During the 2000 presidential election,Al Gore won the popular vote but George
W. Bush won the presidency by winning the majority of votes in the Electoral
College. Since then,a predictable but misguided
effort has been underway to try to make the popular vote determinative of
presidential elections,instead of relying on the Electoral College as
provided in the Constitution and as traditionally counted.
Recognizing that such a proposal could never command the support of
three-quarters of the states required for a constitutional amendment,proponents
have instead proposed an interstate compact by which states commanding a
majority of votes in the Electoral College agree to cast all their votes for the
winner of the national popular vote in a presidential election. States would
legally bind themselves to cast their electoral votes for the national popular
vote winner regardless of the actual vote in that state. And by mutual
agreement,the legislation in each state would become effective as soon as states
commanding a majority of the electoral votes enact the same legislation.
The flaw in the proposal is the possibility of a close result in the national
popular vote. Under the current system,a close vote in the Electoral College
could trigger a recount and protracted litigation in a single state,as we
experienced in Florida in 2000,or at worst in a couple of states where the close
popular vote could affect the electoral votes.
But under the national popular vote proposal,a close national vote could
result in recounts and protracted litigation in all 50 states and in the
District of Columbia,because….