Washington state Republicans are trying to rig the presidential elections

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.


  1. 1

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “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.”

    We can all say the same about Democrats, too. Both political parties are corrupt. They are simply different wings of the Big government Party.

  2. 2


    Politically Incorrect @1,

    Your comment is childish, lazy, and irrelevant.

    As is clear from the context of my post, I wasn’t writing about the political parties. They are private entities that exist for the purpose self-promotion. In that sense, your use of the word “corrupt” is really inappropriate. The term “self-interested” would suffice.

    What I was writing about is entirely different: Elected politicians. They are elected to govern and legislate, and be stewards on behalf of their constituents, their communities, their states, and country.

    My point is that Washington state electeds who are Republicans have utterly failed in their duties. They have routinely betrayed their stewardship of the public trust. They have favored their party over the people they were elected to represent. Elected Democrats aren’t immune from this problem, but they don’t engage in it FULL TIME the way elected Republicans seem to do.

    I hope that has cleared up your confusion.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Instead of screwing around with the electoral college, which was created by the Founding Fathers to protect slavery so the south would join the Union, we should abolish the EC and go to nationwide popular election of the president. It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment; there’s a way around that. Of course, in some states, Republicans will still have an undemocratic advantage by voting twice. But there’s probably enough trash along the highways to pick up that we can find community service gigs for those Republicans — the red states will have the cleanest highways in the nation.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “We can all say the same about Democrats, too.”

    Bullshit. Republican behavior is unique and in a (low) class of its own.

  5. 6


    Roger Rabbit,

    “Instead of screwing around with the electoral college, which was created by the Founding Fathers to protect slavery so the south would join the Union, we should abolish the EC and go to nationwide popular election of the president.”

    You misunderstand. What I was discussing, the national popular vote intrastate compact, doesn’t do anything to the Electoral College.

    “It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment; there’s a way around that.”

    Oh? Howz that?

  6. 7


    Serial conservative,

    “Would that not worsen the gerrymandering problem each decade?”

    It would create an additional incentive for gerrymandering, so it might!

  7. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 7: Considering that gerrymandering controls who is in the House of Representatives, then what other incentive do they need?

    If Washington Republicans were able to succeed, it would be worth whatever price they paid to Rodney Tom to get him to turn coats.

    What are the prospects for “primarying” Rodney Tom? Should we be getting credible candidates together, funding them well, and treating the primary as we would a general election? If Rodney Tom loses in the primary, does this hand his district over to full-fledged Republicans, or do the Democrats have a shot at winning it with a more credible candidate?

    The key to controlling Republican gerrymandering is to control the state legislatures. That a street-by-street campaign effort.

  8. 9

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    On the brighter side this WA GOP bill which will never see the light of day provides every Democratic candidate for governor a sure fire cudgel to hammer his Repugnant opponent on both sides of the state.

    The Republican idea to rig the presidential elections is politically stupid in states dominated by Republican governing super majorities. It is just plain assinine in WA in 2013.

  9. 10

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @8 rhp6033,

    I stand ready to fund to the max allowed by law and to bundle funds for any credible liberal Democrat who will burn through shoes to beat Rodney Tom.

  10. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 10: I’ll see what I can do, as well.

    By the way, the presidential race map on the right-hand side of the screen is a rather moot point by now. Perhaps it should be replaced with a map which shows the Congressional districts in Washington State, in red and blue, or the Washington state legislature Senate seats, also similarly colar-coded? We could reserve the pink color for Rodney Tom and his fellow turn-coats.

  11. 12

    Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:

    1. Direct election of the President.

    2. Laws governing the district-drawing process that enforce that a state’s delegation closely reflects that state’s aggregate voting pattern.

    3. Senators elected not from states, but rather multi-state or sub-state districts of similar population – so that Wyoming does not have the same political say as California, or Vermont the same as Texas.

    4. Public financing of elections. One idea – every registered voter gets a set of vouchers to donate to any campaign in any way they please, and all political activity must be pain for only with these vouchers – therefore, every voter has an equal say in the money controlling political speech.

    Our democracy is imperiled by the forces of oligarchy and money and feudalism.

  12. 13

    wharfrat spews:

    Matt “Road Rage and Gun Crazy” Shea is one of our own over here on the dry side so ya’ll be nice to him. He is demonstrably a few cans short of a sixpack which is why he has not figured out the obvious. If this bill passes then the wet siders will come up with a plan to flood our Districts with takers, send in hordes of community organizers from Acorn, and further dilute our God-given right to elect free, white property owners who are somewhat nuts. See, Nuxoll, R., Iderho Senate.

  13. 14


    @ 3,6

    I eagerly await the response of Roger Rabbit, former attorney and judge and therefore obviously a Constitutional scholar, to the question of how he will do an end-around on the US Constitution so that we can directly elect our president via popular vote. I wonder if his reply will include the words ‘double’ and ‘secret’ in the same sentence.

    You’ve been called out by none other than Darryl, RR. Cough it up. We’re waiting.

  14. 15


    Is a constitutional amendment possible in the current lockjaw politics we have. It is ridiculously easy for a small interest group to block amendments, and perhaps it should be so. I think conservatives could be shamed into allowing popular election of the president but it will be up to them to sit on the teabaggers until its all over.

  15. 17

    Ekim spews:

    Dr Scrooge is stupid. But that goes without saying.

    You don’t need a change to the constitution. All you need is sufficient states to legally agree to vote all of their electoral votes in favor of the candidate with the most votes.