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State Legislature Shelves Bill to Reallocate Electoral Votes

The bill would change the commonwealth from a winner-take-all format to one where each congressional district would be worth two votes, and the winner of the statewide popular vote would get two electoral votes.

John Micek at The Morning Call is reporting that the bill to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its electoral college votes during a presidential election has been shelved, at least for the rest of the year. Laura Olsen at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blogged the same thing.

WHYY's Newsworks reported that State Senate majority leader Dominic Pileggi, a Chester County Republican, said he wants to first focus on bills related to education, Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction, and transportation infrastructure funding.

According to the conservative Web site Human Events, the bill seemed to have broad GOP support, then Pennsylvania's 12 Republican congressmen "suddenly became nervous about any possible danger to their re-elections that the change in electoral vote apportionment might pose and then sent word to state legislators to 'cool it.' "

Patch contacted the offices of Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, but received no official comment on the news.

The plan has been under intense scrutiny. In November, an opinion piece in Philadelphia Weekly claimed the bill would disenfranchise Democrats and back in September, a New York Times blog stated that the bill could backfire on the national GOP

Nonethless, WHYY's Newsworks cites Governor Tom Corbett as maintaining support for the measure.

"I still support the bill. I believe it is a fair representation to the people of Pennsylvania and to all the states across our states," the Web site quotes Corbett as saying.

The subject is not techinically dead. Micek's story ends with this line: "Since the state's slate of presidential electors isn't named until after the party conventions, Republican lawmakers could theoretically put off a vote until next fall, Franklin & Marshall College political analyst G. Terry Madonna said."

toto November 24, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Due to gerrymandering, in 2008, only 4 Pennsylvania districts were competitive. Only those voters would matter under Corbett's plan. When and where votes don't matter, candidates ignore those areas. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country. Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency. National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE). Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate. With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.
toto November 24, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Most Pennsylvania and U.S. voters want a national popular vote for President. 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 gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men. In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win. The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes -- 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect. NationalPopularVote
Stephen Bliss November 26, 2011 at 03:36 PM
If the person who got the most popular votes was elected president, Al gore would have won the presidency. Our history would be very different. We would have never invaded Iraq or afganistan. Our deficits would be smaller. We might have a balanced budget. Changing how PA awards it's electoral college votes would be a disaster for PA. I hope this bill does not get past. In '04 bush visited PA about 50 times. I thought he was going to move here. He only came because he was trying to win the 21 electoral votes. If we change how the votes are counted we will diminish our power.

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