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Jan 31 2013

Bolger Open to Election Rigging Scheme

Rep. Jase Bolger is the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and he is about equal parts ruthlessly partisan and unethical. And while some other Republican legislators have spoken out against an election rigging scheme being considered in several states, including Michigan, he’s making terrible arguments in its favor:

President Barack Obama won swing states like Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio in the 2012 election. But through heavy redistricting and gerrymandering, the GOP-controlled legislatures in those states have ensured that most congressional districts are heavily Republican. So if the GOP plan to award votes based on congressional districts had been in effect, Obama could have been chosen by the majority of the states’ residents but lost the election anyway.

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) said on Friday that he’s open to pursuing the strategy in his state. According to Gongwer (subscription required), Bolger believes a bill by state Rep. Pete Lund (R) — which has yet to be introduced — is worthy of strong consideration.

“I hear that more and more from our citizens in various parts of the state of Michigan that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts because another area of the state may dominate that or could sway their vote,” Bolger told Gongwer. “They feel closer to voting for their congressman or their congresswoman and if that vote coincided with their vote for president they would feel better about that.”

Let’s parse that argument. He’s heard from unnamed people in the state that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts, so his solution to this is to make it far less likely — virtually a certainty at this point — that most of the state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who gets fewer votes in the presidential election? That may make sense on Planet Wingnuttia, but not on this planet. If that was in place last year, Romney would have won nine of the state’s 14 congressional districts, and thus more electoral votes, despite losing by nearly half a million votes. Would that make people feel like their votes counted more or less?

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    Well you know, Ed. The vote of those in smaller communities should at least count for 2/5ths more than those in the cities.

    What? Why are you looking at me like that?

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    But through heavy redistricting and gerrymandering, the GOP-controlled legislatures in those states have ensured that most congressional districts are heavily Republican.

    Sorry for the nitpick, but that’s almost the exact opposite to how gerrymandering works. What they do is create a few districts that are overwhelmingly Democratic and a majority of districts with slim but reliable Republican majorities. Or vice versa, of course, the Dems do it too. And did, in my state.

  3. 3
    Dennis N

    Look at it this way. The people who voted him into office (Republicans), want their vote to count more. He’s simply giving them their desires.

    Against all sense of fairness and decency.

  4. 4
    iknklast

    I live in a state that has that sort of plan (which narrows it down to 2!). In spite of that, my vote has never “counted” in any election, because all the votes in my district go to the Republican candidate. Is this lawmaker going to pity me, and require that my vote go to the candidate I voted for? The only way to ensure that is to do away with the electoral college altogether, and adopt direct election of the president.

  5. 5
    Alverant

    @2 “the Dems do it too”
    Which makes it OK for ont only for Rebs to do it but to go further and use it to allocate electorial votes?

  6. 6
    slc1

    It would seem like this could be challenged in court as discriminatory against minority voters. However, the first order of business for Michiganders is to vote MH’s hero, Rick Snyder, out of office in 2014.

  7. 7
    Deen

    He’s heard from unnamed people in the state that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts, so his solution to this is to make it far less likely — virtually a certainty at this point — that most of the state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who gets fewer votes in the presidential election?

    Well, since the people who are complaining to him are most likely Republicans, his plan actually does solve the problem of the complainers. Just not of the majority of people. But why would he care about them?

  8. 8
    abb3w

    “Let me tell you, young man–the dirty little secret of democracy is that just because you get a vote, doesn’t mean you get your choice.” – from Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel Cryoburn

  9. 9
    D. C. Sessions

    Simple long-term solution to gerrymandering: you may register to vote in any district which adjoins the one you live in.

    Yeah, I know: never happen. Bet give it this: it’s a major disincentive to gerrymandering.

  10. 10
    arakasi

    If they wanted their vote to count for more, why don’t they move to Wyoming, where each vote counted for 1/80,000 of an electoral vote. Whatever they do, they need to stay away from California, where each vote was worth 1/230,000 of an electoral vote

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