Governor Janet Mills has announced that she will allow LD 1578, “An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote,” to become law without her signature.

Under the legislation, Maine joins the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would only take effect if the coalition secures pledges for at least 270 electoral votes – the threshold needed to elect a president. Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. have joined the compact for a total of 205 electoral votes thus far. With Maine, the total of electoral votes increases to 209 – 61 short of the compact taking effect.

Governor Mills issued the following statement:

I have spent the past ten days carefully considering this bill, reviewing arguments both for and against it, considering written materials and listening to people from across Maine.

“Opponents have raised legitimate questions about whether presidential candidates would want to visit Maine knowing that, under a winner-take-all system, their chance to win our electoral votes declines and, as a result, their time would be better spent elsewhere. Proponents have pointed out that two of the last four presidents were elevated to the highest office in the land despite having the support of fewer Americans than their opponent and in four presidential elections since 1876, the winner lost the popular vote.

“Some argue that this measure would dilute the influence of rural voters, although this measure ultimately would provide that each vote carries equal weight, whether the voter is a rural, urban or suburban resident, and thus create greater equity among voters. I see merit to arguments on both sides. I am also aware that enacting this measure is not irreversible and that it will not take effect until a number of other states with at least 61 cumulative electoral votes also approve the measure, and that it will have no effect on this year’s Presidential election.

“While I recognize concerns about presidential candidates spending less time in Maine, it is also quite possible that candidates will spend more time in every state when every vote counts equally, and I struggle to reconcile the fact that a candidate who has fewer actual votes than their opponent can still become President of the United States. Absent a ranked choice voting circumstance, it seems to me that the person who wins the most votes should become the President. To do otherwise seemingly runs counter to the democratic foundations of our country.

“Still recognizing that there is merit to both sides of the argument, and recognizing that this measure has been the subject of public discussion several times before in Maine, I would like this important nationwide debate to continue and so I will allow this bill to become law without my signature.

Latest Local Central Maine News