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Christian Smith-Socaris on November 6, 2008 - 4:57pm
Voters in many states dream of the day when their vote for president will count just as much as those of voters in the handful of battleground states such as Florida and Ohio. Now, with the closeness of the 2008 presidential primary and the proportional delegate allocation rules that most state parties followed in the Democratic primaries, voters are getting a taste of what it would mean if every vote did matter — the result being record-breaking turnout numbers.
If every vote counted in the November presidential elections, we could expect similar broad-based gains in voter turnout. Voters are well aware of whether or not their votes count, and this is evidenced in polls that show wide, bi-partisan support of approximately 70% for a national popular vote.
Studies emphasize that not only does the traditional Electoral College lead to elections narrowly focusing on a few states, but that the problem is in fact getting worse.One result is that critical issues for non-swing states are given less focus in national debate. An example is the civil rights movement, where the historic shift away from heavily African-American swing states has paralleled the narrowing discussion of civil rights in campaigns and the national dialogue.
The campaign to make every vote count in presidential general elections is focused on passing an interstate compact where states agree to apportion their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote (NPV). The compact will become effective when a majority of electors are included under the agreement. The movement to enact this compact is rapidly gaining steam in states around the country — Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Illinois have enacted the compact and it has passed 18 state legislative chambers.