INSTITUTE INDEX: Virginia declines to advance the national popular vote for president

Advocates for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which Virginia this week declined to join, argue that the current method of electing a president gives candidates reason to ignore states where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. This map shows where campaign events were and were not held in the 2016 election. (Map from

Date on which the Democratic-controlled Virginia House approved a bill to join the interstate compact known as "the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote," which takes effect when states that together possess a majority of electoral votes have joined: 2/11/2020

Number of consecutive sessions in which Del. Mark Levine, an Alexandria Democrat, introduced the measure, which would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who gets the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia: 3

Date on which a Virginia Senate committee voted to push consideration of the bill to next year: 2/25/2020

Number of jurisdictions — states along with the District of Columbia — that have joined the compact to date: 16

Out of 538 total electoral votes, number the current compact members possess: 196

Additional electoral votes needed for the compact to take effect: 74

Electoral votes Virginia has: 13

Number of Southern states that currently belong to the compact: 0

Besides Virginia, number of other states nationwide that have not yet passed a national popular vote bill but where at least one legislative chamber has: 8

Total number of electoral votes those nine states* possess: 88

Of the 45 U.S. presidents who have served to date, number who have entered office without winning the popular vote: 5**

In 2016, number more popular votes Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won than Republican nominee Donald Trump: 2,864,985

Number by which Trump's electoral votes exceeded Clinton's, giving him the presidency: 77

Number of places where the current winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes by state is set forth in the U.S. Constitution: 0

Because state winner-take-all laws give presidential candidates reason to ignore voters in places where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion, number of so-called "battleground states" where two-thirds of all presidential campaign events were held in 2016: 6***

Percent more in federal grants battleground states receive than so-called "spectator states": 7

Factor by which presidential disaster declarations in battleground states exceed those in spectator states: 2

Date by which the national popular vote initiative must get the support needed to be in place for this year's presidential election: 7/20/2020

According to polls, percent of Americans nationwide who support a national popular vote for president: more than 70

* Arkansas, Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
** John Adams in 1824, Rutherford Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harris in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000, and Donald Trump in 2016.
*** Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

(Click on figure to go to source.)