Sneak Attack on Electoral College Gains Ground

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2009 1:42 PM CDT
Indiana elector Owen Morgan of South Bend hands in his ballot as the Indiana members of the Electoral College gathered to cast their votes at the Statehouse.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Opponents of the Electoral College are making progress on an end run around the institution with the goal of setting up a system that would decide the presidential election solely on the popular vote, Tara Ross writes for the Weekly Standard. “Formally eliminating the Electoral College through a constitutional amendment would be unhealthy for the country,” Ross writes. But the National Popular Vote campaign's “efforts to skirt the constitutional amendment process is even worse.” And it could be halfway to its goal.

The NPV has gained the support of legislatures in states representing 43% of the 270-vote Electoral College majority needed to elect the president. Though gubernatorial vetoes knock that number down to 23%, the Constitution appears to reserve the right of awarding votes to legislatures. If NPV succeeds, the states would abide by a compact that “does not so much as designate a threshold that must be attained for a winning plurality,” Ross writes. “A presidential candidate could win with only 15 percent of votes nationwide.”