COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio House Federalism Committee held its first hearing Wednesday for a bill that would make Ohio a member of the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”
Since 2007, 12 states and the District of Columbia have joined the compact, while both the Colorado General Assembly and the New Mexico Legislature voted in favor of joining this year. Under the agreement, Ohio’s entire Electoral College delegation would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote.
The bill, HB 70, is sponsored by Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), who testified before the House Federalism Committee Wednesday.
“This is a change that is long overdue. Two-thirds of the presidents elected in this century have been chosen by the Electoral College without a corresponding majority of the electorate for their first terms. Put simply, the person the people chose to be their president in their first term was ignored 66 percent of the time in this century,” Leland said during his testimony.
He went on to argue that the Electoral College “rewards small states while punishing larger ones,” such as Ohio.
“The population of Wyoming is 584,000 and they receive 3 Electors. This is roughly one Elector for every 194,000 people. Ohio’s population of 11.59 million people only gets 18 Electors or one for every 643,000 people,” Leland elaborated.
The agreement wouldn’t take effect until states “cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes” have joined, HB 70 indicates.
“The population of smaller states, whether Republican-leaning like Wyoming, Alaska, and South Dakota, or Democratic-leaning like Vermont, Delaware or the District of Columbia, have a greater say in electing our president than Ohio does,” Leland concluded his testimony. “If we are going to have a true republic, with elections that can be viewed by all Americans as completely legitimate, we should be a part of this national popular vote compact and finally ensure that the person with the most votes is the one that is elected president.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “David Ireland” by David Ireland. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.