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National Popular Vote Approved in Chambers in New York and Massachusetts

On June 7, the New York Senate passed S2286A, the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill, with over two-thirds of both political parties supporting the bill in a 52-7 roll call.  Although it has had bipartisan approval ever since it was first introduced in 2006, the overwhelmingly support it received from both parties during Monday's vote was unprecedented.  Twenty-two of the Chamber's 30 Republicans voted for the bill, not far off from the 79% overall support in New York for a national popular vote for President.  

The NPV bill now moves to the 150-member Assembly for debate, where it has 80 sponsors.  If passed, New York will become the sixth state - after Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, and Washington - to enter into the National Popular Vote inter-state compact, which awards all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in the 50 states and D.C.  Adding the New York's 31 electoral votes to the compact's current tally of 61 would be a significant step toward the 270 needed in order for the bill to take effect.

A NPV bill also passed the Massachusetts House last week by a 113-35 vote and now will be considered in the state Senate.  Both chambers actually passed NPV last year, but the session ended before the bill could be sent to the governor. 

Presidential campaigns spent two-thirds of their funds and campaign visits on just five states during the 2004 elections, and the numbers only worsen from there.  Eighty percent of resources were spent in nine states, and over 99% of all funds went to just 16 states.  The situation did not improve in 2008 either, when presidential candidates spent $10,225 more on advertising in Florida than in New York.  Unless the current state-centric system is change, there is no incentive for political participation in electorally "safe" states like New York or Massachusetts.