Monday, Dec. 17, Presidential Electors met in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to cast ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. These ballots were recorded on a "Certificate of Vote" which will be officially counted Jan. 6, 2013 at a joint Session of Congress.

The Electoral College system was established in the Constitution of the United States in the 18th century when communication was difficult and limited, and presidential elections were a far cry from today. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors with a majority of 270 required to elect the president. Each state is allotted electors equal to the number of congressional representation--one for each member of the House of Representatives plus two for the senators.

The number of electors per state ranges from three (in the eight states with the smallest population) to 55 in California. Indiana is allocated 11 electors. Under the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, the District of Columbia is also allowed three Electors.

Indiana, like most states, has a "winner take all" system that awards all electors to the candidate who won the popular election in the state. It is possible for a candidate to win the Electoral College victory without having the majority of the national popular vote. This has happened four times in 56 presidential elections...1 in 14.

Note: a shift of less than 60,000 in Ohio in 2004 would have meant a Bush loss despite his 3.5 million vote lead nationwide.

With the "winner take all" system, candidates for President spend most of their campaign efforts in states that are the competitive "swing states." Presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead OR hopelessly behind.

Since 1970, the League of Women Voters has had a position in support of abolishing the Electoral College and having the election of the President and Vice President be by popular vote of all eligible citizens, so that every vote counts. While this amendment has been regularly introduced and often passed one house, it has never successfully passed both houses of Congress.

A new movement for the "National Popular Vote Compact" is supported by the LWV as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president, until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished. Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and D.C.-- not just the votes from the participating states.

The bill would take effect ONLY when enacted by states possessing a majority of electoral votes....enough to elect a president with 270 of the 538 electors. When the NPV bill takes effect, it will guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes in ALL 50 states and D.C.

The NPV Bill has already passed more than 31 legislative chambers in 21 states & has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington State and D.C. It has passed in California both houses twice (55 electoral votes) and passed at least one house also in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

The National Popular Vote bill guarantees that the presidential candidate with most popular votes in entire country will win the office, that every voter in every state will be politically relevant in every presidential campaign, and that every vote will be equal in every election!



The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org, send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, or e-mail lwvmontco@gmail.com.