Opinion

National Popular Vote ensures an election majority for president

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To the Editor;
Unlike every other elected office, a presidential candidate can (and five times in our history has) win election without winning the majority of votes cast. Think about that.

Except for the presidency, all federal, state, and local elected positions (whether selectmen and women, state legislators, governors,congressional and senatorial positions — even dog catchers and coroners, where elected!) must win the most votes from all eligible voters to win.

Why should the presidency of the United States be elected on a lower standard?

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NVP) will move the country closer to ensuring that the president, too, is elected by a majority of American voters.

Simply put, the states who approve the NVP agree to allocate all of their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes nationally. The NVP bill (now before the State Legislature) goes into effect only if enacted by states that have a majority of the electoral votes; once states representing 270 Electoral College votes (the number needed to elect a president) have enacted the NPV, all of their Electoral College votes will go to the national popular vote winner. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have adopted the NVP, totaling 172 of the required 270 votes. Maine should adopt this agreement, too.

With the National Popular Vote, every vote will count.

NPV favors the voter, not the party. This is not true of the states’ winner-take-all system. To illustrate: over 30 percent of 2016 California votes were cast for the Republican nominee. The votes did not “count,” because California is a winner-take-all state; its 55 Electoral College votes went to the Democrat. In 2012, Barack Obama won 1,546,167 votes in Minnesota, and Mitt Romney won 1,320,225. Due to the state’s winner-take-all system, Obama received all 10 of the state’s Electoral College votes.

Had the NPV been in effect, those millions of California and Minnesota Republican votes would have been added to the millions of other Republican votes cast across the country to determine which candidate won the total national vote.

But today, many millions of votes across the country count for nothing in the presidential election.

In Maine, the winner of the statewide popular vote gets two Electoral College votes; and the winner of the most votes in each of the two Districts gets one Electoral College vote (for a total of 4 Electoral College votes); in the election for the most powerful office in the world, If you didn’t vote for the winner in the statewide tally or in your District’s tally, your vote never left the state to be tallied for your choice for president.

When every vote counts, candidates will actually be motivated to campaign in all states — not just swing states like Ohio or Florida. Candidates will come Maine — even rural Maine.

With the national winner-take-all NPV, more Americans will choose to cast ballots. Voters will know their vote will be counted in the national tally no matter how Blue or Red their state.

Finally, with the NVP, no candidate who fails to win the most votes will win the office. The NPV ensures that the most powerful office in the world is held by the woman or man who has won the votes and support of the majority of the nation’s voters.

Sounds fair to me.

Lori Calderone
Dover-Foxcroft

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