National Popular Vote InitiativePosted: Updated:
There's an effort underway to change how we select the president of the United States. The goal is to make sure the candidate with the most votes is the candidate who wins. That doesn't always happen as proven in the 2000 election.
On the television show "Law and Order", actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson fought for justice in the courtroom. Now four years after his own bid for the White House, Thompson is fighting for fairness at the ballot box.
The initiative is simple – convincing states to designate their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.
Thompson stated, "In every other aspect of our lives, the person with the most votes wins."
But he says that's not how the current system works. The number of electoral votes per state depends on population which means candidates can focus on just a handful of swing states.
"If you're heavy one party or another, you're flyover country. They take you for granted. They don't have to campaign in your state or pay any attention to you," Thompson said.
The National Popular Vote initiative is lobbying state legislatures, including Virginia's, to pass a bill promising to cast electoral votes for the national winner.
"I think people believe we're a democracy and that we should elect our president in a Democratic way," stated Tom Golisano with National Popular Vote.
Four times in U.S. history, the Electoral College picked a president who did not win the most votes at the ballot box. The most recent time was back in 2000.
Golisano said, "That doesn't sound like many but remember we've only had 55 presidential elections."
Supporters admit it's a complicated topic but say it all boils down to fairness.
"I don't think we ought to handicap our presidents with the possibility of electing someone who didn't get the most votes," Thompson said.
Thompson and others met with Governor Bob McDonnell and with state legislators about this idea last week. Some of those lawmakers were receptive to the idea. Eight states have signed on so far and organizers hope to have the agreements finalized by the 2016 election.