National Popular Election of the President  
Feb. 22, 2011--The National Popular Vote campaign, which is working to bring about an agreement among the states to elect the President by national popular vote, announced a boost to its efforts today with the addition of Tom Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex, as national spokesman. 

The campaign launched in February 2006, and since then six states and the District of Columbia with a total of 74 electoral votes have passed National Popular Vote legislation.  When states totaling 270 electoral votes—the number needed to elect the President—have passed the measure the agreement or compact will take effect; at that point those states will shift from distributing their electoral votes by the winner-take-all system used by all but two states to awarding them to the national popular vote winner.

Typically in the general election, presidential campaigns focus on closely contested "battleground states" while ignoring other states because they are "safe Republican or "safe Democratic."  According to National Popular Vote in the 2008 campaign, "two-thirds of campaign events (206 of 300) were in just 6 states."  National Popular Vote aims to change that and make "every vote equal."

This change will not be achieved in time for the 2012 presidential election, but there is a real possibility that it could be in effect for the 2016 or 2020 election.  Maryland became the first state to enact the legislation in April 2007.  Dr. John Koza, chairman of National Popular Vote said, "Getting the first state was the break we needed."  A total of 31 legislative chambers have passed the legislation, and over 2,000 state legislators have endorsed National Popular Vote.  Asked about opposition to the idea, Koza points to 91 myths about the current convoluted process.  "You just have to keep plugging away," Koza said.  Golisano stated, "Right now I think America needs a victory.  This would be a great victory." 

Golisano and Koza are planning a multi-state tour to advance the idea.