NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concedes the presidential election as (L-R) Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton, Bill Clinton, Tim Kaine and Anne Holton listen at the New Yorker Hotel.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concedes the presidential election as (L-R) Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton, Bill Clinton, Tim Kaine and Anne Holton listen at the New Yorker Hotel.

Abolishing our Electoral College system has seemed far-fetched for a long time. But the movement to follow the national popular vote is gaining steam.

Fifteen states have voted to grant their electoral votes to whomever wins the national popular vote. Oregon is the latest.

What would an election without the Electoral College look like, exactly?

From FiveThirtyEight:

The National Popular Vote initiative aims to create an interstate compact to effectively “abolish” the Electoral College without amending the Constitution. States that join the compact agree to award their electoral votes not to the candidate who wins that state, but to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. (States can do this because there is no national law dictating how they should award their electoral votes; indeed, the Constitution explicitly leaves it to state legislatures to decide.) However, the compact will go into effect only when the states that have signed on are worth 270 electoral votes — enough to ensure that the popular vote winner wins the election.

Across America partner station KUNC’s Scott Franz heard arguments for and against the compact when the Colorado legislature took up the issue earlier this year.

Here’s some of his reporting from the February hearings in the Colorado Statehouse.

Supporters of the movement say it would force presidential candidates to mount nationwide campaigns instead of just spending their time in a handful of battleground states.

But the dozens of people who showed up to testify against the bill on Tuesday voiced a number of concerns about the change.

Lynn Spence said it would hurt rural voters and give more power to states with higher populations.

‘We cannot let California and New York control our elections,’ she told the committee.”

Is it time to get rid of the Electoral College? And if so, how might it affect the presidential outcome in 2020?

Show produced by Haili Blassingame and Across America producer Amanda Williams.

1A Across America is funded through a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 that is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.

Guests

  • Scott Franz State government reporter, KUNC. @ScottFranz10
  • Tara Ross Author, "The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders' Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule"; @TaraRoss
  • John Koza Founder, National Popular Vote; Co-author, "Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote"

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