Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Evil Electoral Plot

("Rig the Vote")

In response to Mr. Blow's inquiry, the "evil lair" where this plot was hatched was in Massachusetts over 200 years ago. In the 1804,1812 and 1820 presidential elections, the congressional district method was utilized to determine the winner of the electoral votes in this state.

More relevant to today's events, in 1972 Maine adopted the "winner does not necessarily take all" approach to electoral vote counting, and  Nebraska followed suit in 1992. In fact, in 2008 Nebraska did split its electoral vote, as Barack Obama was the winner in 1 of its districts.

What makes the Virginia plan distinct from those other jurisdictions is its consideration of awarding 2 of its electoral votes to the winner of the most districts. In Nebraska and Maine, those extra electoral votes go to the candidate who gathers the higher percentage of votes throughout the state. Thus the Virginia method, and those that might follow suit, would be disenfranchising the urban areas which are more densely populated and typically Democratic leaning, but are congregated in fewer districts than Republican favoring voters residing in rural areas.

Virginia would face a particularly difficult challenge in sustaining this change since it is a state that falls under the watchful eyes of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. For states that have a history of disenfranchising portions of its population, any proposed voting change must be approved by the US Justice Department to insure it does not have a "retrogressive effect" on minority voters. Clearly, this scheme would suggest a malevolent intent to reduce the strength of the vote for those in minorities that tend to reside in the cities of Virginia.

The governor of this state has now spoken out against this proposal, and it may, in short order fall by the wayside. But, to the point of Mr. Blow, there will undoubtedly be another plan that emerges out of the minds of the Republican strategists to negate the voice and the vote of as many of those who oppose them as possible. Several of the "swing states" do not have the historical impediment of Virginia, and they may be the next in line for electoral vote splitting attention. It is a matter of when, not if, the next nefarious scheme will emerge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you have sent this to the NY Times, as well as any other influential forum. It is so factual and well-reasoned. This is a phonemona at our age! Great job--