Mar 27, 2014
By overwhelming majorities in both chambers, the New York State Assembly and Senate adopted National Popular Vote legislation, a vote that moves the nation closer to adopting a popular vote standard for our presidential election. If the governor signs the bill, New York will become the 11th state/jurisdiction to adopt the measure.
Currently, each state controls its own rules as to how electoral votes are awarded to candidates. To win election to the presidency, a candidate must receive 270 of the 538 electoral votes. Increasingly, that has meant that candidates focus only on a combination of some states to win the presidential election, reducing citizens in many states to spectator status. Plainly, their votes don't count.
But under the National Popular Vote bill, presidential candidates would compete for every vote in every state. States that pass the bill agree to award all of their electoral votes to the candidate with the most overall votes nationwide. The plan can't go forward until states with at least a total of 270 electoral votes adopt it.
The National Popular Vote law has broad bi-partisan support and already has been adopted by these jurisdictions: California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – representing 136 electoral votes. New York's 29 votes would mean that supporters of this reform are more than halfway to getting to 270.
CWA President Larry Cohen said the New York State vote "puts us within striking difference of making every vote in our nation count when electing the President. In the 2012 presidential election, about $3 billion was spent almost entirely in 6 states; the candidates only went to other states to raise money. We have a long way to go on our road to a 21st century democracy, but the adoption of National Popular Vote in NY is a huge step. Congratulations to CWA members and activists who have worked on this for more than a year, to our partners and to the National Popular Vote campaign for making this possible," Cohen said.
Four times in the history of our country, the Electoral College system has resulted in the election of a president who did not receive a plurality of the national popular vote, most recently in the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush.