OH, VA Republicans Consider Changes to Electoral Vote System

OH, VA Republicans Consider Changes to Electoral Vote System

Since the 2012 presidential election, Republicans in Virginia and Ohio have floated the possibility of getting rid of their states’ “winner-take-all” systems of awarding electoral votes, proposing instead that they apportion their electoral votes by congressional district.

In Virginia, state Senator Charles Carrico has introduced a bill that “would award one electoral vote to the winner of each of the state’s 11 congressional districts, and the state’s two at-large votes to the candidate that wins the majority of the districts.”

Carrico said part of the reason why he introduced the bill was because Mitt Romney won 63 percent of the vote in his 9th Congressional District; he feels the Electoral College is not a “fair system” because voters go to the polls knowing their votes do not count. 

In 2012, delegate Vivian Watts, a Virginia Democrat, also introduced a bill that would apportion Virginia’s electoral votes by congressional district, but the bill never got out of the subcommittee. 

According to the Washington Times, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted also floated the idea of changing the state’s winner-take-all system.

“So I said, ‘look, it really doesn’t matter what structure you have. As long as you have a winner-take-all system, you’re going to have controversy in swing states,'” Husted told the publication. “If you don’t want election controversy in Ohio, you could fix the congressional districts, make them fair, and then you could apportion electoral votes by congressional districts.”

Critics of the idea claim that it could be even less representative and make the problem even worse: because congressional districts are so gerrymandered, states like Ohio and Virginia that hardly have competitive congressional races would no longer be swing states. 

Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, asked: “Our districts are hyper-gerrymandered — do you want to tie your electoral votes to that debacle?”

“A place like Ohio and Virginia — if you went to this plan, they’re out of the equation. You are, in essence, coming out with pre-ordained outcomes,” Borick said. 

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