Faithful electors in Michigan are the antidote to National Popular Vote

Binding the Michigan elector to the Michigan electorate would protect state’s battleground status

If you seek a battleground state, look about you. Efforts are afoot to change that.

Michigan Democrats hold two-seat majorities in the House and Senate. They’ve taken these slim majorities as a mandate to reshape Michigan in their image, from a state into a friends-and-family plan.

Now they want to change the way Michigan votes in presidential races. But there is a way you can stop them.

If the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact goes live with Michigan as a member, a presidential candidate could lose every vote in Michigan, and still get our 15 electoral votes — along with the Compact’s entire bloc of 270 electoral votes.

If this seems far-fetched, note that the compact will go live after it has enough states for 270 electoral votes. With 15 states and D.C., the compact already has 195 of the 270 electoral votes it needs. With Michigan it would reach 210. This is closer to reality than you might think.

By decade’s end, everything could be different. Michigan would no longer be a battleground state. There wouldn’t be any battleground states. The new game to win presidential races would be stretching the margin of victory where candidates are popular. Democrats would try to extract every vote in California and New York. Republicans would do the same in Florida and Texas.

If small states feel left out under the Electoral College system, life would be worse under National Popular Vote. That’s because National Popular Vote does not remove or replace the Electoral College. It grafts a faithful elector system on top of it.

But it’s what the electors are faithful to that’s the concern. There is no such thing as a certified “national popular vote,” and no plan in the legislation, House Bill 4156, to create one. The determination would be subjective. Secretaries of State wouldn’t just attest to the vote in their state, they’d cast judgment on 50 states’ worth of votes. Does that sound realistic? Do you want Jocelyn Benson tasked with that job?

Under the guise of “one person, one vote,” the state vote tally in Michigan would be rendered meaningless, thrown into a pile with 49 others. Only if that 50-state vote is tied would Michigan’s vote tally be invoked — as a tiebreaker.

Two-seat majorities should not be able to downgrade your vote from decider to tiebreaker. Yet that’s exactly what the Democrats running Lansing have planned.

There is a way to stop them: a Michigan constitutional amendment requiring the state’s presidential electors to vote for the highest vote-getter in Michigan. If electors should be faithful, it should be to the people of Michigan.

Call it “one person, one vote.”

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.