Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) announced a plan to essentially rig the 2012 presidential election by giving away up to a dozen of the state’s electoral votes to whoever gets the Republican nomination. Under Corbett’s plan, each of the state’s 18 congressional districts — which are being gerrymandered so that as many as 12 of them favor Republicans — would choose how to allocate a single electoral vote rather than having all of the state’s votes go to the winner of the state. Democrats won Pennsylvania in every presidential election since 1992 — but Corbett’s plan would all but ensure that the GOP candidate received more electoral votes from the state even if the state’s voters decisively prefer to reelect President Obama.
Since Corbett announced this election rigging plan, numerous Republicans have opposed it on the grounds that it could endanger a few Republican House seats by causing the Obama campaign to shift resources into those districts (no Republican seems bothered by the fact that rigging elections is wrong). For now, these dissenters appear to be carrying the day:
Republican-sponsored proposal to change how Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are counted in next year’s presidential election appears to be running out of steam. […] “I see no movement on it. I’m not going to push for movement, but I still support it,” Corbett, a Republican, told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon. […]
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, the bill’s sponsor, responded to Corbett by saying that advancing the bill would require a considerable effort by the Senate, the House, and the governor.
“At this time, my primary focus is completing our work on legislation regarding education reforms, the Marcellus Shale industry, and transportation funding,” wrote Pileggi (R., Delaware). “When those items are finished, we can revisit the Electoral College reform legislation, although I do not believe there will be sufficient time to advance it this year.”
So the good news is the plan is probably dead. The bad news is that it can be revived at any time. Unlike many other states engaged in drastic GOP overreach, Pennsylvania has no provision for citizens to repeal laws by referendum, and no provision to recall manifestly unfit elected officials such as Tom Corbett.
In other words, there is nothing other than sheer public outrage preventing Corbett from reviving this plan in late 2012 if it looks like President Obama is headed towards a close victory that could be prevented by some creative election rigging tactics.