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Prospects Dim for Electoral College Plan

By Sari Heidenreich, Contributing Writer

After Gov. Tom Corbett made it clear yesterday that he won’t be pushing for movement on a plan to reform Pennsylvania’s electoral college, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi responded via Facebook saying,  he does “not believe there will be sufficient time to advance [the plan] this year.”

Pileggi said he won’t revisit the bill until the legislature completes their work on education reform, the Marcellus Shale industry and transportation funding.

Corbett’s comments about the plan came at a Press Club Luncheon Monday where he said, “I see no movement on it. I’m not going to push for movement.” However, Corbett said he still supports the bill and believes “it is a fair representation to the people of Pennsylvania, and to all the states across our States.”

Corbett came out in support of Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s plan shortly after it was made public in September. The plan would change the state’s current winner-takes-all system and divide up the state’s electoral college votes by congressional district and give an additional two votes to the statewide winner.

If the plan had been in effect in 2008, President Barack Obama would have won the state 11-10 rather than 21-0.

G. Terry Madonna, professor of Political Science at Franklin and Marshall College, said if the legislature does not vote the bill this year “it’s really going to be tough to get it done” by March, when Pileggi has said he thinks the legislation should be completed.

Capitolwire reported earlier today: “Montgomery Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach said the bill ‘is essentially dead’ if its delayed until next year.”

In addition to a crowded legislative agenda, Madonna added, a lack of support in the state legislature and from the GOP’s congressional delegation will hinder the plan.

Charlie Gerow, spokesman for the All Votes Matters, the most prominent group supporting Pileggi’s plan, said Madonna’s views are flat out wrong.

“We disagree with them … I think Sen Pileggi thinks that as well,” he said, “I also don’t view the world in static terms, I think … there’s some members of the congressional delegation that are warming up to it.”

In his Facebook post Pileggi added that “advancing this legislation will require a concerted and sustained effort involving the Senate, the House and the Governor.”

Gerow said it was important that both Corbett and Pileggi affirmed their support for the plan yesterday but said, “Obviously we would prefer to see it done sooner rather than later but we don’t have a deaf ear to the legislative process.”

Gerow said his group is sill optimistic that this reform will passed the the General Assembly this session and in time for the presidential election.

One Response

  1. Most Pennsylvania and U.S. voters want a national popular vote for President.

    A survey of 800 Pennsylvania voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.
    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. When the bill is enacted by states possessing 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.

    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 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: 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 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes– 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    In Pennsylvania, the National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in both the House (HB 1270) and Senate (SB 1116).


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