WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A new Gallup poll finds three in five Americans favor abolishing the Electoral College, the highest level of support in nearly 10 years.
However, the preference for electing the president based on who receives the most votes nationwide remains partisan. Nearly 90 percent of the Democrats polled and 70 percent of the independents voiced their support compared to about 20 percent of the Republicans.
“The Electoral College is just no longer worth a hoot,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN.
If it were up to Cohen, the next amendment to the Constitution would abolish the Electoral College.
“It was conceived in sin,” he said. “It gives the small states much greater influence than they should have in our system.”
Cohen proposed a constitutional amendment to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote system after Democrats took control of the House. Two years prior, President Trump became the fourth presidential candidate in U.S. history to lose the popular vote but win the Electoral College.
“If it was a popular election, every vote would count, and there would be no flyover states,” Cohen said.
But changes to the Constitution require support from two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-quarters of the 50 states.
“It’s hard to amend,” Cohen said.
An easier way is in the works. States can adopt the National Popular Vote agreement to award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the overall popular vote. But so far, only 15 states and DC have signed on, leaving the initiative 75 electoral votes shy of reaching the 270 majority.
“If that were to go into effect, I think voters in their states would be pretty angry that their states’ Electoral College votes didn’t go to the person the majority of them picked,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Von Spakovsky said Congress would also need to approve this, which he thinks is unlikely. What’s more likely, he said, is a legal challenge from the states that did not adopt the agreement making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the Electoral College in tact.
He argues the current system should stay put.
“It has given us stable government for over 200 years,” von Spakovsky said. “I think people should realize that anyone who wants to change that system has a very high mountain to overcome of explaining why they think they should do it. And so far, I haven’t really seen folks meet that kind of a standard.”