Noting that many New Yorkers “felt forgotten” in the presidential election, state Assemblywoman Sandy Galef will host a Jan. 12 public forum in Croton-on-Hudson on replacing the Electoral College with a national popular vote.
The forum will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Croton Free Library. Speakers will include state Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, sponsor of a state bill this year that secured New York’s place in the National Popular Vote Compact, which would bind states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote but would only take effect when enough states have passed identical legislation to comprise a majority of the Electoral College’s 538 votes. The compact now has 165, or 61 percent, of the necessary 270 electoral votes.
Also scheduled to speak at the forum are Hendrik Hertzberg, political analyst for The New Yorker magazine and board member of Fairvote.org, and Jeanne Zaino, professor of political science and international studies at Iona College
Galef, an Ossining Democrat whose 95th Assembly district includes parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, in an op-ed to the Business Journal said New York was one of 25 states where the major presidential candidates had “very limited campaign efforts” after their party nominating conventions last summer.
“We provide donations of time and money but we are told to call or visit other states, and 94 percent of campaign funding is spent in only 12 states,” she wrote. “These ‘swing’ states, showing up purple on our computers and televisions, seem to be the only places that matter in our elections.”
“But the problem does not end when the election is concluded. The ‘battleground’ states receive 7 percent more federal grant aid than the states that consistently lean toward the same party. Our states face the same problems: mass transportation, inadequate affordable housing, aging infrastructure and support for public schools are issues in New York too.”
Galef said the community discussion was prompted by phone calls and “an overwhelming number” of emails she has received from constituents with questions and interest in changing from the Electoral College system to a national popular vote.
“As our nation is changing, the choices before us are to continue the Electoral College as it is or to look toward amending the constitution or adopting the National Popular Vote,” Galef said.