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Opponents fret Nevada would lose political spotlight if it joins popular vote compact

Carly Sauvageau
Carly Sauvageau

Four years after a high-profile veto, opponents are again raising concerns that adopting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) into the Nevada Constitution would cause presidential candidates to lose interest in the Silver State.

NPVIC is an agreement among 15 states to hand over their electoral votes to the presidential candidate that receives the most votes nationwide. The 15 states participating in the compact have 195 electoral votes collectively, but the compact will only go into effect once enough states join to surpass the 270-electoral-vote threshold needed to win a presidential election. Nevada has six electoral votes.

A similar bill was passed through the Legislature in 2019 but was vetoed by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak. Sisolak, a Democrat, said he was concerned that the compact would diminish the voice of smaller states such as Nevada. 

Four years later, Yolanda Knaak with the Nevada Federation of Republican Women echoed these concerns during a hearing on the measure (AJR6) on Thursday. 

“Without the Electoral College, the four most populous states — California, New York, Texas and Florida — would decide the fate of our country. And thus, the remaining 46 states, which we are one of, would have little control over their state's interests,” Knaak said during the hearing.

Assemblyman Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas), the sponsor of AJR6, said Nevada, which has historically been a swing state, would likely keep its national attention even if the state agreed to join the NPVIC and the compact went into effect.

“We are still an area with close elections with undecided voters,” Watts said. “Presidential candidates are going to want to come here and get involved in and support their preferred candidates in those down-ballot races as well.”

Eileen Reavey with National Popular Vote said the compact was about equality.

“This law applies the fundamental American principle of one person, one vote to the one office that represents all of us — the U.S. presidency,” Reavey said during the hearing.

As a proposed constitutional amendment, AJR6 would need to be approved this session and in the 2025 session before going to voters for final approval in the 2026 election.


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