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PA Considers Changes to Electoral College System
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- A bill in the Pennsylvania State Senate could change the state's electoral vote system - possibly impacting the outcome of presidential elections. While the main battle is happening in Harrisburg, it's catching the attention of our lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
But Democratic Senator Casey says what's happening in the halls of the state capital in Harrisburg, could have national implications.
"I rarely comment on state legislation for obvious reasons - we have enough to do here," said Casey (D - Pennsylvania).
Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Leader, Republican Dominic Pileggi, has introduced a bill that would change the state's electoral vote system. Electoral votes would be distributed based on the outcome of the state's popular vote, rather than the current "winner-take-all" system.
Senator Casey says he has his concerns about that type of system.
"Principally, that it would undermine a system that's worked well in our state and across the country for a long, long time…. in a presidential race, Pennsylvania speaks with one voice," he explains.
Democrats are so angry with this proposal, they've enlisted the help of former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell to voice a robo-call that started going out this week to rouse public opposition.
"They're trying to change the rules to rig the game for the Republicans because they lost fair and square in 2012," Rendell states in the recording.
But ask Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson if the bill is an attempt at gerrymandering.
"I think it's gerrymandered right now - winner-take-all. Winner-take-all is pretty insulting to the whole principle of one person, one vote," said Rep. Thompson, (R - PA 5th).
Even though Pennsylvania has gone blue in every presidential election since 1992, the popular vote has been pretty close. In the last election, President Obama carried the state by just five-percentage points in the popular vote-- yet he got the state's full 20 electoral votes. Thompson says different parts of the state have different priorities.
"There are certain things all Pennsylvanians are committed to and have in common, but there are certain concerns we have. I think those differences actually support the changes that are at least being discussed in Harrisburg," said Thompson, "if they're going to advance it, I urge them to do it with a lot of transparency, hearings, scrutiny, and review."
The only other states right now that do *not* have a winner-take-all electoral vote system are Maine and Nebraska.