Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
(UPDATE: HB198 Has passed the Senate Executive Committee.)
Proponents correctly argue that the "Winner Take All" system is ineffective at spreading candidate attention during presidential races, as states such as Delaware are considered "safe" and offer no benefit to the expenditure of limited campaign resources. They offer as a remedy an interstate compact whereby at least as many states as can constitute 270 electoral votes agree to follow the lead of a national popular vote and offer all of their electoral votes to that candidate regardless of their local voting totals.
Since the 2000 election, where the winner of the popular vote lost the electoral vote to a president who proved to be highly controversial, the electoral college has seemed an opaque and anachronistic mechanism for selecting the leader of our nation. In order to understand its value, it is important first to consider the nature of our Constitutional Federal Government.
The Federal Government is an organization created by the original 13 states following the Revolutionary War and the inability of the Articles of Confederation to adequately provide for the prosperity of the newly independent states. The Constitution delegated some of the powers the states held as sovereign entities to the Federal Government, so as to provide for common defense and what was essentially a free trade union. One of the ways the states preserved their independence was by charging their state governments with choosing the electors who would select the president.
The president was never intended to be the powerful leader of the American people he has become today. He was intended to be the Commander in Chief of the military, when under federal authority, but otherwise only to serve as the executive of the laws passed by congress to carry out the Federal Government's limited constitutional responsibilities. Article II, Section 1 empowers state legislatures to select their electors in any manner which they see fit. Proponents of a National Popular Vote assert that the "Winner Take All" system used by many states does not offer any incentive for candidates to campaign in more than a few states, but fail to mention the numerous alternatives to a National Popular Vote which would have a much greater impact on an individual state's influence in presidential elections.
The Constitution guarantees that each state will have a minimum amount of influence in the electoral college based on the minimum number of representatives and senators from that state. In Delaware, this means we control 3/535 or about 0.5% of the electoral college votes but only 885122/309558000 or about 0.28% of the popular vote. I believe that rather than surrendering much of our limited influence on presidential elections by acquiescing to a National Popular Vote, we should instead seek out new and creative ways of exercising the greater influence of our electoral college as an example to other states of our sovereignty and out respect for the intentions of our founding fathers.
Alternatives include proportional representation, county representation, or even the random selection of registered voters to encourage civic participation and engagement with the political processes of the state.
Please contact your senators and inform them of your opposition to HB198 and the National Popular Vote!