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Oregon Senate approves bill to join National Popular Vote Compact, sends measure to House

(Image via Oregon Elections Division)
(Image via Oregon Elections Division)
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SALEM, Ore. – The state Senate approved a bill to make Oregon part of the National Popular Vote Compact.

The bill now goes to the Oregon House.

According to a press release from Rick Osborn, communications director for the Oregon Senate Democrats:

Senate Bill 870 – which passed with a bipartisan vote on the Senate floor today – makes Oregon part of the National Popular Vote Compact, an agreement between states where they will award their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationally. The authority to appoint electors is granted to each state “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” according to the United States Constitution.

The bill was brought to the Senate for Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Portland Democrat; and Sen. Brian Boquist, a Dallas Republican.

“Over time we’ve decided that it’s really important to have people have a direct say in the outcome of elections," Dembrow said. "We now have 14 other states and the District of Columbia in the compact, and it’s being considered in a number of different states. It’s way past time for Oregon to join them.”

According to the Senate Democrats:

Five times in United States history, the Electoral College system has produced a president who did not get the most votes nationally. That has occurred twice since 2000 – in the cases of George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.

To date, 15 states and other jurisdictions have joined the compact, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico and Washington.

That represent 189 Electoral College votes, about 70 percent of the 270 electoral college votes needed to make the compact legally binding.

They are also all states and jurisdictions won by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

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“I support the bill. However, there are issues with the integrity of the vote count in other states that continue to concern me," said Sen. Lew Frederick, a Portland Democrat. "The interstate compact falls short in addressing ‘one person, one vote’ if everyone’s vote isn’t being counted. That said, I have pictures of me, from years ago, walking along with a sandwich board, advocating for one person, one vote. The Electoral College gives a disproportionate voice to voters in some states over others and it’s time for that to stop. In our modern society, we need to give the voters a direct say in who their leaders are. This bill moves us in that direction.”

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