Del. Mark Levine (D-45th)

Del. Mark Levine (D-45th) in a photo from his campaign Web site.

After a roller-coaster journey through the legislature, a local lawmaker’s effort to have Virginia change the way it allocates its electoral votes has been pushed back a year for consideration.

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria-Arlington) had introduced legislation to have Virginia join the “National Popular Vote Compact,” in which participating states would agree to allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote nationwide, no matter how their own state may have voted.

Levine’s measure first was defeated in the House Committee on Privileges and Elections, but then sprang back to life after several legislators switched sides to support it.

The full House of Delegates voted 51-46 in favor, but the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections voted 14-1 to hold off on any discussion of the matter until 2021.

The measure, which has been enacted in some other (almost exclusively Democratic) states, would not go into effect until enough states had approved it to make up a majority of votes in the Electoral College. It is, in effect, a halfway measure for those who might want to see the Electoral College abolished entirely, something that would require a federal constitutional amendment to accomplish.

The U.S. Constitution (Article 2, Section I) gives state legislatures exclusive power to determine how electors are selected, but whether doing so through this compact would survive judicial review is an open question.

‘Super Tuesday’ Results Next Week: This week’s Sun Gazette goes to press before results of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary are known. We’ll have an update for you next week.

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