Tom Golisano, the three-time gubernatorial candidate and billionaire Rochester native, returned to the Capitol today to push his national effort to move to a popular-vote system for electing a president.
The stop in Albany was the 13th state Golisano has visited since he announced in February that would be the spokesman for the National Popular Vote campaign.
“The issue is simple,” Golisano, the founder of Paychex Inc. in Penfield, Monroe County, said. “Do we want to have a system where candidates with the least number of votes win and do we want a system that disengages three quarters of the population of the country? And that’s what we have now with this Electoral College.”
The goal get enough states representing 270 electoral votes to pass the one-person, one-vote bill. That would then allow enough states to elect a president based on the popular vote, bypassing the current Electoral College system of allocating delegates to each state.
The measure has passed seven states, including Vermont last month, giving the effort about one-third of the electoral votes needed for the initiative to take effect. It has passed in Hawaii, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington D.C.
Golisano met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to try to coax them to support the measure.
He said Cuomo was receptive, but didn’t offer any assurance of support, saying the visit was more to educate Cuomo about the effort.
He also praised Cuomo for his ability to get an on-time budget that lowers state spending.
“I have to give him a lot of credit and I don’t give out credit easily,” Golisano said. “But anytime you come in with a budget that is lower than it was the year before, particularly with all the built-it mandates that he had, it’s tough to deal with and he did it. I give him a lot of credit.”