Sunday, January 27, 2013

Republicans’ Effort To Rig Electoral College Gets National Backing

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), who was the chief elections officer when the state experienced massive voting problems in 2004, is planning to lead a national effort to rig the electoral college in favor of the 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Republicans who hold power in states that have voted Democratic in the last few presidential contests, including Virginia and Pennsylvania, are considering a change to their apportionment of electoral votes. Instead of a winner-take-all system for the state, electoral votes would be doled out by congressional district, using highly-gerrymandered maps. The result is that a state like Pennsylvania, which voted for President Obama by more than 5 percent in 2012, would have given most of its electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

That plan is now receiving national backing, thanks to Blackwell and GOP operative Jordan Gehrke. The two men detailed their effort in an interview with the Atlantic and conceded that the effort could make it easier for Republicans to win the White House:

ATLANTIC: You are a Republican operative, though. And it’s Republican legislators who are pushing this in all the states where it’s come up so far. You can claim this is about policy, but doesn’t it really make it easier for Republicans to win presidential elections?

BLACKWELL & GEHRKE: That could be a byproduct, depending on who drew the lines last and who’s running – a lot of different things. What it’s really about is making sure that more people in more congressional districts get attention.

Though Blackwell and Gehrke argued that allocating electoral votes by congressional district is more representative, that doesn’t mean they support the much simpler, fairer system of a national popular vote. “Abolishing the electoral college is very difficult to do,” they claimed.

What’s both true and sad, though, is that rigging the system to ensure the Republican candidate wins, no matter how Americans actually vote, is far easier to accomplish in Republican-controlled states.

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