The Oregon senate has approved joining the National Popular Vote interstate compact, which would ensure that whichever candidate receives the most votes in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia would become president. The proposal has passed in the Oregon House twice previously, so prospects are good for Oregon to join the plan this year.
Fifteen other states have already ratified the plan, which will go into effect once states that comprise a total of 270 electoral votes have entered into the legally binding agreement. The states already in the plan to date control 189 electoral votes, or 81 shy of the level needed for implementation. Legislators in Maine and Nevada, will consider joining the plan this spring. Organizers in Ohio, who were not affiliated with the National Popular Vote organization that has shepherded passage in other states, recently scrapped a plan to place the idea on the November 2019 ballot.
Enactment of the National Popular Vote pact, which could happen prior to the 2020 election, would shift power from so-called swing states such as Florida and Ohio and encourage candidates to also seek votes in traditionally "safe" states such as Kansas or Vermont. Every additional vote would count equally, no matter which state it was cast in.
Five out of the 45 presidential elections held since the creation of the Electoral College have been won by a candidate who lost the national popular vote due primarily to the “winner-take-all” rule, which was not in the Constitution but has evolved over time. Under winner-take-all, a candidate receives 100% of a state’s electoral votes even if they win just 51% of the vote in that state. The National Popular Vote compact would bind state electors to support whichever candidate received the most votes nationwide, thus guaranteeing that candidate at least 270 electoral votes and the White House.