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State Should Embrace National Popular Vote For President

Hartford Courant Editorial

March 11, 2013

It's time that the General Assembly pass "national popular vote" legislation, adding Connecticut to the growing list of states that have signed up for this equitable and sensible way of electing a president. It would be good for Connecticut.

The national popular vote bill passed the state House in 2010 but was not taken up by the Senate. Introduced again this year, the measure had a seven-hour public hearing last month and is now being considered by the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

Under the current winner-take-all system, presidential candidates and their campaign money gravitate to the 12 to 15 competitive battleground states that have the storehouses of electoral votes it takes to make a winner.

An added benefit for the battleground states: They attract the attention of the winning candidate after the election as well as before.

The rest of the states, including Connecticut in recent years, are little more than bystanders during the campaign and often after.

The candidate with the most support does not always win the election. Four times in our history, and as recently as 2000, a candidate has won the presidency while losing the popular vote. It almost happened again in 2004.

There is a simple constitutional way to change the system: Through legislative action, states can join a compact in which each agrees to give its electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

Candidates are more likely to barnstorm the country rather than concentrating on the battleground states. What could be more American than the candidate with the most votes winning?

The legislature should pass this bill and the governor should sign it.

Also recommended: The Government Administration and Elections Committee advanced a proposed state constitutional amendment this past week that if approved by both legislative chambers this year and a simple majority of voters at the 2014 general election would allow the legislature to enact forms of early voting.

Early voting will encourage greater turnout and cut down on long lines and crowded polling places. Pass this one too, lawmakers.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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