I've written about the electoral college several times, always noting that it is here to stay despite periodic efforts to "reform" it. The present National Popular Vote Interstate Compact plan is different from earlier schemes, however, in that it attempts to create a electoral cartel of large states who agree to vote together to undermine the power the Constitution gives small states.

A movement to upend the Electoral College in favor of a popular presidential vote aims to sweep state legislatures this year, starting with Colorado.

The state Senate here last week approved a bill that would award Colorado's nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins a majority of the vote nationally, regardless of how the candidate performs statewide. There's just one caveat: The legislation only takes effect if states with a combined 270 electoral votes -- a majority -- approve their own National Popular Vote Interstate Compact bills.

Lofty as that goal may sound, organizers say it's within reach. Already, 25 states have introduced the legislation and another 20 have it in the drafting stage. Passage in the 11 most-populous states would give the compact an electoral-vote total of 271.

Those same 11 states could never muster the votes to amend the Constitution, but they're within their rights to form a cartel as described. The key differences between an amendment and this cartel strategy are that changes in population could gradually undermine the cartel, and each state in the group could decide to leave and vote freely again at any time.

I see this plan as harmful to our Republic and very disadvantageous to the interests of most voters, but since the cartel would be inherently much weaker than a Constitutional amendment I'm not going to get too worked up about it. I still think the chances of passage in the various states are slim to none, but even if the cartel does come about I don't think it will last long.

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