DV Archive

Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Billionaire pushes popular vote plan

with 3 comments

In 2000, more people voted for Al Gore than did George W. Bush. However Bush was elected president.

In 2004, Bush won Ohio by a razor-thin 66,000 votes enough to capture enough electoral college votes and defeat John Kerry. However, what looked like a close election was not close at all across the nation as Bush won by more than 3 million votes.

Tom Golisano is a businessman, sports owner and part-time politician. He is also an Independent. He thinks it is time for the electoral college to come to an end.

“It is the only election that works that way in the United States of America, it was formed and created that way in a much different era,” Golisano said. “There were very few states, no means of communication or computing.”

Golisano knows a thing or two about elections. He ran for Governor of New York as an independent three different times, using almost all his own money to mount serious, but unsuccessful elections.  He stepped down from the company he founded, Paychex in 2004 and sold his interest in the NHL Buffalo Sabres earlier this year.

Now, semi-retired, Golisano is pushing state legislatures across the country to pass a law that would force them to surrender their electoral votes to the candidate for president that receives the most popular votes. Golisano is half-way to his goal of getting states that equal 270 electoral votes to sign on. Enough to render the electoral college symbolic.

We will have a more in-depth look at his efforts to get rid of the electoral college in the coming weeks.

But that wasn’t the only news Golisano broke while he was on with us.  Sports fans in Western New York (full disclosure, my hometown) are worried about the future of the NFL Buffalo Bills.  Golisano is credited with saving the Sabres franchise and now many are wondering if he plans to do the same for the Bills, when current owner Ralph Wilson passes away. (Wilson is in his 90’s and hasn’t given a clear indication for the future of the team).

Here is what Golisano told me:

I’m concerned about the Buffalo Bills, ever leaving the community of Buffalo, I think it would be a terrible shame. I have made the commitment that if that likelihood appears to be happening, I will try and get involved and see what I can do to prevent it.” – B. Thomas Golisano on NBC12 First at 4, 7/19/2011

You can see the full interview with Golisano below:


Written by Ryan Nobles

July 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Since I’m pretty sure that this guy isn’t as smart as Madison, Franklin, Washington, et al., I’ll stick with them.

    Aside from that, the difference between Democrats in 2000 and Republicans in 2004 — had Bush not carried Ohio — is that Republicans wouldn’t have whined about it had Bush won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College. And Democrats STILL whined about Ohio, suggesting that Ohio had been stolen.

    James Young

    July 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

  2. Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections.

    Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from all the states that have enacted the bill would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    The Electoral College that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the exclusive power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls.

    A survey of 800 Virginia voters conducted on December 21-22, 2008 showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    By age, support for a national popular vote was 82% among 18-29 year olds, 75% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 68% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support for a national popular vote was 82% among women and 65% among men.
    By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 79% for a national popular vote among liberal Democrats (representing 17% of respondents), 86% among moderate Democrats (representing 21% of respondents), 79% among conservative Democrats (representing 10% of respondents), 76% among liberal Republicans (representing 4% of respondents), 63% among moderate Republicans (representing 14% of respondents), and 54% among conservative Republicans (representing 17% of respondents), and 79% among Others (representing 17% of respondents).


    July 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

  3. Prior to the 2000 election, I was all for abolishing the electoral college.

    Now I’m not so sure. I was working in Florida at the time, and that recount was a mess. I can’t imagine having to do a recount of the whole country. We probably still wouldn’t have a president.


    July 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

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