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      RI joins national popular vote electoral compact

      Rhode Island has joined several other states in agreeing to award its four electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections.

      Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation to join the National Popular Vote compact. His office could not immediately answer what day he signed it.

      The compact goes into effect after enough states sign up that they hold a majority of electoral votes, or 270. So far, the effort is about halfway there.

      Currently, a candidate could lose the popular vote nationally but still win with Electoral College votes. That happened in 2000 when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore even though Gore won more votes nationally.

      State lawmakers endorsed the compact in 2008 but former Republican Gov. Don Carcieri vetoed the bill.