Group opposes changes to Nevada elector process

The legislation could change the way Nevada allocates the electors for president of the United States.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 3:39 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - On April 17, 2023, Assemblyman Howard Watts encouraged his colleagues to vote yes on Assembly Joint Resolution 6.

“Electors in this state must, with limited exception, must make their presidential elector ballots for the national popular vote winner.” That is the essence of Assembly Joint Resolution Six of which Assemblyman Howard Watts is the sponsor. He is the majority whip and represents District 15 in Clark County.

The resolution, if passed, would place Nevada in a multi-state compact where all the states in that compact agree to tie their electors to the popular vote. The compact does not take effect until enough states join, totaling 270 votes which would elect the President of the United States.

Nevada can withdraw from the pact at any time.

“What we are trying to move to is a system where every individual voter’s voice has weight,” says Watts.

The resolution would need to pass the legislature this year and during the 2025 session. It would then go to a vote of the people.

AJR 6 would change Nevada’s constitution to allow for the six electors to cast their votes this way.

“The process they are going through in Nevada is extremely unusual,” says Trent England.

England is with the Oklahoma based “Save Our States” organization.

Dedicated to retaining the electoral college as is, he was in Carson City Thursday in hopes of stemming the tide. AJR 6 has already passed the Nevada Assembly.

The US Constitution requires the electoral college. But it is up to states to implement it as they see fit. Here in Nevada the governor and secretary of state oversee the process.

Nevada has a winner take all method.

“The compact just creates this other question about every other state’s election result,” says England. “Those elections officials aren’t just making decisions for Nevada they are essentially making decisions for every other state.”

England says his group accepts the fact a presidential candidate can lose the popular vote but win the electoral college and become president.

It’s happened 5 times in our country’s history.

“A two-step election system means that our politics aren’t regional,” says England. “That our winners have a lot of support from across the country. That’s better than a system that may guarantee a popular vote plurality winner. But allows that to come from a very regionalized fractured politics.”

Watts sees the issue in the exact opposite way.

“The idea that we are going to have all that activity in a handful of states, trying to influence the outcome, and a few thousand voters either way in those states overrides entirely voters in other states,” says Watts. “Including solid red and solid blue states, I think isn’t right.”

AJR 6 is currently in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee and has yet to receive a hearing. But keep in mind, it does not need the governor’s signature.