Nevada Governor Vetoes Bill Seeking to Replace Electoral College Vote With National Popular Vote

By Zachary Stieber

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoed a bill on May 30 that would have given the state’s presidential votes from the Electoral College to the winner of the national popular vote.

Sisolak, 65, a Democrat who took office this year, noted that Assembly Bill 186 would have added the state to the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote, which becomes effective when it reaches 270 electoral votes.

However, the bill would have undermined the residents of Nevada, he said.

“Over the past several weeks, my office has heard from thousands of Nevadans across the state urging me to weigh the state’s role in our national elections. After thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to veto Assembly Bill 186,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Clark County Commission Chairman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak speaks after winning his race against Nevada Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt at the Nevada Democratic Party’s election results watch party at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 7, 2018. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sisolak said that he believes the bill would have favored larger states over smaller states like Nevada.

“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,” he added.

Nevada has six electoral votes. Under the electoral college, the votes go to whichever candidate receives the most votes in the state.

Republicans in the state had criticized the bill.

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Voters line up outside the polling place at Fire Station Number 2 on Election Day in El Paso, Texas on Nov. 6, 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“If we go to a national popular vote, why would they even bother coming here? Our constitution says we’re a republic, not a democracy,” Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, a Republican, told KTVN. “I voted ‘No’ on the national popular vote because I don’t want Nevada to be a flyover state.”

The bill was passed in the state Assembly recently with a 23-17 vote and then passed the Senate last week with a 12-8 vote.

The campaign for the national popular vote said it would press on.

“Since January, the National Popular Vote bill has been enacted in three states, passed 11 legislative chambers, and continues to be under consideration in Oregon,” Pat Rosensteil, senior consultant to the National Popular Vote campaign, told National Review.

“We will continue our bipartisan work in every state until the National Popular Vote proposal takes effect and every American voter is politically relevant in every presidential election.”

As of April, the group had 70 percent of the state-level support it needed, its backers said, following New Mexico becoming the 15th state to pass legislation.

According to the campaign, in addition to New Mexico and the District of Columbia, the states that have passed legislation are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

These states currently add up to 189 electoral votes, while 270 is needed to win a presidential election in the Electoral College. Nevada would have boosted the number to 195.

A similar bill was rejected on Thursday in Maine by the state’s House of Representatives after passage by the state Senate, reported WMTW.

Maine, with four electoral votes, is one of two states to split votes; three went to Hillary Clinton, who was running in 2016 on the Democratic platform, while the other one went to President Donald Trump, who beat Clinton. It was the first election in which Maine split its votes.