Friday, January 27, 2017
Legislators Introduce Bill to Recognize National Popular Vote in State Electoral College
As members of the Electoral College met Monday to cast their votes, a group of Connecticut state legislators led by Rep. Matthew Lesser (D-Middletown) and Rep. James Albis (D-East Haven) filed legislation that would allocate Connecticut’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
If the bill is passed, Connecticut would join the group of states that make up The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The legislation was filed by Reps. Lesser, Albis, Haddad, D’Agostino, Hennessy and Porter, Sens. Flexer and Winfield, and Representatives-elect Linehan and Elliot.
“As President Obama said, the electoral college as we know it is a vestige. It is a legacy of a time when states’ rights mattered more than human rights,” said Rep. Lesser. “Connecticut has the power to join with our sister states to chart a new course where every vote is equal. I’m proud to introduce this legislation.”
“The National Popular Vote bill would give each voter an equal voice and give Connecticut an opportunity to compete for federal grant dollars that currently get disproportionately distributed to swing states,” said Rep. Albis.
“Every vote in this country should have equal weight. The Electoral College is a relic of a bygone era, and we need to change the system,” said Sen. Mae Flexer (D-Danielson).
“The electoral college is an antiquated system which has become the antithesis to what was intended – to provide a voice to each individual casting a vote for the highest office in the United States,” said Representative-elect Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire). “I am proud and determined to support legislation which ensures the popular vote is heard.”
The NPVIC is an agreement among a group of states and the District of Columbia to allocate their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact only goes into effect when enough states have signed on to reach 270 electoral votes, ensuring that the candidate who wins the popular vote is elected president.
Concerns about the current Electoral College process include that it disincentivizes voting in states without close races, pushes candidates to campaign disproportionately in swing states, and gives some votes greater value than others. Currently, the compact includes 10 states and the District of Columbia, totaling 165 electoral votes.