Reforming Presidential Elections: Senate Passes National Popular Vote Legislation

The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S2286A) to enter an interstate agreement to elect the U.S. President by national popular vote, striking away an arcane system in which candidates work for votes in a handful of states while reducing voters in more progressive or conservative states to little more than bystanders in the democratic process.

Because of the concentration of states considered “toss-ups”, in 2004 presidential candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits to just five states. Additionally, over 80-percent of resources were spent in nine states; and over 99-percent of all funds in just 16 states.

Voters in more than two-thirds of other states, including New York, were ignored in the 2004 Presidential election. Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide, as was the case in the 2000 Presidential election.

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) said, “The electoral college is outdated. We have seen how it allows a small number of states to choose the President – even if a majority of Americans choose another candidate. Our bill corrects this inequity so all Americans are equal at the ballot box.”

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