New York City

Cuomo signs bill seeking to move NY to popular vote

Would Bypass Electoral College in Presidential Elections

November 9, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
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The day before the election, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation adding New York to the list of states committing to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate that receives a majority of the national popular vote. 

The purpose of the legislation, according to a statement put out by the governor, is to “guarantee that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election.”

If this legislation had been in place during Tuesday’s presidential election, Hillary Clinton might have been elected president.

According to figures reported by NPR, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Clinton had amassed 59,299,381 votes nationally, to Trump’s 59,135,740.

If the numbers hold, Clinton would be the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.

“Making the national popular vote a binding one will enable all voices to be heard and encourage candidates to appeal to voters in all states,” Cuomo said.

If the National Popular Vote Compact passes nationwide, New York would award its 29 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 States (plus the District of Columbia). 

The bill would only take effect if enough other states pass identical legislation. The compact currently contains 165 of the necessary 270 electoral votes (61 percent).

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Joseph Griffo and state Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. 

Griffo said in a statement, “Every New Yorker wants to know their vote for president will matter in deciding the future of our country.”

Dinowitz said, “Only in the world’s greatest democracy, the person who receives the most votes for president is not necessarily the winner. National popular vote would change that, and it would mean that every American’s vote in every state would count equally.”

Like most states, New York currently uses the winner-take-all method, in which the winner of the popular vote receives all of its electors.

Supporters of the bill say that under the current winner-take-all system, presidential candidates are able to ignore the concerns of reliable Republican and Democrat states, like New York, and focus all of their attention on a small group of battleground states. New York ranks near the bottom in presidential campaign spending.

The compact has now been enacted through legislation in 10 states: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C.

An earlier version of the compact would have expired in 2018. This version extends New York’s participation indefinitely.



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