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Short Explanation
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation's voters for President of the United States.   more
11 Enactments
The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted into law in states possessing 165 electoral votes — 61% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the legislation.

  • Maryland - 10 votes
  • Massachusetts - 11
  • Washington - 12 votes
  • Vermont - 3 votes
  • Rhode Island - 4 votes
  • DC - 3 votes
  • Hawaii - 4 votes
  • New Jersey - 14 votes
  • Illinois - 20 votes
  • New York - 29 votes
  • California - 55 votes

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    Legislative Gazette
    Senate OKs popular vote legislation
    By Sara A. Emmert
    June 21, 2010

    New York state has come one step closer to joining the movement to elect the U.S. president by a national popular vote.

    The Senate passed a measure on June 7 to enter into an interstate agreement to have New York's electoral delegates vote for the candidate who receives the majority of votes nationwide.

    The legislation (S.2286-a/A.1580-b), which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support by a 52-7 vote, would enter the state into an agreement to award New York's 31 electoral votes to the candidate who receives a majority of the popular vote cast by residents of all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    The legislation would go into effect when the combined electoral votes of states signing on to the agreement amounts to 270, the votes currently needed to elect a president.

    "New York, along with a majority of states across the nation, has become disenfranchised in the presidential election process as a result of the current winner-take-all system," said the Senate sponsor of the legislation, Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn. "Currently, candidates have no incentive to be active in areas where the race is not contested. … By enacting national popular voting, candidates and their campaigns would be active in every state and no state would be excluded as they are today."

    National Popular Vote's Michael Cinquanti, when asked if the Electoral College would be eliminated if the president were elected by national popular vote, said no. Cinquanti, who represents New York for the organization, said the Electoral College is mandated by the U.S. Constitution, but each state is afforded the opportunity to award its electoral votes any way it chooses, for the best interest of the people.

    Five states have already passed the measure: Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland, bringing the nation a quarter of the way to a national popular vote.

    Currently, the president and vice president are, with the exception of two states, elected under a "winner-take-all" system. The presidential candidate who receives the most votes in the other 48 states, take 100 percent of that state's electoral vote. The number of electoral votes each state has is determined by the number of its U.S. senators and representatives. The number of representatives is determined by the decennial census.

    This existing process has resulted in presidential campaigns considering some states noncompetitive based on voter enrollment figures and voting records. This means states such as New York, historically a "blue" state, will see its electoral votes going to the Democratic candidate and the "red" state of Texas sending its electoral delegates out to vote for the Republican, regardless of which candidates garners the majority of votes nationwide.

    Senate Elections Committee Chairman Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, said, "In 2000 we saw how the will of the majority was thwarted by a flaw in our electoral system that allowed a tiny number of people in one state to decide the outcome of the presidential election. Enacting national popular vote legislation will ensure this never happens again."

    The 2000 presidential election saw Democratic candidate Al Gore lose the race to Republican George W. Bush, despite the fact that Gore won the popular vote. Bush beat Gore with 271 electoral votes.

    "In the [2008] election, the candidates' [campaigns] concentrated two-thirds of their time and money in just six states including the big three of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida," said Assembly bill sponsor Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx. "Most states in essence aren't part of the process to pick a president; it's only a handful of states."

    Swing states have been the main focus of presidential candidates as they are often the key to winning a national election. In the 2004 and 2008 campaigns, 98 percent of the money raised was spent in 16 states, and two-thirds of that money was spent in only 5 states, according to Larry Sokol, a spokesperson for National Popular Vote.

    In 2008, campaigns spent 10,225 times more on advertising in Florida than New York, according to the Senate's Democratic majority conference.

    "Everybody realizes that this is going to make New York relevant in presidential elections," said Cinquanti. "A vote in upstate New York would matter just as much as a vote in Sarasota, Florida."

    Yet there is some concern that the popular vote would shift presidential candidates' focus from the swing states to the larger cities.

    However, according to Sokol, the top 50 most-populated cities in the nation only make up 19 percent of the country's population. Sokol said that under the popular vote, every vote is equal, in rural areas, cities and towns; so presidential candidates would have to campaign everywhere, and the campaign money would be evenly spent across the nation.

    Dinowitz, whose bill has been stuck in the Elections Law Committee since the beginning of the session, said the legislation would enable candidates to pay attention to everyone, not just a small fraction of the population.

    "I think that in the world's greatest democracy, we can find a way to ensure that the person that gets the most votes actually is the winner," added Dinowitz.


    Reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President