Governor Deval Patrick signed a law today that is designed to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote.
"I am proud to join other states in this effort to bring more voters and more states into the presidential campaign process," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "Voter participation in all 50 states is critical to the strength of our democracy and the national popular vote movement will bring more voters into the fold and ensure that every vote counts."
Under the National Popular Vote bill, all 12 of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally, no matter what the results of the election are in the state.
The law would take effect only if it is approved by enough other states to account for a majority of the presidential electoral votes — or at least 270 of 538. Once that happens, the winner of the national popular vote is assured a victory in the Electoral College, no matter how the other states have voted and distributed their Electoral College votes.
Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington have already approved the legislation, according to the National Popular Vote campaign's website.
Supporters say the proposal will give every vote an equal weight in the presidential elections. They point to what they call a "broken" Electoral College system that gave George W. Bush a victory in 2000, despite his losing the popular vote.
"With this measure, each and every voter will have an equal voice in our presidential elections," House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said in a statement. "This initiative will ensure that our presidential elections reflect the will of the people."
But many conservatives view the initiative — which the Massachusetts Legislature enacted last week — as nothing short of a liberal conspiracy and an assault on the Constitution, the Globe reported this week.
On the beat
Columnist Adrian Walker says UMass Dartmouth is shaken after revelations that one of the Marathon bomb suspects was a student there. Read more