Virginia Electoral College Reform Bill Fails
Think Progress passes along word that Virginia has decisively killed a bill that would have awarded the Commonwealth’s electoral votes to the winner of gerrymandered congressional districts rather than the statewide winner.
ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.’ selectoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer by Carrico to amend the bill to award electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. The vote was 11-4 against the bill, although it will not be official until the close of the committee meeting.
The bill, as written, would have awarded 11 of Virginia’s 13 electoral votes to the winner of each of the state’s 11 heavily gerrymandered Congressional Districts. The remaining two electors would have been awarded to whoever won the majority of Congressional Districts. Under this scheme, Mitt Romney would have received 9 Virginia electors to Obama’s 4, even though Barack Obama won the state by four points.
All seven committee Democrats voted to “pass by indefinitely” (kill the bill) as did Republican Senators Mark Obenshain, Ralph Smith, Jill Holtzman Vogel, and Jeff McWaters. Four Republicans (Sens. Stephen Martin, Bryce Reeves, Tom Garrett, and the patron Bill Carrico) supported the scheme.
This is the right outcome. While I’m not opposed in principle to awarding Electors on the basis of congressional districts if the alternative is the winner-take-all model, it’s unconscionable in light of heavily gerrymandered districts. Carrico’s version was especially outrageous, since it added insult to injury by awarding the two senatorial electors to the winner of the most districts rather than to the statewide winner.