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Sun Gazette: Delegation Antagonistic to GOP Plan for Allocating Va.’s Electoral Votes Print


Created:· Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You won't need many hints to guess the Arlington legislative delegation's reaction to a proposal floating around the General Assembly that would divide up Virginia's electoral votes for president based on results by congressional district.

"This is the 'Sore Loser Relief Act of 2013,'" opined Del. Bob Brink (D-48th), calling it "the latest attempt by partisans who came up short at the ballot box to win by changing the rules of the game."

The measure has been introduced by state Sen. Charles Carrico Sr. (R-Galax). It has been sent to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. (Carrico's office did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

If Carrico's proposal is enacted into law, Virginia would give two of its 13 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the overall popular vote, and award the remaining 11 based on results in the commonwealth's congressional districts.

It's a far cry from the winner-take-all system Virginia and most other states have long employed. Virginia voters went for Republican candidates in each presidential election from 1968 to 2004, but supported Democrat Barack Obama in each of the last two elections.

Had Carrico's plan been in effect in 2012, the effect would have been significant: Republican Mitt Romney, who lost the statewide vote, would have walked away with seven of Virginia's 13 electoral votes.

Only two states – Maine and Nebraska – currently allocate their electoral votes the way Carrico proposes for Virginia. The all-Democratic Arlington delegation doesn't want to make it a trio:

* "I share Del. Brink's assessment of the proposal," said state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st).

* "This is a blatant attempt to reduce the value of urban and suburban voters. If [Republicans] can't win at the ballot box, they want to win through gerrymandering," said state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd).

* "This would eviscerate the concept of one-man, one-vote, possibly handing the election to the loser through the existing partisan gerrymandering of districts," said Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th).

* "It is bad enough that gerrymandering currently reduces true representation," said Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45th).

* "This will be – and has been – seen for what it is: a blatant attempt to game the process," said Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th).

Conceivably, Republicans could push the measure through both houses of the General Assembly. Brink wasn't sure that would be likely to happen.

"In the long run, I don't think it will work, because it's such a transparent political ploy," he said. "I think it will backfire on its proponents, just as their 2012 efforts at suppressing the vote did."