Oklahoma lawmakers push for change in Electoral College votes, activate National Popular Vote Bill

TULSA - Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to reform the way the state gives out its Electoral College votes. 

Senate Bill 906 calls for Oklahoma to join a compact with 10 other states to activate the National Popular Vote Bill . Under the National Popular Vote Bill, states commit that whoever wins the total popular vote for president and vice president, wins the presidency in that state. 

Currently Washington D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, California and Rhode Island have signed the bill into to law. These 10 state make up the interstate compact and make up 136, or about 50 percent, of the 270 electoral votes necessary to bring the bill into effect. 

Senator Jabar Shumate D-Tulsa, a supporter of the measure, says the bill would compel every presidential candidate campaign for every vote. He also says it will make the candidates aware of issues affecting Oklahoma voters. 

"Right now whether you're a Democrat or Republican our state is ignored... If a presidential candidate is competing for every vote it gives us a chance," Sen. Shumate said. 

Senator Shumate believes the bill would make it so no presidential candidate would win an Electoral College without winning the popular vote. 

"This is a constitutional way to say every person has the chance to elect the president of the United States," Sen. Shumate said. 

Not every legislator is behind the measure though. Senator Brian Crain R-Tulsa, says the electoral college change would completely ignore Oklahoma voters. 

"Oklahomans by in large are a conservative and very independent minded population. We like to think and vote how we believe... this just encourages people to say my vote doesn't count and therefore I'm going to skip the election on election day," Sen. Crain said. 

Crain believes the bill would make it possible for the state of Oklahoma to vote for a particular candidate, but force their electoral college votes to go elsewhere. He says if the measure passes it would give up the values of Oklahoma. 

"If this were to become law. It would be hard for me as an individual, let alone as a legislator or candidate t tell people their vote counts," Sen. Crain said. 

The Oklahoma senate voted 28 -18 to pass the bill. The measure now moves to the House. 

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