Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote

PEG Exclusive, submitted by Washtenaw Joy of Framing**

Many Americans believe that we live in a democracy and that the presidential candidate with the most votes wins. Unfortunately, this is inaccurate. Although national, state, and local officials and initiatives are counted by direct popular vote, the president is elected by electoral votes. This indirect process is often referred to as the winner-take-all model. That is, the candidate who wins a majority of votes in almost every state in the Union is given the state’s electoral college votes, while votes cast for the losing candidate are canceled in 48 states.


There are several significant problems with using the indirect approach to determining which presidential candidate wins the national election. First, the president wins the popular vote but not the electoral college vote. For example, two presidents in the last six election cycles (2000 and 2016) and two other election cycles in our country’s history elected presidents without who won the vote of the people the popular vote, but not the electoral college vote. When this occurs, people are often left wondering why, in a Democracy, their votes do not count.


Another problem relates to how presidential candidates prioritize their campaign schedules. The map below demonstrates the focus on key states that are crucial for winning the electoral vote on states rather than individual voters.

State sizes based on campaign events in 2012

Similarly, in 2016, almost all campaign events (94%) were in the 12 states where Trump’s support was between 43% and 51%. Two-thirds of the events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI).


Everyone should have the opportunity to hear what the Candidates have in mind for their states. Furthermore, the indirect approach can result in presidential elections that are typically decided by a few thousand votes in a small number of states. Our current system hurts Republicans and Democrats alike. [2]

Thankfully, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) offers a path to changing the way presidential election votes are counted. NPVIC is an agreement between states to award their states’ presidential electors to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Compact ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The Compact is a state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.

The National Compact will only go into effect when states with at least a combined 270 electoral votes have joined the compact. To date, sixteen states and the District of Columbia have signed on so far (Republican and Democratic), totaling 205 electoral votes, with Minnesota having most recently joined.

Michigan’s law, HB 4156, which is the agreement among the states to elect the President by national popular vote was introduced by Representative Carrie Rheingans on 3/2/23 and was referred for a second reading on 6/6/23. Contact your legislators to encourage the passage of the bill. Check out the script below.


My name is _____ and I am a voter in your district.

I want to be sure that my vote counts towards the presidential election. I believe that the president, like our other elections, should reflect the one person one vote. Two presidents in the last six election cycles (2000 and 2016) have been elected by the electoral college vote, in spite of having won the popular vote. Since it is unlikely that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College will happen, I believe the next best solution is to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).

I understand that HB 4156 will allow Michigan to join the other states that have endorsed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).

Thank you,


**The members of Washtenaw Joy of Framing are Michiganders who craft statements reflecting values that, when put into practice, will and do make life better for all of us. Our aim is to disseminate these messages for people who care about the welfare of their communities. They’re yours to use, change and share. We can be reached at:

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