In the US, the President is elected by the Electoral College (“EC”) system. Essentially, each state gets a certain number of EC votes based primarily upon the population of the state.
Each state decides how its EC votes will be allotted. Most states allocate 100% of the EC votes for that state to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in that state (i.e., “winner take all”). A few states may split the EC votes between multiple candidates.
The “problem” with the EC is that one candidate may win the national popular vote, but may still lose the election because of the way the EC votes are allocated. This happened to Al Gore in 2000 when he lost to Bush. Many people are pissed about that and others just generally dislike the EC as an outdated undemocratic election tool.
The only way to abolish or alter the EC directly is to amend the US Constitution. That’s a difficult process.
These guys came up with a clever end run around that problem. The proposal is to have each state enter into a multi-state compact whereby 100% of each member states’ EC votes will be awarded to the candidate who wins the NATIONAL popular vote instead of the candidate who wins the popular vote within each separate state.
The compact would not go into effect until at least 50% of the EC votes are under the compact.
The California Assembly just passed legislation to join the compact. On the one hand, this may mean that California’s EC votes could go to the candidate that was rejected by California voters. On the other hand, the argument is that the EC will effectively be nullified and California will become a player in Presidential elections as candidates come to California to pump up their popular votes here. California is largely ignored in Presidential election campaigns now (except for fundraising) because the state is heavily Democratic and the candidates know it.
All I can say about the idea at this point is “interesting” and “clever.” Discuss.