Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
Thank you to Call columnist Carl Hendrickson for raising the issue of how our nation elects the president. When the candidate who does not receive the most popular votes wins the presidency, it is a conversation that citizens should have. The current state-by-state winner-take-all electoral college system does not count equally all votes across the nation.
With our current system, about 38 states — including Missouri — are politically irrelevant. Candidates in non-battleground states who are safely ahead think, “Why waste resources?” And candidates hopelessly behind think, “Why try?”
Real issues in these solidly-red or solidly-blue states are not considered important. Problems in these places are disregarded. The current system perverts our democracy. But there is a solution.
The National Popular Vote would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states. NPV does not change the U.S. Constitution. The National Popular Vote is legislation passed by state legislatures.
With NPV in effect, the president would be the person who was approved by the most voters in all 50 states. In 2015 a survey showed that most Missourians — 75 percent — think that the president should be the person who gets the most popular votes in the whole country. In 2016 dozens of lawmakers in Missouri’s General Assembly, both Democrat and Republican, supported National Popular Vote legislation.
Mr. Hendrickson raised the idea of proportionally awarding electoral votes. One problem with this is that in a time of closely divided elections, it is quite probable that a third-party candidate could win just enough electors so that no candidate receives a majority of electors as required by the Constitution; then the selection of the president would go to the House of Representatives where every state gets a single vote. And this is certainly even less democratic.
In our democracy, the person with the most popular votes should win. Count every vote equally and make every voter in every state relevant in every presidential election.
Editor’s note: Ms. Dunlap is a vice president with the League of Women Voters, but is not writing on behalf of the group.