The Latest Conspiracy to Steal Your Vote
If some Republican legislators have their way, by 2016 your vote might not count the way it used to. This isn’t a case of hanging chads or malfunctioning voting machines – it is a fundamental retooling of the system by which America elects its president. In several states, most notably Pennsylvania, plans have been put forward to link Electoral College votes to congressional districts.
Take a minute to wade through the legalese and you’ll see just how nefarious this conspiracy really is. Right now, every state is assigned a certain number of electors based on its population (Montana has 3, California has 55) and after the popular vote of the state is tallied, all of its electoral votes go to the most favored presidential candidate in a winner-take-all system. This is how it worked for 48 states in 2012. For instance, Obama got 200,000 more votes than Romney in Pennsylvania, so Obama got all of Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes.
The Republican faithful, who still can’t figure out how they lost the election, would like to change that. Back in 2010, they redrew congressional district lines in strange patterns in order to give themselves a numerical edge in many districts – a process called gerrymandering. In Pennsylvania, 12 of these 20 gerrymandered districts gave Romney the win, despite the fact that 200,000 more Pennsylvanians voted for Obama overall. The fact of the matter is, after gerrymandering these Democratic supporters are all crammed into a few districts around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. If the plan to link Electoral College votes to congressional districts went through, Romney would have gotten 12 Electoral College votes and Obama only 8.
All in all, if every state linked their Electoral College votes to their gerrymandered congressional districts in the 2012 election, Romney would have won handily with 11 more Electoral College votes than Obama. Who knows what 2016 will bring?
But, to be fair, not everyone in the GOP thinks that election rigging is a good idea. Will Weatherford, Florida House Speaker, famously said about the plan: “That’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and they beat us in the fourth.’” His comparison of the new Republican plan with outright cheating got the motion squashed in the famous battleground state. Even Paul Ryan has recently gone on record saying that he would prefer Wisconsin stick with the original majoritarian system.
Even though it looks as if few, if any states, will actually succumb to the conspiracy to change the Electoral College to reflect gerrymandered districts, you, as voters, should still be on the lookout. There are still three and a half years until the next election and who knows what other plans might be in the works to steal your vote.
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