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National popular vote bill heads to Maine Gov. Janet Mills

The State House in Augusta at dusk on November 9, 2022.
Esta Pratt-Kielley
Maine Public
The State House in Augusta at dusk on November 9, 2022.

A bill that would direct Maine to pledge its Electoral College votes based on the national popular vote for president was enacted by the state Senate on Wednesday and is on its way to Gov. Janet Mills.

The governor has yet to say if she supports the measure, which joins Maine with a compact in which each state agrees to assign its Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote — even if the popular vote in one of those states is for another candidate.

Republicans are nearly united in opposing it. Some Democrats are reluctant too, as evidence by the narrow six-vote margin in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and just one vote in the House.

The National Popular Vote compact won't be activated until the joining states have enough electoral votes to effectively elect the president — 270. So far the states joining the compact have a combined 205 electoral votes.

Maine has four electoral votes and splits them -- two for the statewide winner and one for the winner of each congressional district.

Nebraska is the only other state with a similar system, although former President Donald Trump is trying to persuade lawmakers there to change to a winner-take all system.

Gov. Mills has 10 days to sign, veto or allow the Maine proposal to become law without her signature.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.