Electoral College

PFAW Delivers 50,000 Petitions Against Electoral College Rigging in Michigan

If you don’t like the outcome, change the rules of the game? Not so fast, PFAW members in Michigan told their elected officials today.

This afternoon PFAW delivered approximately 50,000 petitions against electoral college rigging to a meeting of the Michigan House Committee on Elections and Ethics. The proposed bill (HB 5974) would change Michigan’s process for distributing electoral votes from a winner-take-all system — the standard process in states across the nation — to a system that would split the state’s electoral votes, effectively rewriting the rules to help the GOP presidential candidate. This is a continuation of an effort we saw after the 2012 election in some traditionally blue presidential election states where Republicans control the state government. Not surprisingly, Republicans in states like Texas (38 electoral votes) are not seeking a similar change.

One representative from Grand Rapids told the Associated Press that he believes the public will see this partisan ploy “for what it is… a brazen attempt to rig the political system.”

As many Republican legislators across the country continue to support proposals making it harder for people who traditionally vote Democrat to cast a ballot, this latest push to rig elections in the GOP’s favor may come as no surprise.

But PFAW Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval, who joined 34 Michigan PFAW members today at a meeting of the state’s House Committee on Elections and Ethics, said that Michiganders won’t stand by while the Republican Party tries to manipulate the election process. “The people are watching, and will hold you as elected representatives accountable for enacting purely partisan and undemocratic legislation,” said Foval.

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The Republican Electoral Rigging Plan Is Back

It’s all been quiet on the election-rigging front for a while—so quiet that you might have thought the Republicans’ plan to rig the electoral college had been quietly dropped. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Florida state Rep. Ray Pilon introduced a bill last week to change how the state apportions its electoral college votes. Under his plan, the state would award its electoral college votes by congressional district. If this plan had been in place in 2012, Florida would have awarded an extra 15 electoral college votes Mitt Romney. Indeed, as Think Progress points out, if every state used this plan, Romney would have won the election.

That massive hypothetical shift is partly due to another plank of the Republicans’ plan to rig elections in their favor: gerrymandering congressional districts. If states like Florida award their votes by congressional district, then the Republican party in those states can create a huge advantage for themselves by gerrymandering their congressional district maps. This part of the plan is already complete in many states, where we won’t have an opportunity to try and reverse some of this gerrymandering for nearly 10 years (and two presidential elections).  Florida’s GOP would certainly benefit from such a plan, where the last round of redistricting created a map that will, in the words of the Washington Post, help “cement their overwhelming majority in the state’s delegation for a decade to come.”

Just look at the red the congressional district maps in Pennsylvania[], where Obama won the popular vote by more than five percent but would have lost the majority of electoral college votes under a plan like Pilon’s. Indeed, congressional district maps throughout the country are so gerrymandered that while Democrats won the 2012 popular vote for House seats, we ended up with the second biggest GOP majority in 60 years.

It’s clear that this bill is another sad attempt to rig the game in the Republicans’ favor. It has nothing to do with fairness and democracy, and everything to do with partisan games. But just being sick of losing doesn’t give you the right to change the rules. Most people learned that as children on the playground, but it seems like the Republican party never got that lesson. The only way they’ll ever get these bills passed is if we let them get away with it, so it’s up to us to let them know that we’re paying attention. That’s how we’ve kept these bills from being passed in every other state that they’ve been proposed in over the past year, and that’s what we’ll do with this bill. 

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Calling Out Corbett: PFAW Press Conferences in Pennsylvania

The pushback against Pennsylvania Republicans’ electoral vote-rigging bill continues to grow, as more and more public officials and average voters call on Governor Corbett to dump the hyper-partisan scheme plan.

On Monday, People For the American Way held a press conference in Philadelphia with state Senator Anthony Williams and a representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, who said that he fears this legislation represents “more of the same” partisan tactics that we saw with last year’s voter ID bill.

Yesterday in the state capitol of Harrisburg, state Auditor Eugene DePasquale and state Treasurer Rob McCord added to the calls for Corbett to put aside partisan politics and “stand up and say, ‘This isn’t right.’” McCord warned that the bill would mean millions in lost economic activity, and called it a “shame.” DePasquale said that the bill would greatly reduce the influence of Pennsylvania in national elections by limiting the number of electoral votes in play to 3 or 4, similar to small states like Wyoming. “When was the last time you saw a major policy announcement from a president in Wyoming?,” he asked.

With the chorus of voices against the bill growing ever louder, from both Democrats and Republicans, it’s becoming harder and harder for Corbett to maintain his tacit support for this scheme. If Pennsylvanians keep speaking out against this bill, Corbett won’t be able to act like he can’t hear us for much longer. 

 

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Wolf Calls On Corbett to Drop Electoral College Bill: PFAW Press Conference

This morning, gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf became yet another in a long line of prominent Pennsylvanians of both parties to speak out against the Republican electoral college rigging proposal. At a People For the American Way press conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this morning, Wolf and Sally Lyall of the Lancaster County Democrats called on Governor Tom Corbett to denounce the electoral vote rigging scheme drummed up by State Senator Dominic Pileggi. Wolf denounced the scheme as a “bad idea,” saying:

"There is such a thing as a bad idea. This is it. It’s a bad idea because it’s not fair…it’s not democratic. But it’s also a bad idea because it’s not smart. It puts Pennsylvania at a great, great disadvantage. I urge Governor Corbett to oppose this law as the bad idea it is.”

Governor Corbett has so far refused to denounce the bill even after more than 100,000 petitions against the scheme were dropped off at his office and hundreds of volunteers went door to door successfully mobilizing Pennsylvania voters in key districts to oppose the bill. Corbett continues to kowtow to the narrow special interests and Republican Party leaders like Senator Pileggi instead of standing with the people of Pennsylvania.

“Since Governor Corbett refuses to state his position on this scheme, we can only assume he sides with state Republican leadership and against Pennsylvania voters. Instead of focusing on growing the state’s economy, he would rather push a plan to disenfranchise millions of voters, gerrymander legislative districts and make Pennsylvania irrelevant in presidential elections. That is not  the kind of leadership Pennsylvania needs,” said Randy Borntrager, political director of People For the American Way.

It’s been clear for a while now that the Republican strategy on this bill has been to say it isn’t a priority, or just entirely avoid the question, not to actually defend its merits- because they know it doesn’t have any. They know it isn’t popular, fair, or right for Pennsylvania, but that won’t stop them from trying to sneak it through. Every day that we wait for an answer from Corbett is another day that this bill threatens the rights of Pennsylvanians. But People For the American Way isn’t going to wait quietly. With our partners in Pennsylvania, we’re asking the governor to stand up and be honest about his position on this bill.

 

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A Wake-Up Call for Governor Corbett: GOP Lawmaker Opposes Electoral College Plan

We already knew from our canvassing these past few weeks that the Pennsylvania GOP’s electoral vote-rigging plan is unpopular with Pennsylvania voters. Now, thanks to a People For the American Way video, we know that this opposition isn’t just coming from the voters -- it’s also coming from crucial Republican state senators. At a town hall meeting in New Hope, state Sen. Charles McIlhinney told constituents that he thought the electoral college scheme, sponsored by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, was “poorly thought out” and that he wouldn’t support the bill. Senator McIlhinney pointed out that it would “set Pennsylvania back” by diminishing its significance in the electoral college, putting its influence on a level with smaller states.

This should be a wake-up call for Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett. He’s already facing a tough re-election battle, and it’s clear that this electoral college scheme is not a winner for him -- the comments from Sen. McIlhinney are just further evidence of this.  But clearly, it seems like Gov. Corbett thinks staying silent on the issue will mean that no one will notice. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t work like that: we know his silence reveals his tacit support for the plan, and the longer he leaves it, the clearer it becomes. Governor Corbett has been hiding from his own party’s policies for a while now, but with these comments from Sen. McIlhinney -- a prominent member of the committee that would be the first to consider the bill -- the reality’s catching up with him. It’s time to either come out and support the bill or admit, like Sen. McIlhinney did, that his party got it wrong on this one.

Watch our video of the Senator’s comments here:

PFAW

GOP Senator on Key Committee Opposes Pileggi’s Electoral College Bill, Calls it ‘Poorly Thought Out'

NEW HOPE, Pa. – At a town hall meeting here Wednesday, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, a Republican member of Pennsylvania’s Senate State Government Committee, spoke out against fellow Republican Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s scheme to change the way Pennsylvania apportions its electoral votes. McIlhinney said Pileggi’s bill was “poorly thought out” and “makes no sense to me whatsoever.” He added, “I won’t support it.”

McIlhinney is a member of the Senate State Government Committee, which would be the first to review Pileggi’s bill.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former congressman Joe Sestak have both denounced the plan. Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to state a position on the bill and whether he would veto it if it passed the legislature.

“Governor Corbett has not been forthright with the public on whether he favors legislation rigging future presidential elections in favor of one party over another and costing the state millions in economic activity. Despite his reluctance to clearly articulate a position on disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvanians, it is clear that his tacit approval will not stand well with voters or even with some members of his own party,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way.

“It’s time for the governor to step up and tell Pennsylvanians whether he sides with the best interests of the voters or with the interests of the Republican Party leadership.”

Last month, People For the American Way delivered over 100,000 petitions urging Corbett to reject Pileggi’s plan.

A transcript and video of McIlhinney’s remarks are below.

Question: I just had a question about a bill that Senator Pileggi had, that we have been hearing a lot in the press about, that changes the electoral college votes.  What is your stance on that? What is your position on that and why?

Senator McIlhinney: The electoral college….What they are trying to say is that you have a proportionate amount of votes you need…or  we have 20 electoral college votes and they should be based upon a proportionate of the number of people who voted in Pennsylvania.

Now, under that system, I could never see a Presidential candidate ever getting more than 11 to 9, no matter who it is. Because I am never going to see a candidate win 75% of the vote in Pennsylvania. So you could never even get more than 11 let alone 20. Which makes no sense to me whatsoever.

What you’re saying is you’ll have two….It will force us into a state that will only have two electoral college votes depending on which way you go with it. So, I won’t support it. I don’t think it’s gonna come up.

But that’s the logic is to say that every vote should count. So, even if your candidate lost, you’re still gaining him some electoral college votes in that electoral college….but it really was poorly thought out, if I can say that.

I respect Senator Pileggi a lot but I wouldn’t support it. And it really would set Pennsylvania back to a state like a small state like Vermont or Ohio…well not Ohio.
 

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Barton: Right-Wing Vote-Rigging Scheme Gives 'the People a Greater Voice'

After watching the Republican presidential candidates lose the last two elections, right-wing activist Ken Blackwell cooked up a scheme whereby states would move away from winner-take-all allocations of electors to a system in which Electoral College votes would be assigned according to congressional districts.

The result would be that a Republican presidential candidate who does not win the overall popular vote in the state could still end up receiving a majority of that state's electoral votes simply by virtue of winning the popular vote in more individual districts.

Today, Blackwell appeared on "WallBuilders Live" to promote this scheme, where it was met with enthusiastic support from Rick Green and David Barton. As Blackwell explained, if every state had implemented this plan for the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would have won despite the fact that he lost the overall popular vote by nearly 5 million votes.

That, of course, is ridiculous ... and the fact that people think it is outrageous is, according to Blackwell, a sign that it is a good idea:

Blackwell: There's an old farmer's tale that if you throw a brick at a pack of pigs, the one that squeals is the one you hit.  Well, when we put this out there, the Left started squealing, the New York Times started squealing, so we must be on to something.

Green: You must be on to something. No doubt about that.  I haven't had a chance to look, I don't if anyone has done a map, I'd be real curious to know if every state did this, how would the last few elections [have gone]? Have you had a chance to look?

Blackwell: I already know. If every state did it, Romney would have won the election.  And so that's another reason that the Left just instinctively dislikes it.

...

Barton: This actually is a way to give the people a greater voice rather than just having the majority slap it to the minority every time you turn around. And I really like what he's proposed here with reverting back out of the winner-take-all philosophy of the states, going back to congressional district take all, which is a good way to do it.

Only to David Barton could a scheme designed to ensure that a Republican candidate who loses the national popular vote would still win the election be a good idea because it supposedly give "the people a greater voice."

Stepping Up The Pressure: PFAW Press Conference With Joe Sestak in PA

Over the past few weeks, People For the American Way has been busy in Pennsylvania, at the front lines of the fight to stop a Republican attempt to rig the electoral college. We’ve delivered over 100,000 petitions to Governor Tom Corbett; hosted a press conference with African American ministers against the scheme; and organized canvassing trips in key state senate districts.  

Now, we’re stepping up the pressure again. Today in Media, Pennsylvania, People For the American Way hosted a press conference with former congressman Joe Sestak to demand answers from the scheme’s sponsor, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi. Admiral Sestak denounced the scheme, and called on Senator Pileggi to end his campaign to rig the election. We also heard from the Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau, who called on the Republican co-sponsors like state Sen. Edwin Erickson to remove their names from this bill. Finally, we heard from our own Robert Weaver, who talked about the “enormous dissent” we’ve been hearing about from these state senators’ constituents.

Again and again, we’ve heard Senator Pileggi and the Republicans try to avoid criticism of this bill simply by saying that the bill isn’t moving right now. That isn’t good enough. We know, and Joe Sestak knows, and even Dominic Pileggi knows the reality: a bad bill that’s not moving is still a bad bill, and it can start moving anytime. Senator Pileggi and his co-sponsors need to stop trying to hide from the debate and either stand up for this bill or remove it from consideration, instead of just waiting until they think Pennsylvania voters aren't looking. As Rob said today, we will not stop until we know that Pennsylvanians’ electoral votes are safe.

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PFAW Delivers Over 100K Petitions to Corbett Urging Him to Reject Electoral Vote-Rigging Scheme

HARRISBURG -- Today, People For the American Way and allies in Pennsylvania delivered over 125,000 petitions calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to reject a Republican scheme to rig the way Pennsylvania apportions its electoral votes. 108,000 of the petitions were from People For the American Way members and supporters. The plan, introduced by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, would split Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, thus diminishing its influence in presidential elections.

People For the American Way volunteers have knocked on over 3,000 doors in key Senate districts in the past three weeks, educating voters about the Republican plan. In addition, Pennsylvania members of PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action denounced the scheme at an event in Philadelphia yesterday.

“People in Pennsylvania and across the country are speaking out against this plan,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “Voters know when politicians are trying to pull a fast one on them, and Sen. Pileggi and his allies are not going to get away with it. Gov. Corbett should listen to his fellow Pennsylvanians and reject this scheme to diminish the influence of Pennsylvania voters.”

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American way. www.pfaw.org.
 

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African American Ministers In Action Urges Pennsylvania Republicans to Drop Electoral Vote Rigging Plan

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania civil rights and faith leaders held a press conference today to urge Pennsylvania Republicans to drop their plan to change the way the state apportions its electoral votes.  Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, pastor of Berachah Baptist Church in Philadelphia and co-chair of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action, made the following statement:

“Last year, African Americans in Pennsylvania stood up to suppressive voting laws and turned out to vote in great numbers. Now, Republican legislators are trying to diminish the power of our votes and our voices by watering down Pennsylvania’s electoral influence. This plan is unfair and it’s short-sighted. Instead of trying to rig the rules of the game to benefit their candidates, the Republicans should be working to win votes with their policies and values.”

People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action represents a network of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
 

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Keeping the Pressure On: PFAW Canvassing in Pennsylvania

This weekend, our Pennsylvania volunteers had their best canvassing trip yet- and not just because of the beautiful weather. 20 volunteers met in State Senator Lloyd Smucker’s district, spending their Saturday afternoon talking to 700 Pennsylvanians and collecting signatures for our petition to Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania. We weren’t surprised to hear the same things we hear every time we talk to Pennsylvania voters about the Republican electoral college plans: shock, confusion, and disappointment that Republican lawmakers like Senator Smucker are trying to make Pennsylvania less important to national elections.

Again and again, we’ve seen these Republican lawmakers avoid discussion of this bill by saying it isn’t a priority- but we know this is just another attempt to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. We know they’re trying to get these plans through quietly and without debate. And we know that Pennsylvanians won’t stand for it. We’re keeping the pressure on, and we need your help to do it. On April 10, we're delivering more than 100,000 signatures of PFAW supporters against the electoral college rigging at the Pennyslvania State Capitol Rotunda. If you haven't done so already, it's not too late to add your name to our petition to Republican lawmakers in PA and other states telling them to abandon this effort. Or donate to support our campaign here.

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People For the American Way Pennsylvania Members Campaign Against Election-Rigging Plan

Pennsylvania members of People For the American Way (PFAW) will canvass in the district of state Sen. Lloyd Smucker on Saturday, urging him to reject a plan to rig the way the state apportions its presidential electoral votes. Smucker, who represents Lancaster and York counties, is the chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, which will be the first to review a bill that would split the state’s electoral votes in order to benefit Republican presidential candidates.

This weekend’s canvass will be the latest in People For the American Way’s grassroots effort to defeat Pennsylvania Republicans’ election-rigging plan. Over the past two weekends, PFAW Pennsylvania volunteers knocked on more than 2,700 doors in the districts of state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the sponsor of the election-rigging bill, and of bill co-sponsor Sen. Stewart Greenleaf.

A People For the American Way petition calling on legislators in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to drop such election-rigging plans has garnered over 100,000 signatures nationally.

“Pennsylvanians see this election-rigging plan for what it is: a cynical attempt to undermine Pennsylvania voters in the hopes of short-term partisan gain,” said Jodi Hirsh, Pennsylvania Coordinator for People For the American Way. “This plan would dilute the power of Pennsylvanians’ votes in presidential elections and it would deal a blow to the state’s economy. It’s simply a bad idea, and Pennsylvanians know that. We’re standing up to Sen. Pileggi, Sen. Smucker and their allies to tell them they can’t get away with rigging our elections.”

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American way. www.pfaw.org.

Turning Up The Heat: PFAW Canvass in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Republicans’ strategy to rig the Electoral College rests on their pushing their plan through quietly, without voters realizing what they’re up to. They know they can’t win if people are paying attention, because rigging the game isn’t fair, it isn’t popular, and it isn’t right for Pennsylvania. We’re not going to let their deception defeat Pennsylvanians’ democratic rights. We’re turning up the heat on the State Senate Majority Leader, Dominic Pileggi, who introduced the bill to rig the Electoral College. Last weekend, we led 14 Pennsylvanians on a canvass in Pileggi’s district to show him that Pennsylvanians know what he’s up to, and that he can’t get away with these underhand tactics. 

Our volunteers knocked on over 1500 doors and talked to hundreds of voters- but we’re just getting started. More canvassing and phonebanking shifts are scheduled this week, and we’ll keep this up as long as state Republicans keep trying to rig the game. We’re showing Dominic Pileggi that Pennsylvanians know what he’s up to, they know what his plan would do to their state, and that they won’t stand for it. 

Sign our petition to GOP lawmakers in PA and other states telling them to abandon their efforts to rig the Electoral College>>

If you can, donate to our campaign here>>

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Gaming the System: How the Republicans are trying to cheat their way to the White House

Republicans have a new plan to win in 2016: rig the Electoral College.

Don't let the Right fix the next presidential election!

Recent proposals by some lawmakers to apportion electoral votes in presidential elections based on congressional district rather than being awarded in the current winner-take-all fashion by popular vote is outrageously undemocratic and would ignore the will of the voters in these states.

African-American Clergy Urge Corbett to Denounce Vote-Rigging Plan

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council are urging Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett to reject a proposal to change the way the state apportions its electoral votes.

“This partisan power-grab, if successful, will further disenfranchise African Americans in Pennsylvania,” said Reverend Dr. Clarence Pemberton, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia. “Last year, a suppressive voter ID law threatened to keep thousands of African-American Pennsylvanians from the polls. Now, we’re facing another attempt to marginalize our voice in elections.  Parties and their candidates not able to win on their merits should work to appeal to voters, not to rig the system to discount our votes.”

The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation, is a network of African American clergy fighting for social justice across the United States.

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GOP Electoral College Scheme Advances in Virginia

On Wednesday, Republican state senators in Virginia cleared the first hurdle in their push to fundamentally change how state Electoral College votes are allocated.
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GOP Electoral College Power Play Tests Our Democracy

The GOP proposal to game the Electoral College in key blue states represents a massive escalation in the GOP war against electoral democracy.
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