Washington – It's surprising to me that so little attention is being paid to prospects for fixing how we elect presidents. There's sufficient time before 2024 for more states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would repair the ailing electoral college without the need for a Constitutional amendment.
In 2020, the electoral college narrowly escaped being bypassed entirely, in favor of presidential selection by the Congress. Its creaky vulnerabilities were exposed to those who might be more successful in subverting the presidential election in 2024.
Under the compact, when member states represent more than 270 electoral votes in total, all would agree to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular election. No more allowing corruption or violence in one or two states to upset the whole process for everyone. And then everyone's vote would count the same.
Currently, compact members represent 196 electoral votes, requiring an additional 74 to put the compact into effect.
Which states might join to bring the total to 270? There are two groups with compelling reasons they should want to join.
Battleground States. States that in recent elections have been under threat of election-inspired violence should join the compact so as to reduce incentives to lawlessness. This would include Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Adding contested states Nevada or Maine would put the compact into effect. All of these states have Democratic governors.
States Most Vulnerable to Climate Change. States that are particularly at risk from climate change should want to diminish the disproportionate influence wielded by states with voters who minimize the threat. Those vulnerable would be coastal states Florida, Texas, and Georgia, which together could put the compact into effect. Although now led by Republican governors, recent climate-influenced events such as the disaster in Texas should make all elected officials reflect on how their large, vulnerable populations are losing out in the current electoral system. North Carolina and Virginia could also be considered at high climate change risk, as well as battleground states. Both are led by Democratic governors.
There is a third consideration: single-issue, anti-abortion voters, who are overrepresented in smaller population states and wield a disproportionate influence in current electoral college voting. In all the battleground states mentioned above, public opinion polls show a plurality of voters in favor of the pro-choice position. This gives these states another reason to join the compact, to give equal voice to their voters and thereby help defuse attempts to divide the country over single-issue matters.
Given all of the above converging interests, there should be more attention devoted to adding a few more states to the compact. Or will this lead to yet another of those moments when we wish we had acted when we had the chance?