Electing a President and Vice President of the United States by Popular Vote

The Electoral College system has been used to elect the President and Vice President of the United States ever since the U.S. Constitution was ratified. However, the system has a number of flaws. For example:

Two of the past four Presidents were elected despite losing the popular vote. In addition to the other policies they championed, those presidents have also appointed five of the nine current Justices of the Supreme Court, who have repeatedly voted to roll back the rights of workers, voters, women, and many other Americans.

If no presidential candidate gets a majority of electoral votes, then the House of Representatives chooses the President in a Byzantine process that gives each state one vote, while the Senate chooses the Vice President. This could happen in modern elections; for example, two candidates could each get 269 electoral votes, or a candidate could “win” 270 electoral votes in November but get 269 electoral votes in December because one of their electors failed to vote for them.

In many states, members of the Electoral College can decline to vote for the candidates to whom they were pledged. For example, in 2016, there were seven “faithless electors” who voted for people who didn’t win the presidential race in their state.

Recognizing these and other problems – and acknowledging how cumbersome it is to amend the Constitution – the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was created as a way to use the Electoral College system to elect a President and Vice President by a national popular vote. Under the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, states and the District of Columbia which are part of the compact would give their electoral votes to whichever presidential ticket wins the national popular vote – regardless of how that state or district votes.

The compact would take effect if the jurisdictions that approve it have a majority of all electoral votes (currently 270 of 538). As of August 2022, fifteen states plus the District of Columbia have joined the Compact; these jurisdictions represent 195 of the 70 electoral votes needed for the compact to take effect. If 75 more electoral votes’ worth of states join the Compact by July 20, 2024, the popular vote winner will win that year’s election.

With this in mind, Pride at Work will support changes that ensure that the presidential and vice- presidential candidates who receive the most votes nationally are elected as follows:

  • It is ultimately Pride at Work’s goal that the Electoral College system be eliminated in favor of a direct election by the people of the United States. To that end, Pride at Work calls on members of Congress and state legislatures to support a constitutional amendment eliminating the Electoral College
  • Until such an amendment can gain enough support, Pride at Work supports the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and urges states that aren’t already part of the Compact to join the Compact as a near-term measure until the Electoral College is finally abolished

Submitted by Pride at Work Michigan