changes to democracy

Do you support eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote?

Eliminate it

Eliminate it

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet has run Facebook ads calling for an end to the electoral college. "The electoral college is outdated," the posts said. "Americans should directly elect our presidents."

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Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

"It’s gotta go," Buttigieg told Post columnist Greg Sargent. "We need a national popular vote. It would be reassuring from the perspective of believing that we’re a democracy. But I also think it would be highly encouraging of voter participation on the national level."

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote, his campaign told The Post. “The Electoral College is not democratic and, today, no longer reflects the popular will. Our leaders should be elected by a simple popular vote,” his democracy agenda said. “I will push for a Constitutional amendment to bring this about, and will support other efforts to assure that the popular vote determines the outcome through an interstate compact.”

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Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

"I believe that it is hard to defend the current system in which one candidate receives 3 million votes less than his opponent, but still becomes president," Sanders told The Post. "Further, presidential elections cannot be fought out in just a dozen "battleground" states. I believe that we need to reexamine the concept of the electoral college." He later tweeted support for abolishing the electoral college.

Jul. 19: “Abolish the Electoral College.”

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“I support eliminating the electoral college,” Steyer told The Post.

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Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

"Full voting rights are key to ensuring working people across our country have a say in the direction America goes," Warren told The Post. "Every vote matters — and that’s why I have called for an end to the electoral college in favor of the national popular vote movement."

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “I believe very simply that, in presidential elections, the person with the most votes should be the president of the United States,” Booker said at a CNN town hall. “But I want to tell you, for us ever to get to a point where we can address that issue, we have got to win this next election under the rules that are there now.”

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Cory Booker
Booker

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro tweeted support for a variety of voting changes in March, including eliminating the electoral college.

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Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. “This is absolutely unprecedented, and I think it creates a huge question for our democracy. How is the president-elect going to proceed knowing that he had 2.3 million more people vote for his opponent,” de Blasio said in 2016, according to Politico.

Dec. 19: “Cast my Electoral College vote today. Still sick over a system that rejects the choice of a 2.8 million majority. End the E.C.!”

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand supports eliminating the electoral college.

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. "It ought to be one person, one vote. The fastest way for this to happen is for other states to join Washington in a contract that we will vote our electoral ballots the way the popular vote goes, nationally. As soon as you get to a majority of states, you wouldn’t need a constitutional amendment."

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “We all know the obvious reason this needs to be replaced with a popular-vote system: In 2016, approximately 3 million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, and yet, Trump is the president,” Moulton wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

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Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke is no longer running for president. O'Rourke told The Post that he supports eliminating the electoral college, and in the meantime, improving it by having states award electors proportionally. "That would force whoever the Democratic and Republican nominees are to campaign everywhere, not writing anyone off or taking anyone for granted."

Mar. 19: “I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.”

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. Swalwell supports abolishing the electoral college, he told The Post.

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. "Changes to the Constitution should not be taken lightly, but at this point there is too much of a risk to our democracy when the popular vote can be so easily overridden," Williamson told The Post. "Therefore, I do support the elimination of the electoral college."

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Open to eliminating

Open to eliminating

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is open to eliminating the electoral college, she told The Post.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. "I'm open to the discussion," Harris told Jimmy Kimmel. "I mean, there's no question that the popular vote has been diminished in terms of making the final decision about who's the president of the United States and we need to deal with that."

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Kamala Harris
Harris

Tim Ryan (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan is no longer running for president. Ryan “is open to eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote, but believes the focus should instead be on the issues front and center on the minds of most Americans -- which are jobs, wages, and health care,” a campaign spokesman said.

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Maintain it

Maintain it

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden does not support eliminating the electoral college, he told the New York Times editorial board.

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Joe Biden
Biden

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg does not support eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote, he told The Post.

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Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

"If I was starting from scratch, yes, but trying to abolish the electoral college now is impractical," Delaney told The Post.

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John Delaney
Delaney

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

"Abolishing the electoral college would be difficult and would wind up further favoring high-density high-population areas with big media markets that would be the focus of national campaigns," Yang told The Post. "It’s also a bad message to send that losing elections should be responded to by changing the rules set forward in our Constitution. That said, I do believe there are changes to be made to the way we select the president, including how electors are apportioned and implementing ranked-choice voting, that would improve our democracy."

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Andrew Yang
Yang

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. “No,” Bullock told The Post. “While it is troubling that in two of the last five elections the popular vote and the electoral college vote had different results, we need to focus on why Democrats aren’t winning some communities rather than scrap an institution that has been around since our nation’s founding. Even if we cobble together 271 electoral votes, we won’t be able to lead our nation forward if we aren’t including every community. The bigger issue is that we need to not just win, but govern.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. "While many of us are frustrated with the way the electoral college works ... there is no possibility of abolishing it in the near term," Hickenlooper told The Post. "So we need to focus on expanding the Democratic electorate — going into suburbs and rural areas."

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Joe Sestak (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is no longer running for president. “Maintain it for now, and could consider changing if there was due consideration of the affect this would have on representation by rural communities,” Sestak told The Post.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard supports reforming the electoral college or exploring the Proportional Plan but doesn’t want to eliminate it, she told The Post.

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) introduced legislation that would replace the electoral college with a national popular vote. The measure would require a constitutional amendment. Several states have pushed an "interstate compact" in which states would agree to allocate their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, regardless of the winner in their state.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether it supports various changes to the Senate filibuster, U.S. elections and courts. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

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Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.