Michigan Republicans Re-Introduce Plan To Rig State’s Electoral Votes To Favor GOP

michigan-map

Republicans in the Michigan State Legislature have re-hatched a plan to divvy up the state’s electoral votes to give an advantage to the Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Michigan House Bill 4310 would change the way the state assigns its 16 electoral votes. The proposal was introduced by Cindy Gamrat, Thomas Hooker, Gary Glenn, and Todd Courser. All four are Republican lawmakers.

The proposal, referred to the Committee on Elections, would award one electoral vote for each of the 14 congressional districts carried by a presidential candidate. The candidate who wins the state’s popular vote would receive the remaining two electoral votes.

Under the present system, all 16 electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who wins the state. Democrats have carried Michigan’s 16 electoral votes for six consecutive presidential elections. The last Republican to win Michigan was George H.W. Bush, back in 1988.

A similar bill to rig the state’s electoral votes to help Republicans was introduced in the previous legislative session, but it never came up for a vote. In 2011, Republicans in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Virginia all hatched schemes to rig the Electoral College for their advantage, but backed down because of fear of a public backlash. In 2008, California Republicans tried to put together a ballot initiative to divide up their state’s 55 electoral votes, but those plans proved unsuccessful.

While most electoral vote rigging plots have been launched by Republicans, Democrats’ hands aren’t completely clean either. In 2004, Democrats in Colorado tried to advance a ballot measure to split up Colorado’s electoral votes. That proposition was crushed by Colorado voters 65-35. Ironically, Colorado has gone blue in the last two presidential elections, so had Democrats been successful in their efforts, Republicans would have been the unintended beneficiaries.

The Michigan proposal is legal, as state’s are allowed to determine how to allocate their electoral votes. Two-low population states, Maine and Nebraska, already divide their electoral votes by congressional district. However, the winner of each of those states usually carries all of the congressional district’s within the state, and gerrymandering isn’t a significant factor, so it has been uncontroversial. Barack Obama did actually manage to eke out an improbable victory over John McCain in Nebraska’s, Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District in 2008, but in 2012, that district voted Republican with the rest of the state.

Although gaming the electoral votes in a state, to secure a partisan advantage, may be constitutionally legal, the Michigan plan is fundamentally undemocratic. In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama carried Michigan by a decisive 54.3-44.8 margin over Republican Mitt Romney. If the current Republican proposal had been in place in 2012, Romney would have earned 9 electoral votes to Barack Obama’s 7, in the state of Michigan, despite losing the state by over 400,000 votes. That is a fundamentally undemocratic way to allocate electoral votes in a democracy.

The Michigan plan would essentially multiply the effects of partisan gerrymandering. The way districts are drawn already creates skewed representation in Congress. There is no need to inject the same level of partisan rigging into presidential contests. Indeed, blatantly self-serving schemes like the Michigan proposal, will further undermine American faith in the democratic process by producing more undemocratic outcomes. Republicans don’t care however, because voter cynicism plays to their advantage anyway.

Ideally, the president should be chosen by popular vote. However, the electoral college, as it presently exists, has served the nation reasonably well. To alter the formula, so that state legislatures can thwart the will of the people, and game the system to the advantage of their party is unconscionable. The Michigan scheme, and any plan in another state that seeks to imitate it, should be killed by the legislature on arrival.

21 Replies to “Michigan Republicans Re-Introduce Plan To Rig State’s Electoral Votes To Favor GOP”

  1. One way to stop this vote rigging is to eliminate the Electoral College. It’s not like it serves any useful purpose.

  2. Although I certainly disapprove of the reasons the Republicans are doing this, i think the logic of the article is fundamentally flawed.

    Right now the system gives all the electoral votes to whoever gets the most votes.

    This means that everyone who did not vote for the winning candidate is not represented.

    If this was the ways we elected congress I suspect people would be screaming about how essentially unfair and undemocratic that was.

    If we are going to insist that the President and Vice-President be elected in this indirect manner then the method we use to pick electors should be one that represents as many of the voters as possible.

    Not just the ones who vote for the ‘winner’

  3. You make a good point. But, then the same rule should be in effect in all states, implemented after congressional districts are redrawn without gerrymandering. Let us see how the Republicans like this.
    It could mean that states that are currently red would become more competitive as voters realize that their vote may not be meaningless.

  4. Well yes, if every state did it AND they did it by the state wide proportion of the vote, rather than by the boundaries of artificially gerrymandered congressional districts, it would be a good idea. But if it is only done with the express intent of maximizing one party’s partisan advantage, then its not such a grand idea.

  5. I’m a Michigan resident and we already have too many GOTPs here. They get them by cheating, and now they need to cheat to get more. We will not vote for an R no matter how much they cheat. Geez, Michigan, help me dump these lunatics, they are destroying our state and us.

    .

  6. What they ought to do is award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate getting the most votes nationally. The Electoral College has outlived its usefulness. Currently, there are nine states that already do that. The remaining 41 should do the same.

    All other elected offices are by popular vote, why shouldn’t the president also be elected by popular vote?

  7. “Awarding electoral votes by a proportional or congressional district [used by Maine and Nebraska] method fails to promote majority rule, greater competitiveness or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, a congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party, while the whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of no candidate getting the majority of electoral votes needed, leading to the selection of the president by the U.S. House of Representatives.

    For states seeking to exercise their responsibility under the U.S. Constitution to choose a method of allocating electoral votes that best serves their state’s interest and that of the national interest, both alternatives fall far short of the National Popular Vote plan . . .” – FairVote

  8. The National Popular Vote bill (SB 88) would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes.

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states, like Michigan, that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes in the country would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states.

    NationalPopularVote

  9. A survey of Michigan voters showed 73% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 73% among independents, 78% among Democrats, and 68% among Republicans.

    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 67% among 30-45 year olds, 74% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 86% among women and 59% among men.

    On December 11, 2008, The Michigan House of Representatives passed the National Popular Vote bill by a bipartisan 65-36 margin

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 250 electoral votes, including one house in Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Colorado (9). The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

  10. You can count on Conservatives changing the rules of any game to favor themselves. If they got they wanted in this instance and it still didn’t get them the power they wanted, they’d change the rules again.

  11. Republicans have tried to rob electoral votes like this in many blue states they have hijacked since 2010, including Pennsylvania. The essence of their latest scheme is to split up the states electoral votes to either make it proportional or to do it by districts that are already gerrymandered to give a serious edge to conservative Republicans. The latter would result in more GOP electoral votes from that state despite the Democrat winning the overall popular vote.

    If that isn’t anti-American, nothing is. And coupled with their gerrymandering and voter suppression plots, Republicans are trying to abolish American democracy.

    Many right wingers are very open about their disdain for democracy. They use the two wolves and one ship strawman, but ironically are the ones that usually try to ignore the equal protection clause of the constitution that ensures minority protection in America.

    Oh, and for those on the right who would try to argue that the states electoral votes should …

  12. But wait… Isn’t this the SAME EXACT THING the democrats did in Nebraska??? So it’s ok when Democrats split the vote like in Nebraska(Which might get reversed soon), but when Republicans do it, their evil. This is so hypocritical. Talk about double standard.

    I am not saying I agree with the splitting of votes, I believe in the winner take all system too. But, come on, the double standard here is too obvious.

  13. DEMOCRATIZE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE by enforcement of “the right to vote” Reconstruction amendment (Amend. XIV§2 ) that mandates a state’s proportional allocation of presidential electors based on the popular vote split or for the state to suffer a “Reduction of Representation” in the electoral college / members to congress pursuant to (2USC§6) .
    MALAPPORTIONMENT PENALTY INITIATIVE (MAP)
    http://asagordon.byethost10.com/MAP_DCSGP_INITIATIVE.html

    See: Neo-Redemption Gerrymandering of the Electoral College,
    Suffer Loss of Representatives to Congress
    http://gp.org/greenpages-blog/?p=3368
    July 18, 2013_GREEN PAGES Vol.17,No. 1-Summer 2013

    “Mr. Gordon raises some weighty issues having to do with the consequences or results of an electoral system where a minority, a minority number of votes are not recognized, that is when there is a winner-take-all system.” _ District Court Judge Henry H Kennedy Jr._Gordon et al v. Clerk, US House of Representatives.

  14. DEMOCRATIZE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE by enforcement of “the right to vote” Reconstruction amendment (Amend. XIV§2 ) that mandates a state’s proportional allocation of presidential electors based on the popular vote split or for the state to suffer a “Reduction of Representation” in the electoral college / members to congress pursuant to (2USC§6) .
    MALAPPORTIONMENT PENALTY INITIATIVE (MAP)
    http://asagordon.byethost10.com/MAP_DCSGP_INITIATIVE.html

    See: Neo-Redemption Gerrymandering of the Electoral College,
    Suffer Loss of Representatives to Congress
    http://gp.org/greenpages-blog/?p=3368
    July 18, 2013_GREEN PAGES Vol.17,No. 1-Summer 2013

  15. Greens’ MAP Civil Actions … Revives a Lost Motive behind the March on Washington
    http://www.greenpapers.net/?p=698

    “Mr. Gordon raises some weighty issues having to do with the consequences or results of an electoral system where a minority, a minority number of votes are not recognized, that is when there is a winner-take-all system.” _ District Court Judge Henry H Kennedy Jr._Gordon et al v. Clerk, US House of Representatives.

    “This is the most amazing proposition that has ever been brought forward by a non-lawyer , and if it is accurate, it could change the whole outcome of the voting process in the United States.” _Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).

  16. THE GOP’S NEO-REDEMPTIONIST ELECTORAL COLLEGE
    Electoral Quotas for a White Majority
    REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS are intent on establishing a neo-Redemptionist Electoral College that will only reflect the majority will of white people as “[T]he Republican Party becomes more and more a white folks’ party”. (“The GOP is trying to rig the electoral college,” Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2011).

    The Republican party has demonstrated that it can unambiguously embrace a white partisan majority that represents a national minority, whereas the Democratic party has proved to be ambivalent in embracing a national majority that embraces the collective will of non-white minorities. More …
    http://greenpapers.net/the-gops-neo-redemptionist-electoral-college/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.