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National Popular Vote

January 5, 2012 - 2:01am

We in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) might be in the State of New York, but really, we’re in a vast stretch of territory that extends across the country known as ‘the heartland’.  Although what constitutes this part of the country is very loose, it usually extends from the Rocky Mountains to the uppermidwest and into Central New York and Pennsylvania.  While we share a state and upstate/downstate fairness and cooperation is important to the smooth operation of state government for all of it’s citizens, one could argue that the voters in places like Batavia, LeRoy,Oakfield and even Buffalo and Rochester and it's suburbs have much more in common with people in places like Butler, Pennsylvania (where I volunteered for then Senator Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2008) and the area around Cleveland, Ohio (where I have visited many times) than mid-town Manhattan.  I think that lumping us all together for the purpose of counting electoral votes is absurd given our vast differences with them and commonalities with other locations.

Yet, despite having similar populations, Presidential campaigns spend well into the millions of dollars to win over crucial enclaves in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennslyvania while completely ignoring our region.  The reason for this?  The Electoral College, a ridiculous and antiquated system put into place hundreds of years ago that has now outgrown it’s purpose, the nation is now spread out in terms of regional balance, and the constant attention paid to swing states over non-swing states does a disservice to the voters in those non-swing states and the smaller swing states.  Here’s an excellent and jaw dropping example, in the State of New Hampshire, which has 4 electoral votes, the Obama and McCain campaign spent roughly 15 million dollars to contest the state while in New York, which had 33 electoral votes, they both spent less than 500 thousand dollars.  If a state with less than ten percent of the total electoral votes of another has campaign expenditures well exceeding 500% of the larger state isn’t ridiculous, I’m not sure what is.

This damages the critical notion that Presidential elections give the President a mandate to govern the entire country.  One could easily argue that the President really only has a mandate from the states of Ohio, Pennslyvania and Florida, since winning 2 out of those 3 states is seen as being absolutely essential to winning for a nominee of either party, while the votes of tens of millions of people from places like Batavia across the country aren’t really that relevant.

July 11, 2010 - 2:05am

 As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote and looked forward to casting my first presidential ballot. Now, several presidential elections later, I find myself a bit disinfranchised with the process.

I can't recall the last time a Presidential candidate made any attempt to solicit my New York vote. Not that I expect them to knock on my door, but some attempt to make me feel that my vote is important to them would be nice. We, New Yorkers, seem to be ignored by one party (if they feel they can't win NY) and taken for granted by the other (if they feel they can't lose NY).

I'm sure that if I lived in a battleground state, such as Ohio or Florida, Presidential candidates would battle for my vote using tv spots, mailings and even public appearances. But NY is not a battleground state. It is now sadly referred to as a "Spectator State" - we get to sit on the sidelines and watch others elect our President. When it comes to electing our highest public official, every state should be a battlestate...there should be no "gimmees"!

I know I am not alone. I hear many people say that they don't even bother to vote in a Presidential election because they feel that their vote doesn't count. Oftentimes, I don't get to the polls until the very end. By that time, the news and various pollsters have already called the results for NY, making my vote, virtually unnecessary and unimportant. Meanwhile, they all wait with anticipation to see what happens in Ohio or Florida, etc. Why should my geography make my vote any less important?

The Constitution gives the states exclusive and complete control over the way they award their electoral votes. The current winner-take-all method of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the statewide winner is not in the Constitution.

A nationwide effort is underway to change the method by which we elect our President to one that reflects the nationwide choice of the people - by popular vote.

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

The National Popular Vote Bill (A1580B/S2286A) came one step closer to becoming law by overwhelmingly passing in the NY Senate on June 7, 2010 by a vote of 52-7. It will now go on to the Assembly. I am glad that my Assemblyman, Steve Hawley, "wholeheartedly" supports this legislation.

Hopefully, one day, all votes will be created equal.

Check out www.NationalPopularVote.com for more information.

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