Electoral College; State's electoral votes shall be allocated by congressional district. (SB723)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) with support from co-patron Sen. Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Electoral College. Provides that the Commonwealth's electoral votes shall be allocated by congressional district. Receipt by a slate of presidential electors of the highest number of votes in a congressional district constitutes the election of the congressional district elector of that slate. Receipt by a slate of electors of the highest number of votes in a majority of congressional districts constitutes the election of the two at-large electors of that slate. In the event no slate receives the highest number of votes in a majority of districts, receipt by a slate of the highest number of votes statewide shall constitute election of the two at-large electors of that slate. Read the Bill »


01/29/2013: Failed to Pass in Committee


12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13
12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100996D
12/03/2012Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/08/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB723)
01/15/2013Assigned to P&E sub: Campaigns and Elections
01/29/2013Committee substitute printed to Web only 13104389D-S1
01/29/2013Passed by indefinitely in Privileges and Elections (11-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB723S1)


Waldo Jaquith writes:

Republicans in the legislature were ardently opposed to this until President Obama won the 2008 and 2012 elections. Now at least Sen. Carrico appears to feel otherwise.

Mason Wolf writes:

You're going to gerrymander the Presidential electors now? Did you not like Virginia becoming a swing state and getting all that attention by the candidates? Well I guess not, since your guy lost.

Shane Suydam writes:

This would set a terrible precedent.

Tom Lipscomb writes:

I left the Republican Party this year, after 30 years of my support. – The GOP continues to create more reasons to vote for the Democrats ... many Republicans have lost their values and have become too extreme, thanks to the Tea Party’s influence.

Alan Ramsey writes:

Electors should NEVER be obligated by districts. If this bill passes, then the entire Electoral College system will be corrupted, and should be declared fraudulent. More and more, it seems, the election of federal officials would be conducted in a better manner if it were to be done by simple voter majority.
This party has become a national disgrace - not only have they tried to steal it, (and succeeded, by the way, in 2004 and 2008) but they also have tried to buy it this year, unsuccessfully.

Mason Wolf writes:

More generally, Alan, I think the election of officials at any level should be overseen by non-partisan agencies explicitly created for that purpose, and without any political appointments involved. No one who holds elected office should be charged with conducting elections. That's really an artifact of history that grew up organically in this country, but no other democracy suffers such nonsense. It's the sort of thing that dictators do when they don't trust the public to re-elect them legitimately. Why should we tolerate anything as absurd as gerrymandering, or worse, legislature- and registrar-enabled vote suppression?

Some brave lawmaker should go to Richmond on a platform of turning over all responsibility for election-related matters to an independent state agency. This bill is only the latest of a long line of attacks on the integrity of our democracy. The problem isn't Carrico or his terrible bill, it's the system itself.

Stop Talking writes:

Let's stop talking. It's time to fight! If you are with me email me at [email protected].

Editor’s Pick
Mason Wolf writes:

For those just learning about this, let's drill down on what this would mean had it been in place in 2012.

The districts of VA are highly gerrymandered, such that, while Obama carried the state by about 3 points, Democrats won only 3 out of 11 seats. This bill would have taken a 3-point win by Obama and turned it into a 7-elector loss (he'd get 3, Romney would get 10) assuming there wasn't a lot of ticket-splitting. Now it's also true that those 3 electors would be safely Democratic, meaning that even if the Republicans go back to winning the statewide vote again, there'd still be 3 electors for the Democrat coming out of Virginia. But it basically guarantees that no matter what the people of Virginia as a whole may want, so long as the Republicans retain the edge in gerrymandering, they guarantee that Virginia is a net gain for Republican Presidential candidates (and also that the state itself would be almost completely ignored by them in future campaigns).

If every state had this bill in effect, Romney would have won in a landslide. Republicans have done a very good job getting elected to state legislative offices (low information races, it turns out, are highly sensitive to outside spending, in a way that Senate and Presidential races appear not to be), and so they've engineered crazy-looking House districts that are very safe for as many of their incumbents as possible.

Carolyn Caywood writes:

This is just shameful. I would not have believed that any elected official would author such a blatant proposal for election-rigging.

Mason Wolf writes:

It's shameful, yes, but hardly any more blatant than the district map of Virginia is already.

Infidel writes:

The hope of all living in rual areas.One day my vote will be counted.When this passes the cities in Va will no longer dictate to country people how to live.Passage of this bill will be a great victory to democracy, and the republic I live in.What is shameful is that this is not already law.Election rigging is when illegals are alowed to vote as happened in the Nov 2012 election.Illegals have drivers licenses.The DMV does not care if a person is legal or not.Some of the 9/11 terrorist had Va drivers licenses.

Mason Wolf writes:

It'd be a "great victory to democracy" if a minority of the electorate is sufficient to determine the winner? Just because some people in rural areas don't like how the statewide vote goes doesn't mean their votes weren't counted. If anything, rural voters already count far more than people in the cities because the House districts were drawn to minimize the votes of Democratic areas as much as possible.

Change a few words and Infidel sounds an awful lot like someone who would have supported Alabama's voting laws in the 1950's. How else do you ensure that the votes of white people living in predominately black areas "will be counted"? Not having a single registered black voter in many of those majority-black counties certainly seemed to do the trick!

Infidel and Senator Carrico aren't interested in protecting democracy. Democracy is what happens when the people are allowed to choose their leaders. This bill works in the opposite direction, by allowing the state to determine the makeup of its electorate.

For that matter, why stop there? Why not just make a law that says all the electors shall be determined by the state legislature, and by-pass those pesky voters altogether? That's basically what this bill is doing, when you peek behind the curtain.

Jeff writes:

This is a disgrace, plain and simple. Any politician who gets behind this is clearly corrupt, stupid, or both. Corrupt if they are clearly willing to "rig" the results. Stupid if they don't realize that it moves the electoral vote even further from the popular vote.

They have already rigged the districts through carving the state up into a ridiculous patchwork based on voting preferences, not geographic or municipal boundaries. Now they want to use that mess to distribute the electoral votes.

Any politician willing to get behind this should be thrown out at first the opportunity.

ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia is opposed to this legislation.

Howard Poole writes:

this is a direct result of Virginia going for President Obama two elections in a row and should not become law

Sarah Williams writes:

A legislator should be ashamed to be associated with this corrupt bill, either as a sponsor or by voting for it. I hope that the Virginia legislature can find its higher commitment to democracy and to the people of this Commonwealth and reject this bill.

Mason Wolf writes:

This is now officially adopted national GOP strategy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/01/15/the-gops-big-electoral-vote-gambit-explained/

Apparently the GOP's attitude now is, if you can't win by the rules, change the rules.

Pam Lawrence writes:


This should not happen, no matter which party has control!

Mark Potts writes:

Deplorable. This is nothing but a blatant power grab by the GOP. This bill absolutely must not pass.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

There are a couple of other drawbacks to this.

First, the money that the presidential candidates and their surrogates poured into Virginia last November won't happen again. There would be no point. A candidate will fight like hell to get to 50.01% in a winner-take-all scenario. But by breaking up the vote based on congressional district, there's no point. The districts are so gerrymandered that none of them are competitive—there are Democratic districts and Republicans districts, but no swing districts. So presidential candidates wouldn't bother to spend a penny.

Second, will nationalize those rare congressional elections that are competitive. When an electoral vote is at stake, we'll see outside groups pouring money into congressional races that they might not otherwise bother with. It doesn't matter how local that the issues are, it doesn't matter that neither candidate nor the voters have any interest in some outside group inserting themselves into the race, because the presidency will be on the line. It'd be ugly.

Karen Ruud writes:

This bill is shameful and clearly yet another attempt by the GOP to rig the outcome of presidential elections. The 2012 popular vote in Virginia was clearly in President Obama's favor (51.2%) to 47.3% for Romney. The GOP should focus on reshaping their values and messaging as a party to broaden their appeal to voters. Any attempt to change the electoral system along with current bills to limit basic health care coverage for women will simply steer more voters to the Democratic party.

David Drachsler writes:

If only six states, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, had adopted this system (or the Maine/Nebraska system under which the two statewide electoral votes are awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote), before last year's election, Romney would have been elected even though Obama got almost 3.5 million more popular votes nationwide. This could precipitate a crisis of democratic legitimacy.

The only way to avert such a crisis would be adoption of the National Popular Vote legislation (already passed in 8 states and D.C.), in states totaling 270 electoral votes. Then, only the person who wins the popular vote nationwide could ever be elected President.

George Shaheen writes:

Bill Carrico is as good as the rest of the corruption going on. He is toast.

Gloria Miller writes:

As an adopted Virginian who takes pride in our Virginia history and leadership in writing the U. S. Constitution, the Republican Leadership cries foul at not winning an election and tries to "fix" the election for 2016! Hey guys! Find candidates who are not so far to the right that we can support them! If a change is needed, let's elect a president by popular vote. What appalls me is that Virginia's leadership and people will again be put in the light for the wrong reasons.

Mason Wolf writes:

Agreed Gloria, but better to have them in the light than for this thing to sneak by in the shadows. If it actually becomes law, it needs to be in full view of everyone; no sordid detail should be left unexamined. To me, this plus the redistricting fiasco perfectly represents the nature of the GOP in Virginia right now. New Republican motto: "If you can't win by the rules, change the rules."

Sally writes:

I am old enough to believe in honor. Rigging the rules to cheat, with the idea that winning makes cheating okay, is dishonorable. This bill is shameful and an embarrassment to our state.

Did we not get enough of being the joke on tv last year?

Susan Williams writes:

Shame,shame, shame. Our founding fathers are turning over in their graves from shame. Where is the honor of our government leaders? If this bill passes, it will dishonor our entire Commonwealth and set the nasty tone that we are so tired of.

Tim Cotton writes:

this is not democracy, this is a tyrannical rule by one party. I believe the term for what the GOP is doing is called Fascism. One party control is not a republic. This bill must be stopped, I created a petition to send to the General Assembly, please sign it, this is urgent, the GOP has gerrymandered this state enough!


robert legge writes:

This is the kind of thing that spells doom for the Republicans. They are less intent on developing a message that resonates with the voters then they are about rigging the system in their favor. It's an obvious power play. If they had long been for it that would be one thing...they could play the integrity card. But this is a real headshaker. They must also feel pretty down that they feel hopeless about making up the 3 percentage points they lost by last Nov.

Gregg J writes:

More republican cowardice. Romney lost because he was a poor candidate...move on for the sake of god and country.

David Kondner Sr writes:

There are some really stupid comments being submitted on his bill. Apparently the Democrats don't like the thought of letting Virginia electors be representative of the state they represent.

Jay Woodson writes:

Being a lifelong resident of rural Virginia, I do not feel represented at state wide elections. State wide elections are ran by the three counties next to DC, by folks that most likely aren't lifelong Virginians to begin with. As with the last presidential election, the entire state was red with the exception of DC and Richmond. It's time the folks in rural Virginia are heard and take back this state. The only way for that to happen is with the passing of this bill.