WNPR

Connecticut Targeted In National Popular Vote Effort

Feb 22, 2018

A new lobby group is hoping to persuade Connecticut lawmakers to change the way the state votes in presidential elections. The group Making Every Vote Count is hoping to create a system where the winner of the national popular vote always wins the presidency. 

Both George W. Bush and Donald Trump were elected with a minority of the popular vote, because of the electoral college system.

Making Every Vote Count is not proposing to abolish the Electoral College - that would take a constitutional amendment. Instead it wants individual states to pass legislation ordering their electors to abide by the national popular vote result. For instance, if the Republican candidate in a presidential election had gained the most votes nationally, Connecticut's seven electors would have to cast their votes for them, even if the state itself had voted for the Democrat.

So far, 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed this legislation, meaning a total of 165 electoral votes are committed to the system. Its supporters must persuade states totaling at least 270 electoral votes - a majority of the college - before it will be successful.

James Glassman, a former state department official in the Bush administration, is a founding board member of the group.

"The objective is something that the vast majority of Americans want, which is to have a system where the person who gets the most votes nationwide, becomes president of the United States," he told Connecticut Public Radio.

Glassman believes this is about re-engaging citizens in their government.

“Most important for me is the alienation, disaffection that Americans have toward their political system as well as their electoral system. That’s not a good thing for a democracy for people to be that alienated," he said. "But you can see why - we elect our presidents basically from eight or 12 states at the most. I mean, the vast majority of states don’t count in an election.”

The group has released a poll, showing three-quarters of those questioned in Connecticut agree that the winner of the national popular vote should win the presidency.

The poll questioned 1,202 voters in the state, and found that 92 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents and 62 percent of Republicans believe that the national popular vote should be decisive.