Legislature Passes Bill Joining National Popular Vote Movement; Now Goes to Governor

The Oregon House of Representatives today passed legislation in line with National Popular Vote (NPV) compact, which would allow the state to award its electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

Senate Bill 870 enters Oregon into the NPV compact, in which the participating states agree to elect the winner of the popular vote. This becomes effective once NPV is enacted by states that cumulatively possess a majority of all electoral votes (270).

With Oregon in the fold, and assuming the bill is signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, a total of 16 jurisdictions will have joined the compact, totaling 196 electoral votes.

“This is about giving all voters in the United States, regardless of where they live, the ability to be heard in the most important of our elections,” said chief sponsor Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell (D-Astoria). “Today, we make Oregon a battleground state.”

Five times in the history of the United States, the winner of the presidency has not won the popular vote. It happened most recently in 2016, when President Donald Trump garnered 304 of the needed electoral college votes, despite receiving only 46 percent of the popular vote (and 2.8 million fewer votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton).

According to a release from Oregon House Democrats, the bill also seeks to ensure that candidates for President of the United States actually campaign throughout the whole United States. During the 2016 election, candidates concentrated over two thirds of their campaign visits and ad money in just six closely divided “battleground” states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Michigan), and 94 percent in just 12 states.

“Oregon deserves a voice in who becomes president,” said chief sponsor Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland). “Our country’s electoral college system of electing our president and vice president is flawed and outdated; it is time to replace it with a National Popular Vote.”

SB 870 was previously approved by the Senate. It passed in the House this week on a strict party line vote of 37-22, with all Republican members opposed and all Democrats in favor. The lone exception of Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), who was excused from session.

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