Iowa debates Electoral College Change - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa debates Electoral College Change

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO(KWWL) -- A debate is brewing at the state house on whether Iowa should ditch the Electoral College. Instead it would follow the national popular vote to pick a president.

The United States Constitution mandates the Electoral College will decide who is elected president, but states get to decide how to award those delegates. Now several states are joining together hoping to circumvent the Electoral College.

The bill that is before the Iowa Legislature would enter Iowa in a pact with other states and agree to cast its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. If passed, the rule would only take effect when enough states joined to guarantee the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

 The move would effectively end the Electoral College system without amending the constitution.

Republicans argued at a news conference Tuesday that the change would prompt candidates to focus attention on big cities and ignore small states such as Iowa.

Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley said, "Democrats must really want voters in urban centers like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Boston having more say in the process than the voters in our communities all over the state."

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal refuted that claim. He said, "It is mystifying to me why anyone would cling to an antiquated, winner-take-all Electoral College system that allows a person to be elected to the presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide."

As of right now four states have passed and signed popular vote bills which includes New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and Hawaii. That represents 50 electoral votes,  well shy of the 270 electoral votes needed for Iowa's and other state's popular vote rules to take effect, but all three states  have at least introduced bills to pick the president using a national popular vote.

A survey of 800 Iowa voters showed 75% support a national popular vote for president instead of the electoral college..

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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