GOVERNMENT

Utah could inch U.S. closer to adopting national popular vote rather than Electoral College

Jan 28, 2021, 2:26 PM
Utah popular vote...
A member of Iowa's Electoral College signs the Certificate of Vote of Electors for the State of Iowa, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would enter Utah into an interstate compact, allowing some states to elect the president through the popular vote rather than through the Electoral College. 

If enacted, the compact would grant all six of Utah’s electoral votes to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. 

“Honestly, I think passing a national popular vote will encourage more civic engagement,” said Sen. Derek Kitchen, sponsor of SB121. “The reality is that Utah is a ‘flyover state’ and we’re not a competitive state. The presidential election itself is decided based on swing states.” 

Utah pushes for national popular vote

The 2021 General Session marks the fifth time the bill has been introduced to the state legislature since 2009 — all by Republican lawmakers. The last time it was proposed was in 2018 by Rep. Jeremy A. Peterson.

The bill reflects a larger movement across the U.S. that shows a majority of voters would prefer to elect the president based on the national popular vote. 

More than half of U.S. adults (58%) say they believe the Constitution should be amended to allow the candidate with the most votes to win, according to the Pew Research Center. Forty percent say otherwise. 

Under the Electoral College system, presidential candidates heavily focus on swing states to determine the outcome of the race. As a result, voters in Utah are left out of the conversation, Kitchen said. 

“States like Utah get skipped over because we’re a solidly Republican state and places like California are assumed to be Democrat,” he said. 

Popular vote allows more voices to be heard, lawmaker says

Instead, he argued, voters should be placed on a level playing field. That way, Democrats in Utah and Republicans in California aren’t ignored. 

For example, there are around 920 thousand registered Republican voters in Utah in 2021. Ahead of the 2020 election, California reported more than 5.3 million Republican voters in its blue state. 

“[If the bill passed], even in states like Utah where we’re reliably Republican, the Democratic votes will be valued here,” Kitchen said. “In California, Republican votes will be valued.”

If the U.S. operated through a popular vote system, elections could be more competitive and more voices would be heard, according to Kitchen. 

“Three quarters of [election] spending exists in just five states,” he said. “We have a lot of good people here in Utah and we should be engaged in the political process.”

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
6 days ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
7 days ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
7 days ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
7 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
7 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah could inch U.S. closer to adopting national popular vote rather than Electoral College