The candidate with the most votes should become President

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The current Presidential Selection system is broken.

In the general election, candidates campaign, advertise, and make policy promises primarily in states accounting for about 20% of the population. They ignore all the voters in about 40 states. If elected, they have every incentive to shape all legislation and executive action to curry favor from a few voters in a handful of states. They understand that for the only nationally elected office, the Presidency, the selection system violates the promise of equality that is the bedrock of the American Dream.

The candidates behave in this anti-democratic manner because the system tells them winning the national popular vote is meaningless. In about one out of every three close elections, the popular vote winner does not become President. As more Americans continue to move into fewer states, the odds of the people’s choice not ending up representing the people after close elections will steadily increase.

If candidates were obliged to value each voter equally, everything about the general election process would be different. Campaigns would compete to register voters, and encourage voters to vote, in every nook and cranny of the country. Candidates would have to appeal to everyone, and not just to win thin pluralities in a small number of states. Because the Presidential campaigns define the level of participation, truly national general elections would create bigger electorates for all federal and state candidates in all states. As a result, all citizens would know they were part of a consensus that not only picked the President but also all other candidates, and down-ballot the most partisan extremists on both ends of the political spectrum would not be able to appeal to the broader spectrum of voters.

The current system violates the fundamental principle of one person one vote. But it also is a root cause of dysfunction in all American politics. Fortunately, the system can be fixed. Every state should pass the law called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It states that if states with a majority of electors in the Electoral College pass this law, then they will choose electors who will vote for the candidate who has the most votes on a national basis.

To date, 10 states and the District of Columbia, representing a total of 165 electoral votes, have adopted the Compact. If states with only 105 electoral votes out of the remaining 373 – less than a third – adopt the Compact it will take effect.

We created a nonprofit called Making Every Vote Count to inform everyone in the country that the whole country needs every state to pass this law. You can learn more about MEVC at this website. Please help us by enlisting as a supporter.

Reed Hundt, Blair Levins, Jake Fuentes, Lisa Foster, Richard Tedlow, Fred Goldberg

Five Axioms that Making Every Vote Count Believes True

  1. The franchise in United States has been an exercise in drawing lines.

  2. Those who have held power in the United States have granted the franchise when it has benefited them to do so.

  3. The expansion of the franchise– like the course of true love– never did run straight.

  4. In order to achieve the goal so beautifully articulated by Lincoln–"a government of the people, by the people, for the people,”— we have not only to possess the right to vote.  We must be able to cast a meaningful vote.

  5. The greatest obstacle to casting a meaningful vote for the Presidency is the Presidential selection process existing today.

-- Professor Richard Tedlow, emeritus professor of history at Harvard and MEVC supporter.