Virginia Kills Off Electoral College Bill, for Real This Time

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 29 2013 2:49 PM

Virginia Kills Off Electoral College Bill, for Real This Time

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Vice President Joe Biden helps to count of the Electoral College votes for the 2012 presidential election during a joint Senate and House session at the Capitol in Washington on January 4, 2013.

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

ProgressVA reports that the Virginia State Senate has killed the Electoral College-skewing Carrico bill. It was the Privileges and Elections committee, not the full Senate, that did the deed. Republicans run the committee, with eight out of 15 members. And the bill only got four "ayes."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

That leaves Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as the next-most-likely places for a splitter bill.

Hang on. No, it doesn't.

The state House may be considering a new and controversial plan on how Michigan's Electoral College votes are distributed, but the state Senate isn't interested, said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.
"I don't know that the system now is broken. So I don't know that we need to fix it," he said.

The GOP's State Senate majority in Michigan is, proportionately, much larger than its House majority. But it's tough to pass a bill when the Senate leader gives it the thumbs-down. And in Ohio, the momentum for vote-splitting was always illusory. Secretary of State Jon Husted didn't immediately rule it out. A panic broke out. He's spent the weeks since vehemently denying that it can happen.

So it's up to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the first state you've got a Republican governor whose approval has cratered; in the second, you have a governor with plenty of votes in the legislature, but a keen awareness of what makes Democrats flood the Capitol and assault their bongos. If all of these bills die out, we probably have the Virginia legislature's inauguration day gerrymander coup to thank for it — more publicity than this issue had ever received before, thanks to that news hook.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.