Speed Reads


These 10 blue states are trying to bypass the Electoral College

President Trump, as he is fond of reminding us, won the Electoral College with 306 votes to Hillary Clinton's 232, but Clinton amassed about 2.8 million more popular votes at the national scale. Eager to avoid a repeat of that mismatch in elections to come, 10 blue states plus Washington, D.C., have made a compact that would eventually see them allotting their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, functionally bypassing the Electoral College without passing a constitutional amendment.

The most recent state to sign on is Connecticut, where the governor said Saturday he supports a bill to join the compact, which was passed by the state legislature in late April. The agreement doesn't kick in until states with Electoral College votes totaling 270 — the minimum needed for victory — have joined. With the addition of Connecticut, the involved states' electoral vote total comes to 172.

While a majority of Americans want to move to a popular vote system to choose the president, support for keeping the Electoral College has actually increased in recent years. In 1987, 33 percent wanted to maintain the current system and 61 percent wanted to switch; by 2016, that had shifted to 41 and 54 percent, respectively. Democrats overwhelmingly want to switch, but 3 in 4 Republicans are happy the way things are.

The bypass compact would likely face legal challenge were it to reach the 270-vote trigger. The Constitution does not say electors have to follow their state's popular vote, but most states have some penalty in place for those who don't.

Read The Week's Edward Morrissey and Paul Waldman for dueling accounts of the Electoral College's value — or lack thereof.