Bill would split up electoral votes rather than winner-take-all
LANSING – State Representative Harold L. Haugh (D-Roseville), minority vice-chairman of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, along with committee members Reps. Andy Schor (D-Lansing) and Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser) voiced their concern over House Bill 5974, which would change the way Electoral College votes in presidential elections are allocated in Michigan by eliminating the current winner-take-all system of awarding presidential electors and replace it with a proportional system of awarding electors among the top two candidates of the popular vote count. The committee took testimony today on the bill.
“I always was taught that you play by the rules of the game and if you don’t win, you don’t get to change the rules of the game” said Rep. Haugh.
Under the bill debated today in committee, nine of Michigan’s current 16 Electoral College votes would go to the presidential candidate who won the state and the other seven would be distributed based on a percentage of the margin of victory.
The change is seen by many as a way for Republicans to turn the tide in their favor when it comes to GOP presidential hopefuls performing better in Michigan. Republicans claim the change is necessary for Michigan to become more relevant to presidential candidates in both parties.
“This bill does nothing to attract presidential candidates and resources to Michigan,” said Rep. Schor. “In fact, it lowers the possibility. In a close race, this proposal would have the top two candidates competing for 2 or 3 electoral votes instead of our current 16. In a state of almost 10 million people, our influence would be reduced to that Delaware (925,000 people). It seems to me that the Republicans are throwing up the white flag, saying they can never win Michigan, and taking what they can get instead of competing for all 16 electoral votes.
“Also, this hasn’t worked in other states, and they have not attracted presidential candidates.”
In the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama won the popular vote in Michigan over Mitt Romney, 2,564,569 to 2,115,256, thus earning all of the state’s 16 electoral votes. With this legislation, President Obama would have won Michigan’s 12 electoral votes, giving Romney four.
“Fundamental to our democracy is the concept of one person, one vote,” Rep. Lane said. “This legislation undermines that principle and threatens Michigan’s influence in presidential elections. Candidates should win on their merits, not by rigging the system.”
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State Representative Andy Schor
68th House District