Liberals are up in arms today over legislation that is pending in several states, including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia, that would change how electoral college votes are awarded to candidates in presidential elections.
The new system would allocate electors by Congressional district instead of the winner-take-all system that is currently in place. Based on how the nation’s 435 Congressional districts voted for president last fall, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have been sworn into office on Monday with 273 electoral votes to President Obama’s 262, as the Huffington Post points out.
Of course, Democrats nationwide are protesting the legislation – claiming that the Republican legislatures pursuing the proposed changes are merely looking to alter the centuries-old system to benefit their candidates. Some of their most popular mouthpieces – Daily Kos, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, and Think Progress – have all come out with articles in recent days calling the so-called ‘GOP vote-rigging plans’ a “scam,” “power grab,” and a way to “win states and disenfranchise voters.” They’re apparently forgetting that as recently as 2008 their candidate – Barack Obama – would have still won the presidency handily, as demonstrated in the graphic below:
While many states have contemplated the shift in allocation for decades, only recently have significant attempts been made to go through with the changes in swing states. Several Republican leaders, including RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, have voiced their support for the proposed changes.
“It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus told the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. He does believe, however, that it should be something decided by the individual states rather than a national movement.
Sometime next week the Virginia State Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would not only allocate electoral votes by Congressional district but would also award the two Senate votes to the candidate who won the most Congressional districts. In 2012, Mitt Romney won eight of the state’s 11 Congressional districts.
In Pennsylvania, House Bill 94 would also award an electoral vote to the winner of each Congressional district; however, the statewide winner would receive the two remaining electoral votes, much like it is currently done in Nebraska and Maine. In 2012, Romney won 12 of the state’s 18 Congressional districts, while Obama won the popular vote by nearly 10 points.
And in Michigan, State Rep. Peter Lund is reintroducing legislation that would alter the state’s allocation system to that used by Nebraska and Maine. Romney won nine of his birth state’s 14 Congressional districts in 2012. Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is ambivalent toward the proposed changes but said he said they should be made before 2016 if they’re going to be made at all.
“It could be done in a thoughtful (way) over the next couple years and people can have a thoughtful discussion,” Snyder told the Associated Press earlier this week.
While Nebraska and Maine have awarded electoral college votes by Congressional district for decades now, only once has a Congressional district in those two states voted against the popular vote. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district, which includes Omaha and its immediate suburbs, voted for President Obama in 2008 while the rest of the state voted for Republican nominee John McCain. In 2012 all three of the state’s Congressional districts voted for Romney, proving that liberal outrage over the recent round of proposed changes is mostly hyperbolic.