Posted by Brendan Fischer on February 06, 2013

Some GOP leaders have backed-off plans to allocate electoral votes according to gerrymandered Congressional districts, but Pennsylvania Republicans have hatched a new scheme to give a boost to the GOP's presidential chances.

Pennsylvania's Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi intends to introduce legislation that would award that state's electoral votes proportionally according to the popular vote, rather than according to the winner in each Congressional district. If the plan had been in place for last November's election Romney would have received 8 of Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes.

"After hearing from numerous people with concerns about tying the distribution of electors to congressional districts, he decided that it makes sense to completely separate the issue of electoral distribution from the issue of how congressional districts are drawn," said Erik Arneson, a Pileggi spokesman.

But Pennsylvania has voted for Democrats in every presidential election since 1988. This revamped plan would get at the same goal as allocating electors by Congressional district: it would ensure that Republicans get a slice of Pennsylvania's electoral votes.

Awarding electoral votes in this way is only being proposed in blue states like Pennsylvania that are controlled by "red" Republicans at the state level. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus has said explicitly that changing the allocation of electoral votes is only intended for "states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red."

Solidly red states would continue awarding 100% of their electoral votes to the Republican winner of the statewide vote, but blue states would divide their votes proportionally.

If Texas were to implement this plan, it would have awarded 15 of its 38 electoral votes to President Obama in 2012. But the Republican-led Texas legislature does not appear particularly concerned with aligning the state's electoral vote with its popular vote (as Pileggi claims to be doing in Pennsylvania). Making these selective changes to electoral vote allocations only in blue states would effectively lock-in an advantage for Republican presidential candidates.

This latest scheme to rig presidential elections again highlights the problems with the electoral college, which groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have lobbied to preserve in the face of momentum for a national popular vote.

But it also highlights how Republican leaders have apparently given up hope of winning a majority of voters in states like Pennsylvania by fair and legitimate means.

Comments

The new version of the GOP proposal is much improved over the first one that was based on Congressional Districts. They are doing it, of course, for the wrong reasons, party interest, but this would a huge improvement over the current system, giving PA a far more proportionally representative, i.e. more democratic, Presidential election and abolishing the disenfranchisement that a large majority of PA voters currently suffer with respect to the Presidential election. Funny how the Democrats are left arguing against democracy because it isn't in their party interests. They are suffering from the same disease as the GOP, but wind up on the side of suppressing the vote.

The Democrats are not arguing against democracy as you put it. They are arguing against election rigging which the Republican Party seems to be obsessed with. If you think that proportional electoral college voting is a good idea then it should be applied consistently throughout the US. Not just in states which favor one party over another.

By the way suppressing the vote refers to making it difficult or impossible for individual voters to cast their ballot. It has nothing to do with gaming the Electoral College.

The new version of the GOP vote-rigging plan is just as bad as the one currently used. All the gerrymandering is abominable whether done by Democrats or republicans! I don't believe for one minute that the Democrats are suffering for the same disease as the gop. Most of the House and Senate republicans are either demented or stupid!

United States of America. We have the right to disallow this vile way of taking away our voting rights. Get rid of these Governor's who are allowing this to happen in your state. You would think we live in Russia instead of the United States. What kind of people are these state voters putting into office?

It saddens me to see folks have so little interest in their own government. A government that regulates every aspect of their lives and so few people even know how it works! They would rather believe someone with an ax to grind generating concocted stories via chain letters on the Internet then pick up the phone and call a legislator/official to ask questions. Check out sources folks. Learn who your Mayor is and what party he represents at the very least! Gesch!
PAY attention folks before it’s too late to do anything.

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.