Opponents of the electoral college reached an important milestone last month.
Popular Vote interstate compact. That’s a deal wherein states commit to send their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote — but only once states representing over half of all electoral votes adopt similar laws. Once that threshold is reached, the electoral college is effectively abolished, without a constitutional amendment.
Rhode Island’s addition means that the National Popular Vote plan — first conceived of by Northwestern’s Robert Bennett and developed by Akhil and Vikram Amar at Yale and UC Davis, respectively — is halfway to its goal. As plan supporter Rick Hertzberg at the New Yorker explains, nine states plus the District of Columbia have now signed on, representing 136 electoral votes. That’s 50.4 percent of the votes needed for the plan to come into force and for the electoral college to be abolished.