Proposal would give New Mexico’s electoral votes to national vote winner

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal likely to be introduced at next year’s legislative session would pledge New Mexico’s electoral votes to whoever wins the nationwide popular vote.

It’s called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC, a deal that was in the works well before this year’s election. The agreement has already been signed by 10 other states and Washington D.C., although it doesn’t go into effect until states representing 270 electoral votes have signed on. It’s effectively an electoral college workaround.

There was an effort to get New Mexico to sign on to the NPVIC in 2009. That bill passed the state House on a 41-27 vote, but failed to make it out of the state Senate.

Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, sponsored that legislation in 2009 and says she’s considering sponsoring it yet again during next year’s session.

“It’s a process that I just think is antiquated and outdated,” Stewart said. “I just think it’s important that the person who wins the most votes… wins actually.”

There have been five times in United States history where the presidential candidate winning the most votes was not elected president. In recent decades, George W. Bush was elected president despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore. Hillary Clinton won this year’s popular vote, but Donald Trump won far more electoral votes.

Even the president-elect isn’t a fan of the electoral college.

“I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” Trump told 60 Minutes in an interview aired on Sunday. “You get 100 million votes and someone else gets 90 million votes and you win.”

But the proposal has some opposition here in New Mexico.

Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, points out that right now even though New Mexico has about .65 percent of the country’s population, it gets just shy of a percent of the electoral college vote.

“We have more say in electing a president in New Mexico [right now] than we would under this new system,” Moores said.

Moores also worries that candidates would stick to high population states like California, New York and Texas in order to gain the most votes.

“I don’t want to live in a country or state where I’m always looking to New York and California for everything,” Moores said.

Stewart disputes that saying that because every vote counts, candidates would be more encouraged to worry about states they might normally skip.

“The presidential strategy really has to be you go everywhere because your votes are everywhere,” said Stewart.

If both chambers of the legislature, which will be completely controlled by Democrats next year, signs off on the NPVIC, Gov. Susana Martinez, R-NM would have to agree as well.

KRQE News 13 asked a spokesperson for the governor for her stance on the compact, but did not hear back in time for this story.

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