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Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment to End Electoral College

April 2, 2019, 2:50 PM HST
* Updated April 2, 2:53 PM
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Sens. Brian Schatz, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College system and restore democracy by allowing the direct election of presidents through popular vote alone.

“In an election, the person who gets the most votes should win. It’s that simple,” said Sen. Schatz. “No one’s vote should count for more based on where they live. The Electoral College is outdated and it’s undemocratic. It’s time to end it.”

“Before the 2000 election, I introduced a bipartisan resolution to amend the Constitution and create a system of direct election for presidents,” said Senator Durbin. “And I still believe today as I did then that the Electoral College is a relic from a shameful period in our nation’s history, and allows some votes to carry greater weight than others. It’s time to end the Electoral College, and I’m proud to help introduce this bill with Senators Schatz, Feinstein, and Gillibrand.”

“Every four years, Californians are under-represented when they cast ballots for president of the United States because of the Electoral College,” said Sen. Feinstein. “Each elector stands for 712,000 California residents, but a small state like Wyoming gets the same vote for only 195,000 residents. That’s simply not fair and needs to be fixed, particularly given that twice in the last two decades the popular victor hasn’t become president. The best solution is to eliminate the Electoral College.”

“Every American should know that their vote counts equally no matter what state they live in, and that’s why we need a more democratic system that guarantees one person, one vote,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “The Electoral College has distorted the outcome of elections and disenfranchised millions of voters, and I think that’s wrong. I believe that it’s time to get rid of the Electoral College, and I am ready to fight in Congress and around the country to pass this Constitutional Amendment to do that.”

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In all but five presidential elections, the winner of the election received the most votes. Two of those five times came in the last 19 years, handing the presidency to candidates the majority of voters rejected. A handful of states now determine the leader for all 50 states, regardless of each candidate’s final vote tally.

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A zip code should not silence some voters while amplifying others. Schatz’s constitutional amendment would address this inequality by abolishing the outdated Electoral College system. Specifically, the constitutional amendment would provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States by a popular vote among voters in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.

Last month, Colorado became the latest state to join a national plan to bypass the Electoral College by agreeing to allocate its electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the nationwide popular vote. Other states that have agreed to do the same include Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawai‘i, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and California, as well as the District of Columbia. The movement to abolish the Electoral College is also gaining popularity among voters with polls showing more voters preferring direct elections through a popular vote over the existing Electoral College system.

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