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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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    The Day (Connecticut)
    Movement for a national popular vote is gaining momentum
    The Day Op-Ed
    By Claire Sauer
    May 9, 2011

    The Vermont governor recently approved a plan to enter his state into an agreement with others to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who gets the most votes. Connecticut should follow suit.

    This is, of course, not the way we hold elections for president today. During the 2000 election George Bush beat Al Gore, despite winning fewer votes nationally. This has happened four times in American history.

    Even worse, the election of the president today is essentially a tale of haves and have-nots. Because of the "winner-takes-all" rule that most states use to award their electoral votes to the Electoral College, candidates have no incentive to campaign in any state where the result is a foregone conclusion.

    This must have been Vermont's reasoning - Republicans have no chance of winning that deep blue state, but neither do Democrats campaign there, because they take it for granted. Most states are in the same position. Presidential elections come down to results in 15 states or fewer - the so-called "swing states."

    Snubbing Connecticut

    This will be the case in 2012, and yet again Connecticut will not be among the fortunate states receiving attention from presidential campaigns. Instead, expect the 2012 race to hang on a small group of "swing states" such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    After the election is over, you can also expect these kingmaker states to get more than their fair share - think of the $1.2 billion shunted to Florida last year for a new high-speed rail line, while Connecticut and the entire Northeast Corridor, in vital need of infrastructure upgrade, went ignored.

    Vermont is not acting alone. Massachusetts approved the same law last year. New Jersey, Maryland, Washington state, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Illinois have all passed the same legislation.

    So how does it work? The National Popular Vote bill currently under consideration in Connecticut and already passed by others would take advantage of a firmly established constitutional power reserved to the states.

    States wield the power

    The culprit responsible for all the democratic dysfunction is the "winner-takes-all" rule that most states use to award their electors. This rule is not in the Constitution and states can change it at any time. Under Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, states have exclusive power over how they award their electoral votes.

    Under the National Popular Vote bill, participating states would join an agreement to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in all 50 states. This agreement would only go into effect when states representing an Electoral College majority, 270, signed on. When the agreement kicked in, the winner of the national popular vote would win in the Electoral College.

    Preserving the Electoral College and establishing a national popular vote through state-level action is an appropriate way to make this much-needed change. There are millions of votes in Connecticut that neither party would dare leave uncontested. That would be good for Connecticut, but it would also be good for the country. It would strengthen our democracy and prevent another fiasco like the 2000 election from happening again.

    The eight states that have passed the National Popular Vote bill have 77 electoral votes, or about 30 percent of the amount needed to activate the agreement. This is a powerful statement that people in this country want to change the way the president is elected. A growing national movement is taking shape, and Connecticut should be the next state to join.

    Claire Sauer of Lyme is a former state representative from the 36th District and is on the board of Common Cause.



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