New York has just joined the national popular vote (NPV) compact. In the name of democracy, it would pledge each adopting state’s electoral votes to whoever received the largest national vote, if enough other states do the same. It brings adopters to 165 out of 270 state electoral votes necessary to impose their agreement.
Unfortunately, NPV fails to achieve its core rationale–fixing supposed disenfranchisement of voters in “safe” states. And beyond sidestepping the Constitution, it would undermine, rather than enhance, the perceived legitimacy of a close election victor. There would always be plausible claims that close races were stolen, since fraud or cheating or other forms of running up the vote anywhere could swing such an election. It could create the Florida Bush-Gore controversy nationwide.
If the real issue was disenfranchisement, states have an alternative, clearly constitutional, approach available–assigning electoral votes to each district’s winner (plus two to the state vote winner) rather than a state winner-take-all system. Every district could affect Electoral College totals. Yet only two states have adopted it. Most legislatures have strenuously fought the idea.
Unfortunately, district representation is compromised by gerrymandering, designed to create as many “safe” districts as possible. But gerrymandering, not the Electoral College, is the cause, by which politicians supposedly against disenfranchising Presidential voters disenfranchise voters in House and state legislature elections.