The Nevada Senate approved Tuesday a National Popular Vote bill on a party-line vote, sending the legislation aimed at upending the Electoral College to the governor.
Assembly Bill 186, which passed the Senate on a 12-8 vote, would bring Nevada into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between participating states to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote.
If signed as expected by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, Nevada would become the 16th jurisdiction to join the compact, along with 14 states and the District of Columbia. The compact would take effect after states totaling 270 electoral votes, and with Nevada, the total would reach 195.
While the effort has been billed by organizers as bipartisan, Democrats have embraced the NPV in the aftermath of President Trump’s 2016 victory, which saw the Republican win the electoral vote but not the popular vote.
Leftist groups like Common Cause, Indivisible and Public Citizen cheered the Nevada vote.
“The movement to abolish the electoral college is winning,” tweeted Public Citizen.
The NPV would not eliminate the Electoral College, but would render it irrelevant by requiring electors to vote for the national vote-winner instead of the candidate capturing the most votes in their states.
Supporters argue that it would shift the focus of presidential elections away from a handful of swing states, while critics say it would concentrate power in states like California and New York with the largest population centers.
“If we go to a national popular vote, why would they even bother coming here? Our constitution says we’re a republic, not a democracy,” said Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler during last month’s debate. “I voted ‘no’ on the national popular vote because I don’t want Nevada to be a flyover state.”
Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico joined the compact in the 2019 legislative session, and other Democrat-controlled states are poised to follow.
Last week, the Maine Senate approved an NPV bill, sending it to the House. The Oregon bill has been approved by the Senate, and a House committee held a hearing Monday on the measure.