They also contend that the change would increase voter turnout and prevent what has happened four times in the nation's history, most recently in 2000: A candidate who won the popular vote lost the election.
Critics say the change would harm the geographic balance inherent in the current system. Moreover, they say a national popular vote system would simply change which states have influence in elections rather than increasing the influence of all states.
Golisano, who founded the company Paychex and ran unsuccessfully for governor in New York, said the National Popular Vote campaign will be active in 43 states, pushing its message on college campuses and through social networking.
The group's goal, he said, is success in states with a total of 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — by 2012 to effect the change for the 2016 election.