Casey Opposes Electoral College Tinkering
Bob Casey wants Pennsylvania to remain a winner take all presidential state. The Senator wrote Pa. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi to voice his opposition to a longshot proposal to award the state’s electoral college votes proportionately.
Pileggi’s bill would divide 18 of the state’s electoral college votes according to the popular vote total, with 1 EC vote for approximately 5.6%. The statewide winner would get an additional 2 votes.
“If enacted, S.B. 538 would drastically alter the method by which the Commonwealth allocates its 20 electoral votes and diminish the historical role Pennsylvania has played in electing our Nation’s presidents. I respectfully urge you to reconsider this legislation,” Casey wrote.
“Several political scientists have asserted that by doing away with the current winner-take-all system, Pennsylvania’s influence would diminish, ceding power to the voters of other large, politically diverse states.”
He proceeded to prod Pileggi, if he does proceed with the law, to consider it slowly and publicly.
The plan is the product of a few years of pondering changes to the way Pa. picks a presidential winner. Republicans, chastened by five straight losses in the Keystone State, began considering different options in 2011.
Unlike previous proposals, this bill would not take into account the presidential results within congressional districts, as Nebraska and Maine do presently.
Democrats have accused the proposal of blatant partisanship. Indeed, since Casey penned his letter, the Democratic National Committee has emailed reporters no fewer than four news articles on the subject. Those emails follow dozens of similar ones since Pileggi unveiled his bill.
The Pa. Democratic Party has used the proposal to build its email list, encouraging those who oppose the bill to sign its online petition.
Pileggi has denied charges of partisanship, saying that the proposal is meant to generate conversation about reform.
“Senator Casey seems to have missed this fundamental point: There are no plans to advance the legislation at this time,” said Pileggi spokesman Erik Arneson. “If such plans develop, there will be a public hearing as the first step.”