Rep. Steve Israel (D-Long Island), who is running in a newly-redrawn district that includes parts of Queens this year, is proposing a constitutional amendment to tweak the Electoral College — the system that elects the President of the United States — in future elections.
Israel’s amendment to add 29 votes to the college to be given to the nationwide popular vote winner, reducing the possibility of a president being elected despite losing the popular vote. That scenario has played out three times in American history, most recently in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected despite Al Gore winning the popular vote nationwide. Bush won more electoral votes.
Critics of the Electoral College also argue that the system forces campaigns to focus on a small number of “swing states” while ignoring large parts of the country.
In the Electoral College system, each state is given a certain number of votes equal to its number of representatives and senators. The winner of the popular vote in each state wins that state’s electoral votes, with 270 votes needed to win. Because the Electoral College is part of the U.S. Constitution, an amendment is required to change it.