- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Oregon House passed legislation Wednesday to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, sending the measure to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has indicated she will sign it.

The House passed Senate Bill 870 on a 37-22 vote, following the Senate, which approved the measure April 9 on a 17-12 vote.

If signed by the governor, the bill would make Oregon the 16th jurisdiction — 15 states and the District of Columbia — to join the compact, which would kick in when enacted by states holding at least 270 electoral votes.

Once in effect, electors from participating states would be required to cast their votes at the Electoral College for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, instead of the candidate who captures the most votes in their state.

The Oregon bill would bring the total to 196 electoral votes. Three other Democrat-controlled states — Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico — joined the compact this year, while Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoed his state’s bill last week.

Mr. Sisolak, a Democrat, said the compact “could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada” in favor of states with large populations, while NPV supporters say it would ensure that every vote is counted equally.

“The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would make every Oregon voter more powerful in electing a president,” National Popular Vote chairman John Koza said in a statement. “This is the constitutionally conservative way to ensure that every voter in every state is politically relevant in every presidential election while preserving the Electoral College.”

While the NPV bills itself as nonpartisan, the vast majority of support has come from Democrats hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2016 presidential election, which saw Republican Donald Trump capture the electoral vote despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Opponents argue that the compact would thwart the intent of the Constitution by rending the Electoral College irrelevant. If the compact does take effect, it would almost certainly be challenged in court.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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