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Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

The Hill logo The Hill 7/12/2019 Rachel Frazin
a man wearing a suit and tie: Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College © Greg Nash Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday night said he favored getting rid of the Electoral College.

Sanders was pressed on the issue at a presidential town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

"It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by three million votes, so the answer is yes," he said.

Sanders had previously made similar remarks, but stopped short of calling for abolishing the voting body.

"Presidential elections cannot be fought out in just a dozen 'battleground' states," he told The Washington Post. "I believe that we need to reexamine the concept of the Electoral College."

A number of other Democratic presidential hopefuls including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) have also called to eliminate the Electoral College.

And a recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey found that a majority of voters says the Electoral College system should be abandoned in favor of a national popular vote.

The push to consider moving to a national popular vote comes as several Democratic states in recent years have entered into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that would essentially bypass the Electoral College if enough states join.

The Electoral College has faced renewed scrutiny from the left after 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite winning the national popular vote by just under 3 million votes. President Trump won the Electoral College, though, by a margin of 304 to 227.

Former President George W. Bush similarly lost the popular vote in 2000, but won in the Electoral College with 271 votes to Democratic candidate Al Gore's 266.

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