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Letters: Rigging the vote?

January 29, 2013
  • President Obama, seen here on Jan. 21 at his second inauguration, would have received fewer Virginia electoral votes than Mitt Romney under a GOP proposal.
President Obama, seen here on Jan. 21 at his second inauguration, would… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

Re "GOP faces hurdles in changing voting laws," Jan. 27

Republican lawmakers in several swing states want to replace their winner-take-all system of allocating presidential electoral votes with a "proportional" system. Their proposals, however, are not for truly proportional allocation but for winner-take-all divvying by congressional district.

As The Times notes, under this system, Mitt Romney would have received nine of Virginia's 13 electors. President Obama, who won 51.2% of the statewide vote, would have had barely 30% of the electors. This does not meet any standard of proportionality.

Even the makeup of the House of Representatives, which is determined by congressional districts, is not proportional. Although Democrats won the most House votes in 2012, Republicans retained their majority.

Proportional representation is used by many of the world's democracies. It produces allocations of political power that reflect how people actually vote. By contrast, the Republicans are proposing a house of mirrors to distort the vote for partisan advantage.

Matthew S. Shugart

Ramona, Calif.

To be fair, the Republicans' plan to switch from winner-take-all to proportional allocation should be done in all states, not just in swing states. That way, voters in blue districts within red states, and red districts within blue states, would not be wasting their votes.

This would be more likely to pass than a constitutional amendment abolishing the electoral college, as the small states would never support reducing their outsized influence.

Jim Mentzer

Los Angeles

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