BREAKING: Virginia Republicans’ Attempt to Rig Electoral College Dead?

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    (UPDATE: Bob McDonnell says NO! – promoted by lowkell)

    Is the attempt by Virginia Republicans to rig the electoral college in their favor, by apportioning Virginia electoral votes based on gerrymandered-by-Republicans congressional districts (as opposed to the current, winner take all), dead? It’s sure starting to look like it.

    If a bill to reapportion Virginia’s presidential electoral votes by congressional district is a Republican plot, someone forgot to tell state Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Bedford County.

    Smith said this morning that he opposes the legislation, calling it “a bad idea.” Smith sits on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, which will hear the bill next week. Without Smith’s support, it’s unlikely the bill could get to the Senate floor. The Privileges and Elections Committee has eight Republicans and seven Democrats.

    What if all states got to skewering it to their advantage?” Smith said in an interview this morning.

    Great question by Senator Smith (a Republican with integrity?!?), one that should be directed at the head of the Republican National Committee, the wildly irresponsible Reince Preibus, who has endorsed Republican attempts to rig the Electoral College to their advantage. You know, as opposed to actually trying to convince voters that Republicans have better ideas, policy proposals, etc.

    Anyway, phew! Now, on to stopping the Republican attempt to re-redistrict Virginia to their advantage, and whatever other nefarious and insane crap they come up with this session.  

    P.S. Nice scoop by Roanoke Times reporter Michael Sluss, consistently one of the best Virginia political reporters out there…

    • sonofkenny

      To distract attention for the power grab by the Senate on Monday?

    • pontoon

      but then they pass bills which stop Virginia from enforcing federal gun safety laws enacted after Dec 31, 2012 like this one:

      http://www.vahousedems.com/p/s

      I believe this is called nullification?!

    • oldgulph

      Obvious partisan machinations like these should add support for the National Popular Vote movement. If the party in control in each state is tempted every 2, 4, or 10 years (post-census) to consider rewriting election laws and redistrict with an eye to the likely politically beneficial effects for their party in the next presidential election, then the National Popular Vote system, in which all voters across the country are guaranteed to be politically relevant and treated equally, looks better and better.

      A survey of Virginia voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

      By age, support for a national popular vote was 82% among 18-29 year olds, 75% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 68% for those older than 65.

      By gender, support was 82% among women and 65% among men.

      By political affiliation, support was 79% for a national popular vote among liberal Democrats (representing 17% of respondents), 86% among moderate Democrats (representing 21% of respondents), 79% among conservative Democrats (representing 10% of respondents), 76% among liberal Republicans (representing 4% of respondents), 63% among moderate Republicans (representing 14% of respondents), and 54% among conservative Republicans (representing 17% of respondents), and 79% among Others.

      The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

      When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes- enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

      The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

      In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

      The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

      NationalPopularVote

      Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

    • AnonymousIsAWoman

      if the conditions were reversed.  It’s a simple principle, often expressed as “do unto others …”  A corollary is to not pass laws, when you are part of the majority, that you wouldn’t want to live with if you found yourself in the minority.

      Sen. Ralph Smith is a smart man to realize that.  And kudos for his integrity!

      Ultimately, I would like to see all districts drawn up fairly by a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission.  It doesn’t serve any of us to have “safe” seats where elected officials don’t have to compete to keep their seats.

      And at a national level, I would like to see the electoral college abolished in favor of a popular vote.  First, because I believe Democrats win when there is real democracy.  Secondly, because every vote should be equally important and candidates should be out there competing for all votes, not just those of swing states.  Finally, because anything that increases democracy and direct participation is the right thing to do and benefits all citizens.

    • NotJohnSMosby

      If this bill had become law 30 years ago, the Presidential elections would have gone this way:

      1984 – Reagan

      1988 – Bush I

      1992 – Clinton

      1996 – Clinton

      2000 – Gore

      Uh, yeah, that’s right, in 2000, Gore/Lieberman won the 3rd, 8th and 11th Congressional districts.  Democrats lost the 4th CD by less than 500 votes, too.  But, those 3 electoral votes would have made the final tally Gore 270 (or 269 if the disloyal elector would have still been disloyal) and Bush 268.  Gore is elected President, and Bush Jr. goes back to being governor of Texas.

      So, this is a good idea for Republicans if they think that a Democrat is going to win Virginia from now on.  It’s stupid if they think a Republican will win again, since at least 3 of the 13 electoral votes are safe Democratic.  

      I’m certainly not convinced that Virginia is anything besides a purple state.  Republicans may well end up cutting their own balls off if they try and push this through.

    • pontoon

      voted against this in the subcommittee, as well.  Don’t want to give her too much credit as she is the legislator last year who brought the transvaginal ultrasound bill to the Senate floor, but do need to recognize her for this vote.

      Additionally, I wonder if this is some sort of cover so they can say they killed the apportionment of electoral votes bill when they push forward on Senate redistricting.  Would be just like them.

    • kindler

      Earlier today, McDonnell was reported being very cagey about whether he might sign the redistricting bill, saying he didn’t like the process that produced it but…oh well.