Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Georgia Republicans Consider Change to Electoral System

Dissociated Press. 9/20/2011

One week after Republicans in Pennsylvania considered changing their state's distribution from a winner-take-all system to one in which those votes are distributed by county, and one day after Republicans in Nebraska began a push for a winner-take-all system rather than the proportional one that gave Barack Obama a single electoral college vote from Nebraska, Georgia Republicans have considered a bill to change their electoral voting system.

Currently, in Pennsylvania's winner-take-all system, the popular vote winner receives all 20 (as of the current census) electoral college votes. The Pennsylvania state legislature is considering changing this system to "each congressional district elect one presidential elector and award the other two electors on a statewide basis," according to this AP story.

Given the distribution of voters in the various districts, this new system could easily mean a Republican who lost the popular vote could receive approximately the same or more votes as the popular vote winner. This is possible because of the tendency for Democratic voters to be concentrated in a relatively small number of districts (that have large majorities of Democratic voters) and Republicans to be dispersed in many districts in which there are slight Republican majorities. This distribution of voters would, according to Rachel Maddow, have turned Barack Obama's 11 percentage point victory in Pennsylvania in 2008 from a 21 electoral vote advantage into (probably) a 1 electoral vote advantage.

Nebraska Republicans are also advocating changing their state's distribution of electoral college votes to a winner-take-all system, apparently in order to deny Barack Obama the chance at the one of five votes he received in the 2008 Presidential election.

The bill Georgia's legislature is considering is not a change to the winner-take-all system but an enshrinement in perpetuity of Georgia's penchant for electing Republican candidates. The proposal is that the state's 16 electoral votes are to go, in perpetuity, to the Republican candidate for President. Georgia's electoral votes have gone to Republicans in the last four presidential elections.

State Sen. Goober Hayseed (R-Anywhere) asserted, "This bill is in perfect conformity with the law and the wishes of the good citizens of our state. I see no possibility that the Republican party might stray from its foundational principles of small government, states' rights and the permanent enrichment of wealthy whites at the expense of the poor and minorities. This is a win for all of us who value democracy. And if the Democrats want to change the law, they would only have to gain control of both houses of Congress and the Governorship."

A reading of article II of the U.S. Constitution suggests that Hayseed is on firm constitutional ground. That article states that
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

"Nothing in the Constitution says that we have to choose them at the time of the election," Hayseed said. "We just want to save the voters of Georgia the time of punching in the name of the Republican party candidate for President since they have made their views abundantly clear over the last several elections."

While not commenting on the constitutionality of the proposed law, others are not in favor of it. "If Senator Hayseed's law had been in place before the War of Northern Aggression, it would have given the precious electoral votes of this great state to that tyrant Abraham Lincoln," said random person on the street Percy McShaw, adjusting his white hood. "What if somehow that Mormon apostate wins the Republican nomination? The state of Georgia might want to take its votes and move to the Republic of Texas."

In response to critics who claim that the move to a permanent Republican vote for President is purely political, Hayseed lashed out. "These carpetbaggers don't know the state of Georgia like I do. We always have and always will vote for the Republican, so there's no reason not to respect the will of the voters by passing this law."

When this reporter noted that Georgia's electoral college votes went to Democrats in 1992, 1980 and 1976, Hayseed responded, "I know there's some fear-mongering out there from Government bureaucrats and so-called 'scientists', but there's a lot of room for disagreement about our history. And I don't cotton to those revisionist historians who say that the civil war was about slavery, or that Georgia once voted for Democrats. That's all just ivory-tower hogwash."

Georgia Democrats are reported to be troubled by the prospect of being permanently disenfranchised from presidential elections, but none could be found by press time.

Note: I apologize for the lack of posting. My computer died and was only revived after about three weeks, so posting may begin again.

No comments:

Post a Comment