We’ve seen a run on vote rigging attempts in Republican controlled blue states. Republicans in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have flirted with, and have had rejected, plans to change their electoral vote allocation from a winner-take-all system to a congressional district allocation system. Republicans in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin are expected to join the fun. (And probably be rejected.)
It makes sense for Republicans to selectively change the state laws in their favor, especially given their excellent job of gerrymandering congressional districts following the 2010 census. Yeah…the voters get fucked, but that never stopped a Republican from power-grabbing.
Changing a handfull of blue states to congressional district allocation, while maintaining the winner-take-all system in red states, would have given Mitt Romney the presidency. Even as the popular vote went to Obama.
With Sen. Rodney Tom’s Republican Senate majority, Washington state has taken it’s first step to becoming a blue state controlled by Republicans. Surprise, surprise…House Republicans are trying to join other Republican-controlled blue states in their Presidential election-rigging effort:
The proposal, House Bill 1091, would divvy up Washington’s electoral votes by results in each of the state’s 10 congressional districts, with the remaining two votes going to the statewide winner.
In 2012, that would have given Obama nine electoral votes from Washington while Romney would have taken three.
Supporters say that would be a fairer result for more conservative parts of the state that are constantly outvoted in statewide elections by the Seattle area.
In one sense, these whining Republicans are correct. Under some conditions, allocating electors by congressional district (with the two additional electors going to the state popular vote winner) is a fairer system than the winner-take-all system. Those conditions are:
- Every state does this, rather than just selected blue states.
- Congressional districts are not gerrymandered. That is, all states have in place a rigorous, non-partisan redistricting process.
Under those conditions, a universal congressional district allocation system is fairer because all but 100 of the 538 electoral votes are allocated by smaller, and thus more representative, voting blocks. That wold be fairer than the current system that has some bizarre artifacts:
The [current] system has the effect of making your vote count a lot more in “swing states” — states where the majority could conceivably vote for either candidate — than in other, more politically predictable states. It is a virtual certainty, for instance, that Georgia will vote for Mitt Romney, so an individual Georgian’s vote for Barack Obama doesn’t mean a lot — Georgia’s 16 electoral votes are going to be cast for Romney. Conversely, an individual voter’s choice for Romney in ultra-blue New York won’t stop that state’s 29 electoral votes from going to Obama.
This raises the questions, what do we mean by a “fairer” system? Here are some ideas:
- A fairer system would give each person’s vote an identical weight in determining the election’s outcome.
- Consequently, a fairer system would elect the winner of the national popular vote.
Democrats remember how unfair it felt when George Bush lost the popular vote, yet became President. And Republicans would have collectively “gone postal” if Mitt Romney had won the popular vote but lost the presidential election.
What I am getting at is that the fairest system of all is to elect the President by popular vote. The system we have now, fails 8.7% of the time (four out of 46 elections where the national popular vote was known) by putting in office the loser of the popular vote.
We used to believe that the only way to change the system to elect the President by popular vote was to amend the Constitution. Now we know better. The National Popular Vote compact system achieves the same thing by letting states exercise their constitutional right to allocate electors as they wish:
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.
This works when a coalition of states is formed that controls 270 or more electoral votes. Then, by each member state’s law, the slate of presidential electors for the state is elected according to the result of the national popular vote. If the coalition does not control 270 votes, the states revert back to their old system (winner-take-all for most states).
There doesn’t seem to be a downside–unless you believe it’s okay for a candidate to lose the national popular vote and still be elected President. Since the compact makes no changes to the electoral college itself, no Constitutional amendment is necessary.
Back to the Washington state Republicans trying to rig the vote. The new bill, HB 1091, actually does two different things. It changes the way we allocate electors now. It also cancels Washington state’s participation in the interstate compact.
Of course! Why would we expect consistency from Republicans? They were never interested in making the presidential election as fair as possible. They’re only interested in advantaging Republicans.
So sad…Washington state Republicans have still have not shown any ability at true leadership. Fuck ’em. And fuck Rodney Tom for joining ’em.