Americans elect all officials, from mayors to governors and state legislators to U.S. senators, via popular vote, except two—the President and Vice President of the United States. The electoral system that determines who becomes President has been changed beyond anything our Founders envisioned for our Constitution.
The LWVFL believes it is time electors are guided by the majority of Americans who agree on the person who should lead the nation. Acting in concert with the electoral system, we are working to educate the public and legislators about the benefits of legislation that would instruct our electors to vote for the Presidential candidate who captures the most votes in all 50 states.
The main issue with Presidential elections today is the “winner-take-all” practice, in which the person who wins the most votes in a state gains all of the electoral votes. This system does not appear in the Constitution, was never discussed by the Founders and was established by 48 states throughout the 1800s.
“Winner-take-all” has created so-called “battleground states” or “purple states” which are neither reliably Republican nor Democratic. The voters of these 13-14 states, representing less than a third of Americans, now determine the selection of President. Voters in the remaining states (even the big ones like Texas and California) are ignored by candidates who realize their votes do not count and who can also disregard them once elected.
Fortunately, the Constitution contains the means by which the winner-take-all system can be replaced to ensure ALL Americans count. States are granted exclusive control by the Constitution over national elections and can chose ANY method of instructing their electors how to vote (two, in fact, chose methods other than ‘winner-take-all”). No Constitutional amendment is required for a state to change their method of instructing electors—just state legislation.
A growing number of states are now agreeing via a multi-state compact (also sanctioned by the Constitution) to pledge their electors to the person who wins the national popular vote. More than 60 percent (172) of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the national popular vote have been secured. Connecticut enacted such legislation in 2018, and bills are being considered in at least 20 other states, accounting for more than the remaining 98 votes needed to activate the compact.
National popular vote laws provide the only system that:
- Guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes nationwide wins the presidency
- Makes everyone’s vote count
- Works within the Constitutional framework established by the Founders
- Does NOT require an amendment to the Constitution
LWVFL is not only working to have legislation heard, considered, voted on and passed in the Florida Legislature, but we are also coordinating with other states interested passing similar legislation. Enacting the national popular vote in enough states to replace the ‘winner-take-all’ system would ensure that the voices of Floridians are just as important as the votes of every other American in all future Presidential elections.