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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact "could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada."

Office of Gov. Steve Sisolak

Governor vetoes bill adding Nevada to states spurning the Electoral College

Proponents of electing the president by popular vote had a setback when Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoed legislation committing Nevada's six electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.

Sisolak, a Democrat, said joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact "could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada's electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose."

That was the argument Republicans in the state legislature used against the bill. But the Democratic majorities pushed it through along party lines.

Bypassing the Electoral College has become popular mostly in Democratic-controlled states since Hillary Clinton secured 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump but lost on electoral votes. Democrat Al Gore also outpolled Republican George W. Bush but lost the 2000 election.

Supporters of the idea say having the president elected by popular vote would shift the focus of candidates away from just a handful of swing states and allow more voters to see the candidates in action.

The interstate compact that Nevada has now stepped away from would take effect when embraced by states with a combined 270 electoral votes, an outright majority. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia, with189 electoral votes, have joined so far – three this year (the Oregon legislature is still debating the idea).

"We will continue our bipartisan work in every state until the National Popular Vote proposal takes effect and every American voter is politically relevant in every presidential election," said Patrick Rosenstiel of National Popular Vote, the group leading the campaign for the compact.

Some question the constitutionality of the compact and therefore whether it would ever go into effect even if enough states passed legislation to reach the 270-electoral-vote threshold.

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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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