The Government Administration and Elections Committee met Monday to hear arguments from elected officials and electoral law advocates on a bill that would elect the President of the United States by national popular vote.
Democratic Representative James Albis opened testimony to address the controversial bill\’s bottom line. \”Presidential candidates do not face a national electorate, instead a handful of voters in just eight states,\” Albis said of the current electoral college system.
\”Fundamentally this bill is about equality,\” he said.
Democratic Senator Gary LeBeau supported much of Albis\’ sentiment, saying that the electoral college perpetuates a system of favoritism that simply values voters in swing states over lesser competitive states. Albis claimed that in the 2012 election, 4 in 5 Americans were essentially ignored by the presidential candidates as both Romney and Obama only paid campaign visits to 10 of the states.
\”Based on the belief that every vote should matter in a presidential election, our current system is broken. Americans are being ignored – any of us that do not live in battleground states should understand this. Especially those of us living in Connecticut,\” Albis said.
Democratic Representative Brandon McGee, representing Windsor and Hartford, said a National Popular Vote would work to equalize the franchise for minority voters. Currently, McGee pointed out, the electoral college disadvantages African Americans and other minority groups as most elections are determined by a handful of affluent suburbs in several swing states.
\”Look at the counties that are most contentious in the states that are most important. We are talking about roughly 8 counties.\” McGee said. \”Only 7.5 of the total votes from those counties come from minority voters.\”
Representative Brian Becker, a Democrat from West Hartford, opposed the popular vote bill, claiming he still does not see how such legislation will truly impact the state and make a difference in Connecticut.
\”As it stands, Connecticut actually has more weight than others in the electoral college,\” Becker said, referencing what he called strong national political attention the state receives. \”If we switch to a national popular vote, Presidential candidates will just spend time in states with the largest populations – those states aren\’t Connecticut.\”
During the hearing, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman released a statement in full support of enacting the popular vote law in Connecticut.