Republicans in Pennsylvania and Nebraska want to change the way their states award Electoral College votes, moves that could hinder President Barack Obama’s re-election chances. Lawmakers in the Democratic-leaning battleground of Pennsylvania are weighing whether to give the presidential nominees one electoral vote for each congressional district they win, rather than giving all its votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote, like Obama did in 2008. In GOP-tilting Nebraska, lawmakers want to go to a winner-take-all system four years after Obama won the 2nd Congressional District and its single electoral college vote.
It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency out of 538 up for grabs. Every vote matters in a close election and every sign points to a competitive 2012 race as an incumbent Democratic president who most people still personally like tries to win a second term in tough economic times.
“Any electoral vote is important in these elections,” said Michael Mezey, a professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago. “When you start dealing with large states, it can make a difference. And also you’re not just dealing with Pennsylvania; other states may follow suit.”
The changes Republicans in Pennsylvania and Nebraska are trying to make likely would give the eventual GOP nominee an advantage by shifting the voting power from more liberal, predominantly Democratic cities in both states, to more conservative rural and suburban areas that tend to favor Republicans.
Not that GOP officials will acknowledge that their goal is to help a Republican win the White House. Rather, they talk about fairness.
“The people in many parts of the state, they haven’t been represented because of the huge turnout, and you know there’s going to be a huge Democratic turnout in Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who supports the proposal, said recently.
Pennsylvania, a Rust Belt state with a Democratic tilt thanks to its big cities and entrenched labor unions, is one of 48 states that give all of its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote.
But Republicans who now control the capitol in that state – where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 4 to 3 – are considering a proposal to scrap the state’s winner-take-all system of awarding its 20 electoral votes to one candidate. They would replace it with a system in which presidential candidates are awarded electoral votes based on how many of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts they win. Two of the 20 electoral votes would go to the winner of the popular vote.
Full Article: The Detroit News Online.