state in any year in which this agreement is, on July 20, in effect in states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes.
Article IV: Other Provisions
- This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement in substantially the same form and the enactments by such states have taken effect in each state.
- Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.
- The chief executive of each member state shall promptly notify the chief executive of all other states of when this agreement has been enacted and has taken effect in that official’s state, when the state has withdrawn from this agreement, and when this agreement takes effect generally.
- This agreement shall terminate if the electoral college is abolished.
- If any provision of this agreement is held invalid, the remaining provisions shall not be affected.
Article V: Definitions
For purposes of this agreement,
- “chief executive” shall mean the Governor of a State of the United States or the Mayor of the District of Columbia;
- “elector slate” shall mean a slate of candidates who have been nominated in a state for the position of presidential elector in association with a presidential slate;
- “chief election official” shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the total number of popular votes for each presidential slate;
- “presidential elector” shall mean an elector for President and Vice President of the United States;
- “presidential elector certifying official” shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the appointment of the state’s presidential electors;
- “presidential slate” shall mean a slate of two persons, the first of whom has been nominated as a candidate for President of the United States and the second of whom has been nominated as a candidate for Vice President of the United States, or any legal successors to such persons, regardless of whether both names appear on the ballot presented to the voter in a particular state;
- “state” shall mean a State of the United States and the District of Columbia; and
- “statewide popular election” shall mean a general election in which votes are cast for presidential slates by individual voters and counted on a statewide basis.