Democratic senator wants to abolish Electoral College
Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday to abolish the Electoral College and “restore democracy” by allowing for the president and vice president to be elected directly through the popular vote.
The proposed amendment — which faces long odds of success — is supported by Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who is also a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
The move places greater attention on the system, which has increasingly come under fire from progressives since the 2016 election when President Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but won a majority of the Electoral College votes.
“In an election, the person who gets the most votes should win. It’s that simple,” Schatz, who represents Hawaii, said in a statement. He added that he viewed the system as “outdated” and “undemocratic.”
In the same statement, Gillibrand also cast the Electoral College as undemocratic, saying it “has distorted the outcome of elections and disenfranchised millions of voters, and I think that’s wrong.”
“I am ready to fight in Congress and around the country to pass this Constitutional Amendment to do that,” she said.
In order to take effect, the bill would need to be passed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Like Gillibrand, other Democratic presidential candidates have voiced support for abolishing the Electoral College, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Earlier this year, Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, proposed a constitutional amendment in the House to abolish the Electoral College.
The Tuesday move also comes as some states are pushing to give their state’s Electoral College votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. So far, Delaware, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state — as well as the District of Columbia — have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.