Electoral College Repeal

Citizens Count Editor

When all is said and done, it's the Electoral College vote — not the popular vote — that decides the presidency. Some states are considering legislation that essentially bypasses the Electoral College. Should New Hampshire join in?

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors from the all of the states. New Hampshire has four of those electors.  In most states, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state wins the electors. The candidate who wins the most electors nationally wins the presidency.

A handful of other states have implemented other ways of distributing their electoral college votes. In Maine and Nebraska, for example, electoral college votes are distributed based on who won the popular vote in each of the states' congressional districts. 

The Electoral College and the popular vote

In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore received 50,999,897 votes; Republican George Bush received 50,456,002. In the Electoral College count, however, Bush tallied 271 electors to Gore's 266.  Bush became the president. A similar situation arose six years later, when Democrat Hilary Clinton reeived 65,853,514 votes to Republican Donald Trump's 62,984,828, but Trump carried the electoral college by 304 to Clinton's 227. 

Because of these results, some states have been passing legislation agreeing to the National Popular Vote interstate compact. States that join the compact agree to award their Electoral College votes to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally, not the candidate who wins the state, once the compact has reached enough members to constitute an electoral majority.

According to the National Popular Vote website, twelve states and Washington, D.C. have passed National Popular Vote legislation, totalling 117 electors.

Faithless elector laws

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that binds electors to vote for the candidate who won their state's popular vote. Though it is rare, electors have occasionally opted to instead vote for a candidate of their own choosing. 

Twenty-eight states have passed laws that legally require electors to vote for a particular candidate, such as the winner of the state's popular vote. Punishments for breaking the law vary from subjecting the faithless elector to a fine or disqualifying them and replacing them with a backup elector. So far, these laws have not been enforced or tested in court. 

New Hampshire does not have a faithless elector law. 

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

Supporters of the National Popular Vote bill say the current Electoral College system is confusing and causes candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states with high elector counts and close voting margins between political parties, such as Florida.

"Against" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

Critics of the National Popular Vote bill say it could create even more confusing scenarios than exist now.  For example, the candidate that wins nationally might lose in New Hampshire. In that case, the state's four electoral votes would still go to the national-winning candidate who was not supported by Granite State voters.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Killed in the House

Apportions the state's presidential electors so that two at-large presidential electors shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in the state, and congressional district presidential electors shall cast their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in their respective congressional districts.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Killed in the House

Resolution urging Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.

Passed

Expresses support for preserving the Electoral College.

Killed in the House

"National Popular Vote Bill," an interstate agreement to elect the President by national popular vote.

Should NH pass legislation to bypass the Electoral College?

LEAVE A COMMENT

Log in or register to post comments

Issue Status

Rep. Ellen Read has proposed a bill for 2019 that would allocate electoral college electors based on the national popular vote. Details of the bill are not yet public.

See what NH citizens had to say about a past proposal

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS » 

Here in NH, your opinion counts. We make it easy to find and reach out to your elected officials about the issues that matter most to you. Click to search and contact your elected officials!

Join Citizens Count

Join our constantly growing community. Membership is free and supports our efforts to help NH citizens become informed and engaged. 

JOIN TODAY ▸

©2018 Live Free or Die Alliance | The Live Free or Die Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.