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September 21, 2014
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editorial

Gaming the Electoral College


This new plan avoids the most objectionable aspect of the abandoned 2011 PA GOP plan to award electors by Congressional district, a method clearly vulnerable to partisan manipulation via gerrymandering—the drawing of congressional district lines to give advantage to a particular political party. (In fact, 2010 saw many GOP-controlled state legislatures go on a gerrymandering spree that allowed Republicans to keep their U.S. House majority even though Americans voted for more Democrats.)

Pileggi’s new plan is a clever improvement not only because it is less susceptible to legislative manipulation like gerrymandering, but also because its foundation rests on a truer representation of the popular vote where each and every Pennsylvanian’s presidential vote would count. It’s hard to argue against such a plan until you consider it as part of a wider GOP strategy. So far all of the states that have considered changing how they allocate electors have Republican-dominated legislatures. And this raises the suspicion that the GOP is seeking to game the electoral system.

Until a meaningful majority of the 50 states adopts the popular vote as the basis for awarding electors, the Pennsylvania Republicans plan should be seen for what it is—partisan manipulation to make it easier for their party to win the White House in future elections.