A version of this letter by Cynara Stites appeared in the Chronicle.
The Electoral College flouts the democratic principle of “one person/one vote” in presidential elections because many citizens’ votes are disregarded by the Electoral College. Most states, including Connecticut, use the “winner-takes- all” method. These states cast all of their Electoral College votes for the presidential candidate who got the majority or plurality of the citizens’ votes in the state. That’s why Hillary Clinton got all seven of Connecticut’s Electoral College votes even though Donald Trump got 41.2% of Connecticut citizens’ votes. Many Trump voters whose votes were disregarded by the Electoral College live in eastern Connecticut.
Nationwide, over four million citizens voted for Clinton in states where Trump won the elections. Those citizens’ votes for Clinton translated into zero Electoral College votes for Clinton. That’s a lot of uncounted votes. Since the nationwide popular vote was first recorded in 1824, five presidential candidates who won the nationwide popular vote lost the elections in the Electoral College.
Repealing the 12th Amendment, which establishes the Electoral College, requires two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the state legislatures to vote for repeal. This won’t happen any time soon.
The proposed National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will assure that the presidential candidate who wins the majority of votes nationwide will be elected President by the Electoral College. States who sign on to the compact will pledge to cast their Electoral College votes for the candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact will go into effect when it has enough states to cast the majority of Electoral College votes.
This will assure that no American’s vote will be disregarded, the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote will win the election, and the election will really be a democratic “one person/one vote” election.