Why We Need to Revise the Electoral Count Act
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Electoral Count Act. It’s been in the news lately. It passed in 1887, after the highly disputed election of 1876 and close elections in 1880 and 1884.
It’s a complicated and ambiguous piece of legislation. It aims to enforce states’ rights to decide their presidential election laws and take the US Congress out of it, for the most part.
Following the 2020 election, the Electoral Count Act showed its flaws. Thankfully, a bipartisan agreement seems to be in the works. Hopefully, a bill clarifying the original law will pass before the 2024 election.
Why bring it up if we want to elect the president by national popular vote? Because the National Popular Vote bill retains the Electoral College and the Electors.
Here are some facts to consider:
- The Constitution gives each state the power to appoint its Electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” with all states currently using some form of popular election.
- Each party in each state chooses their own Electors. The Electors do the voting according to who won the popular vote in their states. The Electors are party loyalists, but cannot be US Representatives or Senators.
- Forty-eight states use winner-take-all; that means there is a popular vote within the state, but the Electors only represent the candidate from the party that won in that state, not in all fifty states.
- The vice president is also the president of the Senate; his job is to open the state-certified ballots. Period. He has no power to discriminate regarding these ballots, only the states do.
- The National Popular Vote bill has passed in 15 states plus DC for a total of 195 Electors. The candidate who wins at least 270 Electors becomes president, hence the law becomes effective when enough states have passed it totaling 270.
- There have been 700+ attempts to amend and clarify the Electoral College. The Electoral Count Act is the only one that has passed. Today, it too needs adjusting.
It is encouraging to see a bipartisan effort moving forward to maintain order in the peaceful transfer of power in our 244-year-old democracy.
National Survey Results on the National Popular Vote
The University of South Florida recently conducted a national survey of voters asking about the National Popular Vote. Here are the results.
We at Floridians for National Popular Vote are heartened by the fact that the majority of Americans agree that a popular vote that represents all 50 states is the fairest, most democratic way to elect the president and vice president. It’s how we elect every other representative in every office across the land.