Delaware Public Media

Bill binding Delaware's electoral votes to nat'l popular vote creates controversy

Mar 6, 2019

A proposal to award Delaware’s electoral votes to the national popular vote winner is proving controversial.


Legislation to make Delaware part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact lost its prime House sponsor Wednesday.

State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) said he didn’t anticipate his constituents’ overwhelming objection to bill. He said he plans to vote no on it.

"Even though I did my best in attempting to provide more information about the NPV Compact, the level of discomfort from a majority of my constituents was clear," he said. "I will honor my oath of office and represent my constituents’ opposing opinion on this issue and remove my name as a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 22.”

The prime sponsor in the state Senate is State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark). State Sen. Anthony Decollo (R-Elsmere) remains a co-sponsor.

The measure would add Delaware to a group of states vowing to award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote instead of each state’s popular vote.

It passed a Senate committee Wednesday, despite facing its share of public opposition.

Lee Murphy, a 2018 GOP primary candidate for U.S. House, said he believes it goes against what the founders envisioned when deciding how the president and vice president should be elected.

“It says three votes go to what the country thinks," he said. "I think our three electoral votes should go for what Delaware thinks.”

Scott Drexel said he supports it and he argues it’s not a partisan issue.

“If we had flipped 60,000 votes in the state of Ohio in 2004, John Kerry would’ve become president despite losing the popular vote by 3.5 million votes nationally," he said. "So this cuts both ways.”

Critics of Delaware also voiced concerns about electoral power shifting to large cities, constitutionality and voter fraud.

Most states, including Delaware, currently give all their Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner of their state.

The Electoral College was added as the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after the election of 1800. Candidates can assume the presidency with 270 electoral votes without winning the national popular vote.