Testimony on eight bills, including the National Popular Vote

Note: The General Administration and Elections Committee has taken up several election bills and concepts for this session. We are optimistic that some of the concepts will be developed and passed to provide increased election integrity.  Many of the bills taken up, often well intended, have unintended negative consequences. We are highlighting several of them to point out highlighting several of them to point out the good, the bad, and the unbelievable.

Today the Government Administration and Election Committee (GAE) held hearings on a variety of election related bills.  We testified against seven bills and lukewarmly for one.  We would like to be testifying for bills that would improve election integrity in Connecticut, but when a bill would harm election integrity we testify against it.  When a bill would be a help to voters, but has some potentially risky issues, we we will point them out. <our testimony>

Bills included two that would gut the post-election audit, one that would eliminate the secret ballot, one for Internet voting, one to help military voters that was inadequately specified, and one for the National Popular Vote Compact.  Since 2007, I have been the only person to testify against the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact in Connecticut. Finally, this year I was not alone.  But I remain the only Connecticut citizen to testify against the NPV Compact.  As usual, many of our friends testified for the NPV Compact. Fortunately, we have the facts and logic on our side.  It is easy to advocate for something that you understand.  I will have more to say on the NPV Compact.  Here is the main testimony page.   Please also read the additional supporting material in our full testimony it was the first bill on the agenda and is the first few pages of testimony.

I oppose the National Popular Vote Compact. I understand the theoretical advantages of the national popular vote, yet there are extreme risks in its mismatch with our existing state by state voting system.

Three minutes is far too short to change anyone’s opinion. Today, my goal is to open minds to consider a more comprehensive analysis.

What often appears simple is not. The Compact would cobble the national popular vote onto a flawed system designed for the Electoral College, with no means to change that system. It would result in unanticipated, yet predictable consequences that are overlooked and glossed over by advocates for the national popular vote

There is no official national popular vote number compiled in time, such that it could be used to officially and accurately determine the winner in any close election.

Even if there were such a number, it would aggrivate the flaws in the system. The Electoral College limits the risk and the damage to a few swing states in each election. With a national popular vote, errors, voter suppression, and fraud in all states would count against the national totals.

There is no national recount available for close elections, to establish an accurate number. Only in some individual states, if close numbers happened to occur in those states, would there be even a fraction of a national recount.

For Example: The inaccuracies in Bridgeport did not change the winner here in the race for governor and would not have been enough to change the Electoral College. If it was closer we would have had a recanvass and presumably those errors corrected. However, with the Compact the errors would have counted in a national popular vote number reported by the media or any other number calculated nationwide.

With the Compact there is every reason to believe that any close election would be decided by partisian action of the Congress or the Supreme Court – the same Court that ruled in Gore v. Bush, that not having a uniform recount law in Florida was grounds to stop the recount to avoid harm to the apparent winner. Would that same Court rule differently, faced with a close national popular vote and, even less uniformity between states than existed between Florida counties in 2000? Citizens and candidates can be expected to bring court challenges of Governors and Secretaries of State for relying on and providing inaccurate results in awarding Electoral College votes. As in Gore v. Bush, since the founding, close election controversies have all been decided in seemingly partisian decisions by Congress, special commissions, or the Supreme Court.

This is not a partisan issue. It is opposed by promintent members of both major parties. Those who have publicly spoken against the Compact include former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz (D), Connecticut College Political Scientist Dorothy B. James, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), and Minnesota Secretary of State and current President of the National Association of Secretaries of State Mark Ritchie (D).

I urge you to consider the risks and chaos made possible if Connecticut were to endorse the National Popular Vote Compact.

I challenge anyone to a responsible public blog debate on any and all of the issues I raised in testimony on the National Popular Vote. If you think I am wrong in any objection, let us us debate it. Right here on CTVotersCount.org. (If you wish to debate, you must use your own name and satisfy me that you are who you say you are, you must be civil, and must avoid excessive redundancy. I am open to changing my mind on my objections. If they are all refuted, I may have more, but I am open to changing my overall conclusions. Email me which item you wish to debate and I will start a post for that item and the debate will begin.)


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