POLITICS

Oregon Lawmakers Pass Bill To Grant Electoral Votes To Popular Vote Winner

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has indicated she will sign the legislation.

Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill that would guarantee the state’s electoral college votes go to whoever wins the popular vote count. 

The Oregon House passed SB 870 Tuesday by a 37-22 vote, almost two months after the state Senate voted 17-12 to approve the legislation. The bill goes now to the desk of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has signaled her support for the legislation.

“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,” Democratic state Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell, a chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Today, we make Oregon a battleground state.” 

If Brown signs the bill, Oregon would become the 15th state to join the National Popular Vote Compact by choosing to award its electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have also joined the agreement.

The pact, however, will only go into effect once the states’ cumulative total of electoral votes reaches the 270 necessary to win the presidency. Oregon’s seven electoral votes would bring the current total up to 196.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) last week vetoed a similar bill approved by state lawmakers.

Brown, however, “looks forward to signing the legislation” after it passes a legal review, her office said Wednesday.

“The Governor has always believed that every vote matters and supported National Popular Vote since 2009 as Secretary of State,” Brown’s deputy press secretary, Nikki Fisher, said in an email to HuffPost.

The measure is significant as it could essentially overhaul the way Americans elect presidents, assuming a critical mass of states sign on to the compact. The outcomes of both the 2000 and 2016 elections would have been reversed had such a system been in place. Three other times in history, the winner of the presidency had not won the popular vote.

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 “Our country’s electoral college system of electing our president and vice president is flawed and outdated; it is time to replace it with a National Popular Vote.”

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