A National Vote?

I should be working on finishing up my submission to CRYPTO 2006, but I just heard about National Popular Vote, an initiative to start electing US presidents by popular vote rather than Electoral College. What’s brilliant about this plan is that it has a realistic transition phase that I haven’t seen before. So it might have a chance.

Specifically, their plan is to have states agree, one by one, to assign all of their electoral votes to the candidate with the highest national popular vote… but not before enough states sign on to this idea, specifically not until 270 electoral votes’ worth of states sign on.

In other words, nothing changes until enough states agree to change, and then all of a sudden it becomes a national popular vote at the flip of a switch. Even better is that you don’t need to wait until all states agree: only a majority (by electoral vote count) need to agree. What a fantastic plan!

I wish it would happen. The Electoral College game, though it may have been the right thing 120 years ago, seems like a thorn in democracy’s side right now. A national popular vote would almost certainly increase voter turnout, and would let voters really feel like their vote counts in an objective way, without any complicated math.