Sen. Barbara Boxer to introduce bill to end the Electoral College

WASHINGTON — Retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, is set to introduce a Senate bill that aims to end the Electoral College.

Boxer announced in a statement that the bill, which she planned to introduce later Tuesday afternoon, would determine the winner of presidential elections by the outcome of the popular vote.

She cited President-elect Donald Trump's victory in the Electoral College despite Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's apparent popular vote advantage.

"In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote," Boxer said in a statement. "The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts."

"In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, 'The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,' " Boxer added. "I couldn't agree more. One person, one vote!"

According to CNN's election results as of Tuesday, Clinton won 61,329,657 votes and Trump won 60,530,867 votes.

This is the fifth time in history that a nominee has won the popular vote but not the Electoral College. The same situation happened to Al Gore in 2000, when he lost to George W. Bush.

The actual likelihood of Boxer's bill passing is low. It's a proposed constitutional amendment, which would require passage not only by two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate, but then in three-quarters of states. A lame duck session and a Republican Congress will make it difficult to get such a bill through the legislative branch.

On Tuesday, Trump praised the Electoral College after previously criticizing the system. He said he could have won the popular vote if he campaigned differently.

Trump tweeted he would have won the populous states of Florida, New York and California if he had spent more time campaigning there.

Still, there's a twist in the Electoral College that could keep Trump from being inaugurated on Jan. 20.

According to the Constitution, electors will meet in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19. In most cases, whoever wins the popular vote gains all of that state's electoral votes.

The number of electoral votes per state is determined by the number of congressional districts plus one for each senator -- a total of 538.

But there is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent any of the electors from refusing to support the candidate who won their state. Or from abstaining. They are dubbed a "faithless elector," though 29 states ban the practice.

A petition on Change.org is pushing for electors to vote for Clinton instead of Trump. More than 4.3 million supporters have signed the petition as of Tuesday evening.