The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 10, 2012

Changing rules

Daily Item

---- — If you can't win under the rules of the game, what do you do? Most would change their strategy and/or try harder. But, the GOP believes it is easier to simply change the rules to your favor.

Pennsylvania's Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has announced that he will again propose legislation to change state election rules affecting presidential elections. This is similar to legislation he proposed prior to the November election which would have rigged Pennsylvania's electoral vote in favor of Mitt Romney.

Most Americans know that U.S. presidents are not truly elected by the voters, but by the electoral votes in each state. Each state gets electoral votes equal to its congressional delegation. In 48 states, and the District of Columbia, which has three votes, the electoral votes are all given to the candidate who wins the popular vote.

Pileggi's plan would change how Pennsylvania's electoral votes are allocated. Instead of the current winner-take-all system, the proposed legislation would allocate 18 of the 20 electoral votes proportionally, based on the popular vote, with the remaining two votes going to the statewide winner. Had this plan been in effect in November, President Obama would have received 12 electoral votes and Romney would have received 8. Had his earlier 2011 plan been in effect, Romney could have gotten 13 electoral votes.

While Pileggi claims his plan would more accurately reflect the will of the voters, this is clearly an attempt by the GOP to make it more difficult for Democrats to win the White House. It would also allow Republicans to claim Electoral College votes in states where they lose the popular vote. Similar legislation is being considered in other states where Obama prevailed in 2012. As George W. Bush can attest, it is possible to lose the popular vote and still get to the White House.

Republicans, who control the state Legislature, have made it clear that they will do everything possible to move Pennsylvania to the GOP side. After the 2010 census, they effectively gerrymandered Pennsylvania's congressional districts to virtually guarantee GOP control of two-thirds at least through 2020.

While the U.S. Constitution allows each state to determine how it allocates electoral votes, the rules must not be skewed to favor one party over the other.

David B. Kyle,

New Columbia