Stateline Story

Vermont Is Latest to Adopt National Popular Vote

  • April 19, 2011
  • By John Gramlich
With only three electoral votes and solidly Democratic habits in national politics, Vermont generally isn't counted among the battlegrounds in a presidential election year. Even so, a bill Governor Peter Shumlin will sign later this week is a step toward changing the way all future presidents are chosen.

The legislation calls for Vermont to join the National Popular Vote, a movement to give the presidency to the candidate who wins the most overall votes, rather than the most electoral votes. The proposal comes in reaction to presidential elections - most recently in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore - in which the candidate with the most votes did not become chief executive.

Under the bill, all three of Vermont's electoral votes would go to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, even if Vermont voters themselves did not opt for that candidate. The system would go into effect only when it has been agreed to by enough states to ensure that 270 electoral votes
- the minimum needed to become president - have been committed to the plan.

Vermont will become the seventh state to agree to the proposal, according to the Burlington Free Press . It joins other mainly Democratic states that are typically not very competitive during presidential election years:  Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington.

Including Vermont, the National Popular Vote plan now has 74 electoral votes behind it.