The Electoral College is Broken

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Donald Trump, but still lost the White House. 

How is this possible? 

Conceived in the 18th century, our current Electoral College system says that the candidate who receives the most votes doesn’t necessarily become president. It works like this: The Constitution assigns each state a number of electors equal to the number of Senate and House members representing that state. The state then decides how to apportion those electors’ votes. Currently, most states award ALL of their electoral college votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in that state. A candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. 

Since a majority of voters in most states reliably vote for one party or the other, winning presidential candidates can ignore most voters as long as they win the right combination of “battleground” states — such as Florida and Michigan in the last election. They can even win with less support across the country than their opponents.

In fact, two of the last three presidents elected in the United States entered the White House in spite of receiving fewer votes than their opponents. 

Here’s How We Fix It

The National Popular Vote (NPV) is a law that awards a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states. The NPV will take effect when enacted into law by enough states to represent at least 270 electoral votes. The result: The candidate who gets the most votes will win the presidency.

Each state has the right to award their electoral college votes any way they like, meaning it’s up to state legislatures to determine how they’re allocated. 

We are less than half a dozen states away from enacting a National Popular Vote in this country. To date,15 states and Washington, D.C. have already entered into the agreement, totaling 196 electoral votes.

The Fight for the NPV in Virginia

Virginia is one of the states looking to enact a National Popular Vote bill, thanks to a newly-progressive legislature. If Virginia were to pass NPV, it would add another 13 electoral votes to the list, bringing the total number up to 209 electoral votes.

The Stand Up America community, together with other advocates, played a crucial role in passing the bill through the Virginia House of Delegates this year. This is a direct result of Virginians making their voices heard and calling for changes that will empower the majority of voters.

The Virginia State Senate came close to passing the bill before March 7th, 2020 — the end of the legislative session — but ran out of time.

The fight is far from over. When the Virginia legislature returns this fall, we’ll continue to make calls and take in person action to help get NPV across the finish line.