Republican Electoral Vote Rigging in Pennsylvania Actually Gets Worse

RandyLANDIn yet another co-sponsorship memo being circulated in Harrisburg, Republican state House members are calling for Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes to be separated by congressional district — again.

The memo, written by State Reps. Robert Godshall (R-Montco) and Seth Grove (R-York) outlines a plan first introduced by State Sen. Dominic Pileggi in 2011, which fell to the wayside after Republicans worried their intentions to win, though genuine, were too partisan to fly with a presidential election on the immediate horizon.

“I believe that the Congressional District Method will increase voter turnout and encourage candidates to campaign in all states rather than just those that are competitive,” the two write in the memo. “Most importantly, this method of selecting presidential electors will give a stronger voice to voters in all regions of our great Commonwealth.”

It should be noted that this resurrected old plan is much more extreme than Pileggi’s new one that PW wrote about in this week’s print edition, in which electoral votes would be divided by proportion of the state’s total popular vote. (We’ve put in a message with Pileggi’s office regarding this new bill and will let you know what he’s got to say when/if he gets back.) Godshall’s and Grove’s plan would find presidential candidates only keeping the electoral votes of those congressional districts in which they won the majority. In the 2012 presidential election, Obama, though the clear winner of Pennsylvania’s popular vote by a 5-point margin, won far fewer congressional district majorities than Romney.

The reason for this, as we first acknowledged post-election, has to do with the boundaries of congressional districts having been rewritten by Republicans in 2011 after they swept into power — both in the state and nationally — due to growing concerns over President Obama’s health care legislation. The legally-mandated once-every-10-years rewriting of districts was done this time in such a fashion that those which were previously electorally competitive now comprised more Republican pockets of the population (thus solidifying them as majority-Republican voting blocs) while reliable Democratic seats were redrawn to incorporate the leftover Democratic voters (thus excluding Democratic voting power from the places where it would make an electoral difference). That’s how Democrats won more votes in the state’s congressional races but only took five of 18 seats. Happy gerrymandering, everybody!

So, hypothetically, had the Godshall-Grove proposal been the law of the land in 2012, Mitt Romney would actually have taken more of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes in the election than President Obama despite solidly losing the state’s popular vote. This kind of split in the state’s electoral-college allocation would basically nullify Philadelphia’s and Pittsburgh’s clout in statewide elections, rendering the votes of city folk obsolete, all in the name of Republicans being sick and tired of getting themselves excited every four years just to end up losing.

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