PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Lawmakers have approved legislation to add Rhode Island to a coalition of states seeking to elect the president and vice president through popular vote instead of the existing Electoral College system.

The bill was endorsed Saturday and will be transmitted to Gov. Don Carcieri for his signature. The law would only kick in if states representing a majority of the nation’s 538 electoral votes decided to make the same change.

Four states – Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland – have endorsed the plan.

The measure is being pushed in several states by the California-based National Popular Vote organization.

Supporters argue that the change would help avoid a repeat of the 2000 presidential election, when Democrat Al Gore got the most popular votes but Republican George W. Bush won a majority in the Electoral College and was elected president.

AP-ES-06-21-08 1909EDT


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