Elizabeth Warren backs plan to get rid of the Electoral College

Elizabeth Warren
Posted at 1:04 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 14:04:58-04

(CNN) -- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the first time on Monday night said that she would back a plan to do away with the Electoral College.

The process, she said, effectively disenfranchises voters in states dominated by one of the two parties.

"Come a general election, presidential candidates don't come to places like Mississippi. They also don't come to places like California or Massachusetts, because we're not the battleground states," Warren said at a CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi.

In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated President Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes in the popular vote by running up big leads in Democratic strongholds. But she narrowly lost swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which handed Trump a clear victory on the Electoral College map.

"My view is that every vote matters," Warren said as the applause in Jackson began to build into an ovation, "and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College -- and every vote counts."

There are already efforts at the state level to diminish the effectiveness of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have signed on to a compact agreeing to assign their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of the outcomes in their states.

The states will make the switch once enough states have signed on to secure a cumulative 270 electoral votes. Currently California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have signed on, totaling 181 electoral votes. New Mexico and Delaware are also considering legislation to join the interstate compact.

Colorado joined the group last week. If New Mexico and Delaware pass their own legislation it will move the compact eight votes closer to the 270-vote majority.

Although most states have winner-takes-all policies for their Electoral College votes, Maine and Nebraska split their electors proportionally based on the states' popular votes.

This story has been updated.

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