Popular Vote Support

The Wrong 'Checks and Balances'

Consider these findings by the U.S. Elections Project and NonProfitVOTE:

“In 2016, four battleground states alone – Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania – were the target of the majority of campaign ad spending (71%) and candidate appearances (57%). Together the 14 battleground states absorbed 99% of ad spending and 95% of candidate visits for campaign purposes.”  

This is absurd and inexcusable.

All states’ voices and all citizens’ votes should matter when we elect the president.

But the voices of millions of voters will remain off the radar until we change the rules of our elections. The current rules dissuade candidates who want to win from conducting truly national campaigns that target every state. Instead, as these numbers show, they target only a handful. Why is that?

Contenders for President cannot win under the current electoral system unless they push all their resources into the handful of states that are “up-for-grabs”; they cannot simply afford to campaign in states where their victory is already guaranteed because a simple majority wins all a states’ electoral votes (Maine and Nebraska are the only exceptions). Our presidential contests are bizarrely unbalanced in that way. A small minority of states have a monopoly on the real decision-making power over who becomes President! The stakes are so high in these key states that most states, and the millions of voters who do not live in a swing-state, take a backseat.

One way to make all votes matter would be to use one of many presidential selection systems that would require candidates to win the popular vote to become President. We can still work within the current Electoral College framework— the states could pass laws to pledge Electors to the candidate who wins the most votes nationwide. There is nothing in the Constitution or any other federal laws which contradict this course of change.

It is time now to change the system so that every vote will count.

Vote-By-Mail Option Increases Turnout

Colorado became the first state to implement vote-by-mail voting in the 2014 midterm elections.

In a year in which voter turnout reached a historic low nationally, a study of voting patterns in Colorado revealed that 3.3% more voters than expected cast ballots (with a robust sample size of 2.8 million Coloradans analyzed). Incredibly, the increase in voting was highest among people predicted to be unlikely voters by multiple criteria. Young people ages 18 to 24 voted in far greater numbers than expected (low turnout by younger voters is a consistent trend nationally over the past several decades). Even more surprisingly, a lower expected probability of turnout by an individual voter predicted a higher likelihood that he or she would change their entrenched habits and vote in the midterms. Similarly, in the 2016 presidential race, states which had adopted vote-by-mail ballots consistently ranked among the highest in turnout (Colorado, Oregon and Washington for instance, which now use vote-by-mail in all elections).

Disillusioned by a Broken System: Some Plan Not To Vote, Believing Their ‘Votes Do Not Count’

A Suffolk University poll released this past April underscores voters’ disillusionment with U.S. elections; many registered and non-registered voters alike believe that their votes “do not count” and, accordingly, said they do not intend to vote this November.

Midterm turnout is traditionally lower than turnout during presidential election years. However, it is still troubling that this belief has become widely held—and in this poll was the most common reason cited for planning not to vote. This echoes non-voters’ same concern with our presidential elections: a feeling that their votes do not count or matter. In the case of the presidency, they are correct in most cases. The current model for electing the president ends up devaluing millions of votes; votes which are not cast in a dozen or fewer states that hold the key to victory count for very little since they have little to no chance of influencing the election’s outcome. To voters dissatisfied with this flawed system, our presidential electoral process can instill negative expectations of all elections, including down-ballot contests. The preconception that U.S. elections are dysfunctional has eroded both trust in government and voter participation, and it will continue to do so unless we demand reform.

Let’s change that system so that every vote for president DOES matter, no matter what. A national popular vote to choose the next President would not only correct the imbalances of our current system, but it should be a step in the right direction to restore voter confidence and participation. As we have noted before, Americans do vote when they know that their vote matters.

"Voting Should Be Popular... With Everyone"

Today is National Voter Registration Day, and in the words of Connecticut State Rep. Livvy R. Floren (Republican-149th), “voting should be popular… with everyone.” That was the title of her excellent op-ed explaining her support last spring for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Under that law, a state will award its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. If enough states pass this law, the winner of the most votes cast nationwide will always become the president.

For Rep. Floren, the benefits were both nonpartisan and crystal clear. In her words, “in order to encourage civic engagement in the political process while maintaining the sanctity of each and every vote, I believe one person/one vote is an idea whose time has come.”

The majority of her colleagues agreed. As of this May, Connecticut became the 11th state plus DC to join the Compact.

If you would like to help make every Americans’ vote matter equally, please consider becoming a supporter of Making Every Vote Count. Click here to learn more:

A Challenge In California

A Challenge In California

Something you may not know: Harvard Law Professor and former presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig is suing the state of California. His argument? The state disenfranchised Republican voters in the 2016 general election because their votes did not count under the winner-take-all system.

A Better System for Everyone

A Better System for Everyone

By a wide margin, Americans want to elect their president by popular vote – not because such a system would favor Democrats (it would not) but because a popular vote would mean every person’s vote in every state would count the same.