Benjamin Harrison beat Grover Cleveland in 1888; Rutherford B. Hayes beat Samuel Tilden in 1876; and John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson in 1824.
Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, said, "In 2000, a lot of people felt the election had been stolen. I signed onto the bill that Sen. Foster introduced."
Professor Arthur DeMatteo from Glenville State College believes the Electoral College can also "give legitimacy" to elections.
As examples, DeMatteo cited three recent elections where a president won a plurality, but not a majority, of the popular vote: John F. Kennedy in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1968 and Bill Clinton in 1992.
Foster pointed out those winning candidates "all had a larger percentage of the popular vote, which was not the case in 2000."
DeMatteo said, "I am concerned with this new proposal. It is trying to change things without amending the Constitution. It might also further exacerbate tensions between Republicans and Democrats."
DeMatteo also asked whether it "is constitutional to have a compact between the states" on this issue. "The Constitution says one state cannot enter into a contract with another state without the approval of Congress."
Professor Marybeth Beller of Marshall University said the issue is very relevant to this year's presidential election.
"Today, the election is being fought in states polls say are toss-up states. In many ways, our electorate is divided into rural and urban centers. That exists in every state."
Beller disagrees with states ceding their votes into one national vote. "This is a very complicated issue."
Frank Vaughan, from West Virginia State University, said, "It is important to think about the impact these decisions would have. I don't think there is a perfect way to elect our president. We can change, but every election is still going to have winners and losers."
Foster mentioned the diversity of the Electoral College, pointing out that "24 states do not bind their electors to vote for who wins a majority of the vote. West Virginia is one of those states."
Marr said nine states with 132 electoral votes have already approved legislation backing a majority vote, rather than an Electoral College vote.
"We need states with 140 more electoral votes to approve it."
Foster said, "Our electoral system is too long and too expensive. An excess of 70 percent of the American public wants to elect a president by popular vote.
"There is no perfect way to do this. But we are advocating that the person who gets the most popular votes will win the Electoral College."
Beller ended the panel discussion by urging everyone to vote. "If you do not participate in elections, then you are a moral failure."
Information from National Popular Vote is available at www.NationalPopularVote.com.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.