The Connecticut Legislature's Latest Vote Might Have A Big Effect On The Next Presidential Election

"The vote of every American citizen should count equally..."

The Electoral College was one of the biggest topics of the 2016 presidential race. The mechanism, part of the voting process since the ratification of the United States Constitution, has been in contention for quite some time, but its role in that election — in which former secretary of state Hillary Clinton bested President Donald Trump by 3 million votes nationally but Trump won based on the amount of Electoral College votes he accrued — led to some calling for it to be removed from the voting process completely. This week, Connecticut's legislators made a decision that could signal the end of the Electoral College's sway over the outcome of presidential elections.

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Per HuffPost, the Connecticut State Senate decided on the matter in a 21-14 vote on Saturday, meaning that the state will opt in to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The move came after the state's House passed the bill 77-73. With Connecticut's governor, Dan Malloy, previously promising to sign the bill into law should it pass, that means the state will join 10 other states — including California, New York, Hawaii, Maryland, and others, in the compact. 

By joining the agreement, Connecticut commits to allowing all of its Electoral College votes to go to the winner of the national popular vote in a presidential election should they amass 270 electoral votes — the amount needed to secure the presidency. The states involved in the compact comprise 172 electoral votes, meaning they're less than 100 votes away from the agreement taking effect. The agreement doesn't come without its caveats, though. The agreement, officially called "The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote," will be terminated should the Electoral College be abolished, according to NPR.

"With the exception of the presidency, every elected office in the country, from city council, to United States senator, to governor, is awarded the candidate who receives the most votes," Governor Maloy said, according to the Connecticut Mirror"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."

If members of the agreement are successful in attaining the number of votes needed before the 2020 presidential election, then people will have more direct influence in choosing the next commander-in-chief.

Cover image via Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com.

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