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Pa seeks to end "winner take all" system of awarding electoral college votes for the state.

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posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 09:49 PM
The Pa legislature is seriously considering changing the way electoral college votes are awarded in the state. They seek to get rid of the "winner take all" system and replace it with a system which will better represent the voters by awarding votes by voting district.

Pennsylvania GOP Pushes To Alter Electoral College Math

Pennsylvania Republicans are pushing for a change in how their state awards its Electoral College votes, a measure that has left political strategists struggling to determine which party would benefit from an altered playing field in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The proposal would end Pennsylvania's reliance on the winner-take-all system used in almost all states, in which the top vote-getter statewide wins all of the state's electoral votes. The current system generally turns presidential elections into 51 separate contests -- a battle to win each state, plus the District of Columbia -- as the candidates try to reach the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.

Under the Pennsylvania proposal, the winner in each of its congressional districts would get one Electoral College vote, with the winner statewide claiming two additional votes.

Faux News

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the proposed change. Democrats see this as a partisan attack by the Republican controlled congress to improve their odds in a state that hasn't gone Republican since the 1992 election. Some Republicans worry that this system could jeopardize some Republican held districts as Democrats will be forced to use more campaign resources in newly won districts. They also fear that this system could cost them if the state turns on Obama with only the city districts giving him their votes instead of a Republican challenger winning it all.

Dominic Pileggi, the Pennsylvania Senate majority leader, said the measure does not benefit one party and is meant to expand the individual voter's voice in presidential elections. Some 2.6 million Pennsylvanians voted for Republican Sen. John McCain in 2008, but he won none of the state's electoral votes.

"A large portion of the popular vote is not reflected in any way in the Electoral College," Pileggi said.

The states of Nebraska and Maine already have this system in their states and that didn't cause the sky to come tumbling down but, some fear that this change in a big state like Pa can throw the whole system off kilter.

Me, I'm all for it; I always hated the idea that being in the minority of the voters in the state meant that my vote counted for nothing in the presidential election. I think a more realistic apportionment makes perfect sense. It will turn Pa into a real battleground state and force candidates to pay attention to the residents of the whole state, not just the city voters.

I'm sick of the cities having all the political clout in elections like this. Its about time the candidates were forced to pay attention to the issues that are important to rural America as well.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 09:51 PM
"Wahhhh, we are losing, so lets change the rules!"

Sounds about par for the course.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:38 PM
EC, one WAY out dated architecture.
I'd like to see a vote per vote count for elections. no need to reserve space for people that live in rural areas that can't get to voting stations... it really is time for change.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:57 PM

Originally posted by zooplancton
EC, one WAY out dated architecture.
I'd like to see a vote per vote count for elections. no need to reserve space for people that live in rural areas that can't get to voting stations... it really is time for change.

The EC was set up to keep the election of the president out of the hands of the unwashed masses. It may have made some sense when it was written and the majority of the country was illiterate and uneducated but, today, I just can't see the justification for it anymore. It just furthers the common perception that elections are rigged and gives people one more reason not to bother voting.

Dumping the EC system would take a Constitutional Amendment. Congress hasn't been able to summon up the votes for that in generations and I can't see that happening today. The best chance for making the system more democratic (and hopefully, less corrupt) is for the states to exercise their authority over the way in which these votes are awarded. Nothing in the Constitution says the states have to use a "winner take all" system.

I think its a shame that a proposal like this is coming from a Republican majority in a state that has gone to the Democrats for decades. It makes it too easy for opponents to cry partisanship. It may just be a partisan attempt to capture the next election but, if it gives the voters more of a real voice in the election, I'm all for it.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 11:02 PM
I have a group of people that I meet up with for drinks every week or so. A number of them are very conservative and quite a few are very active in local conservative politics including a talk show host and a local republican party chair.

What do they talk about? All kinds of things, but one thing they are very worried about is the demographic issue. The population is moving away from their kind of thinking and the die hards are aging.

How do they win? Strategic attacks on the election process. Voter ID cards for poor people, gerrymandering districts and changing the election rules to benefit their party.

This stuff is all part of the plan. If you are ok with perversions to your democracy, sit back and enjoy the show.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 11:07 PM
reply to post by FortAnthem

I'd really like to see the actual outcome of the actual voting population in action. an honest raise of hands.
I bet the world would be a different place.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 11:16 PM
Money runs the political system. It doesn't matter if votes are awarded by counties, or if poor voters are disenfranchised. The pawns of the oligarchy will always weasel their way into the presidency, and the media is used as a tool that persuades the public to vote for them.

debating the merits of the electoral college is futile at this point. True change will come through chaos.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 11:52 PM
Some Constitutional scholars say that this system would be thrown off due to partisan redistricting and fear a situation in which a candidate who wins the popular vote would lose the electoral vote.

For years, Sabato has studied the Electoral College and contemplated changes such as the one proposed by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.

Sabato, a political scientist, brings no partisan or ideological objective to the controversy. His conclusion? Addressing Electoral College issues piecemeal is not in the national interest.

"You do not want an individual state, particularly a highly populated one like Pennsylvania, going off and freelancing and coming up with a separate system all by themselves," Sabato told me in an interview this week. "Because in any close election, that can make a difference, and they could end up electing another president who loses the popular vote, and that is not healthy for the country. Everyone agrees on that."

Sabato acknowledges the problem of a presidential candidate winning 45 percent of a state's popular vote but receiving no electoral votes. However, he thinks proponents of change are missing something: the effects of redistricting, which skews the popular vote.

Sabato illustrates his concern by pointing to Ohio, which he calls "as close to an evenly divided 50/50, superswing state" as you can find.

"But what is the redistricting plan for new House of Representatives [districts] starting in 2013?" he asks. "It's 12 Republicans and four Democrats. That's right. You would think it would be eight Republicans and eight Democrats, based on voting patterns."

And, he says, if that is the voting representation by electors, Ohio would always lean toward the GOP despite its even divide.

Further, if the Pennsylvania proposal had been in force during past elections, results could have been profoundly different. According to Sabato, John F. Kennedy would have lost decisively to Richard Nixon in 1960. In 1976, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter would have tied in the Electoral College despite the Democrat's 1.7 million-vote edge in popular votes.

"What you are going to produce if you go to this kind of system is far more cases of a president losing the popular vote but winning in the Electoral College," Sabato says. "Does anyone want to move in that direction? It is a formula for divisiveness."

They do have some valid concerns but, as a whole, I think the new proposed system would be better. There is no guarantee that the current system also couldn't elect a president who lost the popular vote so I don't think that argument against this system holds much weight.

I'm especially offended by the idea that we shouldn't change the system unless it is part of a nationwide movement. If it is to become a nationwide movement, it has to start somewhere and it might as well be Pa leading the pack instead of following, as usual. Its bad enough that, by the time we get to vote in the presidential primaries, the decision has already been made (usually after just the first three or four tiny states finish their primaries
). If Pa changes its system, that may force all the other states to change to a more democratic system as well to keep Pa from stealing all of their electoral thunder and force the candidates to pay attention to the citizens in the other states as well.

The issue of partisan redistricting is the most bothersome argument against this change. That could really throw off the vote and cause a candidate who lost badly in the popular vote to take an election. It would keep the courts busy and make partisan bickering more pronounced as minority parties fight to keep their voice in the state.

I have my doubts that even partisan redistricting would make that much of a difference in the presidential election. Pa has voted for conservative majorities in its house and senate for years yet has consistently ended up going Democrat in the presidential election. Even when we vote in a conservative governor, we've still gone with the Dems for president. Just because the voters are in a district that sent a conservative to the state house, that doesn't mean that they automatically vote that way for president.

edit on 9/24/11 by FortAnthem because:

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 11:57 PM

Dumping the EC system would take a Constitutional Amendment. Congress hasn't been able to summon up the votes for that in generations and I can't see that happening today. The best chance for making the system more democratic (and hopefully, less corrupt) is for the states to exercise their authority over the way in which these votes are awarded. Nothing in the Constitution says the states have to use a "winner take all" system.

I like this, I like States rights. I like voters having a real voice in the elections.

I don't mind losing, I just want to lose fair.

posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 01:51 PM
There are also other states trying to change things to tilt the balance. We should have done away with the EC a long time ago. Rachel Maddow did a piece on this and other states are coming up with things to try and get Obama out of office.

posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 03:05 PM
Personally I feel that the Electoral College is WAYYYYYYY out dated. I have given up on voting as my opinion doesn't really matter anyway. It's basically time for the entire political system to be thrown out with the trash and a new one brought in!!!! It's all run by $$$ and that needs to end.

Evryone that wants to vote should have a picture ID and go cast their ballot. The ballots should be totaled by state and the president should be determined by those votes.

posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by buster2010


I can't believe Rendell actually said this proposal violates the principal of one voter one vote! The EC system of "winner take all" is the system that effectively takes the voice away from half the voters in a state.

The proposed system is the system that will give voice to all voters, not just the ones who won by a slim majority. A look at the numbers they were throwing around shows that the new proposed system would accurately reflect the actual vote of the state.

Obama took the state 55% to 45%. According to the numbers they crunched, that would have equaled Obama getting 11 votes compared to McCain's 10 votes. That seems like an accurate accounting to me.

I love how they miscaricaturizatize the whole thing by saying that Obama would net only one vote from the last election, making it sound like all the rest of the votes went to his opponent when , in reality, Obama still would have won the state by one vote. The two EC votes representing the Senators going to the overall winner of the state ensures that the overall system is balanced and helps to alleviate any gerrymandering of the districts by the Republican controlled congress.

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