Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) helped the Assembly pass legislation he 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-A). The measure would strengthen the power of New York’s vote in presidential elections. The legislation has also passed the Senate and will now be delivered to the governor.
“It’s time to put an end to having the presidency decided by a handful of swing states,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “The legislation I sponsored in the Assembly will strengthen our democracy by ensuring that presidential candidates speak for the interests of all Americans, rather than competing for a small fraction of the votes in a few ‘battleground’ states.”
Unfortunately, presidential candidates make calculated assumptions on how a state will vote and, therefore, concentrate their resources and political efforts on a pivotal few, Dinowitz said. The result is that voters from states like New York, that have historically supported one party or another, are ignored despite having a large population.
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 nine states and the District of Columbia, possessing 136 electoral votes – 50.4 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.1 Passage by New York State would add 29 electoral votes to the effort.
Assemblyman Dinowitz 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.
“Our democracy is founded on the idea that each vote represents an equal voice in our government, which is why the voices of millions of Americans shouldn’t be stifled by the outcomes of a few states’ elections,” Dinowitz said. “This legislation will ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted by awarding New York’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the national popular vote.”
The bill has also passed the State Senate and was sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo.