Community Issues

Ohio Proposal: Give Presidency to National Popular Vote

Amendment would have state join others who've abandoned electoral college.

Lots of people have debated whether our Electoral College is the best way to elect a president, or would using the national popular vote be better. Voters in Ohio may get the chance to choose what they prefer if a proposal makes it on the state's fall ballot.

The proposal, a constitutional amendment , would force lawmakers to give the Ohio's Electoral College votes to whichever candidate wins the most votes nationally, no matter who wins the popular vote in Ohio.

The idea isn't a done deal by a long shot. According to the Columbus Dispatch, whoever is behind the proposal (no one will admit it) will need to get 442,958 signatures of registered Ohio voters by July 3 to put the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot. Even if the amendment passes, Ohio would have to be voted into what's called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which includes 13 mostly-Democratic states, the District of Columbia, and soon to be New Mexico.

The Columbus Dispatch did a little digging, and surmised Making Every Vote Count, a nonprofit promoting the move toward a national popular vote winner, might be behind the amendment

Even though no one knows for sure who's behind the move, that hasn't stopped partisan sniping. Ohio Republican Chairman Jane Timken said in a statement quoted in the Dispatch: "I am saddened that Ohio Democrats have so little faith in their organization and future nominee that they would resort to devaluing the worth of Ohioans' votes." Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis fired back: "Jane should stop reading the fever swamps of Internet comment threads and making up conspiracy theories."

It's a high stakes debate. The popular winner has lost for president five times in U.S. history, twice since 2000. And according to the Dispatch, Republican victories in Ohio helped tip the 2000 election in favor of Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore and the 2016 election in favor of Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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