New effort to abolish Electoral College questioned

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- With Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but losing the election, there are calls to get rid of the Electoral College.

California Senator Barbara Boxer has filed a bill, and there are now petitions on the White House Web site.

One local political scientist questions if the Electoral College made any difference in the outcome.

Old Dominion University's Josh Zingher says it's impossible to know, because if there were no Electoral College, the candidates surely would've campaigned differently.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump simply played by the rules before them, as devised by the framers of the Constitution.

Zingher likened it to baseball.

"All you have to do to win the World Series is win the four games," he said. "You can lose one game 20-1, and that still doesn't affect the outcome of the other six, right?"

To win the presidency, you have to win the most states, not get the most votes.

Under the baseball comparison, it would be like saying the Cleveland Indians should've won this year's World Series because they scored the most runs. But, in fact, the Chicago Cubs won because they won the most games, because, those are the the rules.

"The way i explain it is, we have state level election and depending on how many states you win, that determines who wins the presidency," said Zingher. "he votes in terms of the popular vote are basically irrelevant."

Clinton's unexpected loss in the Electoral College has prompted some grumbling about the system among Democrats, who also lost the White House but won the popular vote in 2000.

Yesterday, Boxer filed a long-shot bill that would eliminate the Electoral College.

The legislation is almost certainly doomed in a Republican-dominated Congress.The measure would still require ratification by three-fourths of the states within seven years of passage, as it would seek to amend the Constitution.

Additionally, on the Whitehouse.gov "We the People" petition page, there are currently five different petitions to abolish the Electoral College; with all five well short of the 100,000 signatures required to get a response from the administration.

Zingher doubts such efforts will get anywhere.

"A major change to the U.S. Election laws making its way through Congress, I just have a hard time thinking that's going to happen," he said.

Four years ago, Trump called the Electoral College "a disaster."

But now he has a different view, tweeting yesterday: "The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play.

As spelled out in Article II of the Constitution,The Electoral College meets on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which this year is December 19th, in the capitols of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

13News Now conducted a live interactive poll Wednesday afternoon, asking viewers if the Electoral College should be abolished.

The unscientific results were pretty overwhelming. 56 percent said no, 40 percent said yes, four percent were not sure.


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