National popular vote gains momentum in the First State

DELAWARE – There is an effort underway to change how we select our president and it’s happening in state capitols across the country. In Dover, legislators are having discussions about a popular vote initiative.

“If you want to change to a popular vote essentially we’re changing the structure of our government,” explains Dr. Samuel Hoff, DSU Law Studies and Political Science Director.

It’s a change that’s gaining movement nationally and in Delaware. State legislators are talking about how they can push it forward.

“Ultimately Delaware itself of course has not been lucky in presidential elections where the electoral college has either kicked in or a commission has been created. Delaware is actually oh for four in those sorts of elections.”

Dr. Hoff thinks that might be a reason why local legislators want to change to a popular vote. But making that change isn’t easy and the power to do that doesn’t reside in Dover.

“Delaware does not have the authority to have it’s legislature and or the governor passed it and sign something and then claim that it’s operative.”

To make a constitutional amendment which is what needs to happen, you need two thirds in both chambers of Congress and then
38 states need to ratify it.

And while that’s difficult to do, an effective effort could start at the state level.

“It’s symbolic and it may add to the momentum to get a national amendment passed,” adds Dr. Hoff.

But local legislator we spoke to Rep. Steve Smyk and Tim Dukes make it clear, this isn’t a slam dunk.

Smyk says, “The popular vote isn’t so popular in my district as in all rural districts of Kent and Sussex. We see that the popular vote allows Wilmington and New Castle County win state wide and national elections where the rural area don’t feel they are heard. A direct vote (or popular vote), nationally will exacerbate that feeling throughout the country.”

“What concerns me is I don’t want to undermine something that our forefathers did and protecting the way our vote is,” says Rep. Dukes.

Categories: Check It Out, Delaware, Local Politics, National Politics