On June 12, 2019, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed legislation to join the state in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Oregon is the 16th jurisdiction to join NPVIC, as well as the fourth state in 2019. The NPVIC is an interstate compact to award member states’ presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. The NPVIC would go into effect if states representing at least 270 electoral college votes adopt the legislation. With Oregon joining the NPVIC, the compact’s members now account for 196 electoral votes.
In the Oregon State Senate, the legislation was passed 17-12. Fifteen Democrats and two Republicans supported the bill, while three Democrats and nine Republicans opposed the bill. In the Oregon House, the legislation was passed 37-22. House Democrats supported the bill, and House Republicans opposed the bill. Oregon is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.
Gov. Brown’s signature comes 13 days after neighboring Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) vetoed a bill to join his state in the NPVIC. Gov. Sisolak, upon vetoing the bill, stated, “Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose.” Regarding Oregon, Gov. Brown said, “I think it’s really important to be a part of the national conversation regarding the presidential election. I think it will encourage candidates to spend more time in states like ours, speaking directly to our voters.”
Maine could also join the NPVIC in 2019. The Maine House rejected legislation on May 30, 2019, but on June 12, the House voted to reconsider the bill. The Maine Senate had passed the bill on May 14.
Of the 16 jurisdictions to join the NPVIC, 14 of them were Democratic trifectas at the time of enactment. Two—Hawaii and New York—were divided governments. In Hawaii, the Democratic-controlled legislature was able to override Gov. Linda Lingle’s (R) veto in 2008. New York joined NPVIC in 2014, when Democrats controlled the governor’s office and Assembly. Democrats did not control the Senate due to a coalition between the Independent Democratic Conference and Senate Republicans, but Democratic Party members held a three-seat numerical majority. Of the current Democratic trifectas, Maine and Nevada are the only two that have not joined the NPVIC as of June 2019.