The Legislature is considering An Act to Adopt the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The proposal commits each state to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote. As soon as states controlling 270 electoral votes join, the compact goes into effect.

Electors are allocated according to each state’s representation in Congress: the number of House members (based on population) plus the number of senators (two). Maine, with two members of the House and two senators, gets four electors. California, with 53 members of the House and two senators, gets 45. (California has 39.6 million residents; Maine has 1.35 million.) In fact, the 21 least populated states collectively account for 37 million people – still short of California. But each of those states has two senators, giving those 37 million people 92 electoral votes. So, for example, a Mainer’s vote is worth 2.13 times that of a Californian just because we live here. In America some of us seem to be “more equal than others.”

Besides flying in the face of the “one person, one vote” principle, the Electoral College has awarded the presidency to the popular vote loser five times: in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016. In addition, it deadlocked in 1800, forcing the House of Representatives to pick a president.

The Electoral College has hobbled our democracy for too long. Let’s fix it. Call your legislator and ask them to support L.D. 1384, and get Maine to climb on board the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

William H. Coogan

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