These 2 States Are Poised to Scrap Fractured Electoral College System—in Different Ways

These 2 States Are Poised to Scrap Fractured Electoral College System—in Different Ways

The only two states that apportion Electoral College votes in presidential races by congressional district are poised to scrap what makes them unique. 

In these systems, presidential candidates get one electoral vote for each congressional district they win in the state. Unlike in other states, the Democratic, Republican, and other party candidates could end up splitting a state’s electoral votes among them.

The usually blue Maine and generally red Nebraska each had one battleground congressional district that would sometimes draw presidential candidates.

But the Maine legislature moved to give its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote—regardless of who carries the state. 

Nebraska lawmakers are considering becoming like 48 other states with winner-take-all elections, meaning the candidate who captures the majority of the state’s popular vote takes all of the state’s electoral votes. Nebraska’s change—if adopted—would affect the 2024 presidential election, while the Maine change likely wouldn’t.

Last week, Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mill announced she would let a bill making Maine the 18th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact become law without her signature after it narrowly passed the state legislature. 

Under the multistate compact, Maine agrees to give its four electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote. The states that make up the compact thus far represent a combined 209 electoral votes. Those votes will only activate when the compact reaches the required 270 electoral votes needed to elect a president. 

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Jim Pillen is considering calling a special session of the state legislature, which already adjourned on April 18, to adopt a winner-take-all system for the state’s five electoral votes. 

Pillen said he would only call a special session “when there is sufficient support in the Legislature to pass it.”

Maine enacted its rule to divide its electoral votes by congressional district ahead of the 1972 election. It took another 20 years for Nebraska to follow suit, which it did ahead of the 1992 election. 

However, split votes have been rare.

The first time Nebraska had a split came when Democrat Barack Obama won the swing Nebraska district in the Omaha area in the 2008 election, the first time since 1964 that a Democrat won an electoral vote in the state. 

In 2016, Republican Donald Trump won Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes most of the state outside of Portland or Augusta, netting one electoral vote from the state. He was the first Republican since 1988 to win a Maine electoral vote. 

In 2020, Democrat Joe Biden captured Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District and its electoral vote.

Original source

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.