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Talk Of Redesigning Electoral College Picks Up Steam

Electoral College
Electoral College map showing the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A move is gaining steam around the county that would change the way the president is elected. It would reward whoever wins the popular vote, and disable the Electoral College.
Both Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000 got fewer votes than their opponents. But they won more Electoral votes, which gives more weight to states instead of voters.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is working to change that. During a visit to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club, Compact spokesman Pat Rosensteil said candidates are not even targeting four out of five voters in non-swing states.

"So you have all these battleground states that have all the power, in my experience," Rosenteil said. "You have flyover state voters who have none of the power, and I think it's leading to a corrupt and toxic body politic in a way that I'm not comfortable.

"There are voters in other places in Florida that aren't the I-4 corridor that don't feel like they're valued and don't feel like they have a stake," he said, "and don't feel like their participation is valued in the political process in electing the president of the United States."

So far, the compact has been adopted by 15 states and the District of Columbia. That gives it 196 electoral votes. The proposal needs 270 electoral votes to pass.

Opponents say it would shift politics entirely to urban areas in states with high populations. And Florida would lose its role as the largest swing state.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect headline.) 

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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