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Oregon Senate votes to circumvent Electoral College, adopt popular vote

Oregon could be the 16th state to join a movement to switch to a popular vote model in presidential elections.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 2:06 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2019 2:49 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon could be the 16th state to join a movement to switch to a popular vote model in presidential elections.

The Senate voted 17-12 after a pitched floor debate on Tuesday to join an agreement between states known as the National Vote Interstate Compact. Under the compact, Oregon would pledge to give its 7 electoral votes to whoever candidate wins the national popular vote.

It's a way to bypass the Electoral College without changing the U.S. Constitution. The agreement would only take effect when enough states join to reach 270 electoral votes--the threshold needed to win the White House. The compact is currently 81 electoral votes short of its goal.

Proponents say the popular model will ensure every person's vote counts. Those against claim it goes against the founding father's intentions.

The measure now goes to the House.

Democratic lawmakers in the Oregon legislature were quick to laud the bill's passage, pointing out that it passed with some bipartisan support.

“One of things I’m most proud of is how over the history of this country we’ve expanded the franchise and given voters more of a direct say in the election of our leaders,”said Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). Sen. Dembrow co-carried the bill with Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) on the Senate floor. “Over time we’ve decided that it’s really important to have people have a direct say in the outcome of elections. 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.”

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