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Connecticut A Signature Away From Joining National Popular Vote Movement

A polling place on Election Day 2017 in Waterbury.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
A polling place on Election Day 2017 in Waterbury.

The state Senate passed a bill Saturday committing Connecticut to the effort supporting a national popular vote for the United States presidency.

The move joins Connecticut with a group of states that want to pool their Electoral College votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. But even if Gov. Dannel Malloy signs the measure, it won’t take effect until enough states sign on.

Barry Fadem, the president of a nonprofit called the National Popular Vote, doesn’t think it’ll be in effect by the 2020 presidential election, but he hopes that today’s political climate will sway more states to follow Connecticut’s lead.

“The Connecticut vote is really important to us on a national basis because it is the first vote to be held in the state after the election of President Trump,” Fadem said. “We’re just seeing a lot of enthusiasm out there.”

The bill had already passed Connecticut’s House of Representatives before senators approved it 21-14. Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney co-sponsored the bill.

“Some of the concerns I think Republicans had beneath the surface is that they somehow suspect this would favor Democrats but that’s not necessarily true,” Looney said. “It just gives a premium to every single vote being cast having the equal value.”

Malloy applauded both chambers for passing what he called “common sense legislation.”

“The vote of every American citizen should count equally, yet under the current system, voters from sparsely populated states are awarded significantly more power than those from states like Connecticut,” Malloy said. “This is fundamentally unfair.”

In order for the concept to be realized, states with a total of 270 electoral votes have to support the compact; should Malloy approve and Connecticut join, the effort will have 172 votes.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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