Plan would give national popular vote more power

Elections

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some Michigan legislators are throwing their support behind a plan that aims to make sure the president is elected by the national popular vote.

The goal of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is to sign on enough states to control at least 270 electoral votes — the number needed to decide a presidential election. The participating states would then pledge their electors to the candidate who won the national popular vote, even if that individual state voted for another candidate.

State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, recently introduced a bill for Michigan to join the compact into the state Legislature. It has created quite a conversation.

“Each state has the right how to determine how to award their electoral votes,” he said.

The change could be dramatic. In the most recent presidential election, the popular vote difference in California alone would have propelled former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into office.

So would the compact simply shift the power of election to big, populous states? No, said Hildenbrand.

“The rules of the game would then change,” he said.

He said presidential candidates would have to pay attention to every state because the national popular vote would drive the electoral college.

“Presidential candidates and their campaigns will go to every state to campaign to turn out their vote because those votes then go to a pool of national votes that will determine who become president of the United States,” he said.

Opponents of the idea say there is no way to know how such a switch would impact voting or campaigning.

Hildenbrand’s bill was denied a committee vote in the Senate. The same legislation has been introduced in the House, but it seems unlikely that Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, is going to take it up.

Even without Michigan, however, the group pursuing the idea is less than 100 electoral votes from making it happen.

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