letter to the editor

Embracing national popular vote would strengthen American democracy

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 2:45pm

    Dear Editor:

    Recently, the Maine House of Representatives voted on LD 1578, An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote. I support this bill because it would ensure that every vote in a presidential election is counted equally, and it would strengthen democracy by ensuring that the candidate selected by a majority of Americans will become president.

    Opponents of the bill are claiming that joining the compact would diminish Maine’s influence in presidential elections, make our state a less attractive campaign stop and diminish the power of our rural voters. However, I don’t believe these arguments hold up. 

    Under the Electoral College system, only a handful of swing states decide every presidential election. This means that candidates spend the majority of their time focusing on these states, ignoring the rest of the country. With national popular vote, communities traditionally ignored by campaigns – like rural voters throughout Maine – would have equal sway in the outcome of elections. It would put Maine voters on a level playing field with voters in those states. 

    Additionally, the Electoral College is one of the most unique — and undemocratic — aspects of the U.S. political system. It was originally included in the Constitution to subvert direct democracy and protect the influence of some states over others. I believe it’s time for it to be changed.

    To clarify, passing this bill would not immediately change the way Maine votes to elect the president. The national popular vote compact would only take effect if enacted by enough states to comprise a majority of the Electoral College – which is 270 out of 538.  

    While there are arguments to be made for and against the adoption of this bill, I believe that it is imperative to uphold the principles of fairness and democracy, ensuring that the voices of all Americans are heard. I continue to give careful consideration of the implications of this legislation and its passage for the betterment of our electoral system.

    Representative Holly B. Stover