Albany- Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) today announced the New York State Assembly has passed A.4422, legislation he sponsored commonly known as the “National Popular Vote” which would enter New York into a compact among states and the District of Columbia to elect the President of the United States based off of national popular vote totals. The bill passed the Assembly with bipartisan support, by a vote of 100-40.
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The compact will reinsure the concept that every vote, in every state, will be important in every election. The current system’s “winner take all” statutes, which awards the state’s entire electoral vote count to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in the state, has resulted in presidential candidates completely ignoring certain states during the election in favor of more important “swing states.” This often results in apathy towards the campaign and can lead to the disenfranchisement of voters in states deemed unimportant to victory, which ultimately stifles the democratic process.
If signed into law, New York will become the 10th jurisdiction and ninth state to enact the National Popular Vote, following the passage the National Popular Vote compact in Vermont, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, California and Hawaii. Passage in New York, which would become the second largest state to pass the compact behind only California, would also mean that states comprising 60 percent of the electoral votes necessary to elect a president have voted to become part of the compact.
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.
“This is truly a landmark piece of legislation; finally in the world’s greatest democracy the candidate who receives the most votes will always be the winner,” said Dinowitz. “Every vote in every state will count equally. No state or any part of any state will be ignored; New York and the issues that New Yorkers care about will become relevant in the Presidential election. This historic reform will result in increased voter participation and make our democratic process more democratic.”
The bill now moves to the State Senate, where a vote is expected before the end of the legislative session which is scheduled to end next week. The Senate previously passed the bill in 2011, by a 47-13 margin with bipartisan support. The bill is sponsored in the Senate (S.3149) by State Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-Rome). National popular vote will take effect only after enough States comprising a majority of electoral votes join the compact.