Ohio’s electoral votes for president should go to popular vote winner, state lawmakers say

By Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on December 06, 2016 at 1:35 PM, updated December 06, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A pair of Democrat state lawmakers are proposing Ohio’s electoral votes should go to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of who won the state — not that the idea is likely to go anywhere.

A bill introduced this week in the Ohio House would sign Ohio on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a group of states that pledge their Electoral College votes to the national popular vote winner. But it’s unlikely to pass before the legislative session ends this week.

The compact was formed in 2006, and the idea has gained steam in the weeks since this year’s presidential election. Republican Donald Trump won enough states on Election Night to earn the required 270 electoral votes. But Democrat Hillary Clinton will likely win the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes when all election results are certified.

“The best and fairest time to change a presidential system is the day after,” Rep. Dan Ramos, a Lorain Democrat and bill sponsor, said in a statement.

Trump won Ohio with 51.7 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 43.6 percent, according to final results.

Ohio and other states prohibit electors from voting for other candidates. The bill specifies that Ohio’s electors will be those chosen by the national popular vote winner. The agreement would only go into effect once states totaling 270 electoral votes participate. Ten states and the District of Columbia have signed on, a total of 165 electoral votes. Ohio would add another 18 votes.

Clinton is the second presidential candidate in the last five contests to win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College.

“The majority of the Presidents elected to their first term in my adult life weren’t elected by the people,” Ramos said. “This isn’t some obscure thing from the 19th century, it’s the majority of presidents this century. I’m proud to present, with Rep. David Leland, a 21st century solution.”

Leland, a Columbus Democrat, said the will of the American people was “hijacked” this year by the Electoral College.

“Enough is enough,” Leland said. “This National Popular Vote legislation will add Ohio to the compact of states that believe, in a true Democracy, the candidate with the most votes wins.”

Three states that have voted for the compact were controlled by Republicans. But the GOP-led Ohio General Assembly has shown no interest in the change.

Lawmakers plan to adjourn sine die Thursday. Any bills that don’t pass before then must start over in the next two-year session, which begins in January.

Ramos said he would reintroduce the bill next year.