Mass. may join effort to bypass Electoral College
The Massachusetts state Legislature is poised to give final approval this week to a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote.
Both the House and Senate have approved the National Popular Vote bill. Final enactment votes are needed in both chambers, however, before the bill goes to the governor’s desk, the Globe reported last week.
Governor Deval Patrick’s press office didn’t immediately return a message this morning seeking comment on whether he would sign the bill, if it makes its way to his desk.
Under the proposed law, all 12 of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.
Supporters are waging a state-by-state campaign to try to get such bills enacted. Once states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted the laws, the candidate winning the most votes nationally would be assured a majority of the Electoral College votes, no matter how the other states vote and how their electoral votes are distributed.
Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington have already adopted the legislation, according to the National Popular Vote campaign’s website.
Supporters of the change say that the current Electoral College system is confusing and causes candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states.
Critics say the current system is not broken. They also point to the disturbing scenario that Candidate X wins nationally, but Candidate Y has won in Massachusetts. In that case, all of the state’s 12 electoral votes would go to Candidate X, the candidate who was not supported by Massachusetts voters.
The measure passed both branches of the Legislature in 2008 but did not make it all the way through the process.