New York Legislature votes to join national popular vote

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

A bill which passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate on March 27 could mean the state will determine victors in national elections based on a popular vote.

The vote, sponsored by Republican Sen. Joseph Griffo and Democratic Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, enters New York in an interstate compact seeking to wrest influence away from a small number of swing states.

Under the law, New York will award its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote if states holding the majority of electoral votes agree. Traditionally, states have drawn more attention from candidates for their strategic value rather than the size of their voting population.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, who supported the resolution, argued the law would strengthen New York’s electoral power by giving candidates an incentive to campaign in the state. Acccording to her, New York is often overlooked despite carrying a disproportionately large number of voters.

“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,” Jaffee 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.”

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski joined Jaffee in her support for the national popular vote, agreeing that New York residents deserve better representation in elections with a renewal of the “one person, one vote” model.

“Rockland County residents need their voices heard in these important elections,” Zebrowski said. “It is painfully apparent over the past several cycles that only a handful of states receive the attention of candidates leaving the concerns of New Yorkers unaddressed.”

The compact currently includes nine states for a total of 136 votes. New York’s 29 electoral votes boost that number up to 165 and provide the second largest number of votes per state after California.

Once states representing at least 270 electoral votes enact the legislation, they will in effect abolish the current electoral model and replaced it with a national popular vote, while still keeping the Electoral College technically in place.

Learn more about the nationwide effort at: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/