Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak surprised onlookers Thursday by vetoing a bill to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, saying it would reduce the influence of low-population states like his in presidential contests.
The agreement, he said, would upset the framers’ balance between small and large states and “could leave a sparsely populated Western state like Nevada with a greatly diminished voice in the outcome of national electoral contests.”
“For these reasons, and in the best interests of the Great State of Nevada, I veto this bill and return it without my signature or approval,” Mr. Sisolak said in his signing statement.
The Democratic governor becomes the first this year to reject the National Popular Vote, which would require electors in states that join the compact to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, instead of the candidate who captures the state vote.
My statement on #AB186: 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. (1/)— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) May 30, 2019
The National Popular Vote has been embraced by Democrats eager to avoid a rerun of the 2016 presidential race, which saw Democrat Hillary Clinton win the popular vote but Republican Donald Trump win the electoral vote.
The compact would not eliminate the Electoral College, but would render it irrelevant. This year, Democratic governors in three states — Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico — have signed NPV bills, bringing the number of signatories to 15.
Supporters argue that it would make every vote count and shift attention from a handful of swing states in presidential elections, while opponents say it would run roughshod over smaller, more rural states.
Nevada’s Democrat-controlled legislature approved the bill in the Assembly by a vote of 42-17 and the Senate by 12-8.
Patrick Rosentiel, senior consultant to National Popular Vote, touted the organization’s success in this year’s state legislative cycle.
“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,” Mr. Rosentiel said. “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.”
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