LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A nationwide move is on to make every vote count in the presidential election, and Nevada could join the effort.
As the idea was explained to the Nevada Legislature on Tuesday, it’s “one of the most monumental election reforms that we will see passed in our lifetime,” according to a supporter. It would effectively remove the Electoral College as a wild card in the presidential race, requiring electors to vote for the candidate that won the popular vote in their state. Under current laws, it’s possible for a candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is the subject of Assembly Joint Resolution 6 (AJR6). Arguments for AJR6 were presented Tuesday in Carson City during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. The effort to amend the Nevada Constitution has a long way to go before
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas), AJR6 would change how the state’s electoral votes are decided.
Watts called it an ongoing effort among states to allocate their electoral votes collectively to the winner of the national popular vote. His effort to win approval for the idea in 2019 didn’t succeed, vetoed by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
“The national popular vote bill will guarantee the U.S. presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and D.C., applying the fundamental principle of one person, one vote to our presidential elections,” according to Eileen Reavey, the National Grass Roots Director for National Popular Vote.
“It does this by awarding Nevada’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes … and very importantly, does not go into effect until we reach that 270 threshold,” Reavey said.
As the number of states adopting the compact grows, the number of electoral votes controlled by those states keeps adding up. When it reaches 270, the compact will kick in. Reavey said it’s 72% to approval already.
But not everyone is on board, and hotly disputed elections haven’t done anything to build consensus in Nevada.
“What it seems like your bill is trying to do is circumvent the United States Constitution and basically amend the United States Constitution,” Senator Lisa Krasner said. Krasner, a Republican, represents Carson City, Storey County and a portion of Washoe County.
Watts responded: “It explicitly gives the power to state legislatures to determine how their electors are allocated. So that is a power given directly to the states.”
The Nevada Republican Party expressed “strong opposition” to AJR6. “We are opposed to AJR6, as we have been in the multiple previous sessions where this has come up, because we don’t believe that it makes sense for Nevada to work so hard to be first in the primary election, but then be irrelevant in the general election. Nor should Nevadans surrender our voice to bigger states.”
To become law, the resolution must pass the Legislature this year and again in 2025 before going to a vote of the people.