People For the American Way

The National Popular Vote Advances Racial Equity

Op-Ed
The National Popular Vote Advances Racial Equity
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In an op-ed published in Blavity, People For President Ben Jealous and Commonwealth’s Attorney of Portsmouth, Virginia, Stephanie Morales advocated for the National Popular Vote as a critical step toward achieving racial equity in the U.S.

Using the 2020 elections as a recent example, Jealous and Morales point out that the Electoral College’s winner-take-all system undermines the will of the people, particularly voters of color. Many states have already passed National Popular Vote legislation, which would award the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes. But about a dozen more states must take similar action for the National Popular Vote to take effect nationwide.

Jealous and Morales write:

The urgency is clear. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris racked up more votes than any presidential ticket in U.S. history — clearly winning the popular vote — the current Electoral College system meant it was still far from assured that they would win the election …

Such outcomes clearly fly in the face of our democracy’s stated principle of ‘one person, one vote,’ which is central to a racially equitable voting system. The winner-take-all Electoral College system can render the votes of people of color within a state, including Black, Latinx and Asian American voters, significantly less influential, in that it subverts the will of the minority to the majority …

Candidates are forced to focus primarily on the interests of voters in about a dozen battleground states, including such heavy hitters as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin. That means that residents of other states, including some with the highest Black populations, get short shrift  — because according to top political analysts, they do not make the list.

In our last presidential election, millions of Americans braved a raging pandemic — while voters of color persevered in the face of voter suppression — in order to vote. It’s past time to honor that commitment by making one person, one vote our shared reality.

You can read the op-ed in full here.