Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Now ALEC wants to rig the Electoral College for Republicans

ALEC is launching its latest attack on democracy in states that President Obama carried in November: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In these states, ALEC's servants members are trying to change the way presidential electors are chosen to favor Republican candidates. They want to rig the Electoral College so presidential elector votes are awarded by Congressional district rather than statewide totals.

The reason is simple: Congressional districts in these states are so gerrymandered that Republicans can take the majority of seats, despite being outvoted by Democrats. (In fact, years of gerrymandering resulted in the U.S. House of Representatives receiving 93,000 more votes for Democrats than Republicans, yet in 2013 Republicans control the chamber by 234 to 201.)

ALEC is the corporate dating service for state legislators. (Hence the name, American Legislative Exchange Council.) These lawmakers put their names on bills written by corporations to gouge consumers, bust unions, strengthen monopolies and immunize corporations from lawsuits when they damage people or communities. In exchange, the lawmakers get lavish family vacations and introductions to deep-pocketed corporate donors. It's one of the Koch brothers' pet projects.

As our friends at the Center for Media and Democracy report,
Gov. Scott Walker recently expressed support for awarding presidential elector votes by Congressional district rather than statewide totals, incoming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has sponsored legislation to make such a change in past sessions, and Republican legislators introduced a bill to do this in 2011. As Mother Jones reported, Pennsylvania Republicans considered similar legislation last year, and are again considering such a plan to rig the electoral college. Republican legislators in Michigan also plan to introduce legislation. 
All three states voted for Obama in November, but a majority of congressional districts in those states went for Romney. State government in all three is controlled by Republicans who redrew congressional maps during the last legislative session. 
"If each Congressional district has equal weight, Republicans would win much more easily because they carry more Republican districts," said Jay Heck, director of Common Cause Wisconsin. "If they move forward with this, it would be clear to many that Republicans were really trying to win in an unfair way."
And here's a shock:
Republicans are not discussing changes to electoral allocation in solidly red states, but only in Democrat-leaning states whose congressional maps were recently gerrymandered to benefit the GOP.
So don't be surprised if the next state legislative outrage involves ramming through bills that rig the Electoral College. Brought to you by those wonderful folks at ALEC