Senator Dominic Pileggi plans to introduce a bill to change PA’s electoral college winner-take-all system to one that allocates the state’s 20 electoral votes on a proportional basis. The plan is designed to help Republicans get elected and, in fact, was only proposed in states where Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, but where Republicans control the state government.
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Say NO to Pileggi’s Proposed Electoral College Changes!
To: Senator David Argall, Senator Mike Folmer, Senator John Rafferty, Senator Judy Schwank, Representative Tom Caltagirone, Representative Jim Cox, Representative Gary Day, Representative Mark Gillen, Representative Jerry Knowles, Representative Ryan Mackenzie, Representative David Maloney, Representative Mark Rozzi, Representative Mike Tobash
Dear Senators Argall, Folmer, Rafferty, Schwank, Representatives Caltagirone, Cod, Day, Gillen, Knowles, Mackenzie, Maloney, Rozzi, Tobash
We, the undersigned, write to express our strong opposition to any changes to Pennsylvania’s electoral college system, including those Senator Dominic Pileggi is proposing that would allocate electoral votes proportionally based on the results of the statewide popular vote.
The electoral system in this state and country has worked, and mostly worked well, for more than 200 years. Unless we are going to have direct and popular election of the president, as the League of Women Voters and others support, there is no need to change the process. The effect of this proposal would be to make Pennsylvania the least attractive electoral vote mine in the country.
While a proportional system might appear to be fairer than the current winner-take-all system, a closer examination reveals problems with the plan that were very well described in a recent commentary in Politics PA.[i] Pennsylvania has 20 electoral college votes. In a proportional system, 1 vote would represent 5% of the vote and would not be able to be divided. As the author points out, a 51 – 49 vote would result in a 10 – 10 vote allocation. The inequity becomes even more pronounced in smaller states with fewer electoral college votes. Changes to our system might set the stage for changes in some of those states, rendering election results absolutely unreflective of the popular vote results.
At present, however, no other states are considering making such a change. In fact, similar plans were only proposed in five other states – Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin. These states have a couple of things in common with Pennsylvania: 1) they went for Obama in the past two elections and 2) they are controlled by Republicans at the state level. Indeed, the states were hand-picked by Republicans who saw an opportunity. All five of the states have rejected the plan.
Former National Republican Chair Haley Barbour was quoted as saying that no one can predict who would benefit from any such change. He says he prefers the system as it is. We agree.
Changing the system for political gains makes it one of the most infuriating maneuvers made in recent years. Pennsylvania has already been the brunt of national jokes and embarrassment for its debacle regarding state redistricting and voter ID. The courts have reacted negatively in both cases, requiring that considerable sums be spent in both court costs and voter notification. We are tired of political bickering while real issues remain unresolved.
Leadership requires that our elected officials rise above partisan fighting. We urge that you demonstrate leadership and oppose changes to the electoral college system in Pennsylvania.
Please, do not support a subdivision of democracy.
President, Kutztown Area Democratic Club
260 East Main Street
Kutztown, PA 19530
[i] Allocating Pennsylvania’s Electoral Votes (commentary), by Barry Kaufman, Politics PA, February 6, 2013.