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VA Republicans attempt to change electoral college

January 25th, 2013

electoral college

Washingtonpost.com

Republicans in Virginia and a handful of other battleground states are pushing for far-reaching changes to the electoral college in an attempt to counter recent success by Democrats.

In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans. Under such a system in Virginia, for instance, President Obama would have claimed four of the state’s 13 electoral votes in the 2012 election, rather than all of them.

Other states considering similar changes include Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which share a common dynamic with Virginia: They went for Obama in the past two elections but are controlled by Republicans at the state level.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus recently voiced support for the effort, saying it is something that “a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at.”

Sean Spicer, a Priebus spokesman, said Thursday: “For these states, it would make them more competitive, but it’s not our call to tell them how to apportion their votes.”

No state is moving quicker than Virginia, where state senators are likely to vote on the plan as soon as next week.

If successful, Virginia would become the third state to adopt the congressional district system, after Nebraska and Maine.

So that’s what the redistricting was for…the plan to split the electoral votes. I wasn’t totally sure what the end objective was. It was all a part of a larger than life plan.

Sneaky rat bastards again. If this kind of cheating goes on, the Republicans could just assume power for the rest of time or until Virginians got sick of them and threw them out. The power grab seems dangerous and it seems to be altering the U.S. Constitution.

Republican redraw in the Washington Post

Further reading Washington Post

Further reading Huffington Post.

  1. Scout
    January 25th, 2013 at 07:23 | #1

    The idea of allocating electoral votes other than by a winner-take-all formula is not, in itself, a necessarily bad thing. It certainly would force candidates to campaign more earnestly in a lot more locations. However, before one can make that transition, one has to be certain that the district lines are objectively drawn, a condition that virtually every state is far from even thinking about, let alone executing. Otherwise, with gerrymandered districts, the electoral vote becomes a weighted vote and not every individual vote has equal force. Virginia’s districts are as artificial as any and there has been no movement toward non-political district drawing.

    A second flaw in the Virginia proposal is that it awards the two at large votes to the candidate who wins the most districts, as opposed to the most statewide votes. This is another effort to put a thumb on the scales and to dilute individual votes. If you just run the numbers on Virginia in the 2012 presidential election against this proposal, Obama, who carried the state by nearly 150,000 votes, would get only a small minority of the state’s electoral votes. I’m sure the same is true in Pennsylvania, Michigan and some of the other places that are considering this, particularly where the Congressional districts are heavily gerrymandered.

    Republicans are the ones who need to kill this before it permanently besmirches the GOP on a national level. It is, quite clearly, a reflection of fear of the voters, a condition that reflects the near-death of the Party as a political force. In Virginia, these characters in the General Assembly are undertaking these schemes to try to get to a New Math state in which a minority can win. They would rather do this than to find appealing candidates and policies that can attract a majority vote. It would be pathetic, if it were not an attack on the franchise, the core of life in a democratic Republic.

    • January 25th, 2013 at 08:17 | #2

      i think it is just cheating. They want to change the system through brute force rather than change themselves so that they are more appealing to minorities, gays, public servants and women. Right now, I would never go back.

      They need to change, not deceive.

  2. Pat.Herve
    January 25th, 2013 at 07:40 | #3

    so, if they make the changes that are being asked for, Obama, while receiving the majority of the votes, would get a minority of the electoral college votes, thus increasing the chances of candidates that can get the majority of votes, yet lose the election. Would it be more fair if the extra votes be given to the one that wins the majority – but then, this is not about fairness. I guess they are going by the assumption that the winds will not change.

  3. January 25th, 2013 at 09:22 | #4

    TV just said the voting on this could come as early as next week.

    This is a real end run.

  4. January 25th, 2013 at 09:24 | #5

    This is just dishonest and should not change unless by referendum. Of course even if that happened the Republicans would find a way to cheat and change the rules without permission.

  5. clueless
    January 25th, 2013 at 09:40 | #6

    Both parties have a history of cheating but this is ridiculous. I am always amazed at how stupid they think we are.

  6. January 25th, 2013 at 10:28 | #7

    Ben Tribbett of NLS blog got a shout out from Rachel Maddow on her show Tues. night for tweeting the story on the Republicans redistricting Virginia on Monday.

    Check it out!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#50555908

    Its about the 4 minute mark.

    You go, Ben!!!

  7. January 25th, 2013 at 10:29 | #8

    @clueless

    I guess they can do what they want. Who is going to stop them? What can we do?

  8. January 25th, 2013 at 11:33 | #9

    Congressional Democrats are pushing statehood for DC again.

  9. January 25th, 2013 at 12:12 | #10

    Good for them. Taxation without representation currently.

    Now back to the raping of Virginia.

  10. Censored bybvbl
    January 25th, 2013 at 13:25 | #11

    This attempt at change is a bad idea. It makes the US look like a banana republic – screw the voters, whatever the autocrats (or party in charge) says goes. We’ll flip parties, redraw lines, disenfranchise the voters, and make everyone beg to eliminate the electoral college. If ya can’t beat them with an appealing platform, disenfranchise them.

  11. Lady Emma
    January 25th, 2013 at 13:36 | #12

    It’s funny how objectionable gerrymandering becomes when it’s the party you dislike doing it.

  12. January 25th, 2013 at 14:07 | #13

    @Lady Emma
    I know, right?

    Of course, if this comes to pass, the Democrats will be forced to appeal to people outside of Richmond and Northern Virginia. The current system gives too much power to heavily populated urban areas. Fairfax alone has enough population to counter the votes of half the state. Winner take all usually means Northern Virginia takes all.

    Perhaps we need to shrink the districts and add Senators/Delegates. On a Congressional level….doubling the representatives would be a good start. And returning the Senator elections back to its original form would also be a good idea.

  13. January 25th, 2013 at 15:52 | #14

    @Lady Emma

    Gerrymandering can be objectionable when anyone does it, Emma. My problem with this is the objective for doing it. I really don’t like one of the lead senators being cut out of his district. This is also 2013. Legally it should be done in 2011 only as per VA Constitution.

    I didn’t particularly dislike the local redistricting when it was done a couple years ago. The Republicans did it locally. So don’t try the hate party. Actually Marty Nohe was very helpful ironing out a few kinks in our situation.

    For me, if someone is helpful during redistricting, I don’t care what party they belong to. These clowns in Republican clowns in Richmond aren’t being helpful to anyone but themselves. Lets not overlook their overall goal which is to proportion out the electorial college votes.

    Too bad we couldn’t have done that in 2000. Other than it would have been cheating.

  14. January 25th, 2013 at 15:54 | #15

    @Cargosquid

    One person-one vote. Why should it matter where you live? Districts don’t vote. people do.

    I would just prefer to do away with the electoral college if we are going to get creative.

  15. Scout
    January 25th, 2013 at 20:06 | #16

    re Emma’s comment: I find it more annoying when my party stoops to this. I sort of expect it from Democrats. But this is a vast enlargement of any previous gerrymandering efforts. What the Republicans in Richmond are trying to do is to make every Republican vote in a presidential election count about 1. 5 or 1.6 what every Democrat vote counts. That’s where this gets very stinky. If you award electoral votes on the basis of gerrymandered Congressional districts you could rather easily engineer a victory for a decidedly minority popular vote candidate. That’s what’s afoot here. It would stink whoever was responsible, but in this case there’s no doubt who the culprits are.

  16. Starryflights
    January 25th, 2013 at 22:11 | #17

    The Repugs can’t win on their agenda or ideas so they resort to this BS. They have failed to win a majority in a presidential election for 20 years, with the exception of 2004. This is nothing more than an attack on our freedom.

  17. January 26th, 2013 at 00:00 | #18

    There are a few honorable Republicans in office in Virginia.

    From the Washington Post:

    A Republican-backed bill to change the way Virginia awards its electoral college votes, and perhaps boost the GOP’s prospects in a state that has gone for Barack Obama two elections in a row, appears to be headed for defeat.

    Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) came out against the measure Friday, as did two GOP senators who sit on the committee that will decide the bill’s fate next week.

    “He believes Virginia’s existing system works just fine as it is,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said via e-mail. “He does not believe there is any need for a change.”

    Senator Jill Vogel and Senator Ralph Smith both have strong feelings that this bill should be passed.

  18. January 26th, 2013 at 00:02 | #19

    Hopefully this bill is dead. We don’t need to change how our votes go to the electoral college.

  19. Pat.Herve
    January 26th, 2013 at 07:37 | #20

    I am not sure how Senator Vogel is on this measure – as she voted Present (abstain) at the committe level, where she was in a position to kill the bill – http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/01/23/1486841/virginia-republican-state-senator-opposes-gop-electoral-college-rigging-scheme/?mobile=nc

    Emma – funny how so many people feel that they are in the right because they feel victim to what others have done (or not done) in the past. It is wrong to gerrymander, but to also do it in such a sneaky back room way is even worse – and those Responsible should be embarrassed for doing it. I personally would never trust them.

    • January 26th, 2013 at 10:46 | #21

      Maybe I wrote down the wrong name. Usually I am not a big defender of Ms. Vogel.

  20. Scout
    January 26th, 2013 at 09:53 | #22

    Gerrymandering reaches to completely new levels of objectionability when it is tied into this Electoral Vote scheme. The reason it’s particularly worth howling about is that the Virginia Rs were trying to rig electoral votes based on gerrymandered house districts. It’s not that it hasn’t been a staple of partisan politics on both sides for many years, it’s that this is a new a particularly distortive use of the products of years of gerrymandering.

    In any event, the news today is that the Governor has enough sense to tell these kids to settle down. I think he could see the uproar coming if he went along with it. In normal times this wouldn’t cause me to give an elected official much credit for grasping the obvious. However, these are not normal times by any stretch of the imagination. A little bit of common sense looks like complete genius.

  21. January 26th, 2013 at 13:04 | #23

    Totally agree, Scout.

    The timing was very bad for reindeer games. The kids already put McDonnell in an untenable situation last session. I expect the fatherly lecture was rather stern this go-round.

  22. blue
    January 29th, 2013 at 09:22 | #24

    Classic. In a winner take all the Demogogs attempt to maintain their urban liberal bias/ advantage. Proportional representation, whether by congressional district (prefered) or by popular vote is simply an attempt to not disenfranchise the majority of Americans, who do not live in urban centers. Indeed it would end the disenfranchisement of many who do live in urban areas. Gerrymandering to protect specific congressmen and voter blocks should be unconstitutional. I say make the districts larger to minimize the special interests on both sides.

    • January 29th, 2013 at 09:28 | #25

      It was an attempt to cheat and steal. Is that the only way you know how to win, blue?

      What would have happened if that were used during the 2000 election? Think President Gore would have liked it?

    • January 29th, 2013 at 09:28 | #26

      I heard the Sheriff was looking for you, Blue.

  23. blue
    January 29th, 2013 at 09:51 | #27

    Moon you are smarter than that. The winner takes all disenfranchizes voters pure and simple. Its as if they never voted. You are on the wrong side of this.

    I actually would have done better under Gore, so .. self interest is at play here. I just think its time to look at Obama without looking at Obama through your Bush hater glasses. Enough already or do I get 8 years of post Obam comparisons too.

    And no the Sherriff wil not find me- he has no idea who I is. Why?

    • January 29th, 2013 at 12:39 | #28

      Winner takes all is the way it has always been. All attempts to change the way it has been done have been fought…until the R’s can’t win without it.

      Perhaps they need to think about making themselves more appealing so they wouldn’t have to start cooking the books.

      The only way I would support such a plan would be if states were somehow carved up by computer, into squares, and rectangles, according to population rather than one of these districts of convenience. I would also insist it be done after a census rather than mid term.

      What was being tried was cheating.

      I didn’t ask SoN why.

      Why do you call me a Bush hater? I doubt seriously if you can find anything on this blog or anti-bvbl that I have said nasty about either George Bush. I think its time you stop commenting on things you know nothing about. It really is making you look stupid and rude. The age remark was both stupid and rude. The Bush hater glasses remark was just stupid.

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