Minnesota Should Adopt the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Minnesota Should Adopt the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Jack Radomski, Editor

Criticism with our presidential election process is nothing new in the United States, and advocates have worked toward a change in the election system for decades. One particular movement has gained significant traction across the country, and it recently made its way to Minnesota. 

House File 642 was recently introduced into the Minnesota State Legislature. This legislation contains a proposal for Minnesota to adopt the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Introduced in late January of this year, this bill would mark a historic and much needed change to the way Americans elect the president of the United States. 

The concept of the compact is simple: award the presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes across the fifty states and the District of Columbia. 

The current “winner-take-all” system of electing the president causes a disproportionate focus to be on swing states, and leaves many states, and American voters, ignored by candidates who are supposed to represent them. 

The President of the United States should represent the entirety of the country, and the current system facilitates a path to the presidency in which a candidate does not have to pay attention to the majority of states and voters. The current system casts certain voters to the wayside and ostracizes states that are deemed as unimportant in the current election cycle. 

This causes severe representation problems in non-swing states and ignores millions of American voters. 

The previous decade of presidential elections proves this point. For example, in 2012 thirty-eight states were completely ignored during the campaign cycle. Candidates focused mostly on swing states such as Florida and Wisconsin. This trend continued in 2016, where 273 of 399 campaign events were in six states. That amounted to two thirds of the events being confined to this small region.

In 2012, there was only one campaign event in Minnesota compared to twenty-seven in Iowa and eighteen in Wisconsin. This trend continued in 2016, with two events in Minnesota compared to the twenty-one in Iowa and fourteen in Wisconsin. 

Every Minnesotan deserves equal attention from their presidential candidates, and that is simply not happening with our current system. The Interstate Compact would incentivize candidates to widen their campaign areas to meet the needs of every voter. 

This state-based solution preserves the electoral college and is sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution. The current “winner-take-all” election system is by no means outlined in the Constitution, and further, the Constitution allows for states to choose how they award their votes. This means that the Interstate Compact is a perfectly valid change to the election process, and one that is sanctioned by the Constitution. 

The American value of equal representation shines through in the Interstate Compact while the current system perpetuates an unequal distribution of voter power. Each vote would be equal under the Interstate Compact, whether a voter lives on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota or in Downtown Minneapolis. 

Currently, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has been enacted by jurisdictions possessing 195 electoral votes, and needs a total of 270 electoral votes for the interstate compact to go into effect. 

Minnesota should join the other fifteen states and the District of Columbia that have already passed the interstate compact and leave the archaic “winner-take-all” system in the past. States of varying sizes and legislators across the United States have endorsed it. 

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact ensures that every voter will matter in every presidential election, and Minnesotans should support this effort to further the American ideal of equal representation under the law. 

Contact your state legislator here and encourage them to vote yes on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. 

To learn more about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, visit their website.