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PA GOP Pushing Plan to Award Electoral College Votes by Congressional District

3:24 PM, Sep 13, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The plan, which has the support of Pennsylvania's governor and senate majority leader, would have a huge impact on the presidential race if it passes: 

A new proposal is pushing the often-forgotten Electoral College into the spotlight as Pennsylvania officials ponder the state's role in next year's presidential race.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is trying to gather support to change the state's "winner-takes-all" approach for awarding electoral votes. Instead, he's suggesting that Pennsylvania dole them out based on which candidate wins each of the 18 congressional districts, with the final two going to the contender with the most votes statewide.

So far, the idea has received support from colleagues of the Delaware County Republican in the state House and from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. But Democrats, who have carried the state in presidential contests since 1992, said the shift would erode Pennsylvania's clout.

Only two states -- Nebraska and Maine -- divide their electoral votes instead of giving the whole bloc to the candidate that wins the state's popular vote. Even for those two states, the piecemeal approach has been a rarity, with Nebraska historically dividing its five votes in the 2008 election, when one went to President Barack Obama.

An analysis by the online news service Capitolwire noted that had the proposed distribution process been in place in Pennsylvania in 2008 before the state lost one congressional district due to a population decline in the 2010 census, Mr. Obama would have won only 11 of the state's 21 votes.

Play around with the 2012 electoral college map for a few minutes, and it becomes clear that Democrats would have to win either Ohio or Florida to have a chance of a majority if Pennsylvania splits its delegates.

I emailed a Pennsylvania GOP operate to see if this plan is realistic. "Short answer is yes," he replied. "Republicans control everything so if they want to do it they can." Republicans control the state senate 30 to 20 and the state house 112 to 92. There is no filibuster in Pennsylvania.

(Hat tip: Daily Kos Elections)

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