Last winter, shortly after President Obama won his second term in office, many Republicans rallied behind a pair of election–rigging plans designed to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win White House again. Though the two plans differ in important ways, the crux of both plans is to rig the Electoral College by requiring blue states to award a significant portion of their electoral votes to Republican presidential candidates — all while ensuring that red states will award 100 percent of their electoral votes to the Republican as well. Though these election-rigging plans appeared dead after a wave of Republican officials came out against them, one of them has just returned to life in California.
On November 22, a man named Hal Nickle filed a proposed ballot initiative in California which would change the way that state allocates electoral votes to ensure that a large chunk of California’s 55 electors go to the GOP, even though Californians consistently prefer Democratic candidates to Republicans. Rather than allocating all of California’s electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, as nearly all states currently award their votes, the election-rigging initiative would allocate the states votes proportionally according to the percentage of votes won by each candidate. Thus, if this plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have received 37.12 percent of California’s electors — adding 20 to his overall total.
The trick behind this proposal is that if would only change the law in California, while leaving red states free to award all of their electors to the Republican:
If enacted in enough blue states, this plan would make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win the presidency no matter how they performed in the popular vote.
In 2007, Republican activists attempted to place a similar election-rigging plan on the state’s ballot, although this effort ultimately failed. Last January, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus endorsed the same election-rigging scheme, explaining that he thinks “it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at.”
Andrew Breiner contributed graphic design to this post.