Thiele: Ensuring Every Vote Counts When Electing a President

Legislation allows president to be elected by national popular vote

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced the Assembly passed legislation he co-prime sponsored to permit New York to join an interstate compact to award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote (A.4422). The measure would better reflect the will of the majority of voters participating nationwide in presidential elections.

“The voices of millions of Americans shouldn’t be silenced by the outcome of a few states’ elections,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “This legislation will strengthen our democracy by ensuring presidential candidates speak to ¬– and for ¬– the nation as a whole, not the issues of a handful of ‘battleground’ states containing a small fraction of the nation’s votes.”

Presidential candidates have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Armed with voting histories, demographic analysis and an abundance of statistical information, they have the power to make calculated assumptions on how a state will vote and concentrate their resources and political efforts on a pivotal few, Thiele said. The result is that voters from states like New York, that have historically supported one party or another, are ignored despite having large population centers.

A nationwide popular election can be implemented when enough states join the interstate agreement and pass identical laws awarding all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate receiving a majority of the popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, the National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes – 49 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it. Passage by New York State would add 29 electoral votes to the effort.

Thiele noted that the United States is the only democracy with an indirectly elected executive. Each state’s Electoral College membership is determined based on its total congressional representation in both houses, with the District of Columbia receiving three electors. In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the winners were selected based upon the outcomes of elections in one state because of its weight in the Electoral College.

“One state should not have the power to determine who will be our next president, particularly when the national popular vote would have changed the result,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “This legislation will ensure that the office of president is filled by a candidate who’s gained the trust and support of a majority of our nation’s voters – not a few strategic battleground states.”