The NAACP is pushing back against Virginia Republicans’ plan to allocate electoral votes by congressional district, warning that it would violate basic principles of fairness.
“You want to make sure in any system put in place in any state that the outcome is reflective of the actual votes cast,” Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy at the NAACP, told TPM. “What we have is a system that’s being proposed and actually moving forward in many ways that does not meet that criteria and that raises concerns for us.”
Under the bill proposed by State Sen. Charles Carrico (R), Mitt Romney would have won nine electoral votes to President Obama’s four in 2012 despite losing the popular vote of the state handily. This is because the congressional map is currently gerrymandered in the Republican Party’s favor, a situation that critics note would dilute the impact of African American voters packed into heavily Democratic urban districts while lending more weight to voters in whiter and less populated areas. A similar dynamic would likely occur in other blue states controlled by Republicans that are currently considering rejiggering their electoral votes. Had Carrico’s proposed changes been applied nationally before the 2012 election, Romney would have been elected president even though he received close to 5 million fewer votes than Obama.
“The way this is structured, racial and ethnic minority groups or any subgroups within the state would find themselves quite frankly more disenfranchised then ever,” Shelton said, adding that the bill would be “moving away from more democratic forms of governance.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.