During presidential election years, Delaware voters may often feel like bystanders as candidates repeatedly visit so-called battleground states.
That could change under legislation under consideration in Dover known as the Popular Vote movement.
It's getting some support, but it's also drawing concern.
The concept behind the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is to ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia is the one who becomes the president. That has not always happened, including in 2000 and 2016. It nearly happened in 2004.
The ramifications are felt long past election days, according to State Senator Bryan Townsend (D- Newark, Bear area), a sponsor of Senate Bill 22.
"Most importantly I think, when it comes time to govern, to make funding decisions and other decisions, they often ignore the states that aren't battleground states, because we really don't matter in the presidential election as it stands now," Townsend said.
The Electoral College would remain in place, but state laws that determine how electoral votes are awarded would be altered.
"The state would have to certify the electoral voters for the candidate who wins nationally, not the candidate who wins that state," University of Delaware Political Science Department Chair Dr. David Redlawsk said. "That will be, politically, very difficult when it happens."
Eleven states have already joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Townsend said there is not a political motivation for making the change, noting that there are Democrats and Republicans who are cosponsoring the bill.
However, one of them dropped off as a cosponsor Wednesday. Representative Jeff Spiegelman (R- Clayton) said he based his decision on what he calls the "overwhelming opposition" expressed by his constituents.
"I will honor the wishes of my constituents by removing my name as a cosponsor and vowing to vote 'no' on Senate Bill 22," Spiegelman said.