On April 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that adds New York to the list of states participating in the National Popular Vote interstate compact. This comes two months after Oklahoma’s Senate voted to do the same. (However, the Oklahoma legislation still needs to pass the House and get the governor’s signature before it becomes law.)
The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative originated as an idea in an academic article published by a Northwestern University law professor in 2001. A nonprofit group was formed in 2006 to push for its passage by the states. Since then, ten states and the District of Columbia have signed it into law.
The NPV gives us a way around the problems of the Electoral College without amending the Constitution. Every state has the power to appoint its electors however it sees fit. The NPV is a compact between the states, agreeing that when enough states have joined, representing at least 270 of the 538 electors, they will appoint electors who’ll vote for the popular-vote winner–regardless of who won the state. This would guarantee that the popular-vote winner would be elected President, something the Electoral College does not always do.
With the addition of New York, 165 of the 270 electors needed are now within the compact. This is 61% of the number needed to activate it.
There’s been some debate about whether the NPV would be judged constitutional by the Supreme Court. We’d love to know your thoughts about this initiative and its progress. Please add your comments below.