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Maine House votes down bill to give away electoral college votes, more votes to come (with roll call link)

The Maine House of Representatives in session, 2019.

AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives today voted down a bill that would have given away Maine’s electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The vote, taken after about two dozen speeches from the floor from both sides, ended with 76 Representatives voting against the bill, and 66 voting for it.

Opponents of the bill included more than 20 Democrats who joined with all Republicans and several independents to vote down the motion to pass the bill.

Most of the speeches focused on how the bill would ultimately reduce the power of Maine’s vote in Presidential elections, but one Representative, Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth), seemed to embrace that, saying she did not believe her vote should be counted for any more than any other “adult American.”

Read More: Bill would give away Maine’s electoral college votes to winner of national popular vote

Opponents of the bill also often cited the need to protect the U.S. Constitution and referred frequently to Maine’s uniqueness as a state, which requires Maine voters to consider candidates in a different manner than voters in Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco may consider them.

Immediately after the bill initially failed to win enough votes, Rep. Christopher Babbidge (D – Kennebunk) made a motion for the House to reconsider their votes. Babbidge’s motion was defeated even more soundly than the initial vote, with only 48 voting to reconsider, and 84 voting against.

At some point during the floor debate, word got to the Maine House that Nevada’s Governor, a Democrat, had vetoed that state’s bill to join the same interstate compact as Maine was considering.

Rep. Patrick Corey broke the news on the floor of the House, reading a quote from Gov. Steve Sisolak of Nevada, “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.”

Nevada is a small state with six electoral college votes, two more than Maine.

Pressure had been building against the proposal since the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee issued a bipartisan “Ought Not To Pass” recommendation on the bill.

Read More: Committee flips to oppose Maine national popular vote bill in bipartisan vote

After the attempt to pass the bill, and then reconsider, the House eventually did get on to a vote on the committee’s recommendation that the bill be killed and the House allowed that motion to pass without objection.

The bill will still go back to the Maine Senate for another vote and may return to the House if the Senate pushes again for passage. Because Senate President Troy Jackson is the prime sponsor of the bill, there is a possibility of the bill receiving more votes.

Until today, the bill had been tabled for weeks in the House, presumably so supporters could work on winning over the votes needed to put the bill over the top.

Notably, Speaker of the House Sara Gideon supported the effort to give away Maine’s electoral college votes, voting in favor of the motion to pass the bill.

Read today’s House Roll Call on L.D. 816 by clicking here.

– “Y” indicates a vote in favor of giving away Maine’s electoral college votes
– “N” indicates a vote in opposition to giving away Maine’s electoral college votes
– “X” indicates absent
– “E” indicates excused

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