Virginia is in the political spotlight, as the Commonwealth and four other states consider changes in how the Electoral College votes are counted in those states, according to Politico. But the plan could come to a crashing halt in Virginia, where high-profile Republican politicians are voicing their opposition to legislation put forth by the Republican-led legislature.
Here's a closer look at the proposed legislation and how it could fare in Virginia.
* According to reports by the Associated Press and Politico, legislatures in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio, along with Virginia, are among the states considering an electoral college change.
* The proposals would all cause those states to count electoral votes by congressional districts rather than by winner-takes-all methodology currently in place.
* Senator Charles W. Carrico Sr., R-Grayson County, proposed the legislation.
* If put into place, a state like Virginia which gave all 13 of its electoral votes to President Barack Obama during the 2008 and 2012 elections would sharply divide its votes, altering the likely outcome of future elections.
* As CNN describes the bill, Virginia's two other electoral votes, one for each U.S. Senate seat, would also be allocated to the candidate who won the most congressional districts.
* The Washington Post reports that the proposal in Virginia may be doomed. Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Sens. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, and Ralph Smith, R-Roanoke, have each voiced their opposition to the bill. With their opposition, it is possible that the bill wouldn't reach the Senate floor.
* The AP noted that the bill survived a Senate subcommittee vote by a vote of 3-3, but two of those who voted for it would vote against it in a committee vote next week.
* A spokesperson for McDonnell, Tucker Martin, was reported by the Washington Post as sending an email stating that McDonnell "believes Virginia's existing system works just fine as it is. He does not believe there is any need for a change."
* Also voicing opposition to the bill is former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former RNC and Republican Governors Association chairman. According to Politico, the governor described himself as a traditionalist and a conservative, in particular on the issue of changing the Electoral College. "I'm skeptical of this, but I'm also a little skeptical that you can't predict with any sort of precision who it will help from one presidential election to the other. I like it the way it is," Barbour said.
* Nebraska and Maine currently use district-based voting for allocating electoral votes. Unlike Virginia's proposal, their additional votes go to the winner of the popular vote.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Germantown, Md.
- Politics & Government
- Electoral College votes