Connecticut is joining a national drive to effectively elect the president by popular vote.
The state’s legislature passed a bill, pledged to be signed into law by Gov. Dan Malloy, that would bring the state into an arrangement in which states would deliver their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the state’s results.
Once enough states join the agreement – it takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency – it could have the effect of controlling the Electoral College.
“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, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This is fundamentally unfair.”
As currently outlined by the Constitution and generally practiced on a state-by-state basis, each state assigns its votes to the Electoral College to the candidate who wins the most votes in a given state.
In most elections, the candidate who clears 270 electoral votes is also the winner of the popular vote, but in 2000 and 2016, the candidate who assumed the presidency – George W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively – won the Electoral College without a victory in the popular vote.
National Popular Vote, Inc., a group whose stated goal is to establish this agreement, said by its total, Connecticut will mark 172 electors within the agreement. If states with nearly 100 more electors combined join the compact – states such as California, Illinois and New York have already enacted legislation like Connecticut’s, the group says – the Electoral College would elect the president on the basis of the national popular vote.
Dr. John Koza, chairman of the group, told CNN on Monday that the Connecticut bill was an important step in the long road to rearranging the nature of presidential campaigns around a national popular vote.
“This makes it at least possible to put this into effect by 2020 – not likely, but possible,” he said.
Koza said Connecticut would be the first state since Trump’s election to enact legislation joining the popular vote compact.