This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
While most people were focused on what lawmakers were doing about Washington state’s $9 billion deficit, a potentially momentous election measure quietly made its way through the 2009 Legislature.
Senate Bill 5599, which was signed into law Tuesday, is designed to elect presidents by straight popular vote, thus turning the Electoral College into a quaint constitutional fossil.
This would effectively amend the U.S. Constitution, in concert with other state legislatures. That’s an ambitious agenda for a measure that wouldn’t amend even the state constitution. The idea hasn’t gotten nearly enough public debate, so it’s good to see opponents launching a referendum that would force a real discussion of its merits.
SB 5599 is part of a multi-state effort called National Popular Vote. The strategy is ingenious.
Legislatures would be persuaded, one by one, to join a compact under which their states’ electoral votes would automatically be awarded to the presidential candidate who won a majority of votes nationwide.
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