Friday, March 23
Bulletin: Friday, March 23rd, 3:30 p.m.
A bill that enters Connecticut into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has passed out of the Government Administration and Elections Committee and now moves to the House floor for consideration.
The GAE committee voted 9-8 (along party lines) on Friday afternoon to send the bill (which now has 71 co-sponsors) to the House of Representatives.
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“Based on long and thorough analysis, Making Every Vote Count strongly believes (1) enactment of this ‘National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’ by the Connecticut General Assembly during the current legislative session is critically important to Connecticut; (2) that Connecticut’s helping develop momentum toward adoption of the Compact to make it effective nationwide is vital to the country as a whole; and (3) lastly, that improving the current system for electing our President as provided in the Compact will be a significant step toward defending and expanding democracy around the world.”
– James Glassman, Making Every Vote Count Board Member, in written testimony to the Connecticut State Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee, March 19, 2018
Debate over the National Popular Vote Compact continues at the Capitol
This was a big week for Making Every Vote Count and the national popular vote movement at the State Capitol in Connecticut. The Government Administrations and Elections Committee (GAE) hosted a daylong public hearing on Monday, March 19th in Room 2A of the Legislative Office Building, and much of the focus of that hearing was on the two bills we are trying to get passed and signed into law – Senate Bill 408 and House Bill 5421.
Advocates for the bills packed the room and did a brilliant job testifying (more details on this below) – which got people talking.
In a piece in the Connecticut Post titled, “Debate over the National Popular Vote Compact continues at the Capitol,” reporter Emily Munson said, “After gaining the support of Democratic leadership in February, a proposal to give all of Connecticut’s electoral college votes to the winner of the popular vote received hours of public comment at the Capitol Monday. Connecticut’s top elections official, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill testified in favor of the ‘one person, one vote’ initiative, along with many local activists.”
The piece continued, “Connecticut should become a compact member so it is no longer a ‘spectator state’ in presidential elections, said Barry Fadem, president of the nonprofit National Popular Vote, Inc. He listed seven reasons the compact would benefit the state, including driving up voter participation, bringing more presidential candidate visits, television and radio advertisements to the state and reducing the influence of ‘battleground states,’ both before and after elections.”
The majority of testimony offered on these two bills throughout the day was positive and favorable, including from other lawmakers such as State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney.
As Munson pointed out, "The lone voice testifying against the compact in person," was Tara Ross, the author of “The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Country From Mob Rule.”
Making Every Vote Count Board Member James Glassman Testifies in Favor of NPV
Supporters testifying in favor of NPV included Making Every Vote Count Board Member James Glassman who offered a detailed and insightful account as to why this idea is so essential to our democracy and ensuring that every person’s vote counts in a Presidential election. Mr. Glassman told the committee:
“The matter here today is not partisan; it affects us all. In the last (presidential) election 102 million Americans who were eligible did not vote, and no wonder – Americans feel left out of the political process, and the reason they feel left out is, indeed, they are left out. Elections in this country are decided by 8-12 states, and a year before the election we can pretty much tell where those states are going to be. The ‘purple’ states generally on average have had a 7% higher turnout – if everyone feels like, ‘Hey, my vote is going to count,’ we’re going to get much more participation and that’s going to be helpful.”
Mr. Glassman then very concisely laid out the value of using the national popular vote to decide presidential elections, and showed GAE Committee members the opportunity in front of them.
“You have a chance to create a better system and it’s a very logical system. The person who gets the most popular votes nationwide becomes the President of the United States. This is exactly the same system that we use to elect you (as state lawmakers).”
In his testimony, Mr. Glassman not only cited the results of a recent Connecticut poll showing that 78% of Connecticut residents support letting the national popular vote decide who is president; he also cited another source who seemingly endorsed the idea just after the 2016 election:
“Here’s what Donald Trump said last November – days after his victory he said this: ‘I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, somebody gets 90 million votes, and you win.’ Now I think that’s what we all believe in our hearts…what he said I think puts it really well. The person who gets the most votes ought to win.”
He later added:
“We as Americans want to be able to choose our representatives, and a president is a representative. We ought to be able to choose that person based on a majority vote of the people in this country.”
In addition to Mr. Glassman, a number of other citizens and Connecticut lawmakers testified in favor of these bills and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, including Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney. It was a productive day that moved our cause one more important step forward.
Within the next week, the GAE Committee is expected to vote on House Bill 5421, and our lobbyists in the Connecticut State Capitol are working to secure its approval and referral to the full State House. Stay tuned to this newsletter for more updates on this critically important issue in Connecticut.
Video of James Glassman’s Testimony
“I think every person in this room believes, in his or her gut, that the person who gets the most popular votes is the person that we really think – we, as Americans – ought to be President.”
– James Glassman, testifying before the Connecticut State Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee, March 19, 2018
To view a comprehensive video account of Mr. Glassman’s testimony before the GAE Committee this past week, please click on this link.
The password to view it is (all lowercase) mevc.
In Case You Missed It
Our Presidential Selection System: How It Ignores Most Americans and What Would Be Different If Every Citizen’s Vote Mattered
– Reed E. Hundt, Chairman and CEO of MEVC
The current presidential selection process, like any game, requires players to follow certain rules to optimize their chances of winning. What are the main rules of the presidential selection game today? How would they change if the national popular vote determined who became President? Discover how powerful making every Connecticut vote count could be.
View the entire article by our Chairman/CEO Reed E. Hundt at this link.
Steve Winter, a New Haven alderman from Ward 21 and a national popular vote activist talked with WPKN's Counterpoint with Scott Harris this past Monday night about National Popular Vote, tracking the progress of legislative proposal H.B. 5421 — and letting listeners know how they can get more info on the bill and assist in fighting for its passage.
If you missed it live, you can check out the archived clip here.
An Update on Co-Sponsors of the National Popular Vote bill in Connecticut
As of March 21, co-sponsors of the NPV bill in Connecticut (HB-5421 and SB-408) include 60 representatives and 11 senators. See the full list here.
Also, 13 Connecticut candidates for statewide office in 2018 have endorsed the National Popular Vote bill. See the full list here.
What You Can Do To Keep Spreading the Word on the National Popular Vote Movement in Connecticut
Clearly NPV is gaining momentum in Connecticut, but there’s more to do! Here’s how you can help us keep things moving in the right direction:
Let them know that you’re counting on them to make sure your vote counts in the next Presidential election.
How to find your legislator
Contact your House Representative
Contact your Senator
Making Connecticut Votes Count is a division of Making Every Vote Count, a national c(4) advocacy organization. It is separate from MEVC Foundation, a c(3) non-profit dedicated to informing and educating the public about popular opinion and preferences relating to democratic voting for the President.