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National popular vote clears first hurdle

By Christine Stuart

HARTFORD, Conn. – The National Popular Vote Compact got one step closer Friday to becoming law when the Government Administration and Elections Committee forwarded the bill to the Senate with a 9-4 vote.

Joining the National Popular Vote Compact has become a perennial issue in the Connecticut legislature but has yet to be passed into law.

Under the bill, Connecticut would join nine other states and the District of Columbia in an agreement that would become effective only if enough states joined so that 270 electoral votes, or enough votes to win the election, went to the winner of the popular vote.

Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, promised a lengthier debate on the bill when it reached the Senate floor, but gave his colleagues a more than 20-minute preview of his opposition to the bill during a committee meeting Friday.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

Comments

15 responses to “National popular vote clears first hurdle”

  1. the donut hole

    With our finances in shambles and the state’s economy in the cellar, the only move the legislature can take on is to make Connecticut completely irrelevant in national politics.
    .
    Eventually, this is sure to guarantee closure of the Sub base and eventually all of our defense industries moving to relevantly political states. The incompetence and stupidity is amazing. Time to move.

  2. the donut hole

    It would be nice for once if our political leaders did what is best for Connecticut instead of what is politically expedient for their national party. We are being sold out here.

  3. oldgulph

    In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, and then-Senator Bob Dole.

    On February 12, 2014, the Oklahoma Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill by a 28–18 margin.

    On June 7, 2011, the Republican-controlled New York Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill by a 47–13 margin, with Republicans favoring the bill by 21–11. Republicans endorsed by the Conservative Party favored the bill 17–7.

    In May 2011, Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: “I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
    It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States [that then existed in 2011].

    National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it.”

    The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote includes former Congressmen John Anderson (R–Illinois and later independent presidential candidate), John Buchanan (R–Alabama), Tom Campbell (R–California), and Tom Downey (D–New York), and former Senators Birch Bayh (D–Indiana), David Durenberger (R–Minnesota), and Jake Garn (R–Utah). Supporters include former Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Governor Jim Edgar (R–IL), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA)

    Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the NPV plan would not help either party over the other.

    Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:”A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”

  4. oldgulph

    Some other supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote ” http://www.every-vote-equal.com/ include:

    Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She was the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

    James Brulte served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

    Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

    Dean Murray was a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

    Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.

  5. oldgulph

    Now Connecticut IS politically irrelevant in presidential elections. With National Popular Vote every state will be be relevant in presidential elections.

    The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today’s political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.

    Where you live should not determine how much, if at all, your vote matters.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

    Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win.
    10 of the original 13 states are ignored now.
    Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election.
    None of the 10 most rural states mattered, as usual.
    About 80% of the country was ignored –including 24 of the 27 lowest population and medium-small states, and 13 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX.

  6. oldgulph

    During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

    The number and population of battleground states is shrinking.

    Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
    “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [in the then] 18 battleground states.” [only 10 in 2012]

    Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
    “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

    The winner-take-all rule adversely affects governance. Sitting Presidents (whether contemplating their own re-election or the election of their preferred successor) pay inordinate attention to the interests of “battleground” states.
    ** “Battleground” states receive over 7% more grants than other states.
    ** “Battleground” states receive 5% more grant dollars.
    ** A “battleground” state can expect to receive twice as many presidential disaster declarations as an uncompetitive state.
    ** The locations of Superfund enforcement actions also reflect a state’s battleground status.
    ** Federal exemptions from the No Child Left Behind law have been characterized as “‘no swing state left behind.”

    The effect of the current winner-take-all system on governance is discussed at length in Presidential Pork by Dr. John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

    In apportionment of federal grants by the executive branch, swing states received about 7.6% more federal grants and about 5.7% more federal grant money between 1992 and 2008 than would be expected based on patterns in other states.

    Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a “safe” state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a “swing” state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida’s shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states – like water issues in the west, and Pacific Rim trade issues.

    “Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “ – Wall Street Journal , June 5, 2012

    As of June 7, 2012 “Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.”

  7. oldgulph

    A survey of Connecticut voters showed 74% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.
    Voters were asked:
    “How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”
    Support, by political affiliation, was 80% among Democrats, 67% among Republicans, and 71% among others.
    By gender, support was 81% among women and 66% among men.
    By age, support was 82% among 18-29 year olds, 69% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 72% for those older than 65.
    NationalPopularVote

  8. the donut hole

    @oldgulph. We get it, you support a nationalist socialist Democrat party. You post the same tired 5 posts over and over again every time this topic comes up. How about something original for once?

  9. oldgulph

    “hole” Did you miss the posts noting national, state, and individual Republican Party supporters?

    The bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every voter, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).
    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls
    in recent or past closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA –75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%;
    in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%;
    in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and
    in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, and large states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 10 jurisdictions with 136 electoral votes – 50.4% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

  10. the donut hole

    Stupid is as stupid does. NPV will guarantee that federal matters related to Connecticut and other small states are ignored.
    .
    The same way our current governors and senators hardly bother with the lesser populated areas of our state, the Presidential contenders would do the same on a national level. Any fool can see this.
    .
    The fallacy of the argument brought forward by the national socialist Democrats is that they wish for it to stop with selection of the President. The natural extension of NPV is popular voting on everything. All the President’s appointments. Every law put forth by Congress. You have to stop somewhere, and call me a purist but I would rather side with the ideals of the Republic that made this country great than the fool hardy ideals of a movement that is still twisted about Bush v. Gore. If states wish to they can do the Maine option. Anything other than that requires a constitutional amendment to replace the 12th which will never happen.

  11. oldgulph

    Anyone concerned about the relative power of big states and small states should realize that the current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in the current handful of big states.

    With National Popular Vote, when every popular vote counts equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn’t be about winning a handful of battleground states.

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaigns.

    State winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaigns and to presidents once in office.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

    In 2012, 24 of the nation’s 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.- including not a single dollar in presidential campaign ad money after Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee on April 11. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Kerry won more electoral votes than Bush (21 versus 19) in the 12 least-populous non-battleground states, despite the fact that Bush won 650,421 popular votes compared to Kerry’s 444,115 votes. The reason is that the red states are redder than the blue states are blue. If the boundaries of the 13 least-populous states had been drawn recently, there would be accusations that they were a Democratic gerrymander.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE –75%, ID -77%, ME – 77%, MT- 72%, NE – 74%, NH–69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 4 jurisdictions.

  12. oldgulph

    Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution– “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    The normal way of changing the method of electing the President is not a federal constitutional amendment, but changes in state law. The U.S. Constitution gives “exclusive” and “plenary” control to the states over the appointment of presidential electors.

    Historically, major changes in the method of electing the President have come about by state legislative action. For example, the people had no vote for President in most states in the nation’s first election in 1789. However, now, as a result of changes in the state laws governing the appointment of presidential electors, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states.

    In 1789, only 3 states used the winner-take-all method (awarding all of a state’s electoral vote to the candidate who gets the most votes in the state). However, as a result of changes in state laws, the winner-take-all method is now currently used by 48 of the 50 states.

    In other words, neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, that the voters may vote and the winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

    In 1789, it was necessary to own a substantial amount of property in order to vote; however, as a result of changes in state laws, there are now no property requirements for voting in any state.

    The normal process of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified in the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes. The abnormal process is to go outside the Constitution, and amend it.

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. The candidate with the most votes would win, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every voter, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    When states with a combined total of at least 270 Electoral College votes enact the bill, the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed majority of 270+ Electoral College votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote.
    National Popular Vote has NOTHING TO DO with pure democracy. Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government.

    Under the current system, federal matters related to Connecticut and other small states are ignored.

    States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

  13. oldgulph

    Maine and Nebraska voters support a national popular vote.

    A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
    * 71% favored a national popular vote;
    * 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
    * 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).
    ***

    A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
    * 60% favored a national popular vote;
    * 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
    * 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

    NationalPopularVote

  14. oldgulph

    Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    “In 2012, for instance, when Obama garnered nearly a half million more votes in Michigan than Romney, the Republican nominee still managed to carry nine of the state’s 14 congressional districts. If the by-district scheme had been in place for that election, Romney would have collected nine of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes — not enough to change the national result, but enough to make Michigan a net win for Romney, notwithstanding his decisive drubbing in the statewide election.” – Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 12, 2014

    The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Nationwide, there are now only 35 “battleground” districts that were competitive in the 2012 presidential election. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 92% of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    In Maine, where they award electoral votes by congressional district, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored)

    In Nebraska, which also uses the district method, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) 2/3rds of the state were irrelevant.

    Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

  15. oldgulph

    With National Popular Vote, every voter would be equal. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters.

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.

    16% of Americans live in rural areas.

    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    With a national popular vote, every voter everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every voter is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.

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