Virginia’s House of Delegates passed a bill that would award the state’s electoral votes to the national winner of the presidential popular vote on Tuesday, CNN reported.
HB 177 would incorporate Virginia into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement established by each participating state’s laws to give its electoral votes toward the winner of the national popular vote, rather than the state’s own popular vote.
“This idea that some American citizens should have more power than other American citizens to choose the president of the United States, I, frankly, find profoundly offensive,” Del. Mark Levine, the sponsor of the bill, said.
Levine also noted that presidential candidates tend to campaign only in the battleground states -- including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona -- leaving voters feeling ignored in major election cycles.
“It allows every single citizen of the United States to have a free and equal vote, and in doing so, everyone has an incentive to vote,” Levine said.
The compact will only go into effect if the total of the states’ electoral votes surpasses the 270 necessary for a majority, so states that voted for Trump in 2016 would be required to sign on.
As of now, 15 states and the District of Columbia have joined the compact for a total of 196 electoral votes. If Virginia were to join, the total would increase to 209.
The Electoral College results in voters casting ballots not for their desired presidential candidates, but for the 538 electors to select candidates. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election by nearly 3 million ballots.