CITIZEN VOICES®
Base NH electoral college votes on national popular vote?

Mar 27, 2019

Rep. Ellen Read has proposed a bill that would allocate New Hampshire’s electoral votes to whichever candidate won the national popular vote. So far 12 states and the District of Colombia have passed similar bills.  

If passed, New Hampshire would join these states in what is known as the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.” The agreement would only go into effect if states with a collective 270 electoral votes joined the compact. So far, the states that have signed on have a total of 181 electoral votes. New Hampshire would add four more. 

Background 

Article II Section 1 of the United States Constitution requires each state legislature to decide how it will choose the electors it sends to the electoral college. Currently, all but two states (Nebraska and Maine) use a “winner-takes-all" system where the single candidate with the most statewide votes wins all of the state’s electoral college votes.  

There have been five presidential elections where the winner of the national popular vote lost the election in the electoral college. Most recently, Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote by 2.1% while Donald Trump won the electoral college vote – and therefore the presidency – by 77 votes.  

Learn more about proposals to repeal the electoral college

Pros and cons 

Supporters argue that deciding presidential winners by national popular vote would make every American’s vote count equally and would force candidates to focus their campaigns on more than just key battleground states. They point out that in every instance in recent history where the electoral college chose a candidate that lost the popular vote, the Republican candidate has won. They say this is unfair to Democrats, who often carry states with large urban populations. 

Opponents argue that such legislation violates the spirit of the Constitution, which values states as unique jurisdictions. They also worry that a switch to the national popular vote could hurt the interests of smaller, less populated states like New Hampshire. Such people feel that the electoral college system helps balance the concerns of all the states and doesn’t leave the choice of president up to densely populated states like New York and California. As the adage goes, “direct democracy asks two wolves and a sheep to vote on what’s for dinner.” 

Should New Hampshire give its electoral college votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote, even if that candidate lost in New Hampshire?

Discussion held on Citizens Count website and Facebook page March 28, 2019

449 citizens responded406 citizens were opposed to basing NH electoral votes on US popular vote20 citizens were in favor of basing NH electoral votes on US popular vote23 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

No: 406 people were opposed to allocating New Hampshire’s electoral college electors based on the national popular vote.

  •  “Absolutely not, that would defeat the entire purpose of the Electoral College.”
  • “No way.  The electoral college system is a brilliant way to keep states like NH relevant.  Why would anyone support undermining it?”
  • “The supporters are incorrect in their assertion, it would instead force candidates to only focus their interests on the extremely densely populated centers and absolutely make the interests of more sparsely populated areas (like Northern NH) take a backseat.”

Yes: 20 people were in favor of allocating New Hampshire’s electoral college electors based on the national popular vote.

  •  “Democracy means the winner of the popular vote should be president.”
  • “Yes, emphatically! This is one of my top issues.”
  • “Only those that are OK with cheating to win would agree with keeping the system rigged, as it is. GOP gerrymandering is why the last TWO Republican presidents GOT LESS votes but still "won".”

Other: 23 people commented on related questions and issues instead.
These included comments critical of the electoral college but which advocated for different policies in response:

  • Eliminate the electoral college entirely: “Is this a trick question? The electoral college shouldn't EXIST.”
  • Absolute democracy: “It should be a straight popular vote with no state lines.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

See additional comments on this question from Facebook

Comments

Snaggle Tooths
- Concord

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:33pm

Seriously NH Pols? You lose the election and this is your answer? Why are Democrats so bad at gracefully losing these days? If you can't beat'em, change the election laws of this country.... that is your answer? I am registered as an "I" but will never vote for another Democrat ever again.... EVER.

Snaggle Tooths
- Concord

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:35pm

Oh, and you claim to be "fighting" for NH citizens? How does this "help" anybody living here in this State? Get back to legislating FOR our State and not FOR your party.

Robert Peraino
- franconia

Sun, 03/31/2019 - 8:13pm

Absolutely not. To do so would negate the votes of NH citizens. Such a law would convert the USA to a democracy, mob rule and spell the death of our republic.

Robert Peraino
- franconia

Sun, 03/31/2019 - 8:10pm

Absolutely not. To do so would negate the votes of NH citizens.

Joseph Emond
- Epsom

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 9:53pm

Absolutely not!! You should all learn a little about the American revolution before considering such reckless legislation.

Brian Allison
- Keene

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 9:52pm

NO! Absolutely Not! Yes, please give my vote to NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston or the remainder of the major metro areas! So those of us who live in rural America have no say in the election!

Susan Rogers
- Alton Bay

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 7:18pm

NO!!

Joel Moran
- NewBoston

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 6:56pm

No

Terry Cox
- Webster

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 6:29pm

NO. That decimates states' rights under the Tenth Amendment.

Jeannie DeGrace
- Center Harbor

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 9:17pm

NO! It was put in place to protect smaller populated states like NH!

Pages

Related Bill

HB 541 (2019)
Bill Status: In Committee
Hearing date: Jan 29, 2019

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