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Minorities Undermined by New Electoral College Plan, Local Senator Says

State Senator Vincent Hughes, who represents Whitemarsh Township, criticized the Republican plan.

 

Whitemarsh’s State Senator, Vincent Hughes, joined by the president of Philadelphia’s NAACP, J.Whyatt Mondesire,  and former Judge Nelson Diaz, are attacking the new Republican Electoral College plan, stating that it “undermines Latino and African American voters.”

Hughes, a Democrat, said in a press conference call that Republicans are ignoring issues Pennsylvanians care about, opting instead to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its 20 Electoral College votes.

Jeremy Funk, of American United for Change, called the legislation “the poor loser election-rigging bill.”

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Republican, sponsored the legislation, S.B. 538, which would allocate the Electoral College votes based on the percentage of the popular vote, plus two for the statewide winner.

“Currently, Pennsylvania uses a winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes.  My legislation would allocate electoral votes proportionately,” Pileggi wrote in a cosponsorship memo. “This advantage of this system is clear: It much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state.” 

Pileggi told Bloomberg that the legislation is meant to reflect the popular vote in the Electoral College vote.

“Anyone who voted for Governor Romney, and many Pennsylvanians did, does not have any reflection of that vote in the electoral college vote,” Pileggi said in an interview. “This is a proposal that is not party specific or partisan in any way, but just an attempt to have the popular vote reflected in the Electoral College vote.”

If this legislation were passed prior to 2008, President Barack Obama would have received 12 of Pennsylvania's Electoral votes and challenger Mitt Romney would have received 8, as opposed to Obama taking all 20.

Mondesire said that the legislation is an extension of failed voter suppression attempts, referring to the 2012 voter identification legislation.

“This latest effort is more of the same from Pennsylvania Republicans,” said a press release from all three speakers in the call. “They tried to suppress the vote last year with burdensome Voter ID laws and now they want to rig the Electoral College to dilute the strength of traditionally Democratic constituencies.”

Hughes, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that this legislation would turn Pennsylvania into a third-rate state, in terms of electoral interest.

“His attempt diminishes Pennsylvania’s clout in the national picture,” Hughes said in the call. “It puts Pennsylvania in a really bad place, nationally”

Former Justice Diaz said that Republicans are “scheming” to decrease the impact that Latinos have on elections.

“[This legislation] will result in Latino voters being ignored throughout the state,"said Diaz.  “It is diminishing the impact that Latinos have on Elections in Pennsylvania.”

“Republicans are looking to change the rules of the game rather than change their Party and policies,” Diaz said.

According to a Pileggi representative, this Electoral College bill is a low priority in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Ooty Cat March 01, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Obvious partisan machinations like these should add support for the National Popular Vote movement. If the party in control in each state is tempted every 2, 4, or 10 years (post-census) to consider rewriting election laws and redistrict with an eye to the likely politically beneficial effects for their party in the next presidential election, then the National Popular Vote system, in which all voters across the country are guaranteed to be politically relevant and treated equally, is needed now more than ever. A survey of PA 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. 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 the country. NationalPopularVote

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