A shortcut to abolishing the Electoral College; an appeal to free-thinking electors

Twice in the past five elections, the person who won is not the person who moved into the White House.

Hillary Clinton received 1.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, yet it’s Trump who is picking Cabinet members and will pick Supreme Court justices.


If this strikes you as unacceptable, please join the League of Women Voters of the United States in advocating passage of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Each state adopting the Compact pledges to instruct its electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote–which is to say, the winner. (We don’t say “popular vote” in any other context as if it were a lesser thing. A vote is a vote, and under our system voting is how we choose our leaders.)

Ten states and the District of Columbia, accounting for 61% of an Electoral College majority, have already adopted the Compact. But if you don’t live in California, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont or Washington State, ask your state representative to introduce the Compact in the next session of the legislature, and then ask every person running for a seat whether s/he supports it.

Come on Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia!–all blue states whose votes could get us to 219. And come on Michigan and Pennsylvania, which both had the Compact under consideration in last year’s legislative session: those two would make 255. Capture Florida, and lo and behold, we get to inaugurate the person we elected.

But. As long as the Electoral College is there, it should perform the function the Framers had in mind: preventing the election of a demagogue. We have just under a month to find 38 Republican electors willing to admit either that their standard-bearer is unfit for the office or that he just plain lost.

Who among them is willing to speak up? We’re all ears.

Author: Kelly Kleiman

Kelly Kleiman is a freelance writer on the arts, feminism, travel and social justice. Her reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, among other dailies; in magazines, including In These Times and Dance; in the alternative press; on the BBC; and on Chicago Public Radio, where she’s one of the “Dueling Critics” and a contributor to the Onstage Backstage theater blog. She is also a consultant to charities and editor and publisher of The Nonprofiteer, a blog about charity, philanthropy and nonprofit management. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.

7 thoughts on “A shortcut to abolishing the Electoral College; an appeal to free-thinking electors”

  1. Make that “over two million” popular votes. Plus a national media willing to make gigantic headlines out of the popular vote margin rather than force people to look at the Cook Political Report for the latest count data. I have seen nothing on network news that comes close to calling the country’s attention to this rather important fact. In 2000, there was some media attention to Gore’s popular vote margin, which is now about one fourth of Clinton’s margin in 2016. Perhaps they are afraid of retaliation by Trump, who has a long memory for unfavorable reporting, and figure that they have more to lose than to gain by reporting the story. But if too few people are aware of the situation, nothing will be done about it.

  2. This is the sort of goo-goo initiative I usually pooh-pooh, but in this case, I say go for it. Can't hurt; might help.

  3. Hey, c'mon! This blog is sposed to be 'reality based'. And you think you are somehow going to get 38 faithless electors? And not just people who would go against Trump, but who would go for Hillary? From those chosen as Reep electors? What HAVE you been smoking?

    1. I can't imagine it would be difficult for a Republican elector to rationalize voting for Trump ("will of the people" "he'll surround himself with good people" etc) The only thing one could hope for would be like a meteor out of the clear blue sky – proof of being a Russian agent, or that Russian blackmail tape surfacing of Trump in a Moscow hotel raping a 13 year old.

      1. result: two Trump electors didn't vote for him. On the other hand, five Hillary electors voted for somebody else….

  4. Yeah, no. I'd like the electoral college to go away. I'd also like us to move from FPTP to proportional representation and to introduce more elements of the parliamentary system (i.e. making Congress dissolve itself and hold early elections if they fail to pass a budget). None of these will ever happen. Ancestor worship is too deeply ingrained in American political culture, plus it's not like either major party will ever agree to any of this.

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