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Good-Bye Electoral College? Popular Vote Movement Gaining Steam


Good-Bye Electoral College? Popular Vote Movement Gaining Steam

Steven Rosenfeld

There’s new momentum around the National Popular Vote movement, where states will award Electoral College votes to elect the president based on which candidate has won the most votes nationwide—instead of today’s state-by-state winner-take-all system.


The more I contemplate ranked voting initiatives the more I am intrigued. Further distancing the process beyond removal of the EC (a good start in my opinion), ranked voting might just bring out more genuine and in-depth exploration of the issues. Can you imagine even nuances brought into the process. Why the electorate might have to even think! Might even decide to safeguard genuine education at all costs! Bumpers would have to be enlarged to handle stickers with content. Egg timers would have to be pitched as debaters would require longer response times to address details.


Getting rid of the EC is THE biggest no-brainer in the entire US political sphere. That any politician can hold a view of Blue Wall or Trump’s EC lock and not want to change it should be grounds for voters in either major party to throw them out on their ass in a primary (third parties are obviously against the EC). I hope the compact succeeds and I have no doubt there will be court challenges, but the sooner we get on with this, the sooner we can get to a sane system.

Ranked voting becomes possible with an NPV of course and I am 100% behind it. There are lots of debates on the best form of ranked voting (or other alternatives like Approval voting). @webwalk often posts detailed information on this topic. I think it is very easy to explain ranked voting to people when you know the D and the R will make it to the final round (if the rounds go that far). This is to say, everybody has a preference of D over R or R over D and some small percentage would want someone else entirely (e.g. Ralph Nader). So in the end all that matters are the D/R preferences. However, when the third parties have enough mind-share things can change - you can have a scenario for example in a Gore Nader Bush race where Nader can actually knock Gore out, and lose to Bush but if Nader hadn’t been in the race at all, Gore would win. There are a lot of weird things like this in voting theory. If you are interested, you can check out a Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow’s_impossibility_theorem) which I think has been updated since I first started looking into this in the late 90s. There’s a lot of interesting reading, but of course we have to get rid of the EC for it to apply to the presidential race. (RCV and alternatives apply to other races though)


It’s a start.


This may be of interest from somewhere with ranked choice voting: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/13/surge-of-leftwing-micro-parties-in-nsw-election-threatens-greens-flank


I hope the bill comes with paper ballots and computer voting machines go for recycling.


I would like the electoral college to disapear, The simple way of one person one vote is the best way, with the majority vote getter winning the office.


This is an odd case–one bizarre, needlessly complicated system being piled on top of another bizarre, needlessly complicated system. Why have a state’s votes go the national winner? What sense does it make to let other states decide where your state’s votes go? I don’t know where this can go wrong but I have a feeling there will be some circumstances in which the outcome will be as bad as the Electoral College. Why not just have each state distribute its electoral college votes proportionally, the way the state’s popular vote comes out? It could be arranged the same way interstatally, with none of the state laws to do this taking effect until the only ones that hadn’t passed it didn’t total enough to overcome a 51% outcome in every participating state. Some electors’ votes might have to be split to get a proportion exactly equal to the state’s popular vote. Once enough states passed this, the Electoral College would be completely superfluous and it might be possible to get rid of it completely.

This still won’t solve other voting problems, including small state bias in the Electoral College and in Congress, that are much more serious threats to what could be, someday, a democratic country.



No voting system can be perfect, but among all the known voting methods, Instant Runoff Voting (aka Ranked Choice Voting) is only a little better than plurality (the system we use in most US elections now). Approval voting and score voting are pretty good, but the best method known is STAR voting (“Score Then Automatic Runoff”, aka SRV, Score Runoff Voting).

STAR voting avoids the need for primary or runoff elections because it uses a single ballot, first to pick two finalists who have the most overall support, and then to do an automatic runoff between the finalists to see which of them is preferred by the most voters.

To vote, you simply rate each candidate with 0 to 5 stars, just like in a product review on Amazon. For example, say someone gives 5 stars to Bernie, 3 stars to Hillary, 1 star to Mitt and 0 stars to Donald. If the top two scoring candidates across the whole electorate are Hillary and Donald, then in the automatic runoff, their full vote would be registered for Hillary since they scored Hillary higher than Donald. But if the top two scoring candidates were Donald and Mitt, their full vote would go to Mitt since they scored Mitt higher than Donald. Or if the top two candidates were Bernie and Hillary, their full vote would go to Bernie in the automatic runoff. This video shows how much better STAR voting works, compared to Plurality, Instant Runoff, and Score voting:

Here are comparisons of STAR voting vs. Instant Runoff and other methods:


You can try it out for your own polls here:



It is a positive feedback loop. The more blue states enter the compact, the more red states will feel they must do the same to stay competitive; and the more red states jump onto the wagon, the more blue states will feel they have to join in.


There are 3,141 counties in the United States.
Trump won 3,084 of them.
Clinton won 57.
There are 62 counties in New York State.
Trump won 46 of them.
Clinton won 16.
Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 3 million votes.
In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond, & Queens), Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties, Trump won Richmond).
Therefore, these 5 counties alone, accounted for most of Clinton’s victory in the popular vote.
These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles.
The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.
When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those that encompass a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election.


Getting rid of the Electoral College is a good idea- I think we all pretty much saw in 2016 that its stated purpose for existence- as a last failstop check against the public electing a madman or dictator- is absolute BS. Instead we saw millions of people literally begging a seemingly randomly chosen group of 538 people, who had complete control over the destiny of the country. Why? Who are these people, and why did they have so much power over us? Whether you liked Trump or not, that is the question you need to be asking yourself.
On the contrary, the EC makes such a disaster MORE possible, by creating a small, highly bribable group of individuals who have the ability to put madmen in power despite what the public wants. Lets not forget that both Hitler and the Nazi party never had a majority of the popular vote in Germany, for instance- they won repeatedly by cheating, suppression, bribery… and when that didn’t work, even murder.
Nevertheless, the big issue that most certainly needs to be addressed, is reforming American elections in general. And first and foremost, bringing back and fixing the PUBLICLY FUNDED election system, which collapsed completely for the first time with Obama’s election onward- leaving Presidential elections in particular reduced almost to an auction, with billionaires the only significant bidders and candidates forced to pledge fealty to dark donors. Until this perversion of our democracy is fixed, the reign of mad billionaires in America will be the rule, not the exception.


There might not be a majority winner with popular vote. Might just be plurality.