NPV Forum in Greenwich

Tuesday I participated in a forum/debate on the National Popular Vote Compact.  Greenwich Time has a vary fair article on the event <read>

Nearly 150 people were curious enough about plans to change how presidential election votes are counted to devote nearly two hours Tuesday night to the discussion…

“Frankly this is something that makes sense for all the states,” said Pam Wilmot, a member of Common Cause, who had pushed for Massachusetts to be a part of the compact.

“It particularly makes sense for states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Texas, Idaho and Oklahoma because they are all part of the three-fourths of states that are ignored in the current system. The current system doesn’t help small states. It doesn’t help big states. It helps battleground states.”

Countered Luther Weeks of the grassroots Ctvoterscount.org, which describes itself as dedicated to election fairness and integrity: “I understand the theoretical advantages of the popular vote, but there is a mismatch with the electoral college system and one the compact does not change. There are things like nuclear power and DDT and fracking that all sound good but have unintended consequences that might not be apparent at the beginning.”

The compact, crafted more than a decade ago, has been picking up political backing since November’s election of President Donald Trump. Despite losing the popular election by more than 3 million votes, Trump won the electoral college and the presidency.

Its bipartisan support includes former Democratic Vice President Al Gore, who famously lost the 2000 race despite winning the popular vote; former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Republican Congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.

Actually opposition is bi-partisan as well.  I noted this list from my recent testimony:

  • Susan Bysiewicz (D), former Connecticut Secretary of the State
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), former California Governor
  • Mark Ritchie (D), Minnesota Secretary of State and former President of the National Association of Secretaries of State
  • Daniel Patrick Moynihan(D), former Wesleyan professor and U.S. Senator
  • William Cibes (D), former State University System Chancellor

In one of the photos I am holding a 1118 page book that is free.  Instead, I recommend two books that are shorter, that are worth reading, and worth much more than you will pay for them!

The book Every Vote Equal is a tiresome read and quite redundant. Reading it is like being locked in a room with an infomercial blaring away 24×7. It claims to refute my claim that “There is no official national popular vote number available in time for states to choose their electors”.  They leave out the “in time” and point to the Certificates of Ascertainment which are submitted to the National Archivist.  That claim was repeated in the debate. Fortunately, I brought along and held up the two forms from 2016 that were signed and submitted on the date the electors vote (a week after they must be selected) and the two certificates that were signed the day after.  For more see my recent testimony, page 3.

Instead I recommend Ballot Battles which articulates the partisan nature of battles over close election results. It is clear to me that it portends the battles that would ensue if the Compact were enacted. I also recommend Broken Ballots which details the risks inherent in our voting methods.

I also got in some comments on the uniqueness of an event where individuals claim that Connecticut voters would appreciate more money in politics.  I did not say everything in the debate but here is what I have said:

There are valid reasons for a National Popular Vote and against the Compact, yet more money in Connecticut Politics is not one of them. I do not agree with the argument that increasing political spending in Connecticut is a benefit of the Compact:

  •  Most Connecticut voters and several sponsors of this event want less money in Connecticut Politics, not more.
  • Connecticut voters do not need more calls, robo-calls, and 30 second attack ads to choose how they will vote.
  • I don’t think Trump’s visit to Connecticut last year, nor any other candidate in person, sways many voters who can see the same talking points on the news, almost every night.
  • The money raised here from Drug companies, Insurance Companies and Traders mostly would not be spent here anyway.
  •  In any case, the money spent for adds and robo-calls would largely go to out of state political consultants, vendors, and media moguls.
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