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Proposed Montana law would elect next president based on popular vote

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(MTN News) (MTN News)
BILLINGS -

If a newly proposed bill in Montana’s 2017 legislative session had been passed last session, Montana’s three electoral votes would have gone to Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump.

House Bill 394, which is sponsored by state Rep. Willis Curdy (D-Missoula), mirrors popular vote legislation passed in 11 other states.

The nationwide movement to adopt a popular vote system to elect the U.S. president is also being considered in at least four other states.

Trump won Montana’s three electoral votes in November after claiming 56.5 percent of the states votes.

Hillary Clinton won just 36 percent of Montana votes.

Clinton received fewer electoral votes in the nation but won the popular vote by about 3 million votes, according to nationwide voting results.

Trump’s victory marked only the fourth time in U.S. history that the president-elect lost the popular vote.

HB 394 would have designated Montana’s three electoral votes to Clinton, regardless of her loss among Montana voters, based on the nation’s popular vote.

The legislation is a way for states to get around the electoral voting process without abolishing the Electoral College, which was established in 1787.

In the event of a tie for the nation’s popular vote, Montana would designate its electoral votes based on its own popular vote.

According to the national popular vote website, the states that have already passed popular vote legislation are: District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, California, Rhode Island, and New York.

Several other states have attempted legislation in previous years but it has not been successful.

The states that have already passed legislation similar to Montana’s HB 394 account for 165 of the nation’s 538 electoral votes.

The bill had a first reading on Monday and is set for a hearing in the house judiciary committee on Thursday.

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