Posted by | January 15, 2012 20:22 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The Electoral College is an oddity.  It results in candidates spending most of their time in a small number of states.

Indeed, in 2004 and 2008, two-thirds of all candidate visits and money were concentrated in six states.

And in four out of 56 presidential elections it has resulted in the winner of the popular vote losing the presidential election.  I’ve always thought this could never change because it would require a constitutional amendment. But Kos describes an ingenious effort called the National Popular Vote effort.

1. States are allowed to assign their presidential electors however they see fit. (Note how Maine and Nebraska split their electors not only by statewide vote, but by congressional district.) 2. Thus, they pass a law saying that a) once states totaling 50+1 percent of the total electoral votes pass a similar law, that b) they will assign their state’s entire electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. (The Electoral College doesn’t go away.)

In other words, once states totalling 270 electoral votes pass this law, we will collectively choose our president based on whoever wins the most votes.

I heartily approve.  And with states totaling 132 electoral votes having agreed to the measure, we are almost halfway to a major change in the way presidential campaigns are run and organized.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.