The Maine Senate voted on Tuesday to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which allows all participating states to give their electoral votes to the winning popular vote candidate, as long as the states accumulate the 270 votes necessary for a majority, CNN reports.
The states that have already committed to the pact include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, Washington state and the District of Columbia, totalling 189 electoral votes.
It is up to the Maine House of Representatives and Governor Janet Bills if the bill will pass. Since Maine is one of two states that currently splits its electoral votes instead of allocating them winner-takes-all style, it would contribute 4 more votes to this total.
Critics of this bill denounce its departure from the electoral college, a system in which voters do not directly vote for the president, but instead for 538 electors that then select candidates. It is this process that allowed President Donald Trump to win the 2016 election, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
Former governor of Maine Paul LePage fears that the bill will overly emphasize minority voices, arguing that “white people will not have anything to say."
"What would happen if they do what they say they're going to do, white people will not have anything to say," he said. "It's only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida," he said.
Other politicians staunchly disagree. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said in March:
"My view is that every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College -- and every vote counts."