Missouri League of Women Voters advocate for national popular vote
COLUMBIA – 2020 marks the 100th year of women’s suffrage, and the Missouri League of Women Voters are advocating for an electoral change.
League member, Angie Dunlap, spoke to community members today at the Columbia Public Library about the National Popular Vote measure, an initiative that the League is passionate about.
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is a measure that states can adopt in which they agree to award all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote, which the League supports.
In the current political system, people cast their ballots that slate electors to vote in the Electoral College as representatives of each state. This process sometimes allows the second-place candidate for president to win without receiving the most votes nationwide.
“It’s the way that the states award their electoral votes, winner-take-all with a state-level tally obscures the result in the Electoral College so that it doesn’t really match the popular votes sometimes,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap provided information and statistics that supported the NPVIC, explaining how 5 of the 58 U.S. presidential elections have been won without receiving the majority popular vote, the most recent being the 2016 presidential election.
The NPVIC has gained more traction lately, its relevance growing after Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2% in 2016 but ultimately lost the election.
Dunlap explained how most states are ignored during presidential campaigns since swing states get the most attention, citing that 94% of general election events only took place in 12 states during 2016.
She also acknowledged a common concern that the NPVIC would shift political battles to big cities since the popular vote would be the focus of campaigns. But the evidence she provided showed that the country’s 50 biggest cities only held about 15% of the U.S. population.
15 states along with Washington have already enacted the compact into law, totaling to 187 electoral votes. Only 74 more electoral votes are needed in order for the compact to attain the majority of 270 votes, which would enact the measure nationwide.
Missouri has not passed the NPVIC even though it has been introduced in the state legislature almost every year since 2006, but League members are hopeful that 2020 could bring about change.
“My hope would be that it would pass, we’ve worked really hard to get it on the legislative bills,” said League member, Laurie Velasquez. “We have three legislators that wrote bills for it this year because we’ve been really insistent on getting the information across.”
Both Dunlap and Velasquez emphasized how the League’s commitment to promoting awareness for the National Popular Vote spans from their concern for everyone’s opinions to count.
“Regardless of whatever party you’re in, fairness counts and everyone wants their vote to be heard.” Dunlap said.