Republican-controlled legislatures in key states that voted for Barack Obama are considering proposals to rig their electoral system against Democrats, urban voters and members of minority groups.
Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio want to allocate their states’ electoral votes by congressional district, instead of giving all the electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who wins a majority statewide. While this doesn’t seem unfair on the surface, the result in the previous election would have been to give a majority of these states’ electoral votes to Mitt Romney instead of Barack Obama. That is because the congressional districts are drawn so as to dilute Democratic, urban and minority representation and give the advantage to Republican, rural and white voters.
Such proposals are only surfacing in states carried by Obama. Republicans are content with the winner-take-all system in states where Romney won a majority of the vote.
Each state’s electoral votes are equal to their representation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Virginia state senate has reported out a bill that would award the state’s electoral votes by congressional district, and the two remaining votes not to the candidate who won a majority of Virginia voters, but the one who won the largest number of districts. Under this system, Obama, who won 51 percent of Virginia’s vote, would have got only 4 of Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.
Meanwhile the voter ID laws and all the other voter suppression measures remain on the books. It is true that what the Republican leaders are doing is not nearly as bad as the literacy tests, the poll tax and the other ways in which African-American voting was suppressed in the Jim Crow era. It is true that nobody is being murdered for exercising the right to vote. But the present vote-rigging and vote-suppression laws are intended to serve the same purpose—denying representation to minority voters.
This represents intellectual bankruptcy on the part of the Republican Party. If they had a plausible plan for achieving peace and prosperity, they would win votes of African-Americans and urban dwellers. By adopting their present tactics, they let the Democrats off the hook. All the Democrats have to do to win the urban and minority vote is to not be Republicans.
Click on the following links for more.
Virginia Republicans Move Forward With Mass Disenfranchisement by Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect.
Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Already Has a Plan to Rig 2016 Election for Republicans by Ian Millhiser and Josh Israel for Think Progress.
RNC chair backs electoral vote change, but it’s Wisconsin’s decision by Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The continuing battle over the vote, an earlier post of mine.