Pennsylvania Senate Minority leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and House Minority leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) called on Governor Tom Corbett to disavow any plans to change the state’s Electoral College system.
Currently Pennsylvania follows the “winner take all” approach during presidential elections where the candidate who receives a majority of the state’s votes also receives its 20 electoral votes.
In September 2011 Senate Majority leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) devised a plan where electoral votes would be awarded to the top vote getter in each of the state’s 18 congressional districts. The remaining two would go to the candidate with the most votes statewide.
That plan never reached the Senate floor.
Pileggi plans to introduce new legislation this year allocating Electoral College votes based on a candidate’s percentage of the popular vote.
Dermody said, if the changes take place, Pennsylvania’s electoral votes “wouldn’t mean anything nationally.”
“We’d be reduced in stature dramatically,” said Dermody. “Why would you campaign here, and spend a lot of money here, and visit Pennsylvania, and care about what happens here, because you’ve got to go campaign in the place where you can get the most electoral votes.”
He said Republicans are floating the idea because President Obama won the state in the past two general elections.
Dermody said the current system in place is fair and democratic.
“In the states that they’re winning they’re (Republicans) not doing this,” said Dermody. “So that ought to tell you that what this is about is not about democracy, it’s about winning and fixing elections.”
Currently Maine and Nebraska are the only two states to split their Electoral College votes. For example, Maine has four Electoral votes and two Congressional districts. In the 2012 Presidential election Maine’s four electoral votes went to President Obama, while Nebraska’s 5 electoral votes went to Mitt Romney.
Romney received 46.8 percent of ballots cast in Pennsylvania in November. If Pileggi's plan had been in place, Romney would have captured 9 of the commonwealth's 20 electoral votes.