Why Pennsylvania Is the Final Frontier for Electoral Vote Splitting

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 30 2013 3:49 PM

Pennsylvania Is the Final Frontier for Electoral Vote Splitting

Support for states splitting up their electoral votes may be waning. Scott Walker, one of only two Republican governors who had sounded open to the idea, has stopped sounding that way. 

Is there any precedent for this? For so much discussion of sore-loser reform, followed by so many walkbacks? Yes. Karen Shanton, a fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, says that immediately after the 2000 election, 29 states considered changing the way they allocate electoral votes — 26 considered switching to a district system, three considered a non-district proportional system, and one (Nebraska) considered reverting to a winner-take-all system. Washington considered both district and non-district proportional bills.

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She also noted in an email that these types of proposals are nothing new in some states:

Another interesting tidbit is that two of the states that were making headlines recently — Pennsylvania and Virginia — have lengthy histories with these kinds of proposals. Both have introduced this kind of legislation in almost every legislative session since 2000.

But politicians in Virginia as well as in Michigan, Ohio and now Wisconsin have all shied away from the idea. Pennsylvania stands alone.

Correction, Jan. 31, 2013: This story originally said 29 states considered changing the way they allocate electoral votes since 2000. Those states considered changing their electoral vote allocation immediately after the 2000 election, but 35 states have considered new proposals since 2000.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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