Pennsylvania GOP looks to split electoral votes

September 16, 2011

By Dave Boyer-The Washington Times

PHILADELPHIA — When President Obama attended a fundraiser here in June, the city’s Democratic chairman bragged that Philadelphia’s voters are the key to a presidential candidate winning Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.

“However Philadelphia goes, that’s how the rest of the state goes,” Rep. Robert A. Brady, Pennsylvania Democrat, told the roaring crowd. “We’ve been doing it for the last 25 years, we’re going to do it again. We’re going to be the biggest reason why we’re going to re-elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.”

But even as he spoke, state Republican leaders have been pushing a plan to radically change that equation. If they succeed — and the GOPnow controls both the state legislature and executive branch — it could cost Mr. Obama, who carried Pennsylvania in 2008, at least half of the state’s electoral votes in 2012.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Republican from Chester, proposes to switch from the traditional winner-take-all system for electoral voters to a format that would award electoral votes based on the winner of each of the state’s 18 individual congressional districts. The winner of the statewide vote would receive two electoral votes.

“Pennsylvania is a very diverse state, and the diversity is lost in a winner-take-all system,” Mr. Pileggi said in an interview. “We want to make sure individual Pennsylvania citizens know their vote is going to matter.”

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