What's The Best Way To Elect A President? : It's All Politics The Massachusetts state legislature has passed a bill that would change the way presidents are elected.  It would leave the current Electoral College system and award its votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
NPR logo What To Do With The Electoral College?

What To Do With The Electoral College?

The Constitution may mandate it, but choosing a president through the Electoral College has always been a controversial topic, made even more so after the 2000 election.  That's when Al Gore, who received the most popular votes, was defeated in his bid for the presidency by George W. Bush who, by being awarded Florida's 25 electoral votes, won the required 270 E.V.s to get him to the White House; actually, he finished with 271.

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution outlines how we elect our president.

Bush is the fourth person to win the presidency without having taken the popular vote.  The others:  John Quincy Adams in 1824 (instead of Andrew Jackson), Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 (instead of Samuel Tilden), and Benjamin Harrison in 1888 (instead of President Grover Cleveland).

In the case of Adams vs. Jackson, neither candidate won a majority of the Electoral College, and so the election was thrown into the House, which picked Adams.

Since 2000, efforts to abolish the Electoral College or at least change the system have picked up speed.  A group called National Popular Vote has been pushing state legislatures to pass bills that would award the states' electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote -- regardless of how that state voted.

Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington have already passed such legislation.  On Tuesday, a sixth state's legislature, Massachusetts, approved it and sent it to Gov. Deval Patrick (D) for his signature.

According to NPV, 30 state legislative chambers have already passed the bill (click here for list).

The law would only take effect if the total of the electoral votes of the states that passed the measure reached 270.

Many small states oppose this change.  If the name of the game was the most popular votes nationally, why would a candidate spend time in places like New Mexico, or Nevada, or Colorado -- so-called "Purple States" that could go either way in November?  They wouldn't.

There have been other methods suggested as well.  Some want to see the winner determined by whoever wins the most congressional districts nationwide.  Others like the system used in Maine and Nebraska: two electoral votes to the statewide winner plus an e.v. to the winner of each congressional district.

What do you think?  What is the best way to elect a president?  Take our fake poll: