HARRISBURG -- Several Democratic state legislators and advocates Wednesday asked Gov. Tom Corbett to oppose any effort to change how Pennsylvania awards its 20 electoral votes during presidential contests.
The changes would unfairly favor Republicans and would rob Pennsylvania of its influence every four years, Democrats contend.
The issue may be moot, however, as the controversial proposals don't appear to be advancing legislatively in the state House or Senate, at least for now.
"This [issue] is not on our radar screen for consideration at all," said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, the sponsor of the senate bill.
Pennsylvania, like most states, uses a winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Proposed Senate legislation would allocate electoral votes proportionately based on the percentage of the statewide vote earned by each candidate. Two of Pennsylvania's 20 electors would be chosen on a statewide, at-large basis. The remaining 18 electors would then be chosen based on the percentage of the statewide vote earned by each candidate.
For example, President Barack Obama won 52.08 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania in November. Under this system, he would have received 12 of Pennsylvania's 20 electors (the two statewide electors plus 10 of the 18 remaining electors).
The bill was referred to the state government committee in February.
Another bill, in the House, would reallocate electors based on Congressional districts. Under this system; Republican Mitt Romney would have carried 13 of the commonwealth's 20 electoral votes. Similarly, this legislation was referred to committee in January.
Only two states, Maine and Nebraska, split their electors and do not follow a winner-take-all system.
Proposals to split electors have been put forth but have not advanced legislatively in Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan, noted Randy Borntrager, political director of People for the American Way, speaking at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday.
"They're not doing it in Texas," he said, noting such measures were only being proposed in states carried by Mr. Obama but with significant Republican representation in state government. "They're not doing it in the red states."
Changing the system also would diminish Pennsylvania's importance in campaigns, others said.
"The day that this bill passes is the last day we see a presidential candidate come to the state," said Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery.
Kate Giammarise: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-717-787-4254 or Twitter @KateGiammarise.