A concerted Republican effort to alter the balance of power in presidential elections by changing the rules for the electoral college is facing significant hurdles — including from some GOP officials in the affected states. All but two states currently award electoral votes under a winner-take-all system. Plans to replace that with a proportional system are under consideration in half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan. All were presidential battlegrounds that President Obama carried last fall. But their state governments remain under Republican control, and some GOP lawmakers are pushing changes that would make it harder for Democrats to prevail in future contests. It is too early to say whether any of the proposals will become law this year, but the idea has attracted support on the national level. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, reelected to a new term on Friday, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently that the change was something that Republicans in blue states “ought to be looking at.” Democrats say the proposals are merely the latest in a series of GOP efforts to rig the rules of a game they are losing. And at least some Republicans seem to agree.
In Florida, the Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives expressed opposition last week to changing the way the largest swing state allots electoral votes, almost certainly dooming any chance that it will happen there.
Republicans don’t “need to change the rules of the game,” Rep. Will Weatherford told the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times. “I think we need to get better.”
In Virginia, a state Senate committee advanced a plan last week to divvy up the state’s electoral votes in the future according to congressional district results. Obama carried Virginia’s popular vote by almost 4 percentage points in 2012, but Mitt Romney would have claimed nine of the state’s 13 electoral votes had the GOP plan been in effect.
On Friday, however, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and several GOP lawmakers came out against the measure, effectively killing it.