Is Change Afoot for the Electoral College?

Is Change Afoot for the Electoral College?

11.11.20
Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images
11.11.20

Since the 2016 Presidential election, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote but Donald Trump winning the overall election through electoral votes, there has been much discussion on the effectiveness (and fairness) of the Electoral College. Now, there’s a possibility of replacing the mechanisms of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote. 

In the history of presidential elections, there have been five cases of the winner losing the popular vote but receiving enough electoral ones to become president. However, in the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden managed to pull both the popular vote and electoral votes, giving many voters a sense of assurance in his victory. 

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a movement which began in 2006, takes a state-by-state approach to electoral reform.

There are 15 states and the District of Columbia which have approved the agreement to allow for states to select electors bound to the winners of the popular vote. It would only take effect once the participating states met the 270 vote threshold. 

The popular vote would determine who the Electoral College votes elect except for the states who don’t sign the agreement.

Although this wouldn’t entirely get rid of the Electoral College, it would serve as a way for the popular vote to take priority over the votes from electors.