The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Comes to Minnesota


Julius Randolph, Editor

The Minnesota legislature has been very active as of late, introducing bills on a wide range of topics including cannabis legalization, finance and lending regulations, and election reform. 

The election reform bill proposed in the Minnesota House of Representatives is named House File 642. House File 642 is described as an agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote and it is backed by authors Freiberg, Bahner,  Long,  Kraft, Greenman, Curran, Brand, Frazier, Garofalo, Hollins, Hemmingsen-Jaeger.

House File 642 was introduced on January 23 of this year and has been read in two committees throughout the last month. Most recently, it was read in the Elections, Finance, and Policy Committee. 

Minnesota would join 15 other states and the District of Columbia as jurisdictions which have passed the interstate compact if the bill is successful. A successful passage of the bill would take the proposal one step closer to electing the president by a national popular vote, shifting the method of election away from the traditional method of using the electoral college. 

The states which have already passed the bill vary in both population and geographic region; they include states such as Delaware, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, and California. Fellow midwestern state Illonois has already passed the bill as well. 

Currently, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact holds 195 electoral votes, and needs a total of 270 electoral votes for the interstate compact to go into effect. This would be a historic change in the way Americans elect the president, and supporters of the compact opine that it is a much needed one.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’s website offers a thorough explanation of the bill, discusses common misconceptions on the topic, and encourages citizens to contact their legislators in support of the bill. Proponents of the bill focus on the shortcomings of the current winner-take-all system and state that the interstate compact addresses these issues. 

Supporters of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact believe it “evens the playing field” so that all states receive equal attention in campaigns from their presidential candidates, and citizens from certain areas of the country are not ostracized by way of not living in a battleground state. 

Others support the bill because they believe the interstate compact brings the power back to the people, a power vested in the people by the constitution of the United States. 

Objections to the bill include the bill is a straying from tradition and the constitution, Republicans would be ostracized, and cities would be unfairly favored and control the election. 

This type of election reform has become the center of a contentious debate among politicians, with opinions varying based on political affiliation. 

Generally, Democrats are in favor of a national popular vote, and Republicans are opposed to it, and typical partisan politics will definitely play a part in the passage or failure of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

There are many bills in front of the Minnesota legislature in this new year, and only time will tell when Minnesotans will receive a definite answer on the matter of a national popular vote for president. Government officials will need the time to examine the bill, weigh the pros and cons, and articulate those points to the public and their colleagues. This process could take a while. 

Election reform of this magnitude and importance should not be taken lightly, and Minnesota legislators have a significant decision to make and have the ability to influence the course of Minnesotan and American political history with their decision. 

The Minnesota Republic will be closely monitoring the status of this bill, and will continue reporting on it throughout the journey of the bill.

To stay up-to-date on the status of this bill and others, you can use the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.