On June 5, Oregon’s legislators voted to join 15 other states and signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The NPVIC is an agreement between states to give their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote. All but seven states have introduced a bill to adopt the legislation.
The Oregon state Senate voted 17-12 to pass legislation (SB 870) to join the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact. The state House of Representatives also voted 37-22 in favor of the legislation. Katherine Brow, Oregon’s Democrat governor has indicated that she will sign the new legislation into law.
The Governor’s deputy press secretary said:
“The Governor has always believed that every vote matters and supported National Popular Vote since 2009 as Secretary of State.”
With the win in Oregon, the compact now has 196 electoral votes behind it. It needs a total of 270 electoral votes to take effect, guaranteeing the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote would also earn the most electoral college votes.
The NPV website proclaims that agreement is:
“a constitutionally conservative, state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.”
But at least one state governor doesn’t agree and has has called their bluff. Democrat Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada, has vetoed legislation in his state, dealing a significant blow to the national initiative.
“Over the past several weeks, my office has heard from thousands of Nevadans across the state urging me to weigh the state’s role in our national elections. After thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to veto Assembly Bill 186. Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose.”
In addition to violating the intent of the Constitution, it appears that the NPVIC is also in violation of Article I, Section 10, which very clearly stipulates:
“No state shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any agreement or compact with another state.”
Congress has not granted states consent for NPVIC, nor is consent likely to be granted, since it violates the trust that less populace states placed in the more populated states when the Constitution was first adopted.
In an article written for The New American, Steve Byas sums it up nicely:
In addition to diminishing the clout of the smaller population states, NPV would shift political power more toward the nation’s population centers, even in those larger states.
The Electoral College system reduces the significance of vote fraud, as no matter how many votes would be added illegally in, say, Chicago, the state of Illinois only gets a set number of electoral votes. But if the Electoral College were abolished, the incentive to stuff the ballot box in the large population centers like Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City would be greatly increased.
The NPV is even worse than abolishing the Electoral College by constitutional amendment, because it would create a national popular vote election, without any governing electoral system over vote counting and recounts. It is unlikely that any close presidential election could be settled peacefully, in our present highly-partisan environment.