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Short Explanation
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation's voters for President of the United States.   more
11 Enactments
The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law in states possessing 165 electoral votes — 61% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the legislation.

  • Maryland - 10 votes
  • Massachusetts - 11
  • Washington - 12 votes
  • Vermont - 3 votes
  • Rhode Island - 4 votes
  • DC - 3 votes
  • Hawaii - 4 votes
  • New Jersey - 14 votes
  • Illinois - 20 votes
  • New York - 29 votes
  • California - 55 votes

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    Connecticut Post
    Add up the votes, declare a winner
    Connecticut Post Editorial
    May 22, 2009

    Your vote didn't count.

    If you live in Connecticut, or at least half the other states in the union, voting for president is just about pointless. If you're unlucky enough to vote in a state that doesn't swing, you might as well have stayed home.

    That's the reasoning, anyway, behind a movement recently joined in Hartford to change all that. The state House of Representatives approved a bill that, once enough states join, would direct participants' electoral votes not to the state winner, but to whomever wins the most votes nationwide. It's an end-run around the Electoral College, and has a real chance to work.

    It's been enacted into law in five states, passed one or both houses in 13 others, and is under consideration in every other state capital. If enough states approve the law to cross the 270-electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency, the statute would kick into effect and the Electoral College would become what it should be -- a formality.

    There have been attempts to repeal our unique system for indirectly electing presidents almost since it first went into effect. Smaller states, though, are smart enough to know they retain an outsize influence on national politics by keeping the current system going, and have thwarted past efforts.

    This bill, which still needs approval by the state Senate before going to the governor, is a chance for everyone else to have a say. If we believe every person's vote should count the same, it's worth supporting.

    The current system skews everything. For instance, three of the most reliably Republican states in the union, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming, have a combined population of less than 1.9 million people. But since each state is guaranteed a minimum three electoral votes (one for each House member plus one each for senators), those states are worth nine electoral votes. Blue-state Connecticut, with a good 3.5 million people, is worth only seven electoral votes.

    But it's not a partisan issue. As opponents have pointed out, if the system had been in place five years ago, Connecticut would have awarded its votes to a candidate the state thoroughly rejected, national popular vote winner George W. Bush. But so what? What were those seven votes worth to John Kerry, anyway? The principle is more important -- if the country as a whole voted for someone, that's who ought to be declared winner.

    The biggest problem with the current system, though, is how it actively encourages people not to bother. The 2012 vote is a distant glimmer at this point, but unless there's some sort of nuclear holocaust between now and then, a good portion of electoral votes can already be tallied. The effect is to tell everyone living in -- to name just a few places -- New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston and Bridgeport that their participation is unnecessary.

    What that means is we have no idea what the totals would look like under a true popular vote. If everyone in the biggest cities knew their votes counted as much as their counterparts' in Toledo and Tallahassee, it could mean dramatic changes.

    The other biggest reason to make the change is the obvious one -- it doesn't always work. You don't need to think Bush was a terrible president to believe he never should have been allowed to take office. It's a fact that he didn't earn as many votes as the guy he ran against in 2000, and that should have been enough to send him back to Texas. We manage to elect every other officeholder in the nation simply by counting up the votes. It shouldn't be too much to ask for the most important one of all.

    There are concerns that a rehash of 2000 minus the Electoral College would have meant mini-Floridas playing out all across the country, with thousands of precincts facing recounts and lawsuits and the entire nation, rather than a single state, thrown into disarray. That issue, though, points to the lack of national voting standards and a mishmash of protocols across the country. Voting doesn't have to be as messy and imprecise as it is. If Connecticut's recently instituted optical-scan technology was in use across the U.S., the fear of metastasizing Floridas would be negligible.

    The Electoral College was instituted for a reason, but its purpose has been served. There is no danger of small states walking out of the Constitutional convention in protest. This is a way for Connecticut to help make every vote count. We should make sure it happens.

    Hugh S. Bailey is assistant editorial page editor at the Connecticut Post. He can be reached at 330-6233 or at hbailey@ctpost.com.

    Reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President