The latest attempt to manipulate Pennsylvania’s presidential vote provided another opportunity for Democrats to howl about cheating Republicans. And they had a point. But if state legislators from both parties want to do something more useful – and, yes, that’s a big if – they should back a politically neutral proposal to end all such attempts to rig presidential elections. State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Chester) recently introduced a long-threatened bill to award most of Pennsylvania’s presidential electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. Sounds reasonable enough. But because Pennsylvania and most other states currently award all their electoral votes to the statewide popular-vote winner, and because the Keystone State has gone Democratic for half a dozen elections, the effect would likely be to steal a chunk of the commonwealth’s electoral votes for the GOP.
Pennsylvania Republicans are at risk of becoming the nation’s most prominent sore losers. Most of their counterparts in other states have abandoned plans to tinker with the Electoral College. Moreover, this is Pileggi’s second recent attempt to alter the electoral math; his first would have awarded electors according to the state’s heinously gerrymandered congressional districts, promising Republicans an even greater share of the total.
Last week, State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) and others attacked Pileggi’s bill as reminiscent of the recent effort to require voters to present photo identification, which was expected to discourage Democratic-leaning demographics. Though The Inquirer reported that Pileggi’s proposal may not be high on the GOP agenda, Hughes warned ominously of the potential for “mischief and mayhem.”