Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

March 24, 2017

Flexer Praises Brave Committee Passage of National Popular Vote Legislation

State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) today lauded the Democratic members of her Government Administration and Elections Committee for—over the strenuous objections of their Republican counterparts—passing a bill that could result in electing America’s president by the national popular vote, instead of the electoral college.

House Bill 5434, “An Act Adopting the Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote,” barely passed out of the GAE Committee today on a partisan 8-7 vote, with Sen. Flexer herself—who is Senate Co-Chair of the Committee—voting in the affirmative.

The bill now heads to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration.

“I’m very proud of the Democratic members of the GAE Committee for sticking together and doing the right thing for America by voting for this National Popular Vote bill, even after Republicans killed the Senate version of this bill” Sen. Flexer said today. “To have this vote come today, on the same day that a horrid Republican replacement health care bill was imploding in Washington D.C., is so fitting. It’s a stark reminder that elections can have dire consequences for the physical and psychic health of a nation, and that the person who wins the electoral college is not necessarily the best choice for president nor the person who has the support of a majority of American citizens. Hopefully this NPV bill will successfully make its way through the House and Senate and other states will join us in the compact.”

“After the November election my office received scores of emails from people in support of instituting a national popular vote,” Sen. Flexer added. ‘I agree. We have to move beyond what is truly an antiquated electoral college system and trust our citizens to directly elect their president. Every vote should have equal weight.”

Under the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, once it goes into effect, the states therein choose to allocate their electoral votes to the candidate who garners the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The compact takes effect only when enough states sign on to guarantee that the national popular vote winner wins the presidency. This means that states with a combined total of 270 electoral votes—a majority of the electoral college—must join the compact for it to take effect.

To date, 11 American states possessing 165 electoral votes have approved the interstate compact, which represent 61 percent of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it. Connecticut’s neighboring states—New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island—have passed this bill.

The state-by-state, winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is not set out in the United States Constitution. It was not debated at the Constitutional Convention, nor was it discussed in the Federalist Papers. The Founding Fathers did not design the system of allocating electoral votes currently used in most states. Rather, the Founding Fathers established the electoral college without any instructions on how states should use it. The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (all of which abandoned it by 1800).