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Electoral-vote scheme still simmering in Pennsylvania

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D)
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D)Associated Press

Remember the Republican scheme to rig the presidential election by changing how key "blue" states allocate electoral votes? When we last checked in on the party's plans a month ago, the effort was unraveling -- GOP leaders in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin had all denounced the plan, and in Virginia, state Republican lawmakers killed it.

But it's not completely dead, at least not yet. Michigan Republicans remain interested, and in Pennsylvania, not only is the scheme still alive, but Democrats are concerned enough to rally activists on the threat.

Democratic National Committee robocalls will begin going out in 10 key Pennsylvania state Senate districts represented by Republicans Monday, asking voters to pressure their senators to oppose a GOP plan to change the way the state awards its electoral votes in presidential elections.

Half of the calls are targeted at senators in metropolitan Philadelphia, including Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R.,Chester), the chief sponsor of the electoral-college bill. It would split Pennsylvania's electoral votes among presidential candidates based on their percentage of the popular vote, with two votes to the statewide winner, instead of the traditional winner-take-all system.

The calls feature a message from former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), telling voters, "The Republican Party is scheming to rig the next election because they can't win on the issues. This plan will diminish Pennsylvania's importance in future elections and its role as a swing state where candidates spend time and money focusing on issues that are important to Pennsylvanians."

The calls follow a push last week from the state party, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D) making a rare public foray into state legislative business, urging state Republican leaders not to pursue this.

For his part, state House Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi -- yes that Dominic Pileggi -- says the electoral scheme is not a priority, but his bill is nevertheless pending with 13 Republican co-sponsors.