Vote Rigging Bill Mirrored in Pennsylvania Denied in Virginia

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A Pennsylvania electoral nightmare scenario almost happened last week — in Virginia. On Wednesday, a bill passed through a Virginia state Senate subcommittee which seeks to divide the state’s presidential electoral votes by congressional district, the way Maine and Nebraska do, rather than the current winner-take-all system that’s employed by all other states. But by Friday, the state’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, said he opposed the partisan bill and would not sign it into law.

That’s a far cry from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who last year endorsed a similar bill before it was shelved as too controversial a proposal to raise in an election year. Now that 2012 is past, state Republican leaders have reintroduced the plan to be considered in the new legislative session.

The potential legislation — bills similar to which have been introduced across the country this month in blue-voting swing states with Republican governors, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan — has been referred to by critics as the “Sore Loser Bill.” As noted by NBC News, if all these states had the law in place in 2012, instead of Obama getting 332 electoral votes compared to Romney’s 206, the tally would have been Obama’s 262 to Romney’s 273 — and we’d have a different president, Obama’s unambiguous popular-vote win nothwithstanding.

Republican presidential candidates have lost the majority of votes in five of the last six elections, which may explain why party leaders seem intent on changing the rules surrounding how the president is elected. They’d do better to change their message.

Several SignOn petitions have been delivered to the state House, Senate and Gov. Tom Corbett, asking the system not be changed in Pennsylvania. One petitioner, Richard L. Weber, noted the legislation needs to die because “it provides a partisan advantage to Republicans.” He continues: “It’s fair if all states change, or no states change; but it’s not fair to just change the system in states that lean Democratic, so that Republicans benefit.”

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