Report: Gerrymandered Districts May Swing Election Under New Plan
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Republican Party has lost the last two presidential elections by large majorities in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote in Congress in 2012. So, party leaders at the state level are pushing for changes in the way electoral votes are apportioned.
According to the Washington Post, states including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are all considering proposals to award delegates to the Electoral College by Congressional district rather than a winner take all format that has been used up to this point.
The reason behind the move is to take states that have more Republican Congressional districts, but go for Democrats in the Electoral College and flip them to red states.
For example, the Post reported that had the system existed in 2012, a state like Virginia, which went for President Barack Obama, would instead have given Obama four Electoral College votes and Mitt Romney nine.
The hope for Republicans is the plans would flip the large states in favor of the GOP candidate. Virginia drew scorn this week for advancing the plan through the state senate by waiting for one Democratic member to be out of state and then forcing a vote.
Democrats have cried foul because the plans would disproportionately benefit the Congressional districts which were drawn up this year that favor Republicans. Former Republican Representative and current MSNBC host Joe Scaborough admitted the House of Representatives stayed Republican through gerrymandering.
“It was just gerrymandering from 2010 that gave us the majority,” Scarborough said recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Republican State Leadership Committee drew up a memo saying the 2012 election would have been much worse for Republicans had GOP state legislatures not gerrymandered the districts.
“Controlling the redistricting process in these states would have the greatest impact on determining how both state legislative and congressional district boundaries would be drawn,” the memo read, according to the Huffington Post. “Drawing new district lines in states with the most redistricting activity presented the opportunity to solidify conservative policymaking at the state level and maintain a Republican stronghold in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade.”
No bill has been filed in Florida to switch the state’s apportionment of Electoral College votes.
In fact, Florida Speaker of the House Will Weatherford blasted the plan.
“To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and they beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford told the Miami Herald. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better.”
The issue will be coming to a head in Virginia soon and other states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan could follow suit. The change has the possibility of fundamentally changing the way the presidential elections are run and could swing the Electoral College to a permanent GOP majority by the time 2016 rolls around.