Nevada Democrats just passed a constitutional amendment that would add the state's six electoral votes to a multistate compact that would elect the president according to the national popular vote, with the ultimate aim of sending the measure to voters for their approval.
By referring an amendment to the ballot, Democrats can avoid what would be an all but certain veto from Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo. However, they'll also have to pass the same amendment again after the 2024 elections and then persuade voters to back it in a 2026 referendum before it could become law in time for the 2028 presidential election.
If successful, Nevada would enter the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a multistate agreement under which member states would give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Importantly, the compact would only come into effect once states with a majority of electoral votes have joined. As shown on the map at the top of this story (click here for a larger version), the 16 current members have 195 of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the compact; Nevada would bring the total to 201. That would still leave the consortium 69 votes short of its target, but there's a tough but plausible path to triggering the compact by 2028.
This is actually the second time Nevada Democrats have tried to join the compact, after passing traditional legislation in 2019. However, Democrat Steve Sisolak, who was governor at the time, unexpectedly vetoed that previous attempt because he believed that swing-state Nevada would see its influence diminish if the nation switched to relying on the national popular vote. Sisolak subsequently lost reelection to Lombardo last year, and because Democrats are one seat shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override vetoes in the state Senate, passing an amendment is the only option currently available to them.
Up until now, all of the other jurisdictions that have joined the compact, which includes 15 states and Washington, D.C., did so by passing ordinary statutes rather than amending their constitutions, with a key reason being that this approach doesn't require voter approval to become law. That, however, has left such laws more vulnerable to being rolled back.
In fact, the one and only time a state has directly voted on whether to participate in the compact came in Colorado in 2020, when Republican opponents used a ballot referendum to try to veto a law that Democrats had passed the previous year. While Coloradans ultimately voted 52-48 to reject the GOP's veto attempt and remain in the compact, that result was much narrower than Joe Biden's 55-42 victory in the state during that same election.
Support for the compact has often (though not always) broken down along partisan lines, so given Biden's much smaller 50-48 margin in Nevada, a similar underperformance there in 2026 would be enough to sink the effort. However, it's possible that Nevada voters would react differently to the proposal three years from now than Coloradans did in 2020, especially given that Donald Trump's attempt to overturn his loss following that election underscored some of the very real flaws of the Electoral College. Polling has also continued to find solid majorities nationwide in favor of switching to the national popular vote.
Hell yeah! Democrats and progressives simply crushed it from coast to coast on Tuesday night, so co-hosts David Nir and David Beard are devoting this week's entire episode of "The Downballot" to reveling in all the highlights. At the very top of the list is Jacksonville, where Democrats won the mayor's race for just the second time in three decades—and gave the Florida Democratic Party a much-needed shot in the arm. Republicans also lost the mayor's office in the longtime conservative bastion of Colorado Springs for the first time since the city began holding direct elections for the job 45 years ago.