The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 7, 2012

Popular vote

— Your editorial suggested allocating Pennsylvania’s electoral votes proportionally to the popular vote in the state.  Instead of giving Obama 20 electoral votes, this would give Obama 12 votes and Romney 8 votes.  I think this is a terrible idea.

Effectively,  this would give our state 2, or 4 electoral votes instead of 20.  Presidential candidates don’t campaign much in Idaho or North Dakota, because they have few electoral votes to win.  

It might be a reasonable approach if all the other states did the same thing, but as you note, only two small states do.  Our political influence in Washington would evaporate, because we would have made ourselves an insignificant player.

A far better and more fair approach would be a direct popular vote, so that every vote counts the same.  As it stands now, individual votes don’t count for much if you don’t live in a swing state.  

It might seem that this would require a constitutional amendment, but that’s not strictly true.  

All it would take is for individual states to pass an identical law stating that they would assign their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. When states with an electoral-vote majority passed the law, it would take effect, so that winning the popular vote would automatically mean winning the electoral college vote.  It’s a bit more convoluted than a constitutional amendment, but it has the merit of bypassing a dysfunctional Congress.

Robert Fischetti, Freeburg