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October 12, 2011

Now Wisconsin Considering Split-Electoral-Vote System

Pennsylvania is considering this. Now Wisconsin is as well.

CAC ran some analyses that demonstrated if these two states did this, along with (IIRC) Michigan, then the Democrats could not conceivably win a presidential election.

That may be the problem. The Supreme Court has stepped in to change voting plans within in the states, relying on the "republican form of government clause." If voting procedures become too stacked against one party, the Supreme Court may nullify them on the theory that the the Constitution, above all else, guarantees a genuine democratic contest, not an engineered, foreordained outcome.

Although people point to the examples of Maine and Nebraska -- where Democrats were behind the move -- it's different doing this with a big state. Because a big state permits a lot of gerrymandered line-drawing of Congressional districts that a smaller state doesn't. Smaller states can do some gerrymandering, assuming they have more than one Representative, but with a small number of districts, there aren't too many ways to slice up the states.

That changes in bigger states, where there are a lot more possible district-line-drawings, and they can be (and are) drawn for maximum partisan advantage.

In the case of Pennsylvania, one analysis I saw noted that with Pennsylvania's very-favorable-to-Republicans gerrymander, a Democratic presidential candidate could win the Pennsylvania vote and yet still receive a minority of its electors. In fact, that's a fairly likely outcome (because Democrats are "over-stacked" in the super-solid-blue districts). I don't know if the Supreme Court would permit that situation to stand -- losing the popular vote in a state, and yet coming away with the majority of electoral votes anyway.

It's not that I'm against the idea of this. It's that if you get too greedy about implementing such a proposal -- setting up a Kobyahsi Maru scenario for the Democrats -- the Supreme Court may say it's unconstitutional. Elections have consequences -- or, at least, they're supposed to.

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posted by Ace at 04:47 PM

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