It appears now that the the time has come to again address this issue and begin a conversation on this important subject. So, let us begin.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE INTERSTATE COMPACT?
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is actually very simple in its premise. The Compact is an agreement between states. In this case, the agreement deals with how Electoral Votes from the Electoral College are awarded to presidential candidates based on how voters vote in the presidential race. Presently, in most states, the Legislatures of the various states have directed all their Electoral Votes to be cast in favor of the candidate that receives the popular vote in that state (aka Winner-Take-All). So, if a presidential candidate receives 51% of the popular vote, the candidate receives 100% of the Electoral Votes. The NPVIC provides states with an alternative to this status quo by volunteering to assign their Electoral Votes to the winner of the national popular vote rather than the winner of the individual state.
WHY WOULD ANY STATE WANT TO BE A PART OF THE NPVIC?
The NPVIC is designed to address several problems that currently exist in our presidential election process. The first is that our present presidential elections and campaigns are geared to battleground states. The dominant Winner-Take-All practice means that, in most states, the Electoral Votes are easy to predict due to wide margins in the popular vote of those states. However, for a handful of states, the margins are too close to call. These states then become battleground states and the focus of campaigning and messaging. Indeed, campaign promises and policy are crafted mostly by candidates efforts to woo voters in swing battle ground states.
This intense attention to battleground states means that the other states, like Utah, are left out of the discussion. The campaign promises and policy nuances that may win over voters in battleground states may actually work to the disadvantage of the other states. Also, after the election these battle ground states perennially receive preferential treatment due to their lopsided clout. For instance, when it comes to public lands issues, Colorado is much more likely to have their grievances addressed than Utah. When it comes to receiving Federal waivers, Florida is more likely to receive a waiver than Utah.
The bottom line is that the NPVIC would put every state on an equitable standing when it comes to crafting and honing policy at the presidential level.
HOW DOES THE NPVIC MAKE EVERY STATE A BATTLE GROUND STATE?
The NPVIC is designed to "go live" once enough states have joined the compact to constitute 270 Electoral Votes among them. Until that time, nothing changes. Hence, the urgency in having states like Utah join the compact to reach the 270 threshold. Once the threshold is reached and the compact's provisions are implemented, it will award the 270 electoral votes to the presidential candidate that wins the national popular vote.
Since 270 electoral votes are required to win the presidency, the states that joined the compact would effectively change the way presidential campaigns and races are run for every state, even those that did not join the compact. If a candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win, and those electoral votes are awarded based on the outcome of the national popular vote, then candidates have an incentive to obtain every vote from every state possible to achieve that goal. Thus, every state becomes a battleground state. Clearly, this would be a dramatic difference from how things are run today.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NPVIC?
- Funds raised in the states for political purposes will stay in the states rather than being exported to current battle ground states.
- Voter participation would increase due to the importance of every single vote being cast to determine the winner.
- Presidential campaigns will have a presence in all states rather than just current battle ground states.
- Policy will be influenced by all states rather than just a few battle ground state.
- Party nomination processes would seek candidates with the broadest appeal to Americans at large rather than candidates that merely play well to a battle ground state audience.
- and more!
For a great tutorial on this topic, this video does a great job explaining the concept:
Look for more information on this topic in the coming months. The resolution is currently being drafted and will be presented for discussion in the 2018 General Session. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to me.