Should the bill pass in the House and get signed by Gov. Gregoire, the new law will have the effect of…doing absolutely nothing. At least not for now. But once enough states have signed up—so that their combined electoral votes total at least 270—the law will change Washington’s allocation of electoral votes from the “winner take all” system (currently used by all but two states) to a system where signatory states select Presidential Electors who are pledged to the winner of the national popular vote.
In other words, the compact could eventually lead to a national popular vote—and does so while fully retaining the electoral college in all its (distributed1) glory.
Currently the compact has been signed into law in Maryland and New Jersey. Illinois and Hawaii will likely join soon—there is a bill on the Governor’s desks in both states. Washington state joins Arkansas, California, Colorado, and North Carolina as states where the bill has passed one chamber. Combined, these nine states hold a total of 146 electoral votes. Bills have been introduced in 35 other states as well.
If you like the idea of a national popular vote, take a few moments and contact your Washington state Representatives.
1The Electoral College doesn’t actually meet as a single body. Instead they meet in each State’s Capital on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, and conduct a series of votes under procedures mandated by Congress.