In the last few weeks, a small number of Republican legislators — all in states that voted for Barack Obama — have talked about splitting up their electoral votes. When I wrote about this, I got a few comments along the lines of “hey, is this a trend, or are you scaremongering?” No. It’s a trend. Reid Wilson reports that Wisconsin, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, is home to Republicans who might press their gerrymandered legislative advantage to assign electoral votes by gerrymandered congressional districts. “If you did the calculation, you’d see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control,” said one senior Republican taking an active role in pushing the proposal. “There’s no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly.”
The proposals, the senior GOP official said, are likely to come up in each state’s legislative session in 2013. Bills have been drafted, and legislators are talking to party bosses to craft strategy. Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, has briefed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Chief of Staff Jeff Larson on his state’s proposal. The proposal “is not being met with the ‘We can’t do that’ answer. It’s being met with ‘I’ve already got a bill started,’ ” the official said.
I called Anuzis this afternoon to follow up on the story. As a lobbyist for the National Popular Vote campaign, he personally favors a plan that would scrap the electoral college. If enough states passed NPV bills, we’d move to a full-on popular vote system. But that, he says, is not the bill moving in the Republican-run House. Peter Lund, the committee chairman who would move on electoral college reform, favors a plan that would assign electoral votes by the winners of districts, then assign the remaining two votes to the state’s popular vote winner. In 2012, this would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan’s 16 electors, even though Romney lost the state by 450,000 votes.