The institution is unjust, anti-democratic, and just plain silly. Fortunately, there’s a solution.

by Alex Skopic, Current Affairs

In Maine, two extremely important votes took place this month with virtually no media fanfare. In the first, the state’s House of Representatives voted 74 to 67 to join something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. In the second, its Senate approved exactly the same move on March 13, this time by a vote of 22 to 13. But what is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, you might ask? Well, it’s a lot more exciting than its rather bland name would suggest. In essence, it’s a coalition of state governments trying to end the undemocratic power of the Electoral College once and for all.

A little background may be in order. As you might or mightn’t remember from your high school Civics class, the Electoral College is an important part of the United States’ democracy—or rather, the shambling fraud that calls itself a democracy. In the simplest terms, it’s a group of 538 people (the “electors”) who meet after a presidential election and cast ballots based on how their states voted. When mere mortals like you and me vote, we’re not actually voting for the president, not directly. Rather, we’re voting for a “slate” of electors to represent our state and cast the real votes in the Electoral College later on. To win, a presidential candidate has to accrue at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes. Each state gets a number of electors equal to the total number of Senators and Representatives it has (plus 3 for Washington, D.C.), and the current map looks like this:

Voters wait in a long line to cast their ballots

Like a lot of things in the United States, the Electoral College is incredibly stupid. For one thing, it’s vulnerable to being gamed and manipulated in all kinds of absurd ways. There’s nothing forcing electors to actually vote the way their states do, so there’s always the threat of “faithless electors” who go rogue and cast their ballots however they want. (So far this has been a rare occurrence, but as the political climate keeps getting weirder it may not stay that way.) There was also the Trump campaign’s bizarre “fake electors” scam from 2020, in which ten Republicans posed as the electors for Wisconsin and tried to vote for Trump in the Electoral College even though Joe Biden had won the state. As long as there’s an Electoral College, you can never entirely rule out shenanigans like these.

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