Legislation to implement the National Popular Vote plan, a multi-state agreement to establish a national popular vote for President, was introduced this week in the New York Assembly. A11563, sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R) and backed by four fellow Republicans, would enact the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”ï¿½ Identical legislation has passed the Colorado state senate, passed a Louisiana committee, been the subject of a hearing in Missouri, won bipartisan support in Illinois and is scheduled for a floor vote on Tuesday in the California Assembly,
Assemblyman Thiele explained his support for A11563 this year: “The election of the President by popular vote is a goal that is supported by more than 70% of the American people. There is no rational reason in the 21st Century why the public should not be permitted to select its President by majority vote. The Electoral College is an 18th Century anachronism that no longer serves the goals of a democracy. The enactment of an interstate compact to insure the popular election of the President is a creative and innovative way to attain this goal. New York State, the Empire State should take a leadership role in energizing our democracy.”ï¿½
“New York legislators have every reason to support Assemblyman Thiele's bill,”ï¿½ commented Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonpartisan reform organization and an ally in the National Popular Vote coalition. “The Constitution assigns the task of improving presidential elections to state legislators. It's clear that New Yorkers now get absolutely zero attention in presidential campaigns unless being asked for a check. Indeed the state has experienced one of the nation's ten largest declines in youth turnout.”ï¿½
“We're glad to see New York legislators acting on the widely-acknowledged fact that presidential elections ignore far too many voters. We need a president of the United States, not the United Swing States,”ï¿½ commented National Popular Vote President Barry Fadem. “We look forward to working with Republicans, Democrats and independents in every state in the nation to make this plan a reality, and give all Americans an equal say in presidential elections.”ï¿½
Since National Popular Vote's launch in February, bills to implement its proposal have been introduced in Illinois, Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and California. Former Congressmen John Anderson (R-IL and independent presidential candidate) and John Buchanan(R-AL) testified in a Missouri committee. Committees approved the measure in Colorado and Louisiana, Illinois house and senate bills have dozens of supporters from both parties and the California assembly is scheduled to have a floor vote on May 30.
States have applied many different rules for allocating electors over the years. Under A11563, states would award their electors for president based on the nationwide popular vote winner rather than on the statewide vote winner. These laws would not take effect anywhere until identical laws had been enacted in enough states to assure that the nationwide popular vote winner will get enough electoral votes to be guaranteed the Presidency.
Co-authors of a new book on the proposal, Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan For Electing The President By National Popular Vote, include Stanford professor John Koza, FairVote's Rob Richie and SUNY-Albany's Joseph Zimmerman. FairVote also produced the groundbreaking Presidential Election Inequality. For more information, see www.fairvote.org/presedential and www.nationalpopularvote.com .
Sponsors of A11563
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (Republican, Independence, Working Families — Sag Harbor)
Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (Republican, Conservative — Corning)
Assemblyman Joe Errigo (Republican, Conservative — Conesus)
Assemblyman Andrew Raia (Republican, Conservative, Independence, Working Families — E. Northport)
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (Republican, Independence, Conservative - Willsboro)