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Boxer Moves to Abolish the Electoral College

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer speaks on Capitol Hill, Aug. 2015 | photo Alex Wong/Getty Images
Drawing of U.S. Constitution | original artwork Henry Cram
Coming soon The Electoral College in one minute | artwork Henry Cram

California Senator Barbara Boxer will be retiring in January. But on Tuesday she introduced a bill that would get rid of the Electoral College.  This comes in response to Donald Trump winning the presidential contest despite Hillary Clinton having captured more popular votes. Boxer said, “In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote.”

Estimates are that Clinton’s popular vote count could exceed 2 million once the tally is complete.  She currently has about 1 million more popular votes than Trump.  But Trump’s 276 electoral votes will put him in the White House on January 20th.

Boxer went on to say “The Electoral College is an outdated undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society and it needs to change immediately.” 

But “immediately” will not be possible. It takes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish the Electoral College, and amendments need to be ratified by  three-fourths of the states. Even getting a proposed amendment teed up for a vote requires two-thirds approval from both the House and the Senate, both currently controlled by Republicans. This puts the likelihood of Boxer’s bill succeeding at virtual zero.

Five times in U.S. history presidents took office despite having lost the popular vote. Those presidents were or will be:  Donald Trump, George W. Bush (2000), Benjamin Harrison (1888), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), and John Quincy Adams (1824.)

Boxer said, “This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency.”

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