Proponents of National Popular Vote Say Nothing Is Ever Dead
The Government Administration and Election Committee’s deadline to raise bills came and went Friday without a bill to enter into the presidential National Popular Vote Compact.
Last year the committee voted 10 to 5 to pass a bill that would have Connecticut join an agreement with nine other states whose Electoral College delegates cast their votes for whichever presidential candidate gets the most votes in the general election. But the bill was never raised on the House floor.
While advocates are still saying there’s a chance the concept will be raised this year, the committee’s co-chairs said otherwise on Thursday.
“We’ve determined that is not going to be on our agenda this session,” Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D- Milford, said.
Slossberg said there are a lot of proposals the committee wants to address this year like a constitutional amendment concerning absentee voting. Because this is a short legislative session they will not have time to debate changes to the way the state elects the president, she said.
“We don’t think this is the right time for use to be doing this,” she said.
The committee’s Co-Chairman Rep. Russ Morin, D- Wethersfield, said it was unlikely to be addressed this year.
“Probably not. I’m still having discussions with people. It’s tough to get everything done in a short session,” he said Thursday.
The news was not welcomed by Vice Chair Sen. Edward Meyer, D- Guilford, who said he’s heard from dozens of constituents supporting the idea and not one opposing it.
“I’m upset by it. I think National Popular Vote is the direction we should be going in and 2012 is a wonderful year to do it because it’s a presidential election year. I’ve told [Morin and Slossberg] about my unhappiness,” he said.
Sen. Gary LeBeau, D- East Hartford, agreed.
“I understand there’s a lot on their plates, things they have to do, but I’m disappointed. I’m hopeful we’ll take it up next year. Or there’s always the possibility of amendments. Who knows,” he said.
Though there’s no bill, advocates are warning against counting the concept dead for the year. Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause, said the National Popular Vote may surface in some form before the session is out. If it does she believes it has enough votes in both chambers to pass.
National Popular Vote Regional Director Ryan O’Donnell said anything can happen in a legislative session.
“I’m very hopeful it’s going to be this year,” he said.
If the bill doesn’t pass, the presidential election this year will demonstrate how the current system marginalizes Connecticut’s influence, O’Donnell said.