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NY's top democrats, including Clintons, will cast electoral votes in Albany next week

Dan Clark
New York Now

New York’s most powerful Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, will likely descend on the state capitol in Albany next week to participate in the state’s Electoral College vote, handing the state’s 29 electoral votes for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s also one of the state’s electors, said Tuesday that state law will likely prevent the vote from being conducted virtually.

“We don’t believe, legally, you can do it virtually,” Cuomo said. “They’re going to have to come assemble in the capitol.”

It’s unclear where the vote will be held. In the past, the Electoral College vote has been held in the State Senate chamber. That could be too tight this year given social distancing rules in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State law requires the vote to be held at noon on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December, which lands on Dec. 14.

The vote is largely procedural; New York will award each of its 29 electoral votes to Biden as the winner of the state’s popular vote. The state did the same in 2016 when it awarded its votes to Hillary Clinton, who lost that year’s election to President Donald Trump.

The state’s Electoral College is a real ‘who’s who’ of state politics, singling out some of the most prominent Democrats.

Along with Cuomo and the Clintons, the state’s electors include Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and more.

The list of electors also includes people who don’t hold elected office, like Mario Cilento, president of the state AFL-CIO and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Some of the state’s mayors — including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren — are also on the list of electors.

Cuomo also voiced support for changing the Electoral College, which has been the subject of criticism in the past when candidates for president lost the popular vote but secured the election through electoral votes.

"I think the time might've come to change the Electoral College, and I would support that change," Cuomo said.

He didn’t provide details, but predicted that public support for changing the nation’s presidential election system may have grown enough in recent years to spur action from federal lawmakers.

“This might be the election that puts it over the edge,” Cuomo said.

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