The State Assembly has scheduled a vote Thursday on legislation – pushed by Democrats — that would require New Jersey’s electoral votes to be cast for the candidate who wins the national popular vote, not necessarily the statewide count in New Jersey. The bill seeks to include New Jersey in an “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote,” which would be effective only if enacted by enough states to “collectively possess the majority of the electoral votes required to decide a presidential win – currently 270 of the 538 electoral votes. So far, only Maryland has passed similar legislation.
States are permitted to decide the rules concerning the election of their own Electoral College members. But what if New Jersey alone had this law in the 2004 General Election?
Say, just for fun (or not), that 59,300 voters in Ohio had supported John Kerry rather than George W. Bush. That would have given Ohio’s 20 electoral votes to Kerry – electing Kerry President by a 272-266 vote, even though Bush would have won the popular vote — 61,981,306 to 59,087,409.
But in New Jersey, a state Kerry won 53%-46%, the fifteen Democratic Electors would have been legally bound to vote for Bush, the winner of the popular vote. That would have given Bush an Electoral College victory – 281 to 257.