Del. Minchew tries to rig the Electoral College

hb1181Republican Delegate Randy Minchew (VA – 10) wants to bypass the core principle of a democratic system, the popular vote, in our most important election, the selection of President of the United States, bypassing “one man, one vote,” with his new political math, where “one man, is worth a fraction of a vote.”

This is somewhat of a variation of how a slave, before we fixed our constitution, was a fraction of a man for purposes of a state’s representation in congress though he couldn’t vote at all.

Randy concedes a fraction of an actual vote in his House Bill, 1181, but that’s far short of the constitutional mark and of fundamental fairness.

The National Republican Party has a scheme to have several state legislatures rig the state elections where they expect to lose by the popular vote, and thus to cheat to improve their chances by changing the rules.

Where do the Republicans think they may lose?

Easy, Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, because they did lose twice in those states against President Barack Obama.

You may think the right way, the American way, at least these days, is to wait until the voters have heard what the nominees have to say and abide by their judgment in the balloting.

Forget that.

The vehicle of choice is to manufacture votes for the Republican nominee in the electoral college, the official final and constitutional nod on who has crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold to become President.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Randy is the point of that Republican spear in the House.

The Republicans are afraid of losing Virginia a third time, and, rather than represent the voters, they plan to rig the vote.

This is how Randy’s scheme hopes to work.

When President Obama won re-election in 2012 against Governor Romney, he won the popular vote and so he won all 13 electors assigned to Virginia (based on Virginia having 11 Members of Congress and 2 Senators, giving Virginia its 13 electoral votes).

But Randy proposes to slice and dice how a citizen’s vote corresponds to these 13 electors.

He has a two part proposal.

When you vote, it will count for 11 of the electors, only in the congressional district where you vote, and that district’s vote tally will determine which nominee gets that district’s elector.

As for those other two electors, loosely corresponding to the Senators, those will be chosen at large and the statewide popular vote will determine which nominee gets those two electors only.

It must be obvious why Randy make this proposal.

It’s because the General Assembly, dominated in both Houses by the Republican party, drew the Congressional District lines in such a way as to favor Republicans, and they think that edge will hold into this year’s presidential election.

8 of the congressional districts are represented by Republicans; 3 by Democrats.

If you applied this system today, by Randy’s rigged rules, President Obama would get 5 electoral votes (the 3 Democratic districts and the other 2 for the statewide popular vote) instead of the 13 that he actually garnered in his last election by winning the statewide popular vote.

Thus we have, Randy’s fractional voting system, by which one man votes, but his vote is only worth a fraction of a vote.

If you want to assign chutzpah to Randy’s move, you have to appreciate that he proposes to use congressional districts that our Republican dominated General Assembly drew so unfairly that the federal court found the line-drawing racially discriminatory and threw out the effort.

When our General Assembly couldn’t get it right on a do-over last summer, an exasperated federal court re-drew the congressional map itself.

It is one thing to be captive of a party caucus, and have to toe the line of the Republican leadership, it’s another thing to undermine representative government by electoral tricks like these.

When combined with Republican efforts to suppress the vote otherwise in key states including Virginia, you have to wonder if fair matters less than winning at any cost to the Republican Party.

On a personal note, I’ve always like Randy and find it hard to believe that he’d ever propose something like this. Withdraw the bill, Randy. Do the right thing!