A press conference on the National Popular Vote bill is being held today, Feb. 27, in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol. A big turnout will indicate to legislators that the bill has strong support. If the bill passes, Connecticut will become the 11th state, plus the District of Columbia, to approve electing the president by a nationwide vote of the people.
Passage would bring the total electoral votes represented by the approving states to 172 – so fewer than 100 more electoral votes would be needed before the new system goes into effect. Those who want to attend the press conference should just click here.
Majority of CT Voters, Including Republicans, Back Popular Vote, Poll Finds
Three out of four Connecticut voters – including most Republicans -- support a “plan which would ensure that the winner of the national popular vote becomes president.”
That was the main finding of a survey released in Hartford on Feb. 21. The survey of 1,202 voters statewide was conducted in late January by national pollster Andrew Claster. It was commissioned by Making Every Vote Count, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group.
The poll found that the National Popular Vote plan had the backing of 93% of Democrats, 55% of Republicans, and 72% of Independents. A strong majority supported the plan in all of Connecticut’s counties, as the map below shows….
Key Voice Tells Why This Time Is Different
One of the most important voices in Connecticut politics, Ken Dixon, reporter and columnist for Hearst newspapers, has written a piece, published Feb. 25 in the Connecticut Post, headlined, “National Popular Vote would make your ballot count.”
Dixon notes that when the issue came before the General Assembly last year, “the proposal reeked of sour grapes from Hillary supporters.” But this year is different, Dixon writes. “There’s an argument for saying we’re all threatened” by the current electoral system, “specially we denizens of high-tax states.”
This is an important point and often overlooked. Under the current system, a Republican president, elected by red states, can, with relative impunity, promote policies that harm blue states (such as ending the deduction for state and local taxes) since Republicans won’t win those states anyway. But under a popular-vote system, all voters in all states will have a say in a presidential election; they can’t be ignored.
Another difference between 2017 and 2018 that Dixon points out:
One important person who changed his opposition to the idea, is Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “We’ve had a couple of elections now,” he said Friday afternoon. He’s looking forward to the bill, identical to last year’s version, going through the committee processs and eventually hitting the House floor.
Dixon also urges voters to “contact your state representative and senator. It’s an election year. So they have to listen to you.”
The Claster poll shows why. It found that a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents “would be more likely to vote” for a candidate for Connecticut governor or legislator who “promised to support the National Popular Vote plan.”
Claster, along with James K. Glassman, a member of the MEVC foundation board and a former official in the George W. Bush Administration, presented the findings in press conference at the State House last week.
Safer Way to Elect Presidents
The CT Mirror on Feb. 22 ran an article by Glassman, headlined, “A Fairer, Safer Way to Elect Our Presidents.”
The article made three points:
Glassman concluded his article: “Turning every state purple and allowing every vote to count equally will help restore confidence in American democracy. It’s the right and fair thing to do, and, in these times, it’s the safe thing to do as well.”
Popular Vote Good for Republicans
On his visit to the State House last week, Glassman met with two Republican Senators, who both pledged their support for the popular-vote bill if it reaches the floor.
It should be no surprise that Republicans are backing the change in the way we elect presidents.
First of all, Democrats dominate the largest states. Of the six states with the most electoral votes, only one, Texas, with 38 electoral votes, is consistently in the Republican camp. By contrast, Democrats have had a lock on California, with 55 electoral votes; New York, with 29; and Illinois, with 20 (a total of 104). Two of the six largest states – Florida, with 29, and Pennsylvania, with 20 – are toss-ups.
Second, while Republican candidates for president have won two of the last five elections without a popular-vote majority (2000 and 2016), those contests could easily have gone the other way. In addition, in 2004, if just 60,000 Ohio voters had switched to him, Democrat John Kerry would have won an electoral-vote majority while losing by 3 million popular votes.
Finally, polls show that the United States is a slightly right-of-center country. Republicans can easily compete with Democrats to capture majority support in the country.
Intense Media Interest in Popular Vote Movement
Media interest in the popular vote effort is mounting in Connecticut. On Feb. 20, articles ran in seven daily newspapers around the state, previewing the MEVC press conference: Connecticut Post, New Haven Register, Danbury News Times, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Middletown Press, and Torrington Register Citizen. And this article appeared in the “Capital Watch” section of the Hartford Courant and this on the popular website Connecticut News Junkie.
Meanwhile, WFSB Channel 3 did a story on the poll and the press conference during the Feb. 21 news show at 6 p.m. And WTNH, the Hartford-New Haven ABC affiliate, News 8, did a story on that same night on the 5 p.m. news:
And here is the text of a WTIC-AM radio news story on the press conference. WTIC also did a separate interview with Claster. And WNPR, the public radio station, did a story as well.
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Picks Up Momentum in Connecticut, Gains New Relevance Because of Russian Meddling
The Connecticut legislature launched the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact into its 2018 session on Friday, February 16, 2018. Specifically, the Government Administration and Elections Committee put the bill on its concept list. Because the bill is a compact among states, its language will not vary from one state to the next. Therefore the debate will be about whether to pass the bill, and not about its terms.
The Compact has passed through a critical gate on the road to making Connecticut the critical next state to choose a truly democratic method of selecting the President of the United States.
A public hearing on the Compact legislation could occur as early as the week of March 5.
Russia Indictment Shows Importance of National Vote
Meanwhile also on Friday, the Department of Justice indicted a gang of Russian trolls for interfering in the 2016 Presidential election.
According to the indictment, the Russian defendants “communicated with a real U.S. person” who recommended they focus on altering the outcome in “purple” states, such as Colorado, Virginia and Florida. A “purple state” is one of the handful of swing states that both Presidential campaigns agreed could go either way. Because of the winner-take-all rule and the near certain outcome in most states, the voters in the swing states choose who will be the President in any reasonably close election. This is why states like Connecticut (typically voting Democratic) or Texas (typically voting Republican) don’t attract attention in Presidential elections. In total almost two-thirds of the votes in Presidential elections simply do not matter in determining who becomes President!
As Max Boot pointed out in Sunday’s Washington Post, “There is also considerable evidence that the Kremlin impacted the election, which was decided by fewer than 80,000 votes in three states.” No wonder the Russians were told to focus on “purple states” – that’s where their meddling could matter.
But the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would stymie this sort of focused intervention by Russians or any bad guys wanting to interfere with American voting. There would be no “purple” states because if this law were effective, every vote in every state would matter equally as much as every other vote in every other state.
As explained in an article by national security experts Ben Haas and Matt Olsen, if the winner of the national popular vote always became the President, “It would be more difficult for a foreign entity to sway many millions of voters scattered across the country than concentrated groups of tens of thousands of voters in just a few states. And it would be more difficult to tamper with voting systems on a nationwide basis than to hack into a handful of databases in crucial swing districts, which could alter an election’s outcome. Yes, a foreign entity could disseminate messages to major cities across the entire country or try to carry out a broad-based cyberattack, but widespread actions of this sort would be not only more resource-intensive, but also more easily noticed, exposed and addressed.”
Immediately after the indictment came out, U.S. national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said it provided “really incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered. It is also incontrovertible that if states want to protect their voting from Russian meddling, they should pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Don’t Miss Poll Results – Revealed February 21 in Hartford
On February 21, 2018, at 10:30 am, Making Every Vote Count (MEVC) will hold a news conference in the press room of the Connecticut State Capitol (4th floor) to unveil poll results showing the overwhelming popularity of the National Popular Vote in Connecticut. James Glassman, a former Connecticut resident and registered Republican who was a high-ranking official in the State Department under George W. Bush and a prominent magazine publisher, will represent MEVC at the press conference, and will be joined by respected pollster Andrew Claster, who conducted the poll.
Every Movement On A Roll Gets A Troll
Now we know the National Popular Vote movement is picking up steam: there’s a troll web site bizarrely claiming that making every vote count equally is the same as “eating” your vote. See this hungry claim at
Here’s a tip: see if you can find out who is bankrolling this website?
Making Every Vote Count is not afraid to identify itself. Seemakingeveryvotecount.com. See our bipartisan board. We are funded by this board. Also check out popular.vote.
We have retained Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations to handle our public affairs and Penn Lincoln Strategies to represent our views with the state legislature. Here are their contact points:
Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc.
Gene Sheehan – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Tapper – email@example.com
Penn Lincoln Strategies
Chris VandeHoef – firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam Sweeney – email@example.com
We are not ashamed to tell you who we are!
And if you want, sign up to be a supporter of true democratic voting for President – let’s have a system where every vote in every state counts just as much as every other vote in every other state when as a country we choose the single most important elected office ever created: the Presidency of the United States.
Welcome to the newsletter!
This is the inaugural issue of Making Connecticut Votes Count. We’ll be presenting news and analysis focused on a non-partisan reform movement that is sweeping the country. Its objective is to have the people’s vote choose the President of the United States.
Most Americans believe the person who wins the plurality in the national popular-vote count should become President. A poll in Florida recently showed that two-third of Floridians hold this view.
However, research shows that in one out of three close elections, the votes in the Electoral College will award the Presidency to the runner-up, denying the office to the winner of the popular vote. To make sure that popular vote winner always becomes President, 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to change the method of electing the President to popular vote through a mechanism called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. States that approve the Compact will choose electors from the party whose nominee won the popular vote. The Compact goes into effect when states representing 270 electoral votes approve it. In that event, those states’ electors would constitute a majority and would cause the popular vote winner to become the choice of the Electoral College.
So far, states with 165 electors have passed the compact. Connecticut, with 8 electoral votes, could become the next state to approve the Compact. It would mean that states with only 97 electors are needed to make sure people can choose the President.
Survey Results, With Surprises, Coming Soon
A foundation has done a poll of 1,202 Connecticut voters that can be found at MEVCFoundation.org. It shows broad support for “changing the rules so that the candidate who wins the most votes becomes the president.” Legislators will certainly want to look at results in their own areas. What about Connecticut voters who chose Donald Trump, loser of the popular vote nationally in 2016 but winner in the Electoral College? Check it out. You may be surprised.
The Legislation and Its Backers
The Connecticut General Assembly convened on Feb. 7 and will adjourn May 9. The joint House-Senate Committee on Government Administration & Elections, with nine Democrats and eight Republicans, is the venue for the introduction of the Compact.
The CT General Assembly Democratic Caucus announced last week that the Compact is one of its 2018 legislative priorities. Both Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz called attention to the National Popular Vote in their remarks announcing the Democratic Values Agenda on Feb. 6. The Agenda says that Connecticut Democrats "reject the notion that the citizens of the United States, in the year 2018, cannot be trusted to directly elect their president," and instead “believe in the direct election of the president by popular vote—that the winner of the presidency should be the candidate who gets the most votes in the election.”
The day before in New Haven, Yale Law School Democrats are holding an event discussing the path toward having the American democracy choose the President. Jonathan Bell will present the case for Making Every Vote Count, a group dedicated to changing the way America elects its presidents. Bell grew up in New Haven, and practices law in New York. Jonathan Perloe and Steven Winter, leaders of the National Popular Vote effort in Connecticut, will discuss where the Compact stands. The event is scheduled for Feb. 15, from 12:10 to 1:30 p.m. in Room 120 of the Law School.
But, as the survey will show, don’t get the idea that Democrats are the only supporters of the popular vote….
‘Conservative Voice’ Lauds Popular Vote for President
When Tim Morris, a 40-year journalism veteran, was named a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the popular nola.com site last year, the newspaper called him a “New Conservative Voice for New Orleans.” Morris, who says he has a “Christian worldview and a journalist’s sense of skepticism,” devoted his Feb. 9 column to making the case for a popular vote determining the President. The piece was headlined, “The Electoral College is broken. It’s time to let the people decide.”
Morris pointed out that Sam Wang, professor of molecular biology, “says computer modeling predicts that in a close election -- decided by 3 percentage points or less -- there is 1 in 3 chance that the popular vote winner will lose the Electoral College count.”
Under the current system, Morris notes, presidential election campaigns focus on only a handful of states:
And, Morris writes, states not targeted by the candidates have lower turnouts – which means less voter engagement for positions down the ballot as well. Also, notes Morris:
Morris concludes, “This isn't a partisan issue, it's a fairness issue. Electing the president by popular vote is letting the people speak.”
New Orleans and Other Events
While Morris notes that Louisiana is not scheduled to take up Compact legislation, his focus on the popular-vote issue was no coincidence. New Orleans was site earlier this month of the Unrig the System Summit, which drew a crowd of more than 1,000, including some of America’s best minds – from left, right, and center – to discuss how to fix the nation’s broken political system.
Evidence of just how broken abounds.
For example, trust in government, according to the Pew Research Center, is at historic lows. Only 18% of those surveyed last year say they can trust the government to do the right thing “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (15%). That compares with more than 70% in the 1960s and 60% as recently as 2001. In another poll, Pew found that only 46% of Americans are “satisfied with the way democracy is working in our country.” That compares with 70% of Canadians, 73% of Germans, and 69% of Indonesians.
Supporters of a popular vote for president played a key role in the Unrig the Vote conference. Maggie Brennan, counsel to MEVC Foundation, participated in a kickoff panel, titled, “A Presidential Election for Everyone: Fixing the Electoral College,” with Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law School professor and technology-policy expert, and Pat Rosenstiel, a leading Republican strategist with the group National Popular Vote.
Brennan was joined at the Summit by Jennifer Holmes, a civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who just joined the MEVC Foundation board, as well as Matthew Shapanka, a Covington & Burling attorney involved in the popular-vote effort. The three met later with former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who heads the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Holmes explained the Compact and MEVC’s education work to more than 2,000 viewers during a live-streamed interview with the Independent Voter Network.
On Jan. 26, another MEVC director, former California State Supreme Court Judge Lisa Foster spoke at an American Voter Project panel hosted by Columbia Law School’s Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights. She was joined by Lessig and Kamala, Kelkar, a PBS digital associate producer.
Asked whether the proposed remedy of the Compact goes against the Founders’ intentions to create a buffer between the people and the president, Judge Foster responded, “[That] you can’t trust the people to pick the president is a principle that has proven itself to be obsolete and one that is inherently undemocratic.”