Washington: US Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday that would abolish the electoral college and provide for direct election of the president and vice president.
Since 2000, two presidential elections differed in the outcome of the popular vote versus the Electoral College, including the most recent election in which Hilary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the Electoral College.
Senators Diane Feinstein, Dick Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand joined Schatz in the proposed bill. The Senators argue (see below) that the electoral college system deprives American’s of a “one person, one vote” election. The democratic election process would provide for direct election by popular vote alone, thus guaranteeing that no one person’s vote counts for less than another. Feinstein explained the importance to Californians, saying:
Every four years, Californians are under-represented when they cast ballots for president of the United States because of the Electoral College. Each elector stands for 712,000 California residents, but a small state like Wyoming gets the same vote for only 195,000 residents. That’s simply not fair and needs to be fixed, particularly given that twice in the last two decades the popular victor hasn’t become president. The best solution is to eliminate the Electoral College.
Under the proposed amendment, presidential and vice presidential candidates will still run as a pair on a ballot slip. The pair that receives the most popular votes would win. To take effect, the amendment will first need a two-thirds approval vote in each house and ratification by three-fourths of the states.
Colorado was the most recent state to join the pledge to give electoral votes to the candidate that wins the nation’s popular vote. Other states include Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawai’i, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, California and the District of Columbia.
Schatz, Durbin, Feinstein, Gillibrand Introduce Constitutional Amendment To End Undemocratic Electoral College
Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College system and restore democracy by allowing the direct election of presidents through popular vote alone.
“In an election, the person who gets the most votes should win. It’s that simple,” said Senator Schatz. “No one’s vote should count for more based on where they live. The Electoral College is outdated and it’s undemocratic. It’s time to end it.”
“Before the 2000 election, I introduced a bipartisan resolution to amend the Constitution and create a system of direct election for presidents. And I still believe today as I did then that the Electoral College is a relic from a shameful period in our nation’s history, and allows some votes to carry greater weight than others,” said Senator Durbin. “It’s time to end the Electoral College, and I’m proud to help introduce this bill with Senators Schatz, Feinstein, and Gillibrand.”
“Every four years, Californians are under-represented when they cast ballots for president of the United States because of the Electoral College. Each elector stands for 712,000 California residents, but a small state like Wyoming gets the same vote for only 195,000 residents. That’s simply not fair and needs to be fixed, particularly given that twice in the last two decades the popular victor hasn’t become president. The best solution is to eliminate the Electoral College,” said Senator Feinstein.
“Every American should know that their vote counts equally no matter what state they live in, and that’s why we need a more democratic system that guarantees one person, one vote,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Electoral College has distorted the outcome of elections and disenfranchised millions of voters, and I think that’s wrong. I believe that it’s time to get rid of the Electoral College, and I am ready to fight in Congress and around the country to pass this Constitutional Amendment to do that.”
In all but five presidential elections, the winner of the election received the most votes. Two of those five times came in the last 19 years, handing the presidency to candidates the majority of voters rejected. A handful of states now determine the leader for all 50 states, regardless of each candidate’s final vote tally.
A zip code should not silence some voters while amplifying others. Schatz’s constitutional amendment would address this inequality by abolishing the outdated Electoral College system. Specifically, the constitutional amendment would provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States by a popular vote among voters in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
Last month, Colorado became the latest state to join a national plan to bypass the Electoral College by agreeing to allocate its electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the nationwide popular vote. Other states that have agreed to do the same include Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawai‘i, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and California, as well as the District of Columbia. The movement to abolish the Electoral College is also gaining popularity among voters with polls showing more voters preferring direct elections through a popular vote over the existing Electoral College system.