Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Thursday vetoed a bill which would have pledged the state’s six electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote for President of the United States.
Assembly Bill 186, which recently passed the Senate on a 12-8 vote, would have seen Nevada join with 14 other states in an agreement to vote for the winner of the popular vote. The Assembly had voted in favor of the measure 23-17.
“Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose,” a statement via Sisolak reads. “I recognize that many of my fellow Nevadans may disagree on this point and I appreciate the legislature’s thoughtful consideration of this important issue. As Nevada’s governor, I am obligated to make such decisions according to my own conscience. In cases like this, where Nevada’s interests could diverge from the interests of large states, I will always stand up for Nevada.”
Earlier this year, Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico signed laws joining the compact, while Oregon and Maine are mulling bills of their own. Had Sisolak signed the measure, the group would have a total of 195 votes.
Several White House hopefuls, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have voiced support for eliminating Electoral College, however, supporters of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact believe their strategy is more pragmatic than passing a constitutional amendment.
Breitbart News Senior Editor Joel Pollak wrote of the measure:
Under a national popular vote system, it would be possible for Nevada — or one of the other swing states — to vote for the candidate who lost the national popular vote, only to see its Electoral College votes awarded to the winner of the national popular vote. In a close election, that could elect a president — against the will of Nevada voters — who otherwise would have lost the election under the present system.
Moreover, the “national popular vote” would, critics say, reward candidates for concentrating their time and resources on the most densely populated parts of the country. It would also create an incentive for fraud in the jurisdictions most susceptible to it. California, with its new system of “ballot harvesting,” in which unregistered activists may deliver an unlimited number of mail-in ballots, would be a prime candidate, as rival campaigns competed to stuff ballot boxes. The “national popular vote” idea gained popularity among Democrats after the 2016 presidential election, when Republican Donald Trump won the presidency despite losing the popular vote (though he won it outside California).
Though the initiative has picked up steam, National Popular Vote President Barry Fadem concedes it is unlikely they will hit 270 votes by the 2020 election.
“I think people are just really tired of the system that means every vote does not count and that six to eight states decide who is elected president,” said Fadem.
State Sen. Keith Pickard (R), who voted against the bill, said the joining the compact would have diminished Nevada’s voice for future presidential elections.
“I think it’s totally irresponsible for us to consider giving away what little influence we have on the national stage to the more populous states which will ultimately control the election,” Pickard stated.