GOP considers election laws; Electoral College target of change
BOSTON — After back-to-back presidential losses, Republicans in key states want to change the rules to make it easier for them to win.
From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, GOP officials who control legislatures in states that supported President Obama are considering changing state laws that give the winner of a state's popular vote all of its Electoral College votes, too. Instead, these officials want Electoral College votes to be divided proportionally, a move that could transform the way the country elects its president.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed the idea this week, and other Republican leaders support it, too, suggesting that the effort may be gaining momentum. There are other signs that Republican state legislators, governors and veteran political strategists are seriously considering making the shift as the GOP looks to rebound from presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Electoral College shellacking and the demographic changes that threaten the party's political prospects.
“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 Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, emphasizing that each state must decide for itself.
Democrats are outraged at the potential change.
Obama won the popular vote with 65.9 million votes, or 51.1 percent, to Romney's 60.9 million and won the Electoral College by a wide margin, 332-206 electoral votes. It's unclear whether he would have been re-elected under the new system, depending upon how many states adopted the change.
While some Republican officials warn of a political backlash, GOP lawmakers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are already lining up behind proposals that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district or something similar.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he “could go either way” on the change and doesn't plan to push it. But he said it's a reasonable issue to debate and that he prefers that leaders discuss it well before the next presidential election.
“It could be done in a thoughtful (way) over the next couple years and people can have a thoughtful discussion,” Snyder said.
Republican leaders in the Michigan Statehouse have yet to decide whether to embrace the change. State Rep. Peter Lund, a Republican who introduced a bill to change the allocation system two years ago, said some Republicans might be more receptive to his bill this year following the election.
“We never really pushed it before,” he said, adding that the bill wasn't designed to help one party more than the other.
Democrats aren't convinced. And they warned of political consequences for Republicans who back the shift.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Highmark CEO keeps eyes ahead
- Steelers sign former star LB Harrison; Tomlin talks ‘different climate’
- Attorney general rejects Tribune-Review request for ‘racy’ emails
- Port Authority: Drivers ‘reckless’ before buses bumped, wrecking 1
- Steelers’ Taylor recovering from forearm surgery
- State Sen. Jim Ferlo: ‘I’m gay. Get over it. I love it’
- With informant missing, drug case should be dropped, Carrick man’s lawyer says
- Bill allowing schools to administer epinephrine advances in state senate
- Photos: Fern Hollow holds music festival
- Steelers defense must replace 3 injured starters after victory
- Baldwin-Whitehall substitute teacher charged in child porn case