CARSON CITY, NV (KOLO) - Changing the process of how we elect the president of the United States.
A bill at the Nevada legislature aims to pledge the state's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
Passing Assembly Bill 186 would mean Nevada would enter into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between states to give all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.
“Which means every vote cast in every state is equal,” says Barry Fadem, president of National Popular Vote.
Fadem testified in front of the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, explaining why this bill should pass.
“The election of the President is the most important election in the world and voters in this country think every vote should be equal and every vote should count,” says Fadem.
But not everyone agrees.
“I’m strongly against it because it’s absolutely unconstitutional,” says Shawn Meehan, the founder of the Constitution Project.
The constitutionality of AB 186 constantly came into question during the hearing.
Fadem says there’s no merit to that view.
“The reason it is not unconstitutional is that the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution gave state legislatures the exclusive right to make the decision that they are being asked to make today.”
Non-partisan legal counsel Kevin Powers gave his opinion and clarification to the committee, agreeing with Fadem.
“This legislation is most likely than not constitutional under the Presidential Electors Clause and most likely does not require Congressional approval,” says Powers.
Fadem says the biggest change would come during campaign season.
“You would see a national fifty-state campaign because every vote in every state would count equally,” Fadem.
Many of the senators questioned whether that was physically possible. They also questioned how this election process would work with the Electoral College still intact.
“I think some people think that it’s a bill that would abolish the Electoral College and to achieve national popular vote you do not need to abolish the Electoral College,” says Fadem.
Meehan says he doesn’t want this bill to pass.
“What I hope happens is good debate takes place, some hard questions get asked, maybe some people don’t have the answers but they promise to come back and get the answers and then ultimately when they hold the work session I hope that this bill does not progress beyond this committee,” says Meehan.
15 states have already joined the compact; if Nevada and Oregon pass, only 68 more electoral votes worth of states would be needed for the compact to go into effect, which Fadem says would be very unlikely to happen by the 2020 presidential election, but says they are very hope it will happen by the 2024 election.
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