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Mass. Moves Toward National Popular Vote25:59
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In December 2004, as the state's Electoral College members were sworn in at the State House, protesters outside demonstrated their opposition to the system. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
In December 2004, as the state's Electoral College members were sworn in at the State House, protesters outside demonstrated their opposition to the system. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

This week Massachusetts has come within striking distance of joining five other states in an effort to change how presidents are elected.

Like most states, Massachusetts gives all of its electoral college votes to whichever candidates win the biggest popular vote in the state. But if Gov. Deval Patrick signs a piece of legislation approved by the the Legislature this week, Massachusetts instead will give all of its electoral college votes to whichever candidate wins the most votes nationwide — once enough states have signed on to the agreement.

Proponents say it ensures the democratic axiom of one person, one vote, and note that it has received wide support across the country. Critics say it manipulates the Constitution and raises a number of logistical problems. We examine  the history of the Electoral College and how we elect presidents.

Guests:

  • Alex Keyssar, professor of history and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of "The Right To Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States"
  • Tara Ross, Texas attorney and author of "Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College"

This program aired on July 29, 2010.

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