Would you call the current presidential election process a fair one? How about in terms of how a voters voice is ultimately weighed?
Currently, the voting system for a presidential election in the United States works as follows: You go vote, votes are tallied up across the whole state, and then the state submits its electoral college votes to whoever had the most votes in the state.
Each state has a different amount of electoral college votes. A state's population determines the number of electoral college votes it has to offer. Connecticut currently controls 7 votes. New York controls 29. California controls 55.
The National Popular Vote movement wants to change the way those states allocate their votes. The legislation it proposes currently has support of about half the states/electoral vote weight it would need to enact it. In Connecticut, the legislation has passed the House, but not the Senate.
"The winner of the national popular vote doesn't always win," said National Popular Vote Regional Director Ryan O'Donnell. "That's happened 4 times out of a total of 56 presidential elections. That's one out of 14. It's even worse when it's narrowed down in close elections. Then it's even more likely the wrong winner is going to win."
The elections O'Donnell were referring to were 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. In the most recent instance, George W. Bush was appointed to the presidency by winning the electoral college numbers despite losing the overall count among voters.
"Something that happens every election, though, is the country really gets carved up into two kinds of states: swing states and safe states," O'Donnell said. "Connecticut's a safe state. It's a spectator. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are both going to ignore Connecticut. They're not going to spend any significant amount of time here unless it's to raise money to send somewhere else."
O'Donnell wants to see all 50 states join the movement to designate each state's electoral college votes to the overall popular vote winner. Indeed, it would change the way elections were run. Even if, say, Connecticut voted all red in November, if the rest of the country voted blue, Connecticut would send it's 7 votes to the overall winner.
Suddenly, a candidate can't just focus on winning a set number of states to make up a winning number of electoral college votes. O'Donnell sees a future where the president would need to try his or her hardest to win the mind of every single voter out there.
State Representative Gerald Fox III supports the notion. On the Government Administration and Elections Committee, Fox has voted to support the efforts of the National Popular Vote movement and said he would continue to do so in the future.
"For the past couple of years, the National Vote Movement has been trying to pass legislation across the country," Fox said. "We've had situations where the individual who got the most votes did not win the election. In a democracy such as ours, that's a difficult situation to explain."
Fox agreed that adopting such a voting plan would open up the potential weight for each individual voter. Every state could feel like a part of the process again, instead of certain states being focused on because of the electoral college votes ultimately offered there.
"There is a tremendous amount of resources placed in such a small number of states," Fox said. "I wouldn't say the current system is necessarily broken. We almost always get the individual with the most votes elected. It's more of a logic issue. The person with the most votes should always be the winner of an election."
This, O'Donnell said, was the point of his efforts.
"Every state ought to be relevant."
-- Ed. Note: Patch reached out to State Rep. for Stamford & New Canaan William Tong, who voted Nay on the National Vote Bill, for comment, but did not hear back by press time.