TEXT OF LETTER from state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, The Majority Leader

September 6, 2011

TO: All Senators

FROM: Senator Dominic Pileggi

RE: Co-sponsorship of Electoral College Legislation

        I plan to introduced legislation which would change the manner in which presidential electors are selected in Pennsylvania to more closely conform to the popular vote for president.

        In 2012, Pennsylvania will have 20 electors in the electoral college, one for each U.S. Senator and one for each member of Congress.

        Currently, the Pennsylvania Election Code provides for a "winner take all" system of awarding electoral votes.  In each presidential election year, a slate of candidates for elector of President and Vice-President are elected by the voters of the Commonwealth.  The slate winning the most votes becomes the electors in the electoral college.

        My legislation would amend the Election Code to use a district plan for electing presidential electors.  Under this plan, two electors are chosen on a statewide, at-large basis representing the two senatorial electors and one is elected in each congressional district.  Each voter still casts a single vote for the President and Vice President.  Currently, Maine and Nebraska utilize this system.

        The advantage of this approach is that the composition of Pennsylvania's delegation to the electoral college will more accurately reflect the preference of Pennsylvania voters in presidential elections.

        If you would like to co-sponsor this legislation, please contact Michelle Kreiger at  ******

PRESS RELEASE from state Sen. Dominic Pileggi

For Immediate Release
Senator Pileggi Unveils Proposal to More Fairly Allocate Electoral College Votes 

HARRISBURG – Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) will soon introduce legislation designed to more fairly allocate Pennsylvania's electoral college votes in presidential elections. 

"There is no question that our current winner-take-all system for choosing electors does not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania," said Senator Pileggi. "This proposal will more fairly align Pennsylvania's electoral college votes with the results of the popular vote. 

"It will also make individual votes across the state more important, giving voters a more significant say in presidential elections." 

In 2012, Pennsylvania will have 20 electoral votes, one for each of the 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the two U.S. Senators who represent the Commonwealth. Under Senator Pileggi's proposal, two presidential electors would be chosen based on the statewide vote. The other 18 would be chosen based on the vote for president in each Congressional district. 

Governor Tom Corbett and leaders in the state House of Representatives have expressed support for the legislation. Currently, Maine and Nebraska utilize a district-based system. 

More information about state issues is available at Senator Pileggi's web site, www.SenatorPileggi.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SenatorPileggi, or on Twitter at twitter.com/SenatorPileggi.



Erik Arneson
PRESS RELEASE from Pennsylvania Democratic Party
September 15, 2011

GOP Electoral College Proposal in Trouble: What They're Saying
In Pennsylvania, Republicans in the state legislature have proposed a bill that will change the way the state awards its electoral votes - it is a power grab designed to make it easier for Republicans to win elections. But the controversial proposal has come under fire from an unexpected group - fellow Republicans. Rob Gleason, the Pennsylvania Republican Chair, is opposed to the plan along with several Republican members of Congress who could see their districts endangered by the plan. Even conservative media outlets, like the Weekly Standard, are criticizing the GOP plan to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its electoral votes. 
"This idea doesn't deserve to get off the ground" - Weekly Standard
"We would no longer be a battleground state with all the benefits that come with that" - Rob Gleason, PA GOP Chairman
"The move could cause political heartburn for Republican congressmen" - Morning Call
"This plan... will make us irrelevant to presidential campaigns" - Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania Republicans Shouldn't Toy with the Electoral College (Weekly Standard) As John McCormack reports, some leading Pennsylvania Republicans are apparently flirting with the idea of changing the state's method of allocating electoral votes from the usual winner-take-all method-the norm since the American Founding-to a method of allocating one electoral vote for each congressional district (with the remaining two votes going to the statewide winner). For a variety of reasons, this idea doesn't deserve to get off the ground. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/pennsylvania-republicans-shouldn-t-toy-electoral-college_593550.html
House GOP fret over new Pa. electoral plan (Politico)  Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change. "Any proposed change to the election laws shouldn't be done under the radar," Fitzpatrick told POLITICO. "If every vote matters, everyone should have a chance to discuss this." State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan. "We would no longer be a battleground state with all the benefits that come with that," he said. "It would affect us all the way down ticket. We're gonna win the presidency here anyway, so why we would do this now when we're at the top of the heap is beyond me."... For now, Republican state leaders aren't backing away from the plan, even in light of House Republican's fears. "The governor's not concerned about that," Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley. "He believes it's a fair distribution of the electoral college votes. And he has great faith that the Republican members would be able to retain their seats based on their performance in Washington." The issue has consumed Republican politics in the state for the last 48 hours. "You're asking the southeast Republican county parties to go toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia Democratic machine, in money and manpower," a senior national Republican official said. "It's a matchup that we not only lose in 2012, but one that decimates the Republican Party in southeast Pennsylvania." http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63522_Page2.html

Pennsylvania GOP Plan To Split State's Electoral Votes Could Endanger...Republicans? (Talking Points Memo) A proposal by Pennsylvania Republicans to split the state's electoral votes by Congressional districts - which could give the 2012 GOP nominee roughly 10 electoral votes even if they didn't carry the state - isn't just causing concern among national and Pennsylvania Democrats. It's making some state Republicans nervous as well. http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/pennsylvania-gop-reps-leery-of-electoral-vote-splitting----would-be-targeted-more-by-dems.php?ref=fpa
Pennsylvania's political clout on the line (Morning Call) On Capitol Hill, reaction to the proposed change was tentative. U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican who represents the Lehigh Valley, worried about the political effect on non-presidential races. "I'm probably a little reluctant to be supportive of it ... on political grounds," he said. The move could cause political heartburn for Republican congressmen in marginal seats around Philadelphia, who usually are spared a big get-out-the-vote effort by the Democratic Party. Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach acknowledged that the increased attention in his Chester County-based district could have an impact, but was reluctant to fully dismiss the idea. "I'd like to learn a little more about why they think that's a good idea for the commonwealth," Gerlach said. "We're going to talk about it as a delegation this week to get some sense of our members, what we think the pros and cons of that might be." And sources from the national campaign arm for congressional Republicans seemed unsupportive, noting it doesn't make sense for Pennsylvania to embark on this change alone and it wouldn't have affected the results of past presidential elections. http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-electoral-college-change-20110913,0,5747360.story?page=2&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20StatelineorgRss-Pennsylvania%20%28Stateline.org%20RSS%20-%20Pennsylvania%29&utm_source=feedburner  

Murmurs of GOP Opposition to Electoral College Changes (PoliticsPA) Take a look at the suburban Philadelphia swing districts - currently represented by Republicans Jim Gerlach, Mike Fitzpatrick, Pat Meehan, and Charlie Dent - and examine the results of the last presidential election. In 2008, Obama won Gerlach's district by 19 points, Fitzpatrick's by 9, and Meehan's and Dent's by 13 each. It's not hard to imagine why some of these members are nervous about the proposal, and uncomfortable with the idea of the full force of a presidential campaign trying to turn out Democratic voters in 2012 and beyond. "If I'm Jim Gerlach or Mike Fitzpatrick, I'm telling my allies in Harrisburg to push back against this with leadership," said one PA-based GOP consultant with ties to all four southeast PA Republican congressmen. http://www.politicspa.com/murmurs-of-gop-opposition-to-electoral-college-changes/27756/
OFF THE FLOOR: Corbett, legislative leaders dealing with GOP pushback on prez votes plan. (Capitol Wire) How divided are Republicans on this? When Corbett boasted about this bill to Pennsylvania corporate sponsors of the Republican Governors Association this week, a few of the loyal GOPers in attendance quietly told him they oppose it, to Corbett's astonishment. Because generally, that is a group that while proud of their opinions and free with them while governors are mulling ideas, rarely pushes back after governors make up their mind...And while the congressional delegation will push hard, they are also vulnerable. They are fighting the governor and legislators who will this fall finalize the map of the state's congressional districts. Various drafts are already circulating. So any revolt against this will stay quiet, or the noisiest will find themselves in a district where their most dangerous GOP rival just got added, and their support base got sent over to some quieter neighbor. http://capitolwire.com/default.asp?tabstucknum=30
A State GOP Disagreement? (Daily News)  So you've got GOP legislative leaders pushing the change. Gov. Corbett saying he'll support it. And the state chairman saying, "I"m not so sure it's a move in the right direction." http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/growls/A-State-GOP-Disagreement.html
The Electoral College Furor Builds. (Capitol Ideas)  Glancing Around The Headlines this morning, the Senate GOP planto change Pennsylvania's electoral college process has gone  national and viral. http://blogs.mcall.com/capitol_ideas/2011/09/the-electoral-college-furor-builds.html
Why the GOP's electoral college scheme is probably doomed (Salon) Already, there are signs of resistance among Pennsylvania Republicans. Some GOP House members from marginal districts are apparently worried that it would cause national Democrats to target their districts more intensely. The state party chairman is apparently against it, too. http://www.salon.com/news/2012_elections/?story=/politics/war_room/2011/09/14/gop_electoral_college
Could Pennsylvania Republicans end the electoral college as we know it? (The Fix) "From a purely presidential point of view, I think that for the Republican Party it makes sense," said David W. Patti, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council. "As for downballot, I think there's an argument to be made that they should be careful." http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/could-pennsylvania-republicans-end-the-electoral-college-as-we-know-it/2011/09/14/gIQAQUzUSK_blog.html
Pennsylvania's Electoral College reform plan: dastardly, or just dumb? (Slate Magazine) Pileggi sees it differently. "I'm getting more complaints from Republicans!" he says. http://www.slate.com/id/2303826/
# # #

PRESS RELEASE from Wisconsin Democratic Party
October 12, 2011
The Latest Republican Power Grab

MADISON-Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate in response to the Republican plot to split Wisconsin's electoral votes.

"The plot to split Wisconsin's electoral votes, written by a Koch Brothers corporate front group, is another bald-faced power grab by Scott Walker's Republican Party. They have sought to suppress votes and bring Jim Crow to the North, they have shut down hearings to the public, they have prevented elected representatives from making votes, they have disregarded the norms and traditions of our Legislature, they have run phony candidates, they have forged signatures, they have coordinated illegally with the corporations that fund them and now this.

Splitting Wisconsin's electoral votes is part of a Tea Party fantasy that seeks power above all. This is offensive to Wisconsin's traditions and it must be denounced."