But as Mr. Husted indicated, if votes are allocated by district, states like Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania would essentially become irrelevant for presidential campaigns. In Pennsylvania, the candidates would essentially be competing for the two at-large votes and any congressional districts not made solidly red or blue during the 2010 redistricting process.
“Our districts are hyper-gerrymandered — do you want to tie your electoral votes to that debacle?” said Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown. “A place like Ohio and Virginia — if you went to this plan, they’re out of the equation. You are, in essence, coming out with preordained outcomes.”
Josh Shapiro, a Democratic former state representative from the Philadelphia suburbs who is now chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, called the idea a blatantly political move.
“When they can’t win on issues and ideas, they try to change the rules to give themselves a fighting chance,” he said of the GOP. “It would be a better use of time for Republicans to focus on moderating their policies as opposed to trying to change the rules.”
But Mr. Pileggi has said the issue is one of basic fairness, and that the goal is to more closely conform the state’s Electoral College delegation to the will of the voters. He has indicated to colleagues that he plans to introduce a slightly different bill this year that would give two Electoral College votes to the statewide popular vote winner, then award the remaining ones proportionally. That would have resulted in Mr. Obama winning 12 electoral votes to Mr. Romney’s eight this year. Mr. Obama’s five-point margin of victory instead gave him all 20 of the state’s votes.
“This advantage of this system is clear: It much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state,” Mr. Pileggi wrote to his Senate colleagues.