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Oregon may join national popular vote compact

Bill would put Oregon’s membership in the compact on the November ballot.

By PARIS ACHEN

Capital Bureau

Published on January 22, 2018 8:09PM

The Legislature could take up a bill that would put Oregon’s potential membership in the National Popular Vote Compact on the November ballot.

Capital Bureau

The Legislature could take up a bill that would put Oregon’s potential membership in the National Popular Vote Compact on the November ballot.

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SALEM — A bill introduced in the Legislature Monday would enlist Oregon in the National Popular Vote Compact contingent on voter approval in November.

By joining the compact, states agree to cast their Electoral College votes only for presidential candidates who win the national popular vote.

A national popular vote would have changed the outcome of the 2016 general election, which put President Donald Trump in office.

Since 2009, Senate President Peter Courtney has blocked similar proposals four times in Oregon. Last year, the Salem Democrat said he would support a bill to join the compact, only if the decision was endorsed by Oregon voters.

“I would be open to … sending the question to the ballot,” Courtney said in May. “If you believe in the popular vote, then let the popular vote decide the issue.”

This year’s bill, filed by the Senate Rules Committee, meets that condition: It requires voters to approve or reject a referendum to enact the national popular vote.

Ten states — including Washington and California — and the District of Columbia have already signed the compact. They represent 30.7 percent of the electoral votes.

The agreement takes effect when enough states have joined to cumulatively make up a majority of the electoral votes.

The popular vote movement took on new life after President Trump won election by a 77-vote margin in the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million.

Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, said he opposes the bill. Any attempt to obligate votes to the national popular vote would likely face a challenge in court and be overturn.

“Are you kidding? No, it is unconstitutional,” Post said.



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