Apportioning electoral votes via the buddy system.

Virginia Republicans have never been keen on the notion of splitting the state’s electoral votes by congressional district, because that would appear to be simply giving away just under half of our votes to Democrats. Now that Virginia is officially a Democratic state, this is a suggestion that Republicans may want to consider more seriously. But helping to make the switch a little less scary is Randall Lane’s proposal of a buddy system, which would match up Virginia with another state of a similar population size, and we’d both start apportioning electoral votes at the same time. That way Republicans (or Democrats) aren’t giving up half of their votes, because they’ll gain them back from our buddy state.

We’re the only state in the nation with 13 votes, but Massachusetts has 12 and North Carolina has 15, so one of them might do the trick. OK, who’s good friends with North Carolina, and can have a chat with them?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on “Apportioning electoral votes via the buddy system.”

  1. I don’t think that a move from focusing on a handful of swing states and ignoring the rest (even if the set of swing states evolves a bit over time) to focusing on a few dozen swing districts and ignoring the rest is really a step forward. Proportional distribution would be better, if you don’t want to sign on to the National Popular Vote Compact.

  2. NC makes the most sense geographically, as well as the electoral makeup of the state. Lots of rural Republican Appalachian districts, as well as plenty of mid-sized Dem-heavy cities. Presidential candidates (and their surrogates) making campaign stops in one state could easily hop to the next.

    I like it.

  3. Breaking up electoral votes by district is even worse than the system we have now. Remember who draws the districts! Do you trust the “buddy” legislature to be as fair with the districts as you are?

  4. I’ve never bought into the notion that the system is bad, therefore we should operate outside of it. That’s a lot like the line of thinking that’s used against non-partisan redistricting: redistricting will always be partisan, there’s no such thing as non-partisan, so let’s not even try. FWIW, Republicans drew some pretty partisan lines here in 2001, and the majority of our delegation is Democratic.

  5. What’s to be gained by splitting votes by congressional district instead of by state? Why is this better than joining the National Popular Vote Compact and working towards a national popular vote?

    I actually have to agree that splitting national votes by congressional district further entrench dominant powers since congressional districts get redrawn fairly often (rather than state borders, which get redrawn somewhat less frequently). So, why settle on the middle ground which is more easily politically gamed?

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