Will the Electoral College Become a Thing of the Past?

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The Electoral College could be inching closer to extermination as California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that would award the state's 55 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

The bill would take effect only if the states that hold a majority of the 538 electoral votes approve similar legislation. With California's addition, that total now stands at 132, almost 49 percent of the 270 needed.

Under the electoral college, people don't actually vote for president. They vote for electors, who then vote for president. It was developed as a compromise between those who wanted Congress to elect the president and those who wanted the president elected by popular vote.

California Assemblyman Democrat Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill, said the change would make California more relevant in presidential elections by forcing candidates to campaign in the state.

Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed previous versions of the bill. At the time, Schwarzenegger said he did not want California's electoral votes awarded to a candidate a majority of the state had not supported.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have passed similar bills.

The last person to win the presidency despite losing the popular vote was George W. Bush in 2000.