Policast for March 5, 2013:
A proposal in the state House of Representatives would allocate Minnesota’s electoral votes in a presidential election to the winner of the national popular vote.
It’s a plan that nine states have already passed. But it will only take effect if states that control at least 270 electoral votes sign onto the measure.
DFL Rep. Steve Simon authored the bill in the House. He told MPR’s Policast that it comes down to the simple proposition that the person who earns the most votes should win an election.
“The National Popular Vote provision would simply ensure that Minnesota does what it’s entitled to do under the Constitution, which is the use the present Electoral College, not get rid of it, but use it to allocate our votes in a way that in concert with other states makes it clear that the number one vote-getter will be president of the United States,” Simon said.
Simon argued that polls show most voters favor the direct election of presidents.
But Trent England, director of Save Our States Project of the Freedom Foundation, said the Electoral College has usually worked smoothly.
“The most important thing about the Electoral College is that it uses the states in a way that creates a basic requirement that you don’t just win the White House with a raw majority vote total,” England said on MPR’s Policast. “It means that our politics over time have been much more national and I think much more moderate than it would have been in such a vast and diverse nation than if we just had a direct vote for president.”
The national popular vote proposal was recommended to pass by the House Elections Committee. Its next stop will be a hearing on the House floor.
Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news hosted by Mike Mulcahy and Cathy Wurzer. Subscribe on iTunes. The entire discussion about the Electoral College can be heard on the March 5, 2013 episode.