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Colbert Dings Pileggi on Electoral Plan (Watch Video)

The Colbert Report


Stephen Colbert highlighted Pa. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi on Tuesday as part of a riff on GOP efforts to mitigate Democrats’ presidential advantage in a handful of blue states.

Colbert Pileggi“Celebrating” Republican congressional gerrymandering, Colbert cited a Patriot News article about plans to allocate Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes by congressional district.

He quoted the Patriot News, “Pileggi argues that the winner-take-all system is inherently unfair because the losing party… gets no credit in the electoral count.”

It was not a perfect zinger. The plan Colbert criticized doesn’t actually have anything to do with congressional districts. Instead, Pileggi would allocate Pa.’s 20 electoral college votes according to vote percentage (plus 2 for the statewide winner). The Senator introduced a congressional-based plan in 2011 but has since backed away from it.

Pileggi (R-Delaware) pointed that out to Colbert on Twitter:

I appreciate @stephenathome‘s coverage (, but he missed the changes to my #electoralcollege plan:

— Sen. Dominic Pileggi (@SenatorPileggi) January 23, 2013

(Colbert also says Pih-LEGG-ee, rather than Pil-EDGE-ee, but we digress).

However, the issue isn’t dead. Earlier this month a few state House Republicans introduced a congressional district-based electoral college bill, precisely what Colbert lampooned.

Fun side note: Pileggi isn’t the first Republican leader in the Pa. state legislature that Colbert has singled out. See Mike Turzai.

8 Responses

  1. To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

    Instead, The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC), by state law.

  2. The Republicans plan to award electoral votes by congressional district is only fair if gerrymandering is prohibited, as it is in FL. The voters of Florida in 2010 passed the following amendment to the state constitution.

    Standards for establishing congressional district boundaries.—In establishing congressional district boundaries:
    1(a) No apportionment plan or district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and districts shall consist of contiguous territory.
    1(b) Unless compliance with the standards in this subsection conflicts with the standards in subsection 1(a) or with federal law, districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; districts shall be compact; and districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.
    1(c) The order in which the standards within subsections 1(a) and (b) of this section are set forth shall not be read to establish any priority of one standard over the other within that subsection

    Florida also applies the same standard to apportionment for state senate and state house districts.

    Despite Republican control of the FL legislature, the 2010 redistricting actually followed the will of the people–once the courts told them that they had to.

  3. One of the reasons why the Electoral College has remained in effect for all of these years is because it is assumed that all of the swing states that benefit so greatly from the attention and advertising dollars, that no politician from these states would advocate eliminating it. However, if the state republicans are willing to sacrifice the attention and money that comes from these contests, then they can not logically oppose shifting to a popular vote, at least not on those grounds. This could be a unique opportunity to push for the elimination of the Electoral College. Sign the petition at:

    Let’s make this the first petition to hit the new threshold of 100k signatures.

  4. A survey of Pennsylvania voters showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.
    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  5. An analysis of the whole number proportional plan and congressional district systems of awarding electoral votes, evaluated the systems “on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. . . .

    Awarding electoral votes by a proportional or congressional district [used by Maine and Nebraska] method fails to promote majority rule, greater competitiveness or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party, while the whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of no candidate getting the majority of electoral votes needed, leading to the selection of the president by the U.S. House of Representatives.

    For states seeking to exercise their responsibility under the U.S. Constitution to choose a method of allocating electoral votes that best serves their state’s interest and that of the national interest, both alternatives fall far short of the National Popular Vote plan . . .”


  6. Typical Republicans, instead of getting their policies out of the 1950’s. They just try and rig the game AGAIN! They’ve already gerrymandered so much that even though they lost the vote count by over 1 million, they still hold a majority. But that’s not enough, now they’re trying to attempting turn our elections into minority rule as opposed to majority. Its sad and craven

  7. While, it’s relatively good that the plan has changed from apportioning the Electoral College votes based on the vote by Congressional District to the percentage of vote received, this raises another concern. If the same principle were applied to Pennsylvania’s Congressional Districts, the Democrats would have twice as many seats in the Pennsylvania Delegation. How’s the saying go, what’s good for the goose. . . . It may be too much to think that this change was because people finally realized how distorted the reapportionment process is in Pennsylvania. But rather than tackling an imagined problem, way not change the reapportionment process. That’s a real issue that other states are tackling (see California.)

  8. Note to Pileggi staff: At least get Colbert to pronounce your name correctly like he did Turzai!

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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