Steve Simon had a simple argument: "In the world's greatest democracy, the second-place vote getter should never be president of the United States."
The three-term secretary of state was testifying in a House committee last week in favor of making Minnesota the 16th state to join an interstate compact to elect the president by the national popular vote.
Currently, the president is chosen through the Electoral College, a system that designates a number of electors in each state — equal to the state's congressional representation — to decide the winner. There are 538 electors, and at least 270 are required to win the presidency.
But opponents argue that system violates the principle of one person-one vote. Five presidents in history did not win the popular vote, including former President Donald Trump in 2016.
"Not infrequently, the person who gets second place in the vote total becomes not only the president of the states, but the most powerful person on the planet Earth," Simon said.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia with a combined 195 electoral votes have joined the compact. Once there are enough states in the compact to hit 270 electoral votes, each state would send its votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote.
The proposal is poised for a floor vote in both chambers.