Governing - In 2006, a group was formed to support a "National Popular Vote plan" based on a strategy devised by John Koza, a Stanford University computer scientist. The concept's simple: an agreement among states to award all of their respective electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide.
So far the proposal has been adopted by 10 states and the District of Columbia, which among them control 165 electoral votes, or 61 percent of those needed to give the compact legal force. But with vote-rich California, Illinois and New York already on board, the proposal will have to pick up a large group of medium- and smaller-sized states. That may be a tough challenge, despite the fact that Americans seem to like the idea: Polls have shown such margins as 62 percent in favor in Arizona, 80 percent in Arkansas, 70 percent in California, 68 percent Colorado, 73 percent in Connecticut, 75 percent in Delaware and 77 percent in Ohio.
One thing's certain: Should the National Popular Vote plan be adopted by enough states, we'd see a stunning reversal of the Electoral College missteps of the last two centuries.
And we'd democratize the process geographically. Preoccupied with key states, the presidential campaigns treat lots of America as irrelevant fly-over territory. Two thirds of the leading presidential candidates' appearances in this year's general election season occurred in just 12 states, from 71 visits in Florida and 55 in North Carolina to 21 in New Hampshire and 10 in Arizona. Meanwhile, there were 16 states without a single visit, including Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Massive California received just one visit.