Maryland Bill Could Bring Us Closer to Choosing the President by Popular Vote

Maryland Senator Bill Ferguson has introduced a bill, SB 582, that “he hopes will speed up the move to a national popular vote if other states also adopt the idea.”  Under SB 582, Maryland’s 10 Electoral College votes would go to the winner of the national popular vote if a state that voted for the Republican candidate in the last election also pledges at least as many electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. 

The bill’s supporters hope that red and blue states will work together to pair up their votes to make it less and less likely that a president could be elected without winning the popular vote.  As Senator Ferguson explained:

This is about expediting Maryland moving toward the popular vote. It breaks the political logjam through a pairing strategy. All of those states that sign up for the pairing strategy will send their votes to the winner of the popular vote.

The Maryland bill is a complementary effort to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.  As attorney Jonathan Blake stated in his testimony in favor of the bill:

The Compact’s objective is to guarantee, after the Compact becomes effective, that the winner of the national popular vote become president, whereas SB 582 seeks to improve the chances that the winner of the national popular vote becomes president during the period until the Compact becomes effective.