Electoral College vs. National Popular Vote

Posted on September 6th, 2012

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Air Date: September 6, 2012

Host: Jim Schneider

Guest: Trent England

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Increasingly there is a growing debate on the matter of continuing to elect our President by means of the constitutionally directed electoral system which we see in Article II, Section 1, or the increasing push for a national popular vote. This Crosstalk addressed this issue with Trent England, the director of the Save Our States Project with the Freedom Foundation.

Although Nebraska and Maine do things a bit differently, basically the electoral college works by having each state hold its own election for president. The candidate that wins the most votes in each of the states gets a set of electors.

The National Popular Vote is an organization in California headed by John Koza who was an elector for Al Gore in the 2000 election. His plan basically works like this: A state government would pass a law requiring it to award all its electoral votes to the candidate that wins the nationwide popular vote.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand this scenario is to compare it to a baseball series. The current electoral college system resembles what happens when a team is declared the winner of a 7 game series by winning four of the seven games. That team may have actually scored fewer runs in the entire series than the losing team but nonetheless they won more games therefore they are declared the series winner. On the other hand, a popular vote for president would be like declaring the series winner, not on the basis of which team won the most games, but instead upon which team scored the most runs in the series.

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