Nebraska is one of just two states which allocates its Electoral College votes by congressional district — a fact that enabled President Obama to win one electoral vote in the state despite losing the state as a whole in 2008. The Nebraska Republican Party, however, just voted to twist its own lawmaker’s arms to prevent this from happening again in 2012:
[T]he [Republican state central] committee approved a resolution that would deny party support to any Republican state senator who fails to support legislation returning Nebraska to a winner-take-all presidential electoral vote system.
An ancillary effect of that action, primarily designed to wipe out any Democratic opportunity to pick up the 2nd Congressional District electoral vote for the second presidential election in a row, could be depression of Democratic activity in the Omaha district to [Sen. Ben] Nelson’s disadvantage.
As a matter of electoral fairness, there is no reason why Nebraska should use a different system than any other state — and, indeed, it would undermine the legitimacy of a second Obama term if the only reason Obama won reelection was a bizarre quirk in one state’s law. Nevertheless, the timing of the Nebraska GOP’s decision to eliminate this quirk before a hotly contested election suggests that it has little to do with preserving the legitimacy of 2012’s winner and everything to do with manipulating the state’s law to the GOP’s advantage.
Moreover, the GOP’s plan to make a solid red state a winner-take-all state stands in stark contrast to their plan to force blue Pennsylvania to give away as many of a dozen of its electoral votes to whoever wins the Republican presidential primary. As Alexander Burns explains, “a voter could be forgiven for thinking lawmakers are trying to tinker with the rules of the 2012 race for purely partisan reasons.”