Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 28, 2014

'National Popular Vote' bill approved by state

STAFF REPORTS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, announced earlier this week that legislation he says will make New York more relevant in presidential elections was approved in both chambers of the Legislature by overwhelming margins. 

The “National Popular Vote” bill (S.3149-A/A.4422-A) would allow New York to enter into an interstate agreement through which all member states would award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote.

“If enough states did this, we would change the landscape of how we choose a president,” said Maziarz, who co-sponsored the measure. “Too often, presidential candidates campaign in a handful of swing states and ignore all the others. This bill would make New York’s votes matter more than ever and it would make sure that presidential candidates pay attention to our state and ultimately are more accountable to our state.”

The legislation was previously approved by the Senate in 2011 and the Assembly in 2013, but this week’s vote marks the first time both chambers have agreed to the measure in the same legislative session. As a result, the bill will be forwarded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature into law or veto.

The interstate agreement would take effect when 270 electoral votes from member states can be accounted for, which is enough to decide the outcome of a presidential contest. If the measure is signed into law in New York, the tally to date among participating states would reach 165 electoral votes, or 61 percent of that goal.

“For too long New York has been irrelevant in choosing our president,” Maziarz added. “This agreement will change that by making sure the voice of the majority of our citizens is heard.”