Governor Corbett and his allies in Harrisburg are trying again to gerrymander the electoral college and give an advantage to the Republican Presidential candidate in 2016. Under their scheme in the name of "fairness", it would become quite likely that the candidate with the most votes in Pennsylvania would not get a majority of Pennsylvania's electoral votes. Republican legislatures are proposing these changes only in blue states — hoping to take these states off of the electoral map.
It is true that the electoral college has its problems, but the Republican backed scheme would make matters worse. Anyone truly concerned about the electoral college should consider the National Popular Vote Compact below and urge your legislators to support it.
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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 ensures that every vote, in every vote, will matter in every presidential election.
The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbiaand 8 states (VT, MD, WA, IL, NJ, MA, CA, HI) shown in green on the map. They total 132 electoral votes bringing us almost halfway towards the 270 necessary to activate the National Popular Vote.
Eleven more states (shown in purple) have passed NPV bills in at least one chamber of their legislature. For example, recently the Republican-controlled New York Senate passed NPV in a 47-13 vote. Republicans supported the bill 21-11 while Democrats supported it 26-2. Across the country, NPV has been endorsed by 2,124 state legislators.
The shortcomings of the current system stem from the winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state).
The winner-take-all rule has permitted a candidate to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in 4 of our 56 elections - 1 in 14 times. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected Kerry despite Bush's nationwide lead of 3,000,000.
Another shortcoming of the winner-take-all rule is that presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign visits and ad money in the November general election campaign in just six closely divided "battleground" states — with 98% going to 15 states. This makes two thirds of the states mere spectators. (The maps on the left show a similar situation during the final five weeks of the 2004 Bush-Kerry election. Each purple hand represents a visit from a presidential or vice-presidential candidate and each dollar sign represents $1,000,000 spent on TV advertising.)
The winner-take-all rule treats voters supporting the candidate who comes in second place in a particular state as if they supported the candidate that they voted against.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states exclusive control over the manner of awarding their electoral votes:
"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors...." The winner-take-all rule is not in the Constitution. It was used by only three states in our nation's first election in 1789. The current method of electing the President was established by state laws, and that these state laws may be changed at any time.
Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes - that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
The bill preserves the Electoral College, while assuring that every vote is equal and that every vote will matter in every state in every presidential election.
The bill has been endorsed by New York Times, Sacramento Bee, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Common Cause, FairVote, LWVUS, and NAACP.
As seen in this state polls are extremely favorable. Supports ranges from a "low" of 67% in Arizona to a high of 83% in Tennessee. On this map, shades of blue represent the highest support and 50/50 support would be represented in purple.
The movement for the National Popular Vote is bipartisan: The national advisory board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R-UT), Birch Bayh (D-IN), and David Durenberger (R-MN) as well as former congressmen John Anderson (R-IL, I), John Buchanan (R-AL), Tom Campbell (R-CA), and Tom Downey (D-NY). Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Governors Bob Edgar (R-IL) and Chet Culver (D-IA) are champions.
This Spring, Pennsylvania House Bill 1270 was introduced by Rep. Tom C. Creighton (R-Lancaster County) and Senate Bill 1116 was introduced by Senators Alloway, Argall, Boscola, Erickson, Fontana, Leach, Mensch, Solobay, Vance and Waugh. These bills have not yet be acted upon action by the State Government Committees.
Additional information is available in the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote.
Pennsylvania poll results follow the jump.
To support National Popular Vote efforts, donate money, contact your state legislator and get involved.