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Paul Ryan Opposes Changing Wisconsin's Electoral College Votes

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Rep. Paul Ryan wants Wisconsin to remain a winner-take-all state in the presidential election. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Rep. Paul Ryan wants Wisconsin to remain a winner-take-all state in the presidential election. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has come out against altering the way his state allocates its Electoral College votes, even though the proposed change could have meant that he and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 election.

Currently, nearly every state awards its Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who captures a majority of the popular vote across the entire state. Only Maine and Nebraska allocate an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district, with the final two votes going to the person who wins the popular vote statewide.

But Republicans in some swing states now want to be more like Maine and Nebraska.

President Barack Obama won the popular vote in such swing states as Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2012. Yet through heavy-handed redistricting and even gerrymandering, the GOP-controlled legislatures in those states had ensured that most of their congressional districts were strongly Republican. So if the GOP plan to award votes based on congressional districts had been in effect, Obama could have been chosen by the majority of the states' residents but lost the majority of their electoral votes -- and the election -- anyway.

Nevertheless, Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board last week that he believes the Badger State has more power if it maintains a winner-take-all system.

"I've always kind of liked the idea of being targeted as a state," he said. "I'd hate to be a flyover state. I'd like to be in the hunt for being a targeted state. I think it's good for us."

In the 2012 election, Obama beat Romney in Wisconsin by 7 percentage points.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has called changing the way the state apportions its Electoral College votes an "interesting idea," although like Ryan, he expressed concern that it could take away some of the state's influence.

The issue gained traction nationally, when Republicans in the Virginia state Senate recently attempted to push through similar changes. That plan appears dead for now, as both Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and a couple of Republican lawmakers have said they are opposed to it.

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