Corbett and Chester State Sentator In Favor Of Electoral Vote Changes

HARRISBURG (CBS) – Governor Corbett and a key state senator are supporting a major change to the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes in presidential elections.

Currently, Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes like most states: winner-take-all. However, the U.S. Constitution does not require that, and Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the state Senate majority leader, is proposing a new system.

In the next election, Pennsylvania will have 20 electoral votes; two plus one for each congressional district. Pileggi proposes to give two electoral votes to the winner of the statewide presidential election.Then each presidential candidate would get one electoral vote for each congressional district they win.

The top Democrat in the Senate has already blasted the proposal as a Republican power grab. Pileggi’s spokesman Erik Arneson doesn’t see the logic.

“There is no element of partisanship to this. It will over time inevitably cut both ways,” Arneson said.

Arneson claims the idea is to have the state’s electoral votes more closely reflect the popular vote.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • oldgulph

    Arneson’s claim that “There is no element of partisanship to this.” is beyond laughable


    “As of May, according to the Pennsylvania state department, this was the statewide breakdown in voter registration: Out of a total of 8,169,577 registered voters, 3,025,011 are registered Republicans, and 4,151,874 are registered Democrats.
    But, according to the U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania has 19 congressional districts — 7 represented by Democrats and 12 represented by Republicans.
    There are multiple reasons for that disparity, but the biggest has to do with Pennsylvania’s super-dense concentration of Democrats in its two biggest cities, while Republicans generally rule sparesly populated areas of the midstate.
    Barack Obama was also the first presidential election winner in Pennsylvania to lose more congressional districts than his opponent, John McCain, who bested Obama by one district while losing the state’s overall electoral vote.
    See where they’re going with this?
    This is a naked attempt to statutorily negate the 1.1 million voter registration advantage Democrats enjoy in Pennsylvania.
    That’s a big number, and big numbers require extreme ideas.
    That advantage is the reason Pennsylvania is a blue state. That bothers Republican midstaters, of course, but it also consistently reflects the voter registration breakdown statewide.
    And isn’t that, in the end, what elections are supposed to be all about?”

    — By Matthew Major, opinion editor and member of Public Opinion’s editorial board

  • oldgulph

    A survey of 800 Pennsylvania voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.
    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA , RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, CA, NJ, MD, MA, VT, and WA. These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes– 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

  • oldgulph

    Dividing Pennsylvania’s electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system and not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania.

    The district approach would provide less incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in all Pennsylvania districts and would not focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state as a whole. Candidates would have no reason to campaign in districts where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.

    Due to gerrymandering, in 2008, only 4 Pennsylvania congressional districts were competitive.

    In Maine, where they award electoral votes by congressional district, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored).

    In Nebraska, which also uses the district method, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) two-thirds of the state were irrelevant.

    When votes matter, presidential candidates vigorously solicit those voters. When votes don’t matter, they ignore those areas.

    Nationwide, there are only 55 “battleground” districts that are competitive in presidential elections. Seven-eighths of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and guarantee that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states becomes President.

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