Will Michigan Republicans make a move to rig the 2016 election by changing the way our electoral votes are cast?

According to Michigan Radio, state Republicans, despite the serious push-back they’ve been getting from voters, and the fact that a similar measure has apparently fizzled in Virginia, have every intention of moving forward with plans to radically change the way our electoral votes are cast for President in hopes of making it more likely for a Republican to win the presidency. Here’s a clip:

State House Republican leaders say they have no plans to scrap discussions about splitting Michigan’s Electoral College votes between congressional districts.

Both Governor Rick Snyder and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville have said they’re not on board with the idea. Snyder says it would be better to consider changes closer to the next census, when congressional lines are re-drawn.

But House Speaker Jase Bolger said there’s no reason to wait that long.

“This should not be a conversation about party. This certainly should not be a conversation – and is not, at this point – a conversation about who might win, because we don’t know who the candidates are. So this is the time to have that conversation, when a presidential election is not ongoing,” he said…

For what it’s worth, Representative Peter Lund, the author of the bill which would, if passed, end Michigan’s winner-take-all system, and replace it with a scheme in which electoral votes are split up and awarded from each individual congressional district independently, said yesterday that, despite what Bolger has suggested, he’s in no hurry to introduce the legislation. The following clip comes from Gary Heinlein’s piece in yesterday’s Detroit News.

…A bill he sponsored last year failed to gain support and died at the end of the legislative session. Lund said that’s partly because GOP lawmakers thought Romney had a chance to win the state’s popular vote and get all 16 electoral votes.

Lund, whose bill was in the hopper for most of the last two-year session, said Tuesday he’s not personally motivated by such concerns.

He said now is the perfect time to debate the change because the next election is far off and so are no such calculations to be made.

“We’ve got 45 weeks until it matters,” he said. “I’m still going to do it but I’m not in a hurry; it’s not a priority right now.”..

Given how the right-to-work legislation came about after our Governor assured us that it “wasn’t on (his) agenda,” I’m not inclined to say that we’re out of danger on this issue, but I really don’t see how it’s likely at this point that the Republicans will make a move, despite the statements made by Bolger. Of course, I could be wrong, but I suspect, if they were going to do it, they probably would have done it by now. As far as I can tell, though, there’s really no impetus for them to push it through during this legislative session, when the next Presidential election is four years off, and they don’t yet know who their candidate will be, or whether their party might have a shot of winning Michigan – taking all 16 electoral votes for their side. Of course, the odds are against them. The people of Michigan haven’t voted for a Republican since 1988, when George Bush the Elder faced off against Mike Dukakis. But I’m sure they’re convinced that this time might be different, and they might be able, thought various voter suppression efforts, and misleading campaign ads, to win the majority of votes. And I suppose this is a good thing for us that they have this evil, little glimmer of hope, as it buys us time. So, what do we do now? How do we make good use of this time, and work to ensure that this change isn’t made a year or two from now, when they decide to go for it, in hopes of securing 9 of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes for their candidate?

[note: Those who are interested in the specifics might want to check out our discussion from a few days ago, which goes into quite a bit more detail on this issue.]

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  1. Edward
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    It seems unlikely that they would push for it now, especially given the increased media scrutiny. You can be sure, however, that this isn’t dead.

  2. 734
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Nothing would surprise me.

  3. Elliott
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Has anyone done a decent benchmarking study of what other states have done with regard to gerrymandering?

  4. John Galt
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Why will no one engage with me on my idea to allow the hard working men and women of America the right to sell their hard earned votes. If we could make that one simple change all of this other nonsense would be unnecessary.

  5. Mr. Y
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I love the spin in the press that Snyder stood up to his party and declared that the plan was “unfair”, etc. That’s bullshit. The reason it’s not happening isn’t because Snyder stood up and put his foot down. The reason it’s not happening is because the men with money behind his administration don’t think that it should happen yet, because of the reasons articulated in the post above. It will happen, though.

  6. Eel
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The Feds need to take over elections and redistributing from the states, who have proven incapable of handling the responsibility. Fuck states right.

  7. kohler
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    A survey of Michigan voters showed 73% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 73% among independents, 78% among Democrats, and 68% among Republicans.
    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 67% among 30-45 year
    olds, 74% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 86% among women and 59% among men.

    Most Americans don’t care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it’s wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes–enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President.
    Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK– 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  8. XXX
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Democrats need to get more ruthless. We need to start forcing big red states out of the union. And States like Texas already want to go. I say, set them (and their electoral votes) free.

  9. wobblie
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Electoral votes are based on US House Congressional seats. Have you ever asked why are there only 435 congress people?

    The U.S. Constitution establishes minimum and maximum sizes for the U.S. House of Representatives (Article 1, Section 2).
    At a minimum, each state must have at least 1 member, and seats are awarded to states proportionately according to population. Because seats are apportioned according to population, it is difficult to establish the exact minimum number of House members. As of the 2000 census, Wyoming was the least populous state, with 493,782. The U.S. population at that time was 281,421,906, meaning that if each House district had the same number of people, there would be about 570 members. Since there are only 435 members, we know that House districts vary in population from state to state. Therefore the minimum number allowed by the Constitution is not immediately clear. Within a state, each House district must have an equal population.
    House districts must contain at least 30,000 citizens. Based on a U.S. population of 300 million, the maximum size of the House of Representatives would be 10,000 members.
    In 1911, Congress passed Public Law 62-5, which limited the size of the House of Representatives to 435 members. The law took effect in 1913. If it wants to, Congress could change the number of members in the House, provided that the new number is within the minimum and maximum established by the Constitution.
    See : http:/clerk.house.gov/member_info/memberfaq.html

    If we abolished Public Law 62-5 and had many more Congressional districts the Republicans would be scurrying back to winner take all. The House of Representatives is supposed to be the “popular” or “peoples” part of Congress. Public law 62-5 has allowed for them to become gerrymandered “rotten” districts. Our own seems to be the fiefdom of the Dingell family. A much bigger House would solve many of our nations problems.

  10. Rick Snyder
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink


    Good Morning,

    Thank you for your recent correspondence which I received this morning via signon.org. I wanted to take the opportunity to respond.

    Lately, there’s been some talk about changing the Electoral College system in Michigan — the way in which our state’s electoral delegates are apportioned in presidential elections. It’s a serious subject and it’s one that affects all voters in our state.

    When asked about the issue, I’ve indicated that I’m open to having a conversation on the subject — as I am with any issue that comes before our state. But to be clear, I’m very skeptical about the idea and the time frame under which it would be enacted.

    Broadly speaking, you don’t want to change the playing field so it gives any one party or candidate an unfair advantage over another one. And if action is taken, it should be bipartisan and only done before a census is conducted and before redistricting has taken place. The census is a long way off — the next one isn’t occurring until 2020 — and, as such, now is not the appropriate time to be looking at this issue. I recently appeared on Bloomberg to discuss this issue. You can view a segment of the interview here: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/886656.

    Thank you, again, for your recent correspondence. Please do not hesitate to call on my office if there is anything we can be doing for you.


    Rick Snyder

  11. anon
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink


    yes, of course i will continue to rape anyone who is not a recognized member of the michigan entrepreneurial class

  12. Mr. Y
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Why won’t you people take him at his word when he says that it’s “not on his agenda”?

  13. Meta
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    MoveOn has a petition:

    We, the undersigned, call on you to do the right thing and publicly commit to vetoing any changes to the electoral system. America was founded on the principle that we’re all created equal, but this would make some people’s votes count more than others. These new maps would determine the winner of Michigan’s electoral votes, making it easier for Republicans to steal the next presidential election. This isn’t what our founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the constitution.


  14. Robert
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The GOP has no other choice but to do whatever they can to change the way electoral votes are secured. They can’t count on the economy completely crashing again, which is their only other hope. Demographic changes in key states have been drifting away from their favor for decades. They haven’t legitimately won an electoral contest since 1988. In order to have any real chance of taking the White House, they will need to engineer another 2000-style surprise for everyone. That year they rigged 3 states enough to flip the electoral votes of those states their way. In 2004, the number of states they flipped through rigging strategies was no less than 5. You will see them pulling out all the stops on changing the voting rules between now and 2016.

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