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The popular thing to do

A brief news item out of Olympia this morning reports that the governor is about to get a measure by which Washington state would join the states pushing for a popular vote in presidential elections.

Only four other states have signed on so far, but the idea is that once states representing 270 electoral votes  have joined the compact, they would begin alloting all their votes in the Electoral College — enough to elect a president — to whichever candidate won the national popular vote.  Advocates of this national movement say only about a third of the states are truly competitive in presidential elections, meaning the others get minimal campaign attention.

Backers cite a 2008 poll that showed 77 percent of Washington state voters like the idea. Support was 77 percent among independents, 85 percent among Democrats and 68 percent among Republicans.

More information is available at nationalpopularvote.com.

This issue has escaped much attention so far, but if Gov. Gregoire signs Senate Bill 5599, the number of electoral votes committed to this plan will still be only 61. If the tally gets closer to the magic 270, the clamor is going to pick up.