National Popular Vote

1/27/2020

photo of the white houseThe National Popular Vote (NPV) movement emerged in late 2006 and has slowly gain some steam since then. 

NPV seeks to ensure that the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide is elected president. When a state passes legislation to join the National Popular Vote Compact, it pledges that all of that state's electoral votes will be given to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote nationwide, rather than the candidate who won the vote in just that state. 

These bills will take effect only when states with a majority of the electoral votes have passed similar legislation and joined the compact. States with electoral votes totaling 270 of the 538 electoral votes would have to pass NPV bills before the compact kicks in and any state's bill could take effect.

See the table below for current status. 

 

State Action on National Popular Vote

Between 2006 and the present, every state legislature in the nation has considered a National Popular Vote bill. Some legislation has sought to rescind commitments to the NPV compact, although none of these bills have been enacted.

Enacted

To date, 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed NPV bills into law:

  • 2019: Colorado, Delaware, New Mexico and Oregon
  • 2018: Connecticut
  • 2016: New York made its participation in the compact permanent (previously the state had to renew its participation in 2018).
  • 2014: New York
  • 2013: Rhode Island
  • 2011: California and Vermont
  • 2010: Massachusetts and D.C.
  • 2009: Washington
  • 2008: Hawaii and Illinois
  • 2007: Maryland and New Jersey

See NCSL's elections legislation database for more information on states currently considering NPV legislation. 

Vetoed

  • In 2019 the governor vetoed NPV legislation in Nevada.
  • NPV bills were vetoed in Rhode Island and Vermont in 2008, but enacted in 2013 and 2011 respectively. 
  • An NPV bill was vetoed in Hawaii in 2007, and the veto of a second NPV bill was eventually overridden by the Hawaii Legislature in 2008. 
  • The California legislature passed NPV legislation in 2006 and 2008, but it was vetoed by the governor both times. An NPV bill was finally enacted in California in 2011.

Current Status of the National Popular Vote Compact

 

State (Year enacted)

 

Electoral Votes Pledged

California (2011)

55

Colorado (2019) 9
Connecticut (2018) 7
Delaware (2019) 3

District of Columbia (2010)

3

Hawaii (2008)

4

Illinois (2008)

20

Maryland (2007)

10

Massachusetts (2010)

11

New Jersey (2007)

14

New Mexico (2019) 5

New York (2014)

29

Oregon (2019) 7

Rhode Island (2013)

4

Vermont (2011)

3

Washington (2009)

12

TOTAL

196

Additional electoral votes required to take effect

74

Source:  National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019

About This NCSL Project

NCSL tracks election and campaign issues in four major categories: campaign finance, election laws and procedures, election results and analysis, and initiative and referendum. We provide comprehensive 50-state research and analysis on a wide variety of topics related to these issues.

For redistricting, NCSL provides similar data that covers redistricting laws, commissions and litigation.

Additionally, NCSL's Redistricting and Elections Standing Committee works on issues that effect all states, including voting technology and redistricting systems and technology.

If you don't find the information you need, please contact our elections team at 303-364-7700 or elections-info@ncsl.org. NCSL staff can do specialized searches for legislators and legislative staff.

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