JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If District 29 Sen. David Blount has his way, in 2024, the state could award its electoral votes based on the national popular vote, rather than the winner of the state.
Blount, a Democrat, has introduced S.B. 2102, which, if passed, would require Mississippi to enter into an agreement with other states to allocate electoral votes to the national popular vote winner in presidential elections.
Currently, Mississippi’s six electoral votes go to whichever candidate wins the popular vote in the state.
Under 2102, Mississippi would join in a pact with other states to allocate electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
The bill has been referred to the Senate’s Elections Committee and Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee.
“I believe the person who gets the most votes should win,” he said. “It’s getting a lot of interest across the country.”
So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have approved the agreement. Those states include Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, and New York, according to Nationalpopularvote.com.
All jurisdictions voted for the Democratic candidates in the previous two presidential elections. Combined, those states, along with D.C., possess 196 electoral votes, the website states.
Two-hundred seventy electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.
Blount said the compact would mean states like Mississippi would actually get more attention from both candidates during an election year, in part, to help drive overall vote totals.
“If Donald Trump is going to win Mississippi, he doesn’t come here. But if he can win the state by more votes to increase his overall totals, it makes (the state) more important,” he said. “Right now, just a dozen or so battleground states get all the attention after the nominating process is completed.”
Fairvote.org, a voting reform group, reported that in 2016, nearly 92 percent of campaign activities occurred in “just 11 projected swing states.”
The website goes on to that “more than half of (that) activity has taken place in just four states: the large swing states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.”
Trump won all four of those states that year, as well as the election, despite losing the popular vote.
However, calls to join the agreement of states aren’t just about Trump.
Nationalpopularvote.org points to the fact that in 2004, George W. Bush won the popular vote by 3 million ballots, but would have lost the election had Ohio gone for his opponent, Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry. Bush carried the state by just 59,000 votes.
Had Ohio flipped, the 59,000 votes that went to Kerry would have been 51 times more important than the 3,012,171 other people who voted for Bush,” the website states.
In addition to the states that have agreed to the pact, nine states have passed National Popular Vote legislation in at least one house.
“It’s a national effort that has been going on for years,” Blount said. “In every election for every office in the U.S., the candidate who gets the most votes wins, and it should be the same for the presidency.”