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Merkley wants to abolish the Electoral College


FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington. Merkley announced Tuesday, March 5, 2019 that he would not seek his party’s 2020 presidential nomination but will focus on his Senate re-election. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced a constitutional amendment Friday to abolish the Electoral College.

Merkley, who flirted with a presidential run over the past 2 years, tweeted his announcement.

“It’s time to end the undemocratic Electoral College, and to ensure a pathway to full voting representation for all American citizens, regardless of whether they live in Portland or Puerto Rico,” Merkley said in a statement.  

The bill would mean presidential races would be determined by popular vote.

Merkley has long spoken about how the current electoral system is “profoundly unfair” and has resulted in candidates who lost the popular vote to become President of the United States.

Donald Trump lost the popular vote by about 3 million to Hillary Clinton in 2016. George W. Bush also had fewer votes than Al Gore in 2000.

Getting a constitutional amendment enacted is a daunting task. First, the amendment would need the OK from more than 2/3 of both the House and the Senate, then it needs to be ratified by at least 38 of the 50 states.

The state of Oregon has toyed with the idea of joining a number of states pushing for the abolition of the Electoral College.

About Constitutional Amendments 

There are 27 amendments to the US Constitution, including the first 10 which are known as The Bill of Rights. Six other amendments have made it through the House and Senate but were not ratified by the states. The most recent high profile amendment that failed to be ratified by the states was the Equal Rights Amendment. It was proposed March 22, 1972 but failed to get enough states’ ratifications by June 30, 1982.

Should Presidents be elected directly by popular vote?
Yes, popular vote is the way to go
No, keep the Electoral College

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