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Virginia Bill to Give Each Congressional District its Own Presidential Elector

Published on December 12, 2012, by in General.

Virginia State Senator Charles Carrico (R-Grayson) has introduced SB 723. It would give each U.S. House district its own presidential elector. It would also give the state’s two at-large presidential electors to the presidential candidate who carried the most U.S. House districts. The bill has no provision for dealing with a situation in which the number of congressional elections carried by various presidential candidates is tied. Although Virginia has eleven districts now, in the future it might have an even number of districts. See this story about the bill. Thanks to Rick Hasen for this news. UPDATE: the bill does have a procedure for dealing with a situation in which the number of congressional districts carried by each of two candidates is tied; in that event the presidential candidate who won the most popular votes in the state would get the two at-large electors. Thanks to Jim Riley for this correction.

21 Responses

  1. Why is such a simple to predict and solve scenario left unsolved? Just split the two at large Electors if the districts are tied. Done and done.

  2. Richard Winger

    But suppose there is a 3-way split? I believe George Wallace carried at least one Virginia US House district in 1968, and Nixon and Humphrey also carried US House districts in Virginia.

  3. Demo Rep

    One more added on gerrymander scheme.

    1/2 votes x 1/2 gerrymander areas = 1/4 control.

    Worse MINORITY RULE math with 3 or more choices.
    —–
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  4. To that, I would say that rather than awarding those electors based on the elections of the others, make those two at large electors statewide elections. You could even base them on the votes cast per district but all district votes are tallied together.

  5. Walter Ziobro

    It would be interesting if some state allowed unpledged electors to run as such.

  6. Jed Siple

    The two electors should go to the winner of the popular vote in the state, not who carried the most districts.

  7. richard wyatt

    first the Republicans gerrymandered the state to death. Now they are guaranteeing the Democratic candidate gets the least electoral votes talk about rigging the system.

  8. Jim Riley

    Sb 723 does have a provision for the case when no candidate wins a majority of the congressional districts, and it is included in the bill summary.

  9. Jim Riley

    #5 Independent electors in California are nominally unpledged. Only if all 55 elector candidates are pledged to the same presidential and vice-presidential candidates is the name of the candidates printed on the ballot.

    See Elections Code 8303 and 8304.

  10. Derek

    I have a proposal!

    Voters should be able to vote for 2 parties or tickets, as in this case. For example: Republican vs. Democrat vs. Green vs. Libertarian. A 2-party system is best decided by the voters.

    1st votes
    D 45%
    R 44%
    L 6%
    G 5%

    2nd votes
    D 9%
    R 9%
    L 46%
    G 36%

    Total
    D 27%
    R 26.5%
    L 26%
    G 20.5%

  11. Richard Winger

    #8, I did not say the bill has no provision for presidential elector candidates who fail to receive a majority. I said, accurately, that the bill has no procedure for dealing with a tie in the number of congressional districts carried.

  12. Jim Riley

    #11 Sigh.

    Let T be the total number of districts, N the number of districts won by the two candidates who carry the most districts, and M the number of districts carried by other candidates.

    The total number of districts equals the number of districts won by all candidates.

    N + N + M = T

    N is at least 1, and 0 <= M 0, N + N < T

    Therefore for all M,

    N + N <= T

    N <= T/2 < majority(T)

    N < majority(T)

    If two candidates are tied, then no candidate may have won a majority of the districts.

    Majority does not mean 1/2. It means more than 1/2.

  13. Larry Allred

    The more gerrymandering can join all of the other unfair, arbitrary and unrepresentative aspects of the awful electoral college system, the harder it becomes to defend the thing. It seems making the EC worse is a trend. Good, good, good.

  14. Derek

    But why not implement the 2-party vote? Hell, the Presidential Electors, by the Constitution, were allowed to cast 2 votes for Presidential candidates.

    Democrats, Republicans, independents and third parties would be able to reach out to the average voter. A Perot voter would’ve been likely to cast a vote for Clinton or Bush in 92, a Nader voter would’ve been likely to vote for Gore in 2K.

  15. Demo Rep

    History note – the 2 Senators per State was due to the EMERGENCY in May 1775 after the Brit attack on 19 Apr 1775.

    NO accurate data existed for apportioning financial and military stuff in the EMERGENCY Second Continental Congress.

    The EMERGENCY idea was made to have each State have ONE vote only in the SCC.

    As usual the EVIL small States loved their UN-equal power and demanded equal power in the later 1787 Federal Convention.

    Result – the EVIL 3 gerrymander systems in the U.S.A. regime —
    H. Reps, Senate and Electoral College

    TOTAL minority rule EVIL — nonstop since 4 Mar 1789 in the U.S.A. regime.

    Results – national bankruptcy, un-declared wars, powermad Prezs, etc.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  16. Be Rational

    Re: @11 & @12:

    Here we can see the the long-winded Jim Riley lacks reading comprehension and logical abilities. Sad. Nice math, but he missed the point entirely.

    Richard Winger’s point was that in the event the the number of electors allocated to VA should fall to 10 or become an even number, then the number could be tied and that no provision in the statute accounted for that situation, which is quite likely to occur at some future date. Of course the law could be amended at that time, but why not account for that possibility now.

    Riley fails to be able to discern future logical situation analysis in a dynamic environment. This could explain his failure to grasp that his pet “top-two” system, if adopted nationwide, would lead to a one-party, state controlled electoral system and the end of free elections in America.

    Reading comprehension. Lack of logical reasoning ability. Back to school time Riley.

  17. Be Rational

    Back to the topic:

    re: @4: You are correct. There should be one elector for each CD and two statewide. This mirrors the method of electing Congressmen and Senators and is a good way of improving our Electoral College so that the outcome more closely resembles the votes cast by the people while still maintaining the federal system and the power of the states vs. the federal government.

    The Electoral College system and its vote allocation is an essential cornerstone in maintaining the balance of power against the federal government and in the preservation of liberty.

    VA should just adopt the ME/NE electoral vote system.

    PA, likewise, should choose the ME/NE system in its reform efforts.

    This should become a nationwide movement: to better represent the will of the people, we should work for the adoption of the ME/NE system nationwide.

  18. Clifford F. Thies

    Everybody wants to put their twist into the ME/NE Method. This one being to award the 2 at-large to the winner of the most districts (when the ME/NE Method awards them to the winner of the statewide popular vote).

    The following has been suggested to me: both to the winner of the statewide popular vote if the winner receives at least 60 percent of the statewide popular vote; otherwise, one each to the first and second place finisher in the statewide popular vote.

    I think the ME/NE Method is fine, as the resulting Electoral College mirrors a joint session of Congress. Without moving all the way to a British-style parliamentary system (with first-past-the-gate voting), it would bring us part-way there.

    The ME/NE Method would leave open the possibility of run-off elections (as in Louisiana) or – better – IRV (and the possibility of Australian-style elections). States could continue to monkey around with this, hopefully discarding the “Top Two” method in favor of some form of run-off method, so as to deal with the winner of first-past-the-gate voting often having less than a majority of the vote.

  19. Proportional allocation of electors within each state is the way to go.

  20. Demo Rep

    What exactly is the EVIL fixation with statutory machinations inside each State regarding the EVIL ANTI-Democracy Electoral College ???

    Prez of ALL of the People of the U.S.A. or only those gerrymander parts of the U.S.A. that elect a Prez via the gerrymander math of the EVIL E.C. ???
    —-
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  21. Be Rational

    @20

    The primary purpose of government is to maintain liberty. Electoral systems and democratic elections are not the end but a means to help secure the goal of individual liberty for all. Governments tend to arrogate power and grow over time. Democratic elections do not prevent this and, in fact, are often the cause of the loss of liberty.

    It is essential to maintain a balance of power centers to help slow the growth of government and prevent socialist and dictatorial takeovers. The balanace between States and the Federal government is the primary reason that, while other nations around the world have gone through totalitarian regimes and coups, the US has so far avoided such draconinan government.

    Having an electoral system that is based on the maintainance of state rights and power vs. the central government is essential in the preservation of liberty. All large nations need a similar system and should emulate the US.

    We need to enhance, perfect and preserve the Electoral College system in the US.

    Direct election of the president, proportional voting and other such changes would result in a loss in a loss of liberty in the USA and as such must be avoided.

    Those who advocate for such changes are not interested in the preservation of liberty but in the promotion of some perverted view of democracy instead.

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