State Watch

Connecticut lawmakers pass measure to give electoral votes to presidential candidate who wins popular vote

The Connecticut state House passed a measure Thursday that would give the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who won the popular vote, if enough states promise to do the same.

The bill would have the state join an interstate compact that grants participating states’ votes to candidates who win the popular vote, the Hartford Courant reported.

However, the compact doesn’t go into effect until enough states join for the group to have 270 electoral votes — the amount a presidential candidate must earn to win the Electoral College. 

Ten states have joined the group so far, representing a total of 165 electoral votes. 

Support for the compact grew after both President Trump and former President George W. Bush won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.


The measure to join the interstate compact passed the Connecticut state House 77-73, largely along party lines. Three conservative Democrats voted against the measure, and only one Republican supported it, according to the Courant.

Republicans debated whether the measure was constitutional because it changed the election process without approval from Congress.

“This is an act of political theater, artificial gimmick,” Rep. David Labriola (R) said, the paper reported. “This is something that is not necessary, is not constitutional.’’

Democrats pushed back against the argument, saying that the Electoral College wouldn’t be eliminated.

“We could make a profound change that would enhance confidence, participation, excitement of a presidential election in small and large states alike,” said Rep. Daniel Fox (D).

The Courant reported that the state attorney general hasn’t given lawmakers an official legal opinion on the measure.

The measure now moves on to the Connecticut state Senate, which is also divided on the bill. President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D) has backed the measure, as has Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).

State Watch