There’s a petition to get rid of the Electoral College — here’s what that would mean

When the popular vote results are different than the electoral vote results during a presidential election, outrage usually follows. So it’s no surprise that there’s a petition to get rid of the Electoral College over on Daily Kos.

With Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but losing the election to Donald Trump, many people — particularly Democrats — who disagree with the Electoral College are looking to take action.

The Electoral College has been around since 1787, but this petition wants to get rid of this long-established American process. Because rather than every individual vote counting, the Electoral College rarely (but sometimes!) leads to the candidate who won the most votes still not becoming president. It’s what just happened to Clinton in 2016 and before then, it happened to Al Gore in 2000.

Although the New York Post wrote that the Electoral College could still vote for Clinton as president, that would go against precedent. And that’s not what this petition is all about.

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Instead, the goal of the Daily Kos petition is to make the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact a national issue.

Washington, D.C. and 10 states have already signed this compact and what it would mean is that rather than the Electoral College giving all of its votes to the candidate who won the majority in its state, the Electoral College would give its votes to the candidate who won the overall popular vote in the country. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver explained back in 2014, that means even a blue state like New York would have given its Electoral College votes to George W. Bush in 2004.

Confused? This TED-Ed video might help.

So the purpose of this petition is to get states to agree to this interstate compact so that in 2020, the winner of the popular vote will become president. It doesn’t mean anything will change with 2016’s election though. And honestly, despite the positivity of the Daily Kos, the compact’s success is far from ensured as outlets like FiveThirtyEight and The Washington Post have been sure to note.

Still, if the magic number of 270 frustrates you, do some research and decide if signing the petition is right for you. Because no matter your view of the Electoral College, one thing we can all agree on is that every vote should count.