The “National Popular Vote” plan?

This is a horrible idea:

RALEIGH – Legislators in North Carolina, and other states across the country, are taking a look at changing the way voters elect a president.

Under a bill approved by the N.C. Senate last month, North Carolina’s 15 votes in the Electoral College would go to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote instead of the winner of the North Carolina vote. The change would take effect only if enough other states pass similar bills.

The bill is part of a small but growing national movement to make sure that the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide wins the White House.

Take the election of 2000, for example.

Al Gore won the popular vote by a small margin, but George Bush won the presidency in the Electoral College. Under the proposed changes, Gore would likely have been elected president.

Supporters in the General Assembly argue that the plan serves North Carolina voters because it would encourage presidential candidates to spend more time campaigning here, rather than focusing most of their energy on a few highly contested battleground states.

The proposed change, known as the “National Popular Vote” plan, requires states to enter a multistate contract and agree to assign their electoral votes to the nationwide popular winner, regardless of which candidate wins in individual states.

Legislative chambers in seven states have approved bills that would form such an agreement. The agreement would not take effect unless it were signed by a sufficient number of states so that their electoral votes taken together would make up a majority of the 538 members in the Electoral College.

That won’t happen by 2008, and it has generated plenty of skepticism. Some people say that the proposal favors Democratic candidates or that it would cause candidates to campaign only in major-media markets. Critics also say that it is nothing more than a clever way to get around the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, said that there are good arguments on both sides for changing the Electoral College system and moving to a popular vote for president. But he said that any change should be made through a constitutional amendment, not through a haphazard collection of state laws.

“As people raised in a democracy, it’s just difficult to embrace the fact that the party that loses the popular vote (could win) the presidency” Brunstetter said. “But when you say, ‘This is a clever way to get around the Constitution,’ that’s just hard for me to get warm and fuzzy about.”

Thanks to reader TB for bringing this to my attention. I had no idea that such a movement was taking and am alarmed that it is gaining in popularity in certain states. I encourage readers to contact their state reps to voice their opinions on this issue, no matter whether or not it’s being debated in your state. If it’s not, it doesn’t hurt to go on the record in advance to oppose it. If it is being debated, your reps won’t know how you feel until you let ’em know.

Check out the main for and against arguments here. Rick Moran makes a compelling against argument here.

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