National popular vote campaign says it's shooting for 2024 ballot, not 2022

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — The campaign to have Michigan join the movement to pick future presidents through the national popular vote says it's not planning to put a proposal on the ballot in the upcoming 2022 election.

In September, the group called Yes on National Popular Vote announced plans to gather 340,047 signatures to force votes on the policy in the state Legislature or on a future statewide ballot, possibly 2022.

Voters fill out their ballots at Precinct 16 inside Pontiac High School in Pontiac on Nov. 2, 2021.

On Thursday, the campaign revealed that it's now working toward the 2024 statewide election — a development that opponents celebrated.

Saul Anuzis, former Michigan Republican Party chairman who's been supporting the popular vote effort, said the campaign will continue to educate the public and build a coalition.

"Michigan should join 15 other states and move this country toward a national popular vote for president, so we will remain steadfast in our efforts to bring about this necessary reform that will apply the principle of ‘one person, one vote’ to our presidential elections," Anuzis said.

As it stands, each state is designated a number of Electoral College votes based on its membership level in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In 2020, Michigan had 16 votes — a total that matched its 14 U.S. House members and two U.S. senators.

Most states award their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote within their borders. Whichever candidate gets a majority, 270 or more, of the 538 total electoral votes wins the presidency.

Supporters of the national popular vote movement are attempting to get enough states to join a compact pledging to give their electoral votes to the winner of the raw national vote total. For the compact to work and take effect, the movement needs enough states to match 270 electoral votes.

The Michigan Republican Party and state Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, have been among the opponents of the popular vote effort. Hall said the campaign's "backtrack" was a big win for the state.

"This misguided proposal would have significantly lessened our impact in upcoming election cycles because there are simply more votes to be won elsewhere," Hall said. "This is the cold reality of the national popular vote."

Michigan was a key battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump by 3 percentage points or 154,000 votes.