GOP Calls for Changes to the Electoral College

by InvestorPlace Staff | January 18, 2013 7:21 pm

[1]Perhaps stinging after two straight presidential wins by a Democrat, Republican lawmakers in several key states are looking to change the way the Electoral College operates.

Much of the work is occurring in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where President Barack Obama won in 2012, but the state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. What they’re looking to do is change state law so that instead of the winner of the popular vote of a state receiving all a state’s electoral votes, those votes would instead be divided proportionally[2].

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus supported the idea earlier this week, and party leaders, GOP governors, and state legislators are seriously considering the move.

Predictably, Democrats are incensed by the potential changes. Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said, “This is nothing more than election-rigging.” Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach said, “It is difficult to find the words to describe just how evil this plan is. It is an obscene scheme to cheat by rigging the elections.”

Currently, Maine and Nebraska have moved away from a winner-take-all electoral system to a proportional one.  In 2008, Obama won one of Nebrask’s five electoral votes through the proportional system. Some states that have both Republican governors and control of the legislature included Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina. It is in these states where much of the debate has occurred.

Not surprisingly, in red states where Republicans won both national and local elections, supported Romney in 2012, and currently control state-level offices, there is less urgency to move towards proportional voting in the Electoral College.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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