Here's the plan to subvert the Electoral College without amending the Constitution

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There is no surprise that for the most part, the states that have passed this are states that find themselves under-represented in the electoral college. Which is why in the end this seems unlikely to happen. The electoral college was ALWAYS a kludge to persuade less populous states to approve the constitution. It seems unlikely that currently over-represented states will voluntarily accept proportional representation.


[snorts more crack] That’s a brilliant idea! Republican States will totally get behind it!


I find the Senate to be almost as egregious as the Electoral College. Both give States a disproportionate amount of veto power (and I’m guessing it all hinged on compromising on behalf of southern slave-owning states). The Senate seems to best represent the wishes and desires of the most wealthy folks – the landed gentry which is now the 1%.

I came up with this idea that if the Senate is truly about wealth, then we ought to put our money where our mouth is and systemize it. Give each state 1 senator, and then distribute the remaining 50 senators proportionally to a state based on its state GDP. So, for instance, California would get 4 Senators and Alabama would get only 1 etc. This maps perfectly between the amount of federal taxes a wealthier state kicks in to the system vs. the amount the poorer states withdraw from the system.


This is why I do software and not policy.


Yo, commenters:

It’s important to realize that states that join the pact do not need the participation of the states that don’t join the pact. The pact works anyway.

As soon as states representing 270 electoral votes pass the compact, it becomes de facto US law. This is because no matter how the other states use their electoral votes, a majority of the electoral votes will still match the will of the majority of US voters.


Well until one of those states that is a member of the pact realizes that it would be more influential if the repealed their law. Yes, they don’t need egregiously over-represented Wyoming or Alaska to sign on, but they still need a few states that are over represented in the EC to agree.


Remember that in the end men voted to give women the right to vote even if it diluted the value of their own votes. It’s not all about self interest.

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True, but it is swimming upstream…

Article V of the Constitution sets forth the amendment process and also guarantees equal suffrage of the states in the Senate. Equal suffrage cannot be changed without the consent of the states. I cannot see how any small state would consent to lose their Senators.


Pacts between states need Congressional approval, as per the Constitution.

As problematic as the Electoral College vote allocations are, the lack of accountability and national standards for Electors are even bigger problems.

The compact could remediate those problems in theory. In practise, however, small-population and conservative-leaning states aren’t going to sign on to make the numbers needed to reach the threshold. And even if the threshold is reached, the states that don’t join will have a sympathetic right-leaning SCOTUS to back them up in their effort to preserve the GOP as a duopoly party for the next 20 years.


Except that it’s not a “pact between states”. It is a state law that will be enacted when a certain condition is met; i.e., when enough other states pass the same law.

One thing that it does not cover, however, is the problem of faithless electors. But that is a separate issue.


As much as I’d like to elect Presidents popularly, the chances of this pact ever passing judicial review are nill. Circumventing the Constitutional intent via the pact sets a terrible precedent. There are numerous problems, like performing a nationwide recount or standardized ballots and standards, that would need to be addressed. Congress does have the authority to address many of those, but they’d best be addressed in a Constitutional amendment.


I mean, good on them for trying, but I suspect that this will last exactly until one state is forced to choose between adhering to the compact or appointing electors in line with that state’s vote.


Probably, but that’s even less likely to happen (for the same reasons I mentioned above).

The lack of will to reform the Electoral College or the Senate is driven less by worries about undermining Constitutional intent (the document allowed for change and amendments from the start) and mostly about preserving a duopoly party that, as its base ages, increasingly has to cheat and game the system to maintain its power.


Not in every case (according to prior Supreme Court decisions on certain compacts that did not, in fact, have Congressional approval). Supporters advance the argument that Congressional approval is not required here, due primarily to that case law in the context of the states’ exclusive power to determine the manner of choosing electors. It’s in the FAQ.

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What happened to distributing electoral votes proportionately? Don’t some state already do so? That seems like an easier sell…

ETA: Maine and Nebraska, per the federal register

What is the difference between the winner-takes-all rule and proportional voting, and which states follow which rule?

The District of Columbia and 48 states have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. In these States, whichever candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, or a plurality of the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate), takes all of the state’s Electoral votes.

Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In those states, there could be a split of Electoral votes among candidates through the state’s system for proportional allocation of votes. For example, Maine has four Electoral votes and two Congressional districts. It awards one Electoral vote per Congressional district and two by the state-wide, “at-large” vote. It is possible for Candidate A to win the first district and receive one Electoral vote, Candidate B to win the second district and receive one Electoral vote, and Candidate C, who finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large Electoral votes. Although this is a possible scenario, it has not actually happened.

Of course, if only Blue state do this, and Red states don’t, that just means all the blue states take a slice out of their electoral votes. Although Nebraska votes red. But the math on how the “proportions” are decided sure does matter, looking at Barack vs. McCain popular vote totals vs. electoral vote split (wikipedia)

2008 Barack Obama 333,319 41.60 John McCain 452,979 56.53 - 5 Electoral votes split, four to McCain, one to Obama.

I mean, Obama got at least 2/5 of the popular vote, but who knows, Nebraska is probably gerrymandered as shit, and this does amplify gerrymandering if votes are allocated by congressional district the way Maine does


What’s exciting is that it has made a lot of progress recently. It’s getting close. If the states that have already passed it through at least one legislative body enact it (75 electoral votes), it will cross the threshold of 270.

That’s a controversial interpretation. Distribution of electoral votes by a state is entirely left up to the state itself, by the Constitution. There is no difference between this and the decision by states like Maine to assign their electoral votes proportionally.


It’s not at all clear to me that Constitutional intent is at issue here, given that the original means of choosing electors in most states bore little to no resemblance to the current system. The Constitution doesn’t seem to have an intent regarding how states choose electors, and seems to contain language disavowing such intent.


Thankfully, the federal government has no say in how the states apportion their electoral votes. Strictly speaking the Constitution doesn’t even require the states to hold elections to choose electors. State legislatures could theoretically choose them directly. Those electors also cannot be forced to vote the way state law instructs them to, and laws to punish faithless electors are AFAIK somewhat untested judicially.