Republican proposals in swing states to change how electoral votes are allocated have set off alarms that the party is trying to rig future presidential elections. But the plans are going nowhere fast. In the majority of states where such measures are being considered – Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Michigan, all states that voted for President Obama in 2012 but have Republican-controlled legislatures – proposals to split Electoral College votes proportionally have either been defeated or are strongly opposed by officials in those states. The only remaining states are Pennsylvania, where an electoral vote change was unsuccessful in 2011, and Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has expressed hesitance about any changes to the system. “I just said I hadn’t ruled it out. I’m not embracing it because it’s a double-edged sword,” Walker said in a recent interview with POLITICO. “What may look appealing right now depending on who your candidate was might, four or eight years from now, look like just the reverse. And the most important thing to me long term as a governor is what makes your voters be in play. One of our advantages as a swing state is that candidates come here … that’s good for voters. If we change that that would take that away and would largely make us irrelevant.”
In Virginia, a plan to allocate electoral votes by congressional district was defeated in the state Senate Tuesday after Gov. Bob McDonnell and other GOP lawmakers in the state came out against it. McDonnell called it a “bad idea.”
“It’s not going to happen in Virginia,” he said on MSNBC earlier this week. “I’m afraid people will ignore Virginia if that happens, or they’ll only go to one congressional district in Virginia (to campaign). You ought to campaign statewide. We were pretty relevant this last time … as a swing state. We’d lose that.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also came out against similar changes in his state this week, saying Electoral College changes should only be done at a time when it’s clear there’s no partisan motive or benefit.
“In a perfect world, if you were going to do it, the time to do it is, you should do it before the census and before redistricting, and people know how that’s going to work out,” Snyder told POLITICO earlier this week. “Theoretically, you should say – shouldn’t you do it in a bipartisan fashion, that both parties are looking to say, you know, a year or two before the census being taken, to say, ‘OK, we don’t know how this is going to turn out, there could be pros or cons, but do we see value in doing it by congressional district versus overall?’ ”