The Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to give the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.
The state House passed the bill 77-73, largely on Democratic votes. Three conservative Democrats voted against the legislation, and one Republican voted for the bill.
The state House-passed bill joins an interstate movement to grant states’ electoral votes to a presidential candidate based upon the popular vote of the country, not who wins the state. The compact will not go into effect until enough states join for the movement to gain 270 electoral votes or the number of electoral votes needed to win the Electoral College.
Ten states, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, joined the compact, creating a bloc of 165 electoral votes.
Support for the idea has grown amongst Democrats after President Donald Trump and former President George W. Bush won the electoral college but lost the popular vote to their respective Democrat opponents.
Republican state lawmakers argued that the bill violates the Constitution. Democrats contend that the measure would not eliminate the Electoral College.
GOP State Rep. David Labriola said, “This is an act of political theater, an artificial gimmick. This is something that is not necessary, is not constitutional.’’
Democratic state Rep. Daniel Fox said, “We could make a profound change that would enhance confidence, participation, excitement of a presidential election in small and large states alike.”
George Jepsen, the state’s attorney general, has yet to give an official opinion on whether the legislation violates the Constitution.
The bill will move to the Connecticut state Senate, which also remains divided on the legislation. Democrat Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney and Gov. Dannel Malloy endorsed the legislation.
James Glassman, a former Connecticut resident who serves on the board of Making Every Vote Count, said, “For too long, a handful of ‘purple’ states have decided who wins the presidency.”
Glassman added, “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact puts an end to that inequitable system and returns the power of the presidential election to the hands of the American people, where it truly belongs.”