An Oregon Man’s Struggle to Fix How We Elect Our Presidents

Jerry Spriggs has conducted a years-long effort to get states to ditch their winner-take-all practice, and insists the National Popular Vote compact isn’t the answer

What’s to be done about a country that holds itself up as the world’s gold standard for free and fair elections, yet throws out half the votes its people cast for president every four years?

Jerry Spriggs, author of Making All Votes Count!

Spriggs is not a fan of the NPV for a host of reasons, but mostly because it doesn’t address the winner-take-all issue.

The genial 71-year-old sat at the kitchen table of his modest-but-cozy hillside home near Portland recently, recalling how he came to be pressing his case to hundreds of state legislators across the country and anyone else who will listen. It started in the 1990s when he lived in Arizona as a registered Democrat in a Republican stronghold. In 1992 and 1996 he voted for Bill Clinton.

Spriggs reviews his contacts list in his home office and Equal Voice Voting headquarters

Oddly, it seems the Russians may be more intrigued by his idea than American lawmakers.

Meanwhile, Spriggs is angling to find a sympathetic ear among lawmakers in multiple states, but so far with negligible results. In 2014, a bill based on his idea was submitted to Maryland’s House Ways & Means Committee, but it was tabled. He talked to a supportive state senator in New Mexico not long ago who said, “’You’ve got something for everybody here.’ It really got his attention,” Spriggs says. “But it’s a heavy lift from having a right answer to getting legislators to move on it.”

Steve Toft is a journalism major, a work-from-home technical trainer and a regular guy from Portland, Oregon.

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