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


Posted: December 3, 2012 10:31 AM
From: Senator Dominic Pileggi
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation to Distribute Electoral Votes Proportionately
I plan to introduce legislation which would align Pennsylvania's electoral votes for president more closely with the state's popular vote by distributing electoral votes proportionately.
The United States Constitution gives each state a number of electors to the Electoral College equal to the combined total of its Senate membership and House of Representatives delegation.  Presidential electors are chosen by the voters.
Currently, Pennsylvania uses a winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes.  My legislation would allocate electoral votes proportionately.
Under the proportional system, two of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors are chosen on a statewide, at-large basis (representing the two senatorial electors).  The remaining 18 electors are chosen based on the percentage of the statewide vote earned by each candidate (rounded to the thousandths).  For example, President Obama won 52.088% of the vote in November.  Under this system, he would have received 12 of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors (the two statewide electors plus 10 of the 18 remaining electors, which would be distributed proportionately).
This advantage of this system is clear: It much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state.
This legislation is not the same as Senate Bill 1282 of the 2011-12 legislative session.  That legislation would have allocated electors based on a district system.

Ed. Note: Pillegi introduced SB 538 on Feb. 21, 2013.

Session of 2013



Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled "An act concerning elections, including general, municipal, special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates, primary and election expenses and election contests; creating and defining membership of county boards of elections; imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth, courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners; imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying, revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to elections," further providing for election of presidential electors, for meeting of electors and duties and for filling of vacancies existing in presidential electors.

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:

Section 1. Sections 1501, 1502 and 1503 of the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, are amended to read:

Section 1501. Election of Presidential Electors.--(a) At the general election to be held in the year 1940, and every fourth year thereafter, there shall be elected by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth, persons to be known as electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, and referred to in this act as presidential electors, equal in number to the whole number of senators and representatives to which this State may be entitled in the Congress of the United States.

(b) The number of presidential electors to be allocated to each nominee for the Office of President of the United States shall be calculated as follows:

(1) The nominee for the Office of President of the United States who wins the plurality of the Statewide popular vote shall be awarded two presidential electors.

(2) The remaining presidential electors shall be divided among nominees for President of the United States by multiplying the number of remaining presidential electors by the percentage of the Statewide popular vote received by a nominee for President of the United States and rounding up to the nearest whole number, subject to the following:

(i) If the total number of presidential electors allocated to all candidates is greater than the number of available electors, the number of presidential electors allocated to the nominee with the smallest percentage of the Statewide popular vote shall be reduced by one.

(ii) If necessary, the process in subclause (i) shall be repeated, starting with the nominee for President of the United States who finished next to last in the Statewide vote and ending with the nominee for President who finished second in the Statewide vote.

Section 1502. Meeting of Electors; Duties.--(a) The electors chosen, as aforesaid, shall assemble at the seat of government of this Commonwealth, at 12 o'clock noon of the day which is, or may be, directed by the Congress of the United States, and shall then and there perform the duties enjoined upon them by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

b) Each presidential elector shall cast his ballot in accordance with the allocation established in section 1501(b).

Section 1503. Filling of Vacancies Existing in Presidential Electors.--If any such presidential elector shall die, or for any cause fail to attend at the seat of government at the time appointed by law, the presidential electors present, who are of the same political party as such deceased or absent presidential elector, shall proceed to choose viva voce a person of the same political party as such deceased or absent elector, to fill the vacancy occasioned thereby, and immediately after such choice the name of the person so chosen shall be transmitted by the presiding officer of the college to the Governor, who shall forthwith cause notice in writing to be given to such person of his election; and the person so elected (and not the person in whose place he shall have been chosen) shall be an elector and shall, with the other electors, perform the duties enjoined on

Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.

EMAIL from DGA Action

March 8, 2012

Republicans have a secret plan to win back the Presidency: rig the Electoral College.

In states President Obama won fairly like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Republicans are plotting to steal the election, using tactics like awarding electoral votes based on Congressional Districts, instead of the popular vote. Why? Because they spent the last two years gerrymandering these districts to unfairly favor Republicans.

If they’d done this before last year’s election, we’d have President Romney right now even though he lost by almost 5 million votes.

Pennsylvania Republicans are moving fast. They return to session on Monday looking to pass an election-rigging bill that – if active in 2012 – would have awarded eight of the state’s 20 electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

Join the DGA and Pennsylvania Democrats in demanding that Governor Corbett veto this outrageous election-rigging bill.

The Presidency isn’t won by the candidate who gets the most votes – we learned that the hard way in 2000. It’s decided by who gets to a total of 270 electoral votes.

That’s why this bill in Pennsylvania should matter to you, even if you live in another state.

Republicans have launched a coordinated national effort to get bills like this passed in Democratic-leaning states, especially in states where Republicans have consolidated their control by gerrymandering Congressional Districts. It’s shameful and underhanded, but it’s also a potentially effective strategy for gaining power – if we don’t stop it now.

When asked if this plan was really just about making it easier for Republicans to win the Presidency, the Republican strategist behind the effort replied: “That could be a byproduct.”

We have to stop Pennsylvania Republicans now, and send a signal to Republicans in other states that election-rigging will not fly in Pennsylvania or in any state.

Add your name to our petition with Pennsylvania Democrats calling on Governor Corbett to veto this hyper-partisan vote-rigging scheme.

Together we can protect the ballot box and stop the Republicans’ secret plan. But we need you to stand with us.

Thank you,

Lis Smith
Democratic Governors Association