Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

The current system- Under the Constitution, each state is assigned a number of electors equal to the number of their representatives in the United States Congress. Almost all states, including North Carolina, award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins receives the most votes from voters in his/her state. The candidate who receives 270 electoral votes wins the Presidency. The candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is meaningless. 

 

NPV-States who enter into the National Popular Vote agreement agree to cast all of their electoral votes to the candidate who received the most votes nationwide. The National Popular Vote bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill is enacted in a group of states possessing 270 or more electoral votes, all of the electoral votes from those states would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

 

Will NPV result in candidates ignoring less populous areas?

No. A campaign that focused all of its attention on the most populous cities or states would be a losing campaign. Remember, Kerry won the most populous cities in Ohio in 2004, but Bush won the popular vote in the state by winning the rural areas. Evidence as to how a nationwide presidential campaign would be run can be found by examining the way presidential candidates cu rr ently campaign inside battleground states. Inside Ohio or Florida, the big cities do not receive all the attention. And, the cities of Ohio and Florida certainly do not control the outcome in those states. Because every vote is equal inside Ohio or Florida, presidential candidates avidly seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns.  

 

Is NPV constitutional?

Yes. Some opponents argue that the NPV agreement will be held unconstitutional because Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution forbids states from entering multi-state agreements or compacts without the consent of Congress. The Supreme Court has held, however, that "any agreement" or "any compact" under Article I, Section 10 does not include every agreement and every compact among states. In fact, only those agreements or compacts which are directed to "the increase of political power in the states, which may encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States" require Congressional approval (Commonwealth of Virginia v. State of Tennessee, 148 U.S., 518). NPV does not encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States because the Constitution grants states power to choose the best method for awarding electoral votes for president ("Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors," Article II, Sec. I) and only gives Congress power to set the time for states to choose their electors, to determine the day on which the electors submit their vote, and to open and count the electors' votes.

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