Many people think that the United States has a one-person-one-vote Democracy. That is not so. Instead, the country has an antiquated system called the Electoral College, where a person’s vote elects the people who will elect the president. It is time to change that, and one state is leading the way.
Right now, a state gets one delegate for every U.S. House of Representative plus two (one for each senator), for a grand total of 538 delegates. Usually, those delegates vote the way their voters wish, but not always. That was why Delaware has thrown away its Electoral College and traded it for the popular vote, which actually is one-person-one-vote. It takes a majority, 270 electoral votes, to win the presidency. That was how Donald Trump could win the electoral vote, and Secretary Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote.
State Representative Lyndon Yearick (R-DE) said, according to the state’s WHYY:
“While not perfect the Electoral College has been an effective mechanism to protect the interests of small states in selecting our nation’s leader. This bill would circumvent a system with a 230-year track record with a system that’s impact is impossible to gauge.’
Both Democrats and Republicans in Delaware believed this would give the state more power during the presidential elections. Delaware voted 24-17 to join a group of states with a unique plan.
These 11 states plus Washington, D.C. want to pledge their combined Electoral College delegate votes to the presidential candidate who wins the 2020 presidential election popular vote. The states would not implement their plan until enough states join their group for a combined 270 (majority of) Electoral College votes. That means, after Delaware’s three votes, the alliance will needs 98 additional votes.
In spite of the country’s founders intentions, according to History.com:
‘The founders’ efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended, but, as with so many constitutional provisions, the document prescribed only the system’s basic elements, leaving ample room for development. As the republic evolved, so did the electoral college system, and, by the late 19 century, the following range of constitutional, federal and state legal, and political elements of the contemporary system were in place…
‘…They (delegates) are expected to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the party that nominated them. Notwithstanding this expectation, individual electors have sometimes not honored their commitment, voting for a different candidate or candidates than the ones to whom they were pledged; they are known as “faithless” or “unfaithful” electors. In fact, the balance of opinion by constitutional scholars is that, once electors have been chosen, they remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President. ‘
The bill’s sponsor state Representative David Bentz (D-DE) told WHYY:
‘We’re already overlooked. Delaware is seen as this true blue state. And if you’re a Republican voter what is your motivation to vote? Because you know at the end of the day Delaware’s three electoral votes will go to that Democrat. If you’re a democrat maybe you’re not motivated either because you know you don’t have to.’
Opponents of the bill say that the result would not be fair if most voters in Delaware voted for the presidential candidate who lost the popular vote. Those who support the bill claimed that the states with more delegates, i.e., Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania get to select the presidents. This would make certain that swing states were not the only ones that candidates visited. Interestingly, several Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have not followed the traditional state track.
Bentz said this legislation would make certain the next president was elected by the people:
‘I think if enough states do this it will be good for Delaware. It will really amplify our voice, take us from a state that’s passed over and our residents will be treated the same as residents in swing states and across the country.’
That would force presidential candidates to campaign in the states they often skip. Delaware Governor John Carney (D) has agreed to sign the bill.