As of May 1, 2019, an additional three states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) in 2019. Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico—all Democratic trifectas—joined the compact earlier this year.
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an interstate compact to award member state’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. The NPVIC would go into effect if states representing at least 270 electoral college votes adopt the legislation. This compact does not abolish the electoral college system; rather, the compacts awards all of the electoral votes from the member states to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide. To date, 14 states and D.C., representing 189 electoral votes, have joined the compact.
Most states use a winner-take-all system for awarding electoral votes—a candidate who receives 51 percent of the popular vote in a state would receive 100 percent of that state’s electoral votes. In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election with 304 electoral votes but Hillary Clinton received the most popular votes nationwide. The 2016 election was not the only instance in which the winner of the electoral college did not receive the most popular votes; it happened in five of the 58 presidential elections in our nation’s history.
Supporters and opponents of the NPVIC disagree about whether it is constitutional under the U.S. Constitution’s Compact Clause, which states, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress… enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State…” Jessica Heller, a legal writer at FairVote, argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Compact Clause to allow agreements between states that do not “infringe upon federal supremacy.” William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University, disagrees, arguing, “it would jettison the federalist structure of the Electoral College… thwart[ing] the intention of the Framers of the original Constitution…”
In 2019, additional states, including Nevada and Oregon, could vote to join the NPVIC. Like 12 of the 14 states that have voted to join in the past, both states are Democratic trifectas.