Virginia’s Republican-controlled Legislature is moving to drastically change the way in which the state’s Electoral College votes are allocated.According to the Associated Press, a State Senate subcommittee voted to recommend a bill from state Sen. Bill Carrico, which would apportion Virginia’s Electoral College votes by congressional district.
On top of that, the presidential candidate who wins the majority of the districts would win the two at-large electoral votes not tied to congressional districts.
Slate’s Dave Weigel explains how that would have affected the 2012 election: Mitt Romney would have walked away with nine electoral votes from Virginia, while President Barack Obama would have won four. That’s despite a 150,000 popular-vote advantage for Obama in the state.
Look at the map from 2012. Mitt Romney won the 1st (53%), 4th (50%), 5th (53%), 6th (59%), 7th (57%), 9th (63%), and 10th (50%) districts. Barack Obama won the four remaining districts — the 2nd (50%), 3rd (79%), 8th (68%), and 11th (62%). Had the Carrico plan been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won nine of Virginia’s electoral votes, and Barack Obama would have won four — even though Obama won the popular vote of the state by nearly 150,000 ballots, and four percentage points.
According to the AP, Carrico argues that the legislation is necessary to give rural areas — which tend to lean Republican — the right amount of influence in elections. Obama — the first Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson to win Virginia — swept to victory in the state in 2008 and 2012 based on support in cities and suburbs.
GOP officials are considering similar forms of legislation in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that would end the practice of awarding all of a state’s electors to the candidate who won the popular vote.
Democrats in those states’ legislatures have challenged the move, calling it everything from “evil” to “election-rigging.”
The idea has gained support from Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.
“It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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