State Senate passes VPIRG-backed National Popular Vote bill

On Febuary 22nd 2011, the Vermont State Senate voted 20-10 on a bill (S. 31) that would have Vermont join a coalition of other states agreeing to give their Electoral College votes to whichever candidate won the national popular vote.  The system would go into effect once enough states pass the bill to constitute a majority of votes in the Electoral College. This measure will ensure votes cast here in Vermont will mean as much as votes cast in Ohio or Florida.

Presidential campaigns can ignore issues of concern to voters in the “non-battleground states” because votes in the Electoral College are awarded to the candidate who gets the most popular votes inside each separate state.  In 2008, candidates concentrated two-thirds of their campaign events and money in just six closely divided “battleground” states – places like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia – and nearly all the rest of their resources in just nine other states.

Voters here in Vermont, and in the remaining 34 states, are mere spectators in presidential elections.  On the other hand, if the President were elected by a national popular vote, the votes of Vermonters would matter. Every vote in the country would be equal.

Under the National Popular Vote bill (S.31), once states representing a majority of the votes in the Electoral College enact the bill, the electoral votes from participating states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states. This system would guarantee that every vote matters and that each state is relevant.