Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen encourages abolishing Electoral College

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Mar. 20, 2019 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Every vote counts.

This week saw yet another push from Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and some Democratic Presidential candidates to abolish the Electoral College.

While President Donald Trump is against the move, some states are trying to bypass Congress and the White House altogether.

Last election the candidate who got the popular vote, Hillary Clinton, did not win the White House.

Cohen says that doesn't make any sense and it's time for a change.

“The candidates should have to appeal for every state,” Cohen said.

This week, he called the Electoral College outdated with voters more informed than ever.

However, the President is a strong supporter, tweeting Tuesday "The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many states to win. With the Popular Vote, you go to just the large states - the cities would end up running the country. Smaller states and the entire Midwest would end up losing all power.”

But Cohen says that's already happening with presidential candidates ignoring solid red or blue states to focus on just a handful of swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

“There are about eight or nine states that are in play that's it,” Cohen said. “He doesn't have to come to Tennessee, nobody has to come to Mississippi, Arkansas. Our three states right here are solidly Republican.”

Earlier this year Cohen introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.

Constitutional law professor and author Steve Mulroy says that's a tough haul.

“Which means you'd have to get a two-third vote in both the house and the senate and three quarters of the state legislatures to ratify,” Mulroy said.

Mulroy says an easier route that's picking up steam is something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

If enough states would agree to award all of their Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner, then it would essentially abolish the Electoral College.

Currently 11 states have signed on.

“In the next few years, we may actually see another 10 states sign on. and then the electoral college wouldn’t need to be abolished, but rendered harmless,” Mulroy said.

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