Oregon is the 15th state to join the National Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement which says those states who sign to it will grant their delegates for the presidential election to the winner of the national popular vote rather than the winner of the Electoral College.
The agreement will not have any effect until enough states representing more than half of the Electoral College, at least 270 votes, have signed the compact. Supporters hope to use it to reform the way presidential elections are conducted by requiring a larger popular appeal, rather than the heavy focus on a handful of states whose outcomes aren’t already predetermined.
The idea of a national popular vote has taken off since the 2016 election, when the winner of the national popular vote lost to the winner of the Electoral College for the second time in the last twenty years.
Critics of the plan argue that this is a reaction to the current President, not to the system of presidential elections. Others believe relying on the popular vote biases the process toward cities and larger metropolitan areas. Even some supporters of the idea of a national popular vote are critical of the use of a state-by-state compact. They emphasize that the Electoral College is a process outlined in the Constitution, and as such is not easily overruled or modified.
Republicans and Democrats alike recognize, however, that the organizers of the compact are unlikely to have enough time to reach enough states to sign 270 electoral votes to their cause before the 2020 elections.
By Ian MacRonald