Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 487

    January Session, 2017

House Bill No. 5434

House of Representatives, April 11, 2017

The Committee on Government Administration and Elections reported through REP. FOX of the 148th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the bill ought to pass.

AN ACT ADOPTING THE INTERSTATE COMPACT TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BY NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote is hereby enacted into law and entered into by this state with all states legally joining therein in the form substantially as follows:

ARTICLE I. Membership

Any State of the United States and the District of Columbia may become a member of this agreement by enacting this agreement.

ARTICLE II. Right of the People in Member States to Vote for President and Vice President

Each member state shall conduct a state-wide popular election for President and Vice President of the United States.

ARTICLE III. Manner of Appointing Presidential Electors in Member States

Prior to the time set by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each presidential slate in each State of the United States and in the District of Columbia in which votes have been cast in a state-wide popular election and shall add such votes together to produce a "national popular vote total" for each presidential slate.

The chief election official of each member state shall designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the "national popular vote winner".

The presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment in that official's own state of the elector slate nominated in that state in association with the national popular vote winner.

At least six days before the day fixed by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, each member state shall make a final determination of the number of popular votes cast in the state for each presidential slate and shall communicate an official statement of such determination within twenty-four hours to the chief election official of each other member state.

The chief election official of each member state shall treat as conclusive an official statement containing the number of popular votes in a state for each presidential slate made by the day established by federal law for making a state's final determination conclusive as to the counting of electoral votes by Congress.

In event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, the presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment of the elector slate nominated in association with the presidential slate receiving the largest number of popular votes within that official's own state.

If, for any reason, the number of presidential electors nominated in a member state in association with the national popular vote winner is less than or greater than that state's number of electoral votes, the presidential candidate on the presidential slate that has been designated as the national popular vote winner shall have the power to nominate the presidential electors for that state and that state's presidential elector certifying official shall certify the appointment of such nominees.

The chief election official of each member state shall immediately release to the public all vote counts or statements of votes as they are determined or obtained.

This article shall govern the appointment of presidential electors in each member state in any year in which this agreement is, on July twentieth, in effect in states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes.

ARTICLE IV. Other Provisions

This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement in substantially the same form and the enactments by such states have taken effect in each state.

Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President's term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.

The chief executive of each member state shall promptly notify the chief executive of all other states of when this agreement has been enacted and has taken effect in that official's state, when the state has withdrawn from this agreement, and when this agreement takes effect generally.

This agreement shall terminate if the electoral college is abolished.

If any provision of this agreement is held invalid, the remaining provisions shall not be affected.

ARTICLE V. Definitions

For purposes of this agreement:

"Chief executive" shall mean the Governor of a State of the United States or the Mayor of the District of Columbia;

"Elector slate" shall mean a slate of candidates who have been nominated in a state for the position of presidential elector in association with a presidential slate;

"Chief election official" shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the total number of popular votes for each presidential slate;

"Presidential elector" shall mean an elector for President and Vice President of the United States;

"Presidential elector certifying official" shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the appointment of the state's presidential electors;

"Presidential slate" shall mean a slate of two persons, the first of whom has been nominated as a candidate for President of the United States and the second of whom has been nominated as a candidate for Vice President of the United States, or any legal successors to such persons, regardless of whether both names appear on the ballot presented to the voter in a particular state;

"State" shall mean a State of the United States and the District of Columbia; and

"State-wide popular election" shall mean a general election in which votes are cast for presidential slates by individual voters and counted on a state-wide basis.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

New section

GAE

Joint Favorable

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill, which adopts the interstate compact among the states to commit presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote, has no fiscal impact. Municipalities and the Secretary of the State currently collect all information required to comply with the requirements of the compact.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

HB05434

AN ACT ADOPTING THE INTERSTATE COMPACT TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BY NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE.

SUMMARY

This bill adopts the interstate compact entitled “The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote,” under which Connecticut would commit its presidential electors to the national popular vote winner in a presidential election. Any state or Washington, D.C. may join the compact, which takes effect when enough jurisdictions have done so to cumulatively possess a majority of Electoral College votes (270) (see BACKGROUND). The compact includes a severability clause so that if a court finds any provision invalid, the remaining provisions are not affected. If the Electoral College is abolished, the compact terminates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS

Under the compact, each state that joins (“member state”) must elect its presidential electors in accordance with specified procedures. These electors must cast their votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who receive a plurality of the national popular vote. The following procedures take place in each member state:

The compact requires each member to treat an official statement containing a state's popular vote totals as conclusive and representative of its final vote. At this point, the certifying official certifies the appointment of the presidential electors in association with the national popular vote winner.

In the event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, each member state's certifying official certifies the appointment of the presidential electors nominated in association with the candidate receiving the largest number of popular votes in the state.

If the number of presidential electors a member state nominates is more or less than its number of electoral votes, the national popular vote winner nominates the presidential electors for the state, and the certifying official certifies their appointment.

Finally, each member state's chief election official must release to the public the vote counts and statements of vote immediately after they are determined or obtained.

OTHER PROVISIONS

Any member state may withdraw from the compact, but a withdrawal during the last six months of a presidential term is not effective until the next president or vice president is qualified to serve (i.e., begins) the next term.

The compact requires each member state's chief executive (governor, or mayor for Washington, D.C.) to notify every other state's chief executive if and when the compact is enacted and takes effect in the official's state or the state withdraws. Each chief executive must also notify every other chief executive when the compact takes effect nationwide.

The compact's governing clause specifies that it applies to the appointment of presidential electors in any year when, on July 20, the compact is in effect because enough states have become members to cumulatively possess a majority of electoral votes.

BACKGROUND

Member States

To date, 10 states (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) and Washington, D.C. have adopted the compact. Together they hold 165 electoral votes.

Aggregating National Popular Votes, Including Non-Member States

Popular vote tallies from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. are included in the “national popular vote total,” regardless of whether the jurisdiction is a member of the compact. Popular votes can be counted from non-member states only if the state votes by popular vote. While all states currently conduct elections this way, neither the U.S. Constitution nor any state constitution, except Colorado's, provides individuals with the right to vote for president and vice president. Instead, state laws provide this right. Since a state could, by law, take the presidential vote away from its people, the compact addresses this unlikely event by specifying that the popular votes of every state that voted by popular vote would be aggregated to produce the national popular vote total.

Date When Presidential Electors Meet to Vote

The six-day deadline corresponds to the deadline in federal law's “safe harbor” provision (3 U.S.C. 5). Under the safe harbor provision, if a state settles any controversy and makes a final determination concerning its presidential elector appointments at least six days before the time fixed by law for the electors' meeting, that determination is considered conclusive. Federal law requires the presidential electors of each state to meet and vote on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

9

Nay

8

(03/24/2017)

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