ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Friday that he thinks states allocating Electoral College votes proportionally is a “great idea.”
“I was talking to somebody today who had a great idea on how to address this system,” O’Rourke said. “What if in every state, those electors that are selected through our national elections are selected proportionate to the popular vote in the state. In other words, no state would have a winner-take-all system.”
The former Texas representative brought up the proposal in response to a question about the Electoral College from an attendee at a town hall event at South Carolina State University, a historically black university.
O’Rourke previously said on the campaign trail that “there is a lot of wisdom” in calls for changes to the Electoral College system. He referenced the 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton received 3 million more votes than President Trump but lost the election due to the Electoral College system.
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have called for abolishing the electoral college.
Two states, Nebraska and Maine, already assign Electoral College votes proportionally rather than winner-take-all. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a pledge to assign Electoral College votes based on the national popular vote. The compact would go into effect once states with at least 270 votes, the number needed to win a presidential election, join.
“It would force the candidates – if I were the nominee, it would force me to show up to every state, not to write some of those states off as too reliably red or blue so that they do not count,” O’Rourke said. "Everyone should have a seat at the table.”
“If you had to go to those different congressional districts to compete for those Electoral College votes, every single state would see candidates of both parties, and everyone’s issues, everyone’s communities, would count for that much more,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke did not fully commit to the idea, however, saying that proportional Electoral College allocation “might be a solution to pursue to ensure that our elections make a little bit more sense, and that person for whom you vote actually wins that election if they win more votes than the other.”