The National Institute on Money in State Politics released data on Sept. 26 demonstrating an important issue. The residents of Connecticut whose voices will be lost are why the Citizens’ Election Program must be protected.
The voters have a choice when a race is contested. Data show 74 percent of seats being contested before the CEP and 81 percent after. That gain holds steady, year after year. This now-level trend indicates we have reached an equilibrium. That is, the previously inconsistent numbers of contested elections suggests that some force other than natural candidate selection was at work. Without that force, we have a consistent participation rate.
These numbers serve to illustrate the effect. This rise in the number of contested elections to a level undistorted by money represents an average of an additional 13.09 districts being contested each cycle. Each House district represents around 22,600 people, and each Senate district represents around 99,280 people. This yields a weighted average of 37,359 residents per district.
Under the CEP, then, approximately 489,000 more people have been heard at every election cycle in our government.
Put another way, dismantling the CEP would silence almost half a million Connecticut residents.
Dan M. Smolnik is an attorney from Hamden.