L.D. 1578: National popular vote

An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote.
A decorative graphic with the Maine State Legislature, overlayed with text that says what bill is being highlighted.
Gov. Janet Mills allowed the bill to become law without her signature.
The Maine Monitor is recapping the 131st Legislature by highlighting legislative bills you should know about. View all of our recaps.

Maine adopted the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which means the state must direct its electoral college votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote, regardless of who Mainers choose, once the compact is in effect.

Gov. Janet Mills allowed the bill to become law without her signature after it passed in the Maine House of Representatives by just one vote.

The compact — which has been adopted by 16 other states and the District of Columbia — will go into effect once states representing 270 electoral college votes have signed on.

With Maine’s four votes, the group is up to 209. 

Supporters argued the proposal gives equal voice to each voter nationwide, and guarantees the presidency to the candidate with the most votes.

Opponents contended the change goes against the founding fathers’ intentions and would shift power to urban areas. 

Read the full bill on the legislature’s website.

To get a better sense of the debate, here are some excerpts from testimony: 

For:

“Do we trust the American people to directly choose their president — as they do for every other office in the land, from governor and senator to school board and town council — by majority vote? Or must we continue to have states do the voting for them?” ~ Douglas Rooks, Augusta

“Fairness means every vote carries equal weight, is counted equally. With our use of the electoral college, 43% of Maine presidential votes in 2020 didn’t count because they didn’t vote for the winner in their districts.” ~ Betsy Williams, Brunswick

“We have had two elections since 2000 where the winner was the second-place candidate. Watching this happen repeatedly only erodes Americans’ trust in their institutions.” ~ Mary Winchell, Camden

Against: 

“I fail to see how changing our method of determining a president of the United States is necessary. This method was instituted and adopted in our country’s infancy, and is recognized as the best, most fair and reasonable method to determine the country’s leader. Our founding fathers recognized this, and it has served us well for hundreds of years.” ~ Tamre Steinhauer, South Berwick

“I can understand why big states would want (NPV). It must be humbling that undereducated hicks, farmers and mere laborers from small backward states engage in something as important as choosing a president. What I don’t understand is why Maine, with its pride, heritage, and state motto Dirigo, I lead, would vote to make itself insignificant and surrender its power.” ~ Joseph Grant, Wiscasset

“This bill to join a national popular vote in fact takes away the principle of every vote counting in a national election. The electoral college was carefully crafted by our founding fathers to make sure every citizen of this country’s vote and voice would be heard.” ~ Julie Whitehill, Norway

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Stephanie McFeeters

Stephanie McFeeters is the deputy editor of The Maine Monitor. She was previously the managing editor at Harper's Magazine, where she started as a fact checker, and before that was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. She grew up abroad, largely in Southeast Asia, and attended Dartmouth College.
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