After a rare tie in a House vote, Maine House passes bill to join national popular vote compact

Published: Jun. 12, 2019 at 7:46 PM EDT
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A bill that would join Maine in a compact of other states to have electoral votes go to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections had the Maine House gridlocked Wednesday.

After a lengthy and passionate floor debate, the House vote on the national popular vote bill ended in a tie, 73-73.

A tie means the bill did not pass.

But after a failed insistence vote, four Democrats flipped their votes, and the bill passed.

"I think this is a great step forward, for not only our state but our nation, to make sure that on Election Day that their vote makes a difference," said Rep. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick.

Daughtry says she has pushed for this issue for her entire career and thinks that it will allow more people to feel like their vote counts.

It does not abolish the electoral college but rather state electors would vote based on the national popular vote.

"It requires a few other states to go into action," said Daughtry. "It's not a knee-jerk reaction. It's a bunch of states coming together and agreeing to make an effort to make sure we reflect the will of all of the voters."

But others say that it in fact does the opposite, with Mainers' votes being washed out by states with much bigger populations.

"This strips the people of Maine of their vote," said Rep. Beth O'Connor, R-Berwick. "This annexes us into New York. I do not have a lot in common with the people of New York or California. This is a problem."

O'Connor also says that this is will discourage politicians from coming to Maine.

"I'm very upset with this," said O'Connor. "I'm very upset with the flip-flopping that was done and the political gamesmanship. This is a disservice to the people of Maine."

The bill still has procedural votes before it heads to the Governor's desk.

Not enough states have passed bills like this to get to the 270 threshold, so for now, it would not affect the electoral votes.