Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories
Made with Flourish

Time to reward every ballot's meaning in presidential elections

Made with Flourish

Fadem is a board member and national spokesman for National Popular Vote, which wants states to commit their electoral votes to the national winner of the presidential popular vote.

Every American voter, no matter where they live, should be politically relevant in every presidential election. Every state – red, blue or purple; small, medium or large – should play an equally important role in electing the president. And all major presidential candidates should feel compelled to conduct truly national campaigns, seeking out and selling their ideas to every voter in every nook and cranny of the United States.

Those are the simple, powerful ideas behind the National Popular Vote movement to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In brief, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes necessary to elect a president – 270 out of 538. In December, when electors meet to cast their ballots for president and vice president following a presidential election, the electoral votes of all the compacting states would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across the nation.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

The national popular vote bill significantly amplifies the voice of each individual voter in choosing the president of the United States.


Under the current system, each state's voters have a direct voice in allocating just their own block of electoral votes. Under a national popular vote, voters in the compacting states gain a direct voice over the disposition of 270 electors – enough to elect a president. No voter in any state would have their vote canceled out because they didn't go along with the majority of others in their state. Every voter would have their vote counted directly toward their choice for president. And the presidential candidate who gets the most votes nationwide would become president.

Today, we don't so much elect the president of the United States as we do the president of the Battleground States – the 12 so-called "swing" states where presidential candidates devote virtually all of their time and resources chasing key blocks of electoral votes up for grabs. The 38 other states and D.C. are ignored because their outcomes are pretty much assured from the start – predictably "red" or "blue."

It's easy to see why voters in those 38 states feel disenfranchised.

In "blue" California, for example, Donald Trump received 3.9 million popular votes, but not a single electoral vote. Hillary Clinton, who won the state by 29 percentage points, got all 55 electoral votes under the "winner take all" system. In the much smaller "red" state of West Virginia, Clinton received 187,457 popular votes, but Trump, who won the state by 42 points, raked in all five electoral votes. For all the difference they made, the Trump voters in California and the Clinton voters in West Virginia might just as well have taken a vacation day.

The national popular vote movement is gaining strength all cross the nation. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia – 189 electoral votes all together – have already passed a national popular vote bill into law, and several other states are considering the measure. In total, some 3,357 state legislators – Democrats and Republicans alike – across all 50 states have endorsed the measure.

Here's the bottom line: The 2020 presidential election could become the first in which every voter in every state will be politically relevant. National popular vote is a powerful American idea whose time has come.

Made with Flourish

Read More

Trump and Biden at the debate

Our political dysfunction was on display during the debate in the simple fact of the binary choice on stage: Trump vs Biden.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The debate, the political duopoly and the future of American democracy

Johnson is the executive director of the Election Reformers Network, a national nonpartisan organization advancing common-sense reforms to protect elections from polarization.

The talk is all about President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance, whether he’ll be replaced at the top of the ticket and what it all means for the very concerning likelihood of another Trump presidency. These are critical questions.

But Donald Trump is also a symptom of broader dysfunction in our political system. That dysfunction has two key sources: a toxic polarization that elevates cultural warfare over policymaking, and a set of rules that protects the major parties from competition and allows them too much control over elections. These rules entrench the major-party duopoly and preclude the emergence of any alternative political leadership, giving polarization in this country its increasingly existential character.

Keep ReadingShow less
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Voters should be able to take the measure of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., since he is poised to win millions of votes in November.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

Kennedy should have been in the debate – and states need ranked voting

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

CNN’s presidential debate coincided with a fresh batch of swing-state snapshots that make one thing perfectly clear: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be a longshot to be our 47th president and faces his own controversies, yet the 10 percent he’s often achieving in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and other battlegrounds could easily tilt the presidency.

Why did CNN keep him out with impossible-to-meet requirements? The performances, mistruths and misstatements by Joe Biden and Donald Trump would have shocked Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, who managed to debate seven times without any discussion of golf handicaps — a subject better fit for a “Grumpy Old Men” outtake than one of the year’s two scheduled debates.

Keep ReadingShow less
I Voted stickers

Veterans for All Voters advocates for election reforms that enable more people to participate in primaries.

BackyardProduction/Getty Images

Veterans are working to make democracy more representative

Proctor, a Navy veteran, is a volunteer with Veterans for All Voters.

Imagine this: A general election with no negative campaigning and four or five viable candidates (regardless of party affiliation) competing based on their own personal ideas and actions — not simply their level of obstruction or how well they demonize their opponents. In this reformed election process, the candidate with the best ideas and the broadest appeal will win. The result: The exhausted majority will finally be well-represented again.

Keep ReadingShow less
Person voting at a dropbox in Washington, D.C.

A bill moving through Congress would only allow U.S. citizens to vote in D.C. municipal eletions.

Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The battle over noncitizen voting in America's capital

Rogers is the “data wrangler” at BillTrack50. He previously worked on policy in several government departments.

Should you be allowed to vote if you aren’t an American citizen? Or according to the adage ‘No taxation without representation’, if you pay taxes should you get to choose the representatives who help spend those tax dollars? Those questions are at the heart of the debate over a bill to restrict voting to U.S. citizens.

Keep ReadingShow less
people walking through a polling place

Election workers monitor a little-used polling place in Sandy Springs, Ga., during the state's 2022 primary.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What November election? Half of the U.S. House is already decided.

Troiano is the executive director ofUnite America, a philanthropic venture fund that invests in nonpartisan election reform to foster a more representative and functional government. He’s also the author of “The Primary Solution.”

Last month, Americans were treated to an embarrassing spectacle: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) tradingpersonal insults related to “fake eyelashes” and a “bleach blonde bad built butch body” during a late-night committee hearing. Some likened it to Bravo’s “Real Housewives” reality TV series, and wondered how it was possible that elected officials could act that way and still be elected to Congress by the voters.

The truth is, the vast majority of us don’t actually elect our House members — not even close. Less than 10 percent of voters in Crockett’s district participated in her 2024 Democratic primary, which all but guaranteed her re-election in the safe blue district. Greene ran unopposed in her GOP primary — meaning she was re-elected without needing to win a single vote. The nearly 600,000 voters in her overwhelmingly red district were denied any meaningful choice. Both contests were decided well before most voters participate in the general election.

Keep ReadingShow less