The town has asked other small towns across the state, including Ware and Whately, to back state legislation that could impact the way presidential contests are decided, but similar bills in other states have been lightning rods for partisan anger.
House Bill 00200, sponsored by state Rep. Robert M. Koczera, D-New Bedford, would make it possible for the state to split its 11 Electoral College votes between candidates. The legislation calls for each Congressional district to choose an elector and for two electors-at-large to represent the whole state. This matches the number of congressmen and senators. Erving selectmen contend the bill would add weight to each person’s vote.
The Electoral College is a body of 538 nationwide delegates who cast votes in presidential contests on behalf of the public. Whoever wins a state’s popular vote also wins the full electoral vote in most cases; the candidate with 270 or more electoral votes wins the race. Koczera’s proposal is the same method at work in Nebraska and Maine. Pennsylvania killed a plan to adopt it in October because it faced fierce opposition from those who saw it is as a political scheme meant to benefit Republicans.
In Massachusetts, the winner of the national popular vote gets the state’s 11 electoral votes. The recent loss of a Western Massachusetts Congressional seat lowered the number from 12.