alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

The GOP Plan To Rig The Next Presidential Election

In a subcommittee vote Wednesday, Virginia State Sen. and former Republican National Committee Chief Counsel Jill Holtzman Vogel (R) abstained on a key vote on a bill to rig the state’s electoral college vote. The bill advanced (on a three-to-three party-line vote) to the full Committee on Privileges and Elections, without recommendation.

National Republicans, frustrated with their failure to win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections, are pushing to change the electoral allocations only in states Obama carried. With control of the state governments in Michigan,Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and elsewhere, they are hoping to pass legislation to ensure that most of those states’ electors go to their 2016 nominee — even if he or she does not carry those states.

Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr. (R) is the author of Senate Bill 723, which would allocate Virginia’s 13 electoral votes by congressional district, rather than the current winner-take-all system. With the state’s GOP-gerrymandered Congressional districts, Republicans hold eight of the 11 Virginia House districts. Even though President Obama won Virginia by four points, under this plan vast majority of Virginia’s electors would have gone to loser Mitt Romney.

Though the Privileges and Elections committee is also Republican controlled — an eight-to-seven majority — the 40 member Senate is evenly divided, with Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling breaking ties. Assuming the bill passes from the full committee and comes up on the floor, if all 20 Democrats vote against it and Vogel abstains again, it will fail.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story relied on an erroneous report by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which falsely claimed Vogel had voted against the bill and that the full committee was split 10-5. The Virginia Senate Clerk’s office told ThinkProgress that Vogel had, in fact, merely abstained.

UPDATE: Sen. Vogel told ThinkProgress that she is not currently in favor of the bill and abstained only as a courtesy to her colleagues. “I abstained because I was chair of the subcommittee and did not want it to leave my subcommittee with a failing vote,” she explained, “but I am generally not in favor right now of the bill and it’s very unlikely that I will vote for it in full committee or the Senate floor.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.