Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Wednesday disputed online reports that he was proposing a dramatic overhaul of how Ohio conducts presidential elections, saying he does not favor scrapping the Electoral College’s winner-take-all format in favor of awarding electoral votes by congressional districts. Husted, who frequently found himself engulfed in controversy throughout the presidential race, sought to extinguish another nascent political fire started by reports in recent days that he had called for division of electoral votes by congressional district in future years.
Such a plan would have awarded 12 of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to Mitt Romney, even though he lost the state’s popular vote to President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election. Opponents were quick to attack it as a scheme to alter electoral rules in a way that would benefit Husted’s fellow Republicans, an accusation he repeatedly faced throughout this fall’s campaign.
Husted, however, says he never called for the change, arguing that his comments at an event in Columbus two days after the election were “badly taken out of context.”
“I’m not advocating it, I’m not suggesting it is a good idea, I’m not promoting it,” Husted said in an interview with The Enquirer.
Nationwide, all states except Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, with the presidential candidate who carries the state winning all of its votes. Maine and Nebraska apportion theirs to the winners within congressional districts and also award two electoral votes to the statewide winner.