With a na­tional pop­u­lar vote, ev­ery vote for pres­i­dent will be counted

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - OPINION - By James Glass­man James Glass­man is a for­mer Con­necti­cut res­i­dent and a board mem­ber of Mak­ing Ev­ery Vote Count.

I’m now a res­i­dent of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., but I lived for 10 years in the beau­ti­ful Litch­field County town of Canaan, also known as Falls Vil­lage, pop­u­la­tion 1,081. I am a long­time Repub­li­can, hav­ing served as under sec­re­tary of state in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Ge­orge W. Bush.

On the other hand, my sis­ter Betsy Glass­man, who lives in Litch­field, ran for state rep­re­sen­ta­tive sev­eral years ago as a Demo­crat. More im­por­tant than our dif­fer­ent party af­fil­i­a­tions, we both are deeply con­cerned about the po­lit­i­cal alien­ation and dis­il­lu­sion­ment that’s cur­rently af­fect­ing the na­tion.

It should be no sur­prise then that we both sup­port en­act­ing the Na­tional Pop­u­lar Vote In­ter­state Com­pact, which stip­u­lates the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who re­ceives the most votes na­tion­ally wins the elec­tion.

This is not a par­ti­san mat­ter. It hurts us all. In our last elec­tion, 102 mil­lion el­i­gi­ble Amer­i­cans did not vote. Amer­i­cans feel left out of the po­lit­i­cal process, and no wonder. For the ma­jor­ity of us, our votes for pres­i­dent don’t mat­ter. Our pres­i­den­tial elec­tions are de­cided by just a hand­ful of pur­ple states — eight to 12. In the last elec­tion, 94 per­cent of events were held in a dozen states. In other states, blue like Con­necti­cut or red like Ok­la­homa, no one cam­paigns, and our votes make no dif­fer­ence.

Con­necti­cut’s leg­is­la­ture now has a chance to join 10 other states and the District of Columbia in pass­ing a law that will even­tu­ally change the method of elect­ing the pres­i­dent to the same way we elect them — by a pop­u­lar vote. It is also how we elect the U.S. Congress, gover­nors, may­ors — ev­ery of­fice but pres­i­dent.

That must change. Polls have con­sis­tently shown that most Amer­i­cans pre­fer a pop­u­lar vote to the sys­tem we have now — and a sur­vey re­leased last month finds that 78 per­cent of all Con­necti­cut vot­ers, in­clud­ing most Repub­li­cans, want to pick the pres­i­dent by pop­u­lar vote as well. Also, at a time when there is deep con­cern about ad­ver­saries try­ing to med­dle in our elec­tions, vot­ers be­lieve — cor­rectly — that a pop­u­lar vote will be more se­cure than an elec­tion de­cided in a hand­ful of states.

Why do I, a Repub­li­can, sup­port a pop­u­lar vote for pres­i­dent? Af­ter all, in the past five elec­tions, the cur­rent sys­tem has pro­duced two GOP pres­i­dents who re­ceived fewer pop­u­lar votes than their op­po­nents. But that view is short-sighted. If 60,000 Ohio vot­ers had cast their bal­lots for John Kerry in­stead of Ge­orge W. Bush in 2004, the Demo­crat would have been pres­i­dent — de­spite los­ing by 3 mil­lion pop­u­lar votes.

Last Novem­ber, days af­ter his own vic­tory, Don­ald Trump said: “I would rather see it where you went with sim­ple votes. You know, you get 100 mil­lion votes, and some­body else gets 90 mil­lion votes, and you win.”

I do not know if that is still his po­si­tion, but he has the ar­gu­ment right. A pop­u­lar vote brings all the states into play, in­clud­ing Con­necti­cut. All of the state’s vot­ers, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion, should sup­port this bill be­cause it means that, whether they vote for a Demo­crat or a Repub­li­can or some­one else, they will be cast­ing a vote for pres­i­dent that counts.

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