National Popular Vote

In Short

The League of Women Voters believes that the direct-popular-vote method for electing the President and Vice-President is essential to representative government. The League of Women Voters believes, therefore, that the Electoral College should be abolished.

We support the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished.

State sizes based on campaign events in 2016

How It Works

The National Popular Vote compact guarantees the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Under NPV, all of the electoral votes from the participating states are given to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide. The compact takes effect when enacted by states constituting a majority of the Electoral College--that is 270 of the 538 electoral votes.

Benefits of NPV

It ensures that the candidates with the most popular votes is elected.

Every vote in every state would be equal.

It would increase voters motivation to participate by giving them an incentive to vote in elections even if they are not in the majority in their state.

It would ensure that candidates run and contest all 50 states, not just those few "swing states:" Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and a few others.

Next Steps

Find more information about our efforts to get the NPV compact in Maine at our Take Action page.

Read Our Legislative Testimony on This and Other Priority Issues

Learn More

 Recording from "Every Vote Counts" Maine tour, March 2020

 Webinar with Eileen Reavey from April 29, 2020

Myths debunked!

Myth #1

Big cities, such as Los Angeles, would control a nationwide popular vote for President. FALSE! 

The short answer: Under National Popular Vote, every vote will be equal throughout the US. A vote cast in a big city would be no more (or less) valuable or controlling than a vote cast anywhere else. Want to see the long answer? 

Myth #2

Maine, with only 4 electoral votes, would be disadvantaged by the National Popular Vote. FALSE!

The short answer: The small states (the 13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are the most disadtagedvan and ignored group of states under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes; NOT because of their low population, but because they are not closely divided battleground states. Want to see the long answer? 

Myth #3

The Electoral College would be abolished by the National Popular Vote compact. FALSE!

The short answer: The National Popular Vote compact would preserve the Electoral College. It would not abolish it. It would not affect the structure of the Electoral College contained in the U.S. Constitution. Want to see the long answer?

Myth #4

The framers created the Electoral College to protect the small states. FALSE! 

The primary division was between pro-slavery and anti-slavery states, not big and small states or cities versus rural (all the states were rural in 1787). Slave states had large populations but far fewer eligible voters (slaves could not vote). Want to see the long answer?

Myth #5

Maine will give up an advantage under NPV, because our Electoral College vote to population ratio is high. FALSE!

Maine is non-competitive and has no advantage. Swing states get the majority of campaign visits and spending (99% of the 2016 campaign was in the battleground states), enjoy almost 8% more in federal funds, and are 2x more likely to get presidential disaster declarations than noncompetitive states. Maine gets none of this. But NH does because it has a similar population, same Electoral votes, but it's a swing state. Want to see the long answer?