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Back in 2011, Pennsylvania state legislators toyed with the idea of changing their electoral college vote system so that they would align with already-gerrymandered Congressional districts. Ultimately they didn't go with that idea, but that doesn't mean it died.
Shortly after the November election, that idea was floated again. Stung by the "shocking" outcome of the 2012 general election, Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi proposed changing the electoral college votes from winner-take-all to apportionment by Congressional districts.
But it isn't just Pennsylvania. It's Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, too. Via fairvote.org:
A little number-crunching demonstrates why. If Republicans in 2011 had abused their monopoly control of state government in several key swing states and passed new laws for allocating electoral votes, the exact same votes cast in the exact same way in the 2012 election would have converted Barack Obama's advantage of nearly five million popular votes and 126 electoral votes into a resounding Electoral College defeat.
The power of elector-allocation rule changes goes further. Taken to an extreme, these Republican-run states have the ability to lock Democrats out of a chance of victory in 2016 absent the Democratic nominee winning a national landslide of some 12 million votes. In short, the Republicans could win the 2016 election in by state law changes made in 2013.
These states could actually do it. They all have Republican majorities in their statehouses, and they all have gerrymandered districts. Now that states have begun their legislative calendars, there is absolutely nothing to stop them from taking this kind of action.
The RNC chair is encouraging Republican governors and legislators—who, thanks to the “Republican wave” election of 2010, still control many battleground states that backed Obama and the Democrats in 2012—to game the system.
“I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue [Democratic in presidential politics] that are fully controlled red [in the statehouse] ought to be considering,” Priebus says with regard to the schemes for distributing electoral votes by district rather than the traditional awarding of the votes of each state (except Nebraska and Maine, which have historically used narrowly defined district plans) to the winner.
Voter ID will seem like child's play next to this. As it is, it would take a minimum 7 percent margin for a Democrat to win a House seat in any of these gerrymandered districts. If they are able to change the apportionment of electoral college votes to lock them in now, there really won't be a whole lot of reason to even hold elections in 2016. The coup will have been complete in 2013.
Republicans operate on the premise that what they can't win outright, they're happy to steal. This is a Red Alert moment for anyone who actually thinks we should have free, fair elections where everyone's vote counts. We need to counter this with a demand to abolish the electoral college altogether, or at the very least, make twice as much noise as the wingers did over health care reform.