Michigan's Electoral Vote-Splitting Plan Is Still DOA

It's not all bad for Michigan Democrats who fear a rigged election.

Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 26, 2013.

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A few days ago, I talked down the chances of state Republican parties altering the electoral college allocations for their states. According to Jonathan Oosting, Michigan Rep. Pete Lund is making fools of the doubters and crafting a new electoral vote-splitting measure. On Monday, his new splitter bill will receive a full committee hearing, and according to Ari Atler, spokesman for the Michigan House Republicans, the party will see where the bill goes.

I asked Lund's office for an interview, and was told that he was unable to talk today, but per Oosting, Lund's new measure would play out thusly.

— Nine of Michigan's 16 electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the state's popular vote. 

— The winner would obtain additional electoral votes depending on his margin over the second-place finisher—not in the overall vote, but in the head-to-head. If a future Ross Perot got 20 percent of the vote, and Joe Kennedy III beat George P. Bush in a 40-39-21 Michigan squeaker, the electoral math would match Kennedy's votes against Bush's. For every 1.5 percentage points over 50 percent, the winner gets an electoral vote.

— The remaining EVs go to the loser.

Under this Calvinball theory of vote allocation, Barack Obama would have won 12 of Michigan's 16 electoral votes. That's less skewed than the previous, failed 2013 attempt—also led by Lund—to assign electoral votes based on the state's Republican-friendly congressional district gerrymander. Under that plan, Mitt Romney would have lost Michigan and taken nine of its 16 electoral votes. That was an impossible sale, and Gov. Rick Snyder had previously opposed any such reform until the next census, which will occur after his coming (second) term ends.

Guess what? Snyder opposes the new bill, too, as the outgrowth of a "theory that has some merit" but is not worth acting on so hastily. And that means the bill is effectively dead. It takes a two-thirds majority of Michigan's legislature to overturn a Snyder veto. After this election, Republicans hold a 27-11 supermajority of state Senate seats, but only 63 of 110 House seats. They're 10 votes short of what they need to over-rule Snyder. 

One more problem: Lund won't be there for the larger majority. He gave up his seat this year. In two years, the electoral vote-splitting movement has given up on the plan that would have slanted the map to Republicans, dreamed up a more confusing and less-slanted alternative, and come no closer to actually getting it through. Still, they have Monday to look forward to.

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