Committee flips to oppose Maine national popular vote bill in bipartisan vote

To the left, the bipartisan coalition of Legislators on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee that voted against the National Popular Vote bill, to the right, the six Legislators that voted to support it.

AUGUSTA – In a rare turn of events in the Maine Legislature, two Democratic lawmakers have changed a committee report by voting against a bill that would move Maine into what is known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact after the committee originally voted 6-3 to support the bill.

The news was spread quickly across social media by supporters of the electoral college.

The Maine Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee had originally voted 6-3 in support of the measure on Monday, with several members of the committee not able to attend.

Of the four members of the committee who did not vote in the 6-3 decision, two were Republicans and two were Democrats, but a little-known process in the Maine Legislature allows committee members to vote on committee reports for a period of time after the initial vote, and all commitee members eventually did cast their vote.

The bipartisan group of four lawmakers who did not vote initially during the committee hearing, all apparently hearing from constituents intent on protecting Maine’s electoral college votes, cast their votes on the “Ought Not To Pass” side of the report, flipping the vote from 6-3 “Ought To Pass” over to a 7-6 “Ought Not To Pass” with bipartisan opposition to the bill

Two different bills to force Maine into the National Popular Vote compact were heard by the committee, with over 250 pieces of written or in-person testimony offered by Maine people.

Former State Senator Eric Brakey, who now heads a group called the Free Maine Campaign, thanked the members of the committee who protected the electoral college with their votes, specifically thanking Democratic lawmakers Rep. Janice Cooper and Senator Erin Herbig for joining Republicans on the vote.

The five Republicans on the committee, Rep. Josanne Dolloff, Rep. John Andrews, Rep. Scott Strom, Rep. Sheldon Hanington and Senator Scott Cyrway, all voted “Ought Not To Pass” on the bill

“Thank you to both Senator Erin Herbig (D) of Waldo County and Rep. Cooper (D) of Yarmouth for breaking party ranks to vote AGAINST so-called ‘National Popular Vote’ on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee,” said Brakey.

“This isn’t about Republican versus Democrat. This about whether we #SaveMainesVoice or give our voting power to big cities like NYC and Chicago,” Brakey added.

The proposal will still face votes in the Maine House and Senate, but with a bipartisan vote of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee in opposition to the bill, the likelihood of the bill passing is smaller.

Screenshot of the final Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voting sheet on LD 816, which would force Maine into the National Popular Vote Compact, which could give away Maine’s electoral college votes.

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