AJR 6 ties Nevada electoral votes to popular vote

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 5:28 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s happened four times in our country’s history. A president is elected not by the popular vote but by garnering 270 votes through the electoral college.

It most recently happened in 2016 when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton through the electoral vote.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact hopes to change that. States who become part of the compact pledge their electoral votes to the popular vote.

16 states are part of the compact, Nevada may soon join in.

“How about we do it to make sure whoever gets the most votes across the entire country is the person who gets elected president,” says Assemblyman Howard Watts, sponsor of Assembly Joint Resolution 6 AJR 6 was introduced in the legislature this session.

Today it passed the Assembly on a vote of 27-14--long party lines.

“Nevada may withdraw from and rejoin the compact through statue,” Assemblyman Watts explained from the assembly floor. “AJR 6 seeks to push the constitution into the gutter, and I cannot overlook such an offensive act,” said Assemblyman Ken Gray a republican from District 39 on why he would vote no. The Electoral College is in the US Constitution.

But it is up to the states to decide how they want to select their electors and how their votes are cast. For those frustrated with the electoral college system we have now, and the history behind it, the compact is an idea whose time may have come.

But will it be challenged?

“Article 2 of the Constitution in creating the electoral college indicates that it will be independently minded,” says Professor Fred Lokken, with TMCC Political Science Department. “And if you tie it then to a situation that dilutes it. So, it is not consistent. It can’t be independent. If the Supreme Court never speaks to it; it is valid up until the time that they do. They may accept it.”

The compact will be complete when the number of states who join it have a total of 270 among them. That’s the threshold to become U.S. President.

AJR 6 must pass both houses this legislative session and the 2025 legislative session.

If all that happens the Nevada voters will make the ultimate decision in 2026.

AJR 6 will next go to the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee for a hearing.