MEMO: GOP Electoral College Plan Wrong for PA Voters

As other states across the country jockey to increase their influence on the presidential election, Pennsylvania is ceding its influence as part of a partisan power grab.
Tom Corbett and leaders in the GOP legislature have abandoned all attempts to govern fairly for the people of Pennsylvania, instead only seeking to help Republican politicians. As John Baer wrote, “This is a prime-time example of power politics by those in power.” (http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/john_baer/20110914_John_Baer__GOP_s_gerrymandering_jihad_against_the_blue-ish_state.html)

If this is a good idea for Pennsylvania, then why isn’t the GOP doing this in Texas? This partisan proposal is a blatant attempt to create new rules for the sole benefit of Republicans. We have been very lucky to get significant attention from the last several presidential candidates, but if this legislation passes our state will become meaningless in presidential elections. If this bill is passed, Pennsylvania will unilaterally disarm, giving up its influence on the presidential level and making the state less important. Presidential candidates will spend less time in the state, and they will become less acquainted with Pennsylvania including its people and needs.
Instead of creating a fairer process where voters' voices are heard, this proposal actually diminishes voter's influence because of it's extreme gerrymandering. If achieving a more fair result is the goal, the GOP plan makes no sense, according to academics and reporters who argue that the GOP plan would take Congressional gerrymandering one step further.

"It makes no sense because of gerrymandering," Belenky says. He contends that it could work nationally, simply turning "battleground states into battleground districts." But in Pennsylvania, where districts are carved up to favor one party or the other, all it does, he says, is guarantee a Republican candidate "some chunk" of the electoral vote. (http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/john_baer/20110914_John_Baer__GOP_s_gerrymandering_jihad_against_the_blue-ish_state.html
Furthermore, this could lead to situations where the electoral vote of the state does not reflect the popular vote of the state – meaning a candidate could win the popular vote,  but receive less electoral votes than the loser of the popular vote. This is certainly not how we want to decide elections in Pennsylvania.

In 2008, Barack Obama won the state by 10 points (overcoming a last-minute hoax scare wherein a Republican volunteer faked a mugging and claimed a black man carved a B on her face, for Barack). But the congressional map had been gerrymandered by Republicans in 2001, and John McCain ended up winning 10 of 19 congressional districts. If the Pileggi plan had been in place, Obama's rout would have given him a slim 11-10 electoral vote victory. If Republicans do a smarter gerrymander this time, they could craft an 11-7 map, or even a 12-6 map (they'll have 18 to work with, thanks to the Census taking one seat away). Let's say Obama carries Pennsylvania narrowly, but loses 11 congressional districts. In that scenario, the winner of the Pennsylvania popular vote takes nine EVs; the loser takes 11 EVs. How's that reform look to you? (http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/09/13/pennsylvania_ponders_bold_democrat_screwing_electoral_plan.html)
Nebraska and Maine already have the system the Pennsylvania GOP is pushing. But the two states' small electoral vote values mean it's actually mathematically impossible for a candidate to win the popular vote there but lose the electoral vote, says Akhil Reed Amar, a constitutional law professor at Yale University. Pennsylvania, however, is a different story: "It might be very likely to happen in [Pennsylvania], and that's what makes this something completely new under the sun," Amar says. "It's something that no previous legislature in America since the Civil War has ever had the audacity to impose." (http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/09/gop-electoral-college-plan-beat-obama-2012)
Even state and national Republicans may not be supportive because of the piecemeal and obviously unfair nature of the proposal.

And sources from the national campaign arm for congressional Republicans seemed unsupportive, noting it doesn't make sense for Pennsylvania to embark on this change alone and it wouldn't have affected the results of past presidential elections. (http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-electoral-college-change-20110913,0,5747360.story)
But some party establishment figures, led by Republican State Committee Chairman Rob Gleason, have pushed back. Gleason, who declined to discuss the bill Tuesday due to a busy schedule, told bill supporters not to do this, and many other GOP heavyweights in the state party, even those allied with Gleason only in public most of the time, are taking his side. (http://capitolwire.com/default.asp?tabstucknum=30) (Subscription Only)