Electors for President and Vice President; allocation of electoral votes by congressional district. (SB837)

Introduced By

Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) with support from co-patron Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Electors for President and Vice President; allocation of electoral votes by congressional district. Revises the process by which the Commonwealth's electoral votes are allocated among the slates of presidential electors. The bill provides that a voter will vote for two electors for the Commonwealth at large and one elector for the congressional district in which he is qualified to vote. The candidates for President and Vice President receiving the highest number of votes cast statewide are allocated the two electoral votes for the Commonwealth at large, and the candidates for President and Vice President receiving the highest number of votes cast in each congressional district are allocated the one electoral vote for that congressional district. Currently, the candidates for President and Vice President receiving the highest number of votes cast statewide are allocated the total number of the Commonwealth's electoral votes. Amends § 24.2-202, § 24.2-203, § 24.2-542, § 24.2-542.1, § 24.2-673, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 11/15/2016 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17101217D
  • 11/15/2016 Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
  • 01/12/2017 Impact statement from DPB (SB837)
  • 01/24/2017 Failed to report (defeated) in Privileges and Elections (5-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1425 and HB1601.

Comments

Michael Murphy writes:

This is a hyper partisan bill. The bill attempts to rig the election in favor of the party already in power in the VA house, currently Republicans, who gerrymander the congressional districts to favor their own party. This bill gives extra weight to rural conservative voters, and diminishes the weight of the votes of urban voters. It mirrors the flaw of the Electoral College, whereby the candidate who wins the most votes of American citizens still loses the election. The sponsor of the bill knows, correctly, that a Republican candidate is unlikely to win Virginia electors without a partisan gerrymander scheme.

Carolyn Caywood writes:

I asked an ODU professor about this bill. His response was that it would mean that neither party's candidate would spend any effort on convincing Virginia voters since there would be so little to gain. Our state would lose any influence it would otherwise have.

Jarica Davis writes:

I agree with Mr. Murphy's comment.
This is another outrageous maneuver by one party to rig the elections in their favor.
OPPOSE this bill, and banning library books and publicly-funded charter schools....every time these proposals appear!
The VDOE Board of Education is reviewing a proposal right now about banning books/ censorship!
email them at:
boe@vdoe.virginia.gov

Jarica Davis

Carol Lensch writes:

I oppose the passing of this bill.

Carol Lensch writes:

I oppose this bill.

Tim Cotton writes:

This isn't as bad as you think. It allows for a more accurate view of the state. Right now we have two, maybe three regions controlling the vote and not much need for the rest to vote. Best part is that it can actually allow for an independent or third party to gain electoral votes should they have a strong following in a particular congressional district giving the voters therein the opportunity to cast a vote for who they want.

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

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill. The ACLU has opposed the Electoral College since 1969 because it thwarts the fundamental principle of one person, one vote by awarding each state a number of electoral votes equal to its allocation of representatives plus its two senators. The result is that a voter in a less populated state has much more influence on the presidential election than a voter in a heavily populated state. Combined with the flaws of the census in undercounting members of minority groups and marginalizing voting power, the Electoral College has established disproportionate representation in violation of the one-person, one-vote principle. The ACLU of Virginia supports legislation that would allow Virginia to enter into the compact, the National Popular Vote Act (NPVA) because it would elect a President based on a straight-forward national popular vote in the same way state and local elections are conducted by popular vote by entering into a compact with other states. The NPVA would result in a presidential election more align with the one-person, one-vote principle.

Susana Thomas writes:

I strongly support the passage of this bill.

The popular vote in Virginia overall is addressed with the 2 Commonwealth at large votes.

Our Founding Fathers incorporated the electoral college to help ensure that a minority of locales do not continuously determine Presidential election outcomes.

Since Virginia has many congressional districts, it should follow that the popular vote in each district should be recognized.

Susana Thomas writes:

I strongly support the passage of this bill.

The popular vote in Virginia is addressed with the 2 Commonwealth at large votes.

Our Founding Fathers incorporated the electoral college to help ensure that a minority of locales do not continuously determine Presidential election outcomes.

Since Virginia has many congressional districts, it should follow that the popular vote in each district should be recognized.

Brad Hemp writes:

I oppose this bill. It actually makes the allotment of electoral college votes less representative. It does this in two ways. First, the electoral votes will be determined by the voter composition of congressional districts, which may be manipulated by the party in power at the state legislature. It would thus create a secondary incentive to gerrymander districts: to benefit one party in the House of Representatives AND in the electoral college. Secondly, it would generalize the problem of electoral votes being unrepresentative of the popular vote from the national to the state level. Currently, the winner of the popular vote in the state of Virginia will always win Virginia's electoral votes. Under HB 1425 it could happen that a candidate wins the popular vote in the state of Virginia but does not win a majority of the state's electoral votes due to the structure of congressional districts, similar to what has just happened at the national level. If delegates Cole, Campbell, Fariss, and Orrock sincerely what Virginia's electoral votes to reflect its popular vote, they can just allot those votes by proportion of the popular vote in the state. It would be simpler and less susceptible to abuse.

Brad Hemp writes:

I oppose this bill. It actually makes the allotment of electoral college votes less representative. It does this in two ways. First, the electoral votes will be determined by the voter composition of congressional districts, which may be manipulated by the party in power at the state legislature. It would thus create a secondary incentive to gerrymander districts: to benefit one party in the House of Representatives AND in the electoral college. Secondly, it would generalize the problem of electoral votes being unrepresentative of the popular vote from the national to the state level. Currently, the winner of the popular vote in the state of Virginia will always win Virginia's electoral votes. Under HB 1425 it could happen that a candidate wins the popular vote in the state of Virginia but does not win a majority of the state's electoral votes due to the structure of congressional districts, similar to what has just happened at the national level. If delegates Cole, Campbell, Fariss, and Orrock sincerely what Virginia's electoral votes to reflect its popular vote, they can just allot those votes by proportion of the popular vote in the state. It would be simpler and less susceptible to abuse.

Kelley Marlin writes:

I oppose this bill. It gives undue weight to the voters in rural counties where the population is sparse and takes away the voice of the majority. It could do in Virginia exactly what the electoral college did to the national election, where the candidate who won the majority of votes in the country lost the national election because some states were give more votes in proportion to population than others.

I don't think we need another contentious election cycle and I don't appreciate this type of gerrymandering.

This bill is incredibly dangerous for our state and should not be considered.

Kelley Marlin writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. On its face it is an attempt at gerrymandering and using a law to create a majority where a minority exists. Like Ms. Davis, I oppose this bill as well as any attempt to censor reading lists or ban books. This type of controlling behavior is not what we expect from a democratic government.

Susann Eastridge writes:

I do not support passage of this bill. The severe gerrymandering of our districts, which ensures that a minority party be maintained in power despite the prevalence of other parties, will serve to defeat the purpose of this bill.
I agree with the position that the ACLU-VA has stated regarding this bill. The electoral college does not ensure that less populated states have a say, it ensures that heavily populated states have NO say, thus the majority of the citizens are subjugated to the few. I support the National Popular Vote Act.

Eva King writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. Due to heavy gerrymandering of our districts, the electoral college does not ensure fair representation of voters. I support the National Popular Vote Act.

Eva King writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. Considering how heavily gerrymandered districts in Virginia are, the electoral college votes give undue power to sparsely populated counties over the actual majority of voters. One person, one vote!

Sidney Newton writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. It would take effect before the gerrymandering has been corrected in the state and distort unfairly the outcome of the next Presidential election.

Colleen writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. If you wish to fix the electoral college issue, join the National Popular Vote Compact or allocate votes by the percentage of the population at a state level. By district makes no sense given the population density differences in our Commonwealth.

Valerie Palamountain writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. I agree with the ACLU statement for Virginia to join the National Popular Vote Compact and approve the NVPA.