Oregonians may get chance to join national popular vote movement

FILE -- Election worker Rachel Ferguson process ballots at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 8 2016. (AP File Photo/Don Ryan)

If lawmakers this year sign off on a bill introduced Monday, Oregon voters will get the chance to decide in November whether to add their state to the National Popular Vote Compact for presidential elections.

According to National Popular Vote (the group pushing the compact) 10 states plus the District of Columbia have joined the compact. So far the compact has 165 electoral votes among those states. It takes 270 electoral votes to elect someone to the office of the President of the United States. So the group needs 105 more electoral votes to get to 270. That’s when the compact takes effect. Oregon has seven electoral votes.

By joining the compact, states agree to cast their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

The group’s been pushing for Oregon to join, but it has said efforts to do so through legislative action have been “single-handedly” thwarted by Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem.

Last September, the group even put up a website called EnoughCourtney.com, and launched a campaign to try to unseat him.

Courtney has maintained that the compact should be put before voters, allowing them to decide. On Monday, the Oregon Legislature introduced Senate Bill 1512, which would do just that.

“As I told the Marion County Democrats last week: ‘If you believe in the popular vote, then let the popular vote decide the issue,’” Courtney said in a statement. “If a bill to put the National Popular Vote Compact to a vote of the people comes to the floor of the Senate in the 2018 session, I’ll vote for it.”

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