Presidential election momentum... The winner may be National Popular Vote

by Rob Richie // Published October 26, 2008
This year's presidential election of course is hugely important. Indeed so was the last one in 2004, the one before it in 2000 and on back into our history.

But there's a special way this election may be part of history: 2008 promises to be the very last election held under the current Electoral College system that divides our nation into a shrinking number of have's (those who are wooed in swing states) and the great majority of us who are have-nots (those whose participation is taken for granted).

The National Popular Vote plan already has had a terrific introduction in state legislatures since I joined other reform leaders in introducing the plan to the nation in February 2006. It has been signed into law in four states, passed 21 legislatures and won the support of - count 'em - 1,181 state legislators. In 2009, expect legislation in nearly every state, and expect a growing number of states to join the people in their state who overwhelmingly prefer a national popular vote to the current system, as demonstrated in poll after poll.

What I suspect will ensure victory for the National Popular Vote plan is how this election once again is showing the extreme division between those have's and have not's. My colleague Laura Kirshner has issued a series of compelling news releases on how the resources and time of the presidential candidates are focused on almost entirely the same states as in 2000 and 2004. There are changes on the edges, but for most states, they have been on the sidelines in all these elections.

As more evidence of how the icy stranglehold of the Electoral College on our core principles of equality and majority rule is melting, see a quinttet of worthy opinion pieces this weekend, coming from across the political spectrum. Commentaries by Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Ron Dzwondowskiand Houston Chronicle contributor Jeff Pozmantier explicitly endorse the National Popular Vote plan, while New York Times editorial page editor Gail Collins, New London (CT) Day editorial page editor Paul Choiniere and Lafayette (LA) Advertiser columnist Bill Decker call for direct election of the president.

It's coming, folks -- and in 2012,  I predict you will have the same power to elect the president as every other American.