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Politics & Government

No More Winner-Take-All for PA's Electoral College?

It’s been nearly a month since the election and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is taking a second run at changing the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes.

Pileggi said he’d introduce a bill next year to allocate them based on a candidate’s percentage of the popular vote.

He sponsored a similar proposal last fall, and spokesman Erik Arneson said some thought that was suspicious timing.

“One of the criticisms we received was that it was too close to the presidential election so in an attempt to eliminate that concern by introducing it now, clearly we couldn’t be farther away from the next presidential election than we are right now,” he said.

Arneson says the hope is that reintroducing the bill now will facilitate a “less emotional” debate on the merits of the proposal.

Introducing the plan right after the election is interesting, as results are still fresh in the minds of Republicans who might have wished Romney could have taken some portion of the state’s 20 electoral votes.  But Arneson says that wasn’t a big consideration. 

“I don’t know that that’s that much of a boon,” he said. “We’ve done an analysis nationally if this had been in place in every state, it would not have changed the result of the election.  President Obama would have still been reelected.  In Pennsylvania, which is the only state we can control, we believe that the electoral vote should more closely resemble the popular vote.”

Pileggi's current proposal is different than the plan he offered earlier this year that handed out the votes based on voting within each congressional district.

“We did hear from members of our congressional delegation who were concerned that there would be even more intense focus and more spending and more outside spending in their districts if we used a congressional district model and that was part of the calculation,” Arneson said.

Had Pileggi’s current proposal been in effect during the most recent election, President Obama would have received 12 of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.