FairVote Takes on Idea to Reform Pennsylvania Voting
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania state Sen. Dominic Pileggi of Chester County floated an updated proposal of his 2011 idea to change the way Pennsylvania hands out its electoral college votes during presidential elections. Last year, he suggested votes be allocated by Congressional district (which, if enacted, would have seen Romney earn more votes than Obama this time around, even though he lost the popular vote). This year, Pileggi’s easing up and suggesting the electoral votes be handed out by proportionality of the popular Pennsylvania vote, instead of the current winner-take-all system. Both ideas are poor (and partisan), but a group called FairVote have put together an analysis on how to make the thinking behind such an idea, you know, work.
As Philadelphia Weekly reported shortly after after the election, Pennsylvania is one of those states where the tallies of partisan Congressional votes-to-representation in Congress did not work out too well. “Indeed, the fact that Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation next year will be 13 Republicans to five Democrats is an example of unfair disproportionality—as is the more general silencing of less partisan, centrist voices and the near total marginalization of third party perspectives,” notes FairVote. And the fact that we went red in Congress and blue for president is no coincidence. We’re a state divided. And while Pileggi’s plan would help national Republicans earn more nationwide Electoral votes every four years, it wouldn’t bring more Keystoners out.
“Even though Pennsylvania has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1988 and even though it was relatively overlooked this year (without a single post-convention visit from either Barack Obama or his running mate Joe Biden), its statewide popular vote share was one of the closest to the national popular vote share—an outcome that indicates that if there had been a 50%-50% tie in the national popular vote, the Pennsylvania result would have been nearly dead even as well,” notes FairVote. “Under Pileggi’s plan, that 50-50 partisanship would become almost irrelevant, as no more than three electoral votes would likely be at stake in the state.”
Instead of dividing up certain states’ (in our case, a so-called swing state that’s always close, but sans cigar between those Republican chompers) Electoral Votes by proportion, FairVote suggests the Senator instead support the National Popular Vote plan, in which a states’ votes would be awarded to the candidate who wins the national popular vote—a move that would change the current election process from two candidates campaigning in six states to going after every vote, everywhere.
The plan has been endorsed, according to FairVote, by nearly 2,000 state legislators and several former U.S. Senators (as well as former Senator and current Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee.) Whether or not states approve of it, it wouldn’t make sense for the plan to go forward, nor would it be possible, until “enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).” More on these ideas, and Pileggi’s plan, soon.