AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House has voted against a bill that would implement the national popular vote in presidential elections.
The vote on Thursday, May 30 came to 76-66 not in favor of passing L.D. 816. The bill is designed to require Maine's four Presidential electors to cast their ballots for whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote.
Currently, two of the state's electors follow how Maine votes, and the other two follow how the state's Congressional districts vote.
The vote not to pass the bill comes after the Maine Senate voted two weeks ago on May 14 to pass it.
Supporters of the bill say the national popular vote would help put Maine on the map in presidential elections. They point to the amount of campaign attention that New Hampshire gets as an example.
"The reality is, New Hampshire has exactly the number of electoral votes we have, exactly the population size, exactly the rural divide -- and they get ten times the number of presidential visits, a hundred times the number of advertising dollars spent there," said Rep. Kent Ackley (I-Monmouth).
Opponents argue that the rural population would be ignored in Maine if the national popular vote were implemented. They say the electoral college was established to protect such populations.
"This country was founded to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority," said Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris). "The national popular vote is basically an exercise allowing the majority to dictate to the minority, mostly in rural states -- small population states like Maine."
The bill now goes back to the Senate for further consideration.
The national popular vote would only take effect if enough states with the electoral votes needed to elect the President (270 of 538) established a similar policy.