Shortly after the 2012 elections, Republicans started kicking around a radical idea: identify battleground states where President Obama won, noting which ones were run by Republican policymakers, and changing the way they allocate electoral votes. Instead of a winner-take-all system used by nearly every state, these states would rig the election by awarding votes based on gerrymandered congressional district lines.
Six states were immediately part of the mix: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. And slowly but surely, as revulsion to the scheme has grown, the number of states where the plan is viable has dwindled.
First, leading GOP lawmakers in Florida have already balked, and soon after, Republican unanimity in Virginia collapsed. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) reconsidered his lukewarm encouragement, and in Ohio every state GOP leader decided they weren’t interested. Even Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R), who put this idea on the table in the first place, said, “Nobody in Ohio is advocating this.”
The state House may be considering a new and controversial plan on how Michigan’s electoral college votes are distributed, but the state Senate isn’t interested, said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.
“I don’t know that the system now is broken. So I don’t know that we need to fix it,” he said…. Changing the system, “Is not on our agenda,” he said.
To be sure, Michigan Republicans have demonstrated the capacity to quickly change their minds, and Mr. Richardville might be persuaded to put it on his agenda at some point in the future, but if the state Senate isn’t interested, the scheme can’t pass.
And that leaves Pennsylvania, where the plan remains on the table, but where there’s been no action on the scheme.
If the plans fall apart completely, and no state follow through on the idea, it’s fair to say the sunlight (i.e. public attention and media scrutiny) served as the ideal disinfectant.