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Del. Minchew will withdraw controversial Electoral College legislation

Del. Randy Minchew (R) represents Virginia’s 10th House District. Photo/VirginiaGeneralAssembly.gov
State Del. Randy Minchew, a Leesburg Republican, will soon strike his hot-button legislation aimed at changing the way Virginia's Electoral College votes are counted, Minchew told the Times-Mirror this morning.

The delegate's House Bill 1181 proposed switching the way Virginia's 13 electoral votes are counted, eliminating the state's “winner take all” rule. Through Minchew's proposal, two electoral votes would go to the overall winning candidate, while the remaining 11 would be determined by congressional district.

Under that system, President Barack Obama would've garnered less electoral votes in 2012 than Republican nominee Mitt Romney, despite Obama securing nearly 150,000 more votes than Romney.

In an email to the Times-Mirror, Minchew said it's become clear to him that it's “impossible to have an earnest discussion on this Electoral College apportionment question during a presidential election year when highly charged partisans will focus on the 2016 politics of this concept rather than on its substantive elements.”

He said he submitted the legislation for geographical reasons, not political ones.

“I am concerned that population growth patterns in Virginia are showing that before long the Northern Virginia megalopolis combined with the Richmond-to-Tidewater urban areas will be able to determine by themselves the allocation of Virginia’s thirteen electoral college votes under the present 'winner take all' rule,” he said.

Minchew's announcement today came on the heels of a resolution from the Loudoun County Democratic Committee that condemned the proposal.

"If passed, this bill would likely negate a core component of our democratic system – the popular vote – and would further disconnect the Virginia electoral college from Virginia voters,” said Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chairman Marty Martinez in a prepared statement. “Under this measure, our constitutional concept of one person, one vote is diluted and discarded in favor of a fractured approach that benefits only Republicans since Republicans gerrymandered Congressional Districts to ensure their majority in our House of Representatives.”

Minchew responded to that charge by saying “the LCDC might be interested in knowing that I borrowed this idea from bills filled by Democratic members of the General Assembly over the course of the past two decades.”

The third-term delegate pointed out the Maine and Nebraska use the system he proposed.

Minchew said he may introduce the measure again in future sessions, because he doesn't want “to see future presidential candidates bypass areas in the heartland of Virginia” like the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Piedmont, Southside and Southwest.”

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.


Are comments being deleted on here?  I counted 20 total comments (prior to this one) while the article says 23 have been posted.  LTM, can you please explain if the “report” links are being used to filter posts?

“social justice folks” want fairness 4 people
“game the system folks” want gerrymandering++ 4 party

critical reasoning says delegate chewed on a rigged alec scheme & withdrew

“Equity” is what happens when we get social justice folks trying to conduct critical reasoning.  Let’s summarize the current as-is:

1. NoVa represents a minority of the population and thus often loses out on votes in Richmond

2. NoVa sends a much larger share of tax revenue to Richmond than its proportional population.  No additional voting power for those taxes.

3. NoVa receives much less in services from Richmond (roads, school funding, etc.) than it’s proportion of taxes provided to Richmond.  This is, by definition, subsidizing poorer areas of the state such as inner cities and rural areas.

Now, that we’ve given Equity a primer on voting power and economics in Virginia, let’s review his comments.

A. “Heartland can return NoVa $”: this means that he doesn’t want to subsidize poorer communities as in #3 above.  The whole point of NoVa receiving less $ in services is so that poorer communities won’t have to raise their own local funds from their disadvantaged citizens.  The other alternative is he wants only those counties that vote against NoVa’s interests to return their subsidies because he wants NoVa to essentially be the controlling (minority) power in the state.

B. “Limits on campaign financing”: incumbents are always more likely to win without large campaign spending by newcomers.  Incumbents are more likely to tax and spend.  Thus, he favors barriers to political entry that increase the taxes and spending by gov’ts.

C. In response to lower taxes/spending -> “seen that before = purposeful neglect & criminal acts”: Equity likes NoVa sending its tax $$ to poorer areas because he believes in redistribution.  That’s fine as half the country does.  But Equity should be proud that NoVa is getting looted by virtually everyone else in the state.  Don’t threaten pulling our funds back as in (A) above.

D. “meant it’s a choice” for heartland to return $: WTF does that mean.  Equity implied heartland could return $ if they wanted an equal distribution of delegates.  Extorting subsidies from poor for their political representation.  Equity tries to pull his foot out of his mouth because he never really thinks through any of his positions before rattling off nonsense to begin with.

Yes, states differ on electoral representation.  Many are quite transparent in wanting to switch from “winner to take all” to proportional or vice versa solely based on whether it will help their political party.  Rather like Democrats favoring illegal immigration (turned into citizens) despite it hurting the economic prospects of their constituents solely because they think it will generate more Democratic votes in the future.  It makes no sense for a state to switch to proportional unless all states do it.

For the folks pushing the popular vote (for clearly politically selfish reasons), here’s what would happen.  California, NY, Texas and Florida have by far the biggest populations.  Increasing the percent of voters in those states (on your side) would swamp any effects from winning New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia, Nevada, or Arkansas.  Each of those states listed have traditionally been swing states in the recent past.  Those would ALL be forgotten as their effect on the popular vote would be insignificant.  Now, if you can get a constitutional amendment passed, go for it.  But the constitution has rules about how it must be changed.  States entered the union with some protections, not the least was protection of their political representation.  I realize it sounds cool and equitable to say let’s use the popular vote, but it will never happen.  It makes a good talking point to gin up frustration or fool lots of folks though.

Any more “brilliant” ideas Equity?

Note that if we went to an allocation of Electors proportional to the vote for each candidate, we would likely be courted less heavily than we have been as a large “purple” state.  It would benefit us by cutting down on all the phone calls from pollsters and campaigns. But don’t we somehow better off for politicians from both parties courting the Virginia Electoral College votes?  Back in the days when some states gave their Electoral College votes to “Favorite Son” candidates, I think the Favorite Sons would negotiate with the national candidate to see what favors (earmarks?) he (probably they were all male) could wrangle for their states from them.

said “heartland CAN return nova $”
doesn’t mean they will -
meant it’s a choice if they don’t like nova

never said “NoVa should get all its tax $ returned to it but then say the rich areas (NoVa) should be subsidizing the poorer and more rural areas”  - critical misreading again?

states differ on elect. college - crazy
crazier, superdelegates

> people would vote if they thought it counted - popular vote

pierce, regarding your suggestion to “see a bill for an independent commission to draw all the gerrymandered districts in Virginia: State Delegate, State Senator and Congressional Representative,” didn’t the Courts already order the Commonwealth to do a redistricting because of excessive racial based gerrymandering?.

Equity, in your previous post you suggest “heartland return nova $”.

You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t say that NoVa should get all its tax $ returned to it but then say the rich areas (NoVa) should be subsidizing the poorer and more rural areas (those rural areas are poor).

Or I guess you can actually because virtually all of your comments are hypocritical, inconsistent and purely political nonsense.

“reduce both the state taxes and state expenditures to the lowest amounts possible”

seen that before = purposeful neglect & criminal acts

michigan - detroit public schools crumbling,  flint h2o poisoning, still no fixed pipes & dire life consequences for innocents - but surplus?

kansas - 2012 tax cuts benefit wealthy, $1 billion lost, added debt to cut short-term spending?  damaged state finances & schools, hospitals, troopers

Equity, I readily acknowledge there are a lot of different (and valid) perspectives out there.  I don’t like FDK but some really believe in it.  The only thing I object to is outright violations of the law (censorship, perjury, FOIA/COIA violations).

I disagree on the campaign limitations.  Studies show that restrictions on campaign contributions definitely help the incumbents who have more name recognition.  And those in power longer have been shown to vote for more spending.  If one is trying to jack up spending, your plan sounds good, but just be honest about it.

I would like heartland to return our $ as Bob Ohneiser says, but it’s NOT GONNA HAPPEN.  The alternative is to reduce both the state taxes and state expenditures to the lowest amounts possible.  Then, we raise and spend our own local money.  Hornberger and many other politicians won’t admit this helps NoVa because they don’t want to have to be responsible for raising the tax $$.  They want somebody else (Richmond) to take the blame and then allow the local pols to spend it (and get the credit).

We can co-opt the rural regions of Virginia by joining together to lower taxes and spending.  Why not?

“Folks can legitimately argue either perspective.” ok until we disagree w/ u?

independent districting commission
limits on financing, campaigning ($60k, 6 wk max)
heartland can return nova $

most minchew $ comes fr real estate & political sources - vpap

The wealthy jurisdictions in Northern Virginia provide the largest percentage of taxes for services provided across the state, but the majority of members in the General Assembly are elected from outside the Northern Virginia region. Not surprisingly, those politicians have created allocation formulas for state programs that transfer tax revenues generated from Northern Virginia to other regions in Virginia. Since the majority of NoVa disagree with Minchew’s persuasion he want to enlist the help of the republican welfare queens in SW VA to get his President.  Maybe we just get rid of the electoral college nationwide and popular vote across the nation gets the Presidency.

Good try Delegate Minchew, the Electoral College system is antiquated, the Electoral votes should be calculated based on proportional popular vote.  The Yellows get 41% of the vote, then they get 41% of the electoral votes, and like wise the Greens get 59% then they get 59% of the electoral votes.  That system would most assuredly reflect the will of the people. Isn’t that really what it is all about, the people.

So Equity says a politician who (notionally) wants to do the right thing by all Virginians is not welcome in NoVa.  Equity believes that raw power by the controlling majority is what is important in the discussion of the electoral college.

I wonder if Equity has that same opinion when justice for the disadvantaged minority arises in affirmative action, criminal sentencing or income inequality is in play.

You all reveal yourselves on these boards.  So few have any true principles.

sinister suggestion - wish 4 electoral 2 override pop vote?
1824, 1876, 1888, 2000

want 2 represent va heartland? move there

The Electoral College should be based on Congressional District because if prevents candidates from winning by only catering to heavily populated areas and forces them to win over votes in each Congressional District which has it’s own unique demands, wants, and desires.

Dick Black should withdraw his funding for the Waterford Foundation (hundreds of thousands of dollars).  They make plenty of money with their wedding business, Internet business, concerts, renting out buildings,subdividing land, and charging a dubious fee to walk around the town during the fair to buy funnel cakes and other out-of-state items.

I would be OK with a proposal like this. But only if Congressional districts were drawn via an objective algorithm to create geographically homogeneous districts, instead of gerrymandered districts to favor the party that happened to be in power at the time of a decennial census.

Oh Good Lord!  Maybe Randy should try and do something that isn’t partisan.  How about addressing the district boundaries? 

Maybe he can recommend an approach that isn’t fraught with gerrymandering.  This is a problem caused by both sides of the aisle.  William and Mary came up with a fantastic scientific and non-partisan approach, he should look into that.

Folks can legitimately argue either perspective.

A better reform would be to introduce preferential voting.  You can vote for candidates in order: 1, 2, 3.  If your #1 candidate is not in the running, your #2 candidate gets your vote.  Or if your #2 candidate is not viable, your #3 candidate gets your vote.

The key benefit is it allows third-party candidates to run.  You can vote for Ross Perot #1 without “wasting” your vote.  If Perot, is not a top 2 candidate at the end, your fallback of Bush or Clinton would be counted.

It’s the only viable way to allow 3rd party campaigns.  But that’s the reason why the national political parties will fight it tooth and nail.

As if the Republicans carving up Congressional districts to give them unfair advantage isn’t enough? I’d support this if the districts were drawn along county lines, rivers, major highways, or other logical borders.

“...highly charged” and “2016 politics” ... in more words than less, this concept will show up again in a “quiet” year. Stay vigilant! If there is serious concern about the “heartland of Virginia,” then let us see a bill for an independent commission to draw all the gerrymandered districts in Virginia: State Delegate, State Senator and Congressional Representative. Did I miss anyone?

Is there some way we could get our “representatives” to actually work on things that have the most affect on the daily lives of those they represent? I realize that if someone has a real estate development business or they home school their kids that could be a temptation but how about actually trying to improve the posture of Loudoun for the future such as:
1 return Dulles Airport to Virginia so Loudoun can collect its fair share of property tax from the parking lots?
2 Make VDOT meet their minimum standards for maintaining the roads in Loudoun they are responsible for?
3 Reduce or eliminate the composite index putting over $200 Million back into supporting Loudoun Schools from State sales taxes?
4 Reduce the effects of the Dillon rules so Loudoun and LCPS can better control its own destiny?
5 Fix the proffer system so the real effects to the county are paid for by proffers which would reduce our property taxes?
I thought we had serious legislative representation so perhaps they should approach serious topics with their legislative efforts!
Bob O__ Esq.

As the demographics of Virginia change, and the state becomes more diverse, we will surely see many attempts to thwart the impact of those changes by those who see their advantages slipping away.

Trust me, if Delegate Minchew thought the voters of Northern Virginia and Tidewater were going to put more votes in the Republican column, he’d be singing the praises of the Electoral College and how it’s functioned well lo these many years…

So, according to Delegate Minchew, we residents of Virginia (here in the northern part) are not important?  Our votes somehow should be viewed as different from all the other voters in Virginia?  Really?  This is insulting.  Delegate Minchew should be ashamed of himself.

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