Livvy Floren: Voting Should Be Popular…With Everyone

Submitted by Livvy Floren, State Representative, 149th District, Greenwich and Stamford, April 24, 2018

Madeleine Albright says she is an optimist, but she worries a lot.

Me, too.

I am very worried about the perceived partisanship and polarization of National Popular Vote (NPV). This is an initiative where reasonable people can agree to disagree, and it is not a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative idea.

When many of my Vassar classmates were reading Shakespeare and Aristotle, I was engrossed in Constitutional law cases. Marbury v. Madison, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, and Plessy v. Ferguson provided endless fascination and instilled within me a deep and abiding respect for the Constitution and for the wisdom of our nation’s founders. In addition, my political science studies proved to me that both the federal and Connecticut constitutions are living, breathing documents, which encourage flexibility and thoughtful interpretation.

In the Connecticut General Assembly, we will be discussing H.B. 5421, which proposes to have our state join an agreement/compact to elect the President according to the will of the majority – one person/one vote. According to recent polls, most Connecticut voters – Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated – support NPV.

Here is some background on the bill. Currently, Connecticut’s seven electoral votes go to the winner of the statewide popular vote, ultimately at the discretion of seven electors. If we agree to the compact, our electoral votes would instead go to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the result of the statewide popular vote for president.

Ten states, including Washington D.C., have agreed to the compact, and in order for it to go into effect, the aggregate total of electoral votes among the states in the compact must exceed 270, the number needed to win the election.

The question is complex, and the answer is not simple – however, in order to encourage civic engagement in the political process while maintaining the sanctity of each and every vote, I believe one person/one vote is an idea whose time has come.