The last time the electoral college received much attention was in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote for president while being denied victory over George W. Bush because of a second-place finish in electoral votes. Reformers hoped that discrepancy would be the impetus for approval of a constitutional amendment establishing what many Americans believed already existed: a nationwide popular vote for president. But the moment passed.
Now a legislator in Pennsylvania is proposing a change in that state's election law that would bring the presidential vote there closer to the one-person, one-vote principle that is at the heart of a popular vote. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is proposing that Pennsylvania's electoral votes no longer be awarded on a statewide, winner-take-all basis. Instead, they would be divided proportionally depending on who won in each of the state's congressional districts, making them more reflective of the popular vote in the state. The remaining two votes would go to the statewide winner.
Opposition to this plan has come largely from Democrats, who worry that district-by-district apportionment of electoral votes in Pennsylvania would favor a Republican nominee. That is hardly a principled objection. But other critics object to a situation in which Pennsylvania would opt out of the system used by virtually every other state. (Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, apportion electoral votes partly by congressional district.)