State Watch

Oregon Senate passes bill aimed at bypassing Electoral College

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The Oregon state Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to join a coalition of states that are attempting to bypass the Electoral College by awarding their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.

The state’s Senate voted 17-12 to approve the bill, which will now move to the House, where similar bills have passed four times since 2007, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

{mosads}If the legislation is approved and signed into law, Oregon would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote interstate compact.

Under the compact, the states that have joined would award their Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner, but it will only go into effect if the states that are involved make up a total of at least 270 votes — the amount needed to win the presidency.

The push from a number of Democratic states to join the movement comes after 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election to President Trump. 

Oregon state Sen. Michael Dembrow (D) told The Oregonian that if the compact goes into effect, it means “that it doesn’t matter where I live.”

“I have as much of a chance of influencing the election as someone in any state in the country. This is what one person, one vote is all about,” Dembrow added.

Opponents, however, argue that a popular vote system would incentivize candidates to cater mostly to large cities. 

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