Two years ago, shortly after President Obama won reelection, various Republican plans seeking to rig the Electoral College to benefit the GOP emerged in state legislatures. Though the details of these plans varied, they all shared the same basic concept — change the rules in blue states so that some of those states’ electoral votes would go to Republicans, while keeping the ordinary winner-takes-all rule in place in red states. For a while, moreover, it appeared fairly likely that some of these plans could pass, as top Republicans including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed them.
Flash forward two years, and enthusiasm for rigging the Electoral College appears to have faded. Two GOP lawmakers, one a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and one a state senator, introduced election-rigging plans during the current legislative session in their state. Both plans, however, received little attention and neither, according to a local news report, will receive a vote. According to Inside NOVA, the first plan “was not taken up by the House of Delegates” while the other “died in a Senate committee.”
Had either plan advanced, it is likely that it would have been vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.
Yet, while these plans appear unlikely to advance at this time, it remains to be seen if they will be revived as the 2016 election draws closer, especially if the eventual Democratic nominee appears likely to win. Under the strongest form of the election-rigging plan, a proposal which awards votes largely based on Congressional districts rather than based on the popular vote in the state as a whole, Republican candidate Mitt Romney would have significantly increased his electoral voter share against President Obama if the plan had been in effect in 2012: