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Va. kills Electoral College reform bill

Jan. 29, 2013 at 8:04 PM   |   Comments

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A Virginia state Senate committee Tuesday killed a Republican proposal to shift power toward the GOP by altering the way the state allocates electoral votes.

State Sen. Charles Carrico introduced the bill, which would have had Virginia adopt the system currently in place in Nebraska and Maine. Those states apportion electoral votes in a presidential election by congressional district, with the statewide winner getting two extra electoral votes, one for each of the state's U.S. Senate seats.

During the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections debate Tuesday in Richmond, the state capital, Carrico argued in favor of his bill by noting Democrats, including Sen. Chap Petersen, a member of the committee, had proposed similar legislation in the past.

"Do you support all of my bad ideas?" Petersen asked.

Sen. Ralph Smith, a Republican, said he would support changing the state's Electoral College rules, but only if such changes are adopted across the United States, The Washington Post reported.

Republicans in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania came up with similar proposals after voters in their states voted for Democrat Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections.

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford told The Miami Herald last week he opposes changing the state's Electoral College rules.

"I don't think we need to change the rules of the game," Weatherford said. "I think we need to get better."

The Post reported Pennsylvania state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi plans to introduce a bill in February to allocate the state's electoral votes based on the percentage of the popular vote.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate called the effort "an audacious attempt to rig the system."

The Atlantic said Jordan Gehrke, a Republican strategist, is working with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to promote similar reforms nationwide.

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