The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

December 3, 2012

Pa. Senate leader renews call to change electoral vote tally

HARRISBURG — State Senate Republican leader Dominic Pileggi on Monday renewed his call for Pennsylvania to revamp the way it awards electoral votes, using a method that would have given GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney eight of the state’s 20 votes.

The Delaware County lawmaker invited fellow senators to co-sponsor a bill similar to his proposal last year that divided leaders of the state’s GOP and ultimately withered on the vine.

Democrats quickly criticized it as partisan scheme to benefit Republican politicians.

Pileggi advocates breaking away from the traditional winner-take-all policy – used by all states except Maine and Nebraska – and replacing it with a system that divides the electoral votes between the candidates based on the share of the popular vote they receive.

In the Nov. 6 election, President Barack Obama, the Democratic nominate, beat Romney with 52.1 percent of the popular vote, winning all 20 electoral votes.

Pileggi’s latest plan would award two electoral votes to the statewide winner of the popular vote. Unlike last year’s plan, which would have awarded electoral votes based on the results in each of the state’s congressional districts, the new proposal would apportion electoral votes based on the percentage of the statewide vote each candidate received.

Any fractional vote would be awarded to the statewide winner, said Pileggi’s spokesman, Erik Arneson.

Had the proposal been in effect this year, Pileggi said, Obama would have won 10 electoral votes and Romney eight – not nearly enough to change the outcome of the national election but eight more than Romney won.

The “advantage of this system is clear: It much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state,” Pileggi said in his co-sponsorship memorandum.

Jim Burn, the state Democratic Party chairman, called Pileggi’s proposal “the ultimate sour grapes.”

“Instead (of) trying to pass partisan legislation that only helps Republican politicians at the expense of Pennsylvanians, Republicans should focus on helping the middle class – something they have failed to do,” Burn said.

Gov. Tom Corbett, who supported Pileggi’s original proposal last year, had not seen the new plan and could not say whether he supports it, the Republican governor’s spokes­man said.

“When we do, we’ll review it,” said the spokesman, Kevin Harley.

 

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