In the hotly contested 2000 U.S. presidential election that set the stage for America’s entry into the new millennium, George W. Bush lost the popular vote by more than 537,000 votes. In the equally controversial 2016 election, Donald Trump lost by more than 2.8 million votes. How did these candidates lose the popular vote yet become the 43rd and 45th presidents? Winner-take-all laws in state-led electoral systems have failed the American people twice in the previous six elections. With the midterm elections less than a year away, it’s crucial to implement changes before the next presidential election to ensure a fairer democracy.
The solution, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), will ensure that the candidate with the majority of votes wins. Under the NPVIC, states pledge to submit their electors towards the candidate who wins the popular vote. Once states totaling 270 electoral votes agree to the NPVIC, it will take effect. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will create a fair representation, increase voter turnout, and increase election competitiveness. Almost all other American elections are decided by majority vote, it’s time to apply the same standard to our presidential election.
Winner-take-all laws disenfranchise voters in several ways. First, winner-take-all laws snub democracy’s principle of one person, one vote. They give more weight to votes from certain states. A vote in Wyoming is worth 2 or 3 votes in larger states. Second, they outright cancel votes if they go against the statewide majority. Third, they lead candidates to focus solely on swing states. The current system has led to widespread disillusionment with voting, as Americans feel their votes do not count.
Under the NPVIC, votes are equally important in every state and for each candidate you choose to support. Your vote will matter even if your candidate does not win the statewide majority in your home state. This benefits both Republican and Democratic voters living in states where many millions will not vote with the statewide majority, such as Texas or California.
The NPVIC will also enhance voter turnout. Voters will know that their vote counts regardless of their home state or candidate preference. High voter turnout is key to a healthy and functioning democracy that works for Americans.
Every vote means every problem matters. The NPVIC will create competitive elections by pushing candidates to address more issues that affect local communities. It will incentivize candidates to learn more about constituents and figure out plans to help them rather than simply collecting votes.
Opponents to the plan argue that candidates would focus solely on campaigning in big cities. The 2020 U.S. Census shows that 86% of the U.S. population lives in metropolitan areas. Candidates campaigning in metropolitan areas will cover more states and a larger population than they do now, as campaigns tend to focus on six or seven swing states. This means more representation for Americans and campaign funds being dispersed across more states.
The NPVIC also will be safer from foreign election interference or misinformation. A nationwide popular vote means that America’s foreign adversaries would have to expend far more resources attempting to influence election outcomes. Increased voter participation means that it would be harder to skew elections with misinformation: Engaged and informed voters are less likely to believe fake news.
Two out of six previous U.S. presidential elections have been won by candidates who did not win America’s vote. That represents 8 years of our history being decided by candidates for whom the majority of Americans did not vote. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will fix the issues of winner-take-all laws. It allows for fair representation, increases voter turnout, and increases election competitiveness. America, let’s work together for a better tomorrow and help pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.