With final House Session ahead, Joe Geller wants to help ensure President is elected by popular vote

Optimized-JoeGeller
Geller filed a bill to add Florida to the Nationwide Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Democratic Rep. Joe Geller is making one final push to have Florida get around the Electoral College and potentially transform the nation’s presidential election into a popular vote system.

Heading into his last Legislative Session before running into term limits, Geller is once again introducing a measure (HB 69) signing Florida onto the Nationwide Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

The Compact seeks to ensure the winner of the nationwide popular vote will serve as President. It does that by circumventing the nation’s Electoral College system.

Currently, most states in the U.S. award their respective number of Electoral College voters to whichever candidate wins the popular vote in their state. Some states, such as Maine and Nebraska, also award a portion of their Electoral College to winners of their individual congressional districts.

But in either system, candidates who perform better in a state win more (or all) of that state’s electoral votes. The Nationwide Popular Vote Interstate Compact would, somewhat controversially, have states simply award Electoral College votes to the candidate which receives the most overall votes in the country. That’s true even if that candidate received fewer votes in a given state.

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For instance, if Geller’s proposal was in effect, Joe Biden would have won all of Florida’s Electoral College votes last year. While Donald Trump topped Biden by more than 370,000 votes in Florida, Biden beat Trump by more than 7 million votes nationwide. Therefore, Florida’s electoral votes would go to Biden.

However, the changes proposed in Geller’s bill would not take effect until jurisdictions containing a majority of electoral votes — 270 — agree to the Compact. As of now, 15 states plus the District of Columbia have agreed to the compact. Those 16 jurisdictions hold 195 electoral votes under the newest revisions following the 2020 Census.

The system is being proposed as a way to get around the U.S. Electoral College system without amending the U.S. Constitution. If jurisdictions possessing a majority of Electoral College votes promise to give those votes away to whoever is the nationwide popular vote winner, it won’t matter whether other states agree to follow. That candidate will already possess enough Electoral College votes to become President.

States have a significant latitude in how those votes are awarded. That reality led Trump and his allies to pressure states to throw out results unfavorable to him during last year’s election by ginning up false allegations of widespread voter fraud. Dozens of court challenges designed to overturn those results failed after state officials maintained results were accurate.

Should enough states sign onto the Compact, it could trigger a challenge in the courts as well. It’s unclear whether a system designed to usurp the Electoral College would withstand judicial scrutiny. But a 2020 Supreme Court ruling giving states the authority to force electors to vote a certain way seemed to reinforce states’ authority to dictate how their respective electoral votes are distributed.

The Electoral College was instituted to give states with smaller populations proportionally more impact on the presidential election than larger states, such as Florida. Electoral college advocates argue the system prevents the most populous states from dictating the outcome of the election every four years.

But the system also leads to swing states earning outsized attention, as deep blue and red states already have their outcomes largely set in stone.

Democrats have also been frustrated in recent elections, with Republicans winning the presidential election in both 2000 and 2016 despite losing the popular vote.

This isn’t the first time Geller has introduced such a bill, and it’s difficult to see a GOP-controlled Legislature moving it forward. Should it pass, however, it wouldn’t change much for 2024. Adding Florida to the list of states which have already approved the Compact puts advocates at 223 electoral votes. That’s 47 short of what’s needed to put Geller’s bill and others into effect.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


10 comments

  • Alex

    September 7, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Good idea.

    We’ve gotten two of the three worst Presidents in modern history because of the Electoral College.

    Under Bush thousands of our troops died, we spent around $5 Trillion, all for absolutely nothing on two wars/occupations one of which Biden just stopped finally.

    Under Trump thousands and thousands of Americans died of covid because he didn’t want the economy interrupted and lose the only thing he had going for him in the election.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      September 8, 2021 at 7:37 am

      You and Joe Geller make a pair indeed 🦜🦜🤡🤡

  • Michael Tarnoff

    September 8, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    One important correction. This article contains the following incorrect Statement: “The Compact seeks to ensure the winner of the nationwide popular vote will serve as President. It does that by circumventing the nation’s Electoral College system.” The Compact emphatically doe NOT “circumvent” the Electoral College system. In fact, the Compact REQUIRES the Electoral College system to remain in place in order to work. In order for states to allocate their Electoral College votes to any candidate, the must be an Electoral College system in place and functioning.

  • Anne Coppenhaver

    September 8, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Whoa there! The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which Representative Geller has introduced USES Article 2 of the US Constitution to enable states to change their process (state by state) to electing the President of the United States by the NATIONAL popular vote. It doesn’t change the Electoral College, but changes how the states who adopt it select their electors (right now Florida doesn’t use the National Popular Vote results to select our Florida electors). Actually the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact implements the US Constitution, just in a way that honors every vote, in every state, in every hamlet, village, town and rural community across this country. Isn’t that the way it should be?

  • Louise Thompsoon

    September 8, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact does not “get around” the Electoral College, but instead works WITHIN the Electoral College and withing the Constitution to guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votess across all 50 states and DC. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. AND, there are plenty of intelligent Republicans who support the bill. Just look at Conservatives for Yes on National Popular Vote.

  • Arlene Tuck

    September 8, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    Bad, bad idea. The elections will be won by the large states: California, New York, Texas and Florida. Rhodesia Island, Idaho, Hawaii, etc, will not count.

  • Anne Coppenhaver

    September 8, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Actually Arlene we have to decide if we actually believe in one person, one vote. If the less populated states outweigh the more populated states that only means that individual voters in small states count more than their one vote. Right now, a voter (for US President) in Montana counts 7 times to my one vote in Florida. Is that fair? I don’t want to perpetuate a system that every voter now knows is unfair. Every person’s vote should be equal no matter where they live. Besides, every voter in every big or small state doesn’t vote for just one party or candidate. It’s actually just about 50-50 everywhere. California has almost equal # Democrat and Republicans voters. But if California gives the whole state vote to the 51% (of either party) that wins in the state, that means, automatically, 49% of the California voters don’t count at all. That’s true in any “winner take all” state – large or small. There are lots of reasons eligible voters don’t vote or register, but the facts outlined here have to be part of that! Check out the facts at National Popular Vote online – there’s a lot to learn about the myths that hold us back from the facts.

  • Kathleen Crampton

    September 8, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Representative Joe Geller and Senator Vic Torres deserve our thanks for their commitment to National Popular Vote. They have been NPV’s champions and have introduced it to their Legislative colleagues. We are grateful for their leadership and support.

  • Pretty obvious

    September 8, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Expect the smaller states to secede. There’s no incentive for smaller states to stay in a “union” where they have no say in how it’s run.

  • Zhombre

    September 9, 2021 at 8:46 am

    If the EC were effectively abolished, why would the smaller, less populous states, or even the rural areas of larger states, even bother to participate in presidential elections, as their votes would be rendered otiose? The populous urban areas would dominate. The result would be similar to that which now exists on the West coast, where inland voters in Oregon and Washington have little influence in governance and talk of seceding and/ or annexing to Idaho spreads.

Comments are closed.


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