Splitting The Buckeye Baby

If you thought Ohio’s GOP Secretary Of State Voter Suppression Jon Husted was done for after Tuesday, the crew at Plunderbund has the goods on his next move at this week’s Impact Ohio conference.

Defending his performance managing Ohio’s election, Husted argued that because of the high stakes involved with being an electoral vote-rich swing state, Ohio’s elections chief is always scrutinized and criticized. (Funny, we don’t remember that happening in 2008, but that’s beside the point).

Husted’s solution to this perceived problem of Democrats and the national media picking on him? He says we should make Ohio less important in the election by dividing up our electoral votes by Congressional district.

This is huge and should raise giant red flags. Under the current winner-take-all system, Obama won all 18 of Ohio’s electoral votes. Under Husted’s plan, 12 of those 18 electoral votes would be handed to Mitt Romney, the popular vote loser.

Yep, it’s the return of the split electoral vote.  Already reality in Nebraska and Maine, for states with GOP leadership that came up big for Obama on Tuesday, splitting the electoral vote among congressional district lines where Republicans have been able to gerrymander Democrats into just a few urban districts would of course give them the lion’s share of the electoral votes no matter what happens with the popular vote state totals.  Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida are prime targets for this right now.  Husted figures a guaranteed 12 EVs for the GOP is better than zero when it comes to Ohio in 2016.

The plan stinks to high heaven and back, and it’s clear Husted isn’t giving up his quest to turn Ohio red no matter what the people say.

What, you thought the war was over on Wednesday morning or something in Ohio?  It’s just getting started.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Has Husted done anything that can be prosecuted, civilly or criminally?

    if so, go for it, and make him an example of what happens when you try to disenfranchise the citizens of your state.

    And then go after Rick Scott in Florida.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    Got to go out now, but MSNBC has heavy hitter panel, Chuck Todd with WaPost’s Chris Cillizza and Jonathan Martin from Politico. Maybe David Gregory is in the loo.

    The sightless informing the not blind. Gag.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    Didn’t the judge yell at Husted? In the craziness around the election/post-election I thought I saw that. Not sure he’s going to get away with everything. He’s pissed off a lot of people.

  4. 4
    ding dong says:

    Bring it on Husted. We do that everywhere and the Dems still win.

  5. 5
    John PM says:

    Husted is up for reelection in 2014, right? It is time to find a high quality Democrat to run against him. I nominate Kay after the amazing job she did this year on the blog.

  6. 6

    I’m sorry why isn’t Husted in jail for felony voter disenfranchisement?

  7. 7

    @John PM:

    Husted is up for reelection in 2014, right?

    These 2014 midterms are going to be so huge. If only a fraction of the Dems’ 2012 groundgame can be activated I think we can kick these assholes to the curb for good.

  8. 8
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Giving out the electors based on the congressional districts is a bad idea, since it increases the changes for gerrymandering. I say just get rid of the electors altogether. The Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 elections.

  9. 9
    SatanicPanic says:

    This is a great plan, and should definitely be applied in Texas, Arizona and North Carolina.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    @Southern Beale: Agreed. We need to start NOW to keep the OFA organization together. I hope President Obama gets somewhat involved this time with a “I need to you to help me by electing Democrats so we can pass the legislation you want passed.” That kind of thing. I’m not sure that would work–just thinking out loud. I think it might motivate people who don’t usually vote in midterms, though.

  11. 11
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I’m sorry why isn’t Husted in jail for felony voter disenfranchisement?

    My question exactly. He was very near being in contempt of court on several occasions as I recall.

  12. 12
    maya says:

    I can think of one 2014 slogan already:

    Husted. Busted!

  13. 13
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Husted basically wants to turn the Electoral College into a mirror of the House? Allowing politicians to gerrymander the EC vote would be disastrous.

    Fuck that.

  14. 14
    jwb says:

    @Southern Beale: Seriously, we should be setting up Act Blue thermometers now to start raising funds for 2014. And we should be working for winning back the House and as many state legislatures as possible. With the precedent of Texas redistricting mid-census last cycle, we could take back those state governments and set to re-establishing a better allocation of the House districts.

  15. 15
    the Conster says:


    To his credit, JMart talked about his emails yesterday from Gooper operatives about how to solve their base problem for the primaries, and there was general agreement about how far off the rails the party had run. They all even mentioned the problem of the conservative bubble, which surprised me a bit, and the phrase elections have consequences was used. No ideas were forthcoming about how to fix the base problem, since the only way to fix it is for the conservative media to stop lying to the rubes they’re fleecing.

  16. 16
    Scott S. says:

    There’s some lady who’s going to go to prison for changing two ballots to favor Republicans. If she’s going up the river, I see absolutely no reason why Husted should avoid prison time.

  17. 17
    PsiFighter37 says:

    What a fucking moron. Ohio Dems – job #1 and 1a in 2014 is kicking out Kasich and Husted. They may end up making that wonder combo of Bob Taft and Ken Blackwell look good.

  18. 18
    Nina says:

    There’s a movement on to do something similar in other states. I recall Maryland passed a law to hand out electors by congressional district, but the law will not go into effect until a majority of states do likewise. I seem to recall other states doing something similar.

  19. 19
    Robin G. says:

    @Jerzy Russian: No kidding. Aren’t there contempt of court issues? Like, a lot of them?

  20. 20
    Zifnab25 says:

    @ding dong: What? No they don’t. Republicans have a lead in Congress. Map the national EV votes to the House seat wins and Romney would sweep the election.

    It is kinda absurd, really, because this is like the opposite of the popular vote. I doubt independent voters will be very keen on an even more convoluted system.

  21. 21
    fuddmain says:

    I suspect Gov. Scott is going down in flames come 2014. I think people, particularly minorities, will stay pissed about the voter purges and long ass lines.

    Here’s an article in the Orlando Sentinel:

    Gov. Rick Scott: He’s a blockhead on ballots

    How many times has a major state newspaper called the governor a blockhead?

  22. 22
    Nina says:

    I’m misremembering.


    Maryland has a law in effect that they’ll give their votes to the winner of the national popular vote, but only after enough other states also pass this law.

  23. 23

    For all those asking why he’s not in jail, it’s because he goes to the judge Tuesday. THEN he’ll be thrown in jail. He squeaked out an ‘I’ll deal with you later’ the first time he ignored the judge. This last minute ass-hattery… I admit I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure the law allows the judge to sentence him, and I’m pretty sure he’s crossed lines you do not cross.

    I have a strong hope the judge will imprison him, and his example will make a lot of other cowardly state executives look to their own skins. The position is too low and the benefit too indirect for ‘I’LL get away with it!’ thinking to come into play much.

  24. 24
    RoonieRoo says:

    I’m hoping that OfA learned something from not making the big push in 2010 and will be out in force for 2014. 2014 is going to be massively important. I’m exhausted from this past cycle but I’m more afraid of the OfA engine not working at peak for the midterms.

    I think Scott and Husted are counting on the exhaustion and that they will get away with all of their crap and win big in 2014 while the Dems and OfA sleeps the ’12 push off.

  25. 25
    Splitting Image says:

    As others have mentioned, this is a terrible idea unless the state adopts a system that would end gerrymandering once and for all.

    But of course, that would defeat the purpose here.

    I could see it backfiring on the GOP though. The Democrats’ problem in 2010 and looking ahead to 2014 is keeping voters focused on the midterms. Forcing voters to pay more attention to their district and less to the overall vote in the state could help the Democrats enormously. Doing well in the midterms is the Republicans’ only weapon right now and they might nullify that advantage by forcing the Democrats to push for Congressional districts instead of focusing on the White House.

  26. 26
    Soylent Green is FReepers says:

    We think of Obama’s role in governance leadership, but there’s a fantastic opportunity for Axelrod and Messina to devote themselves now to party leadership, especially, taking their big data operation out and creating a generation of local campaigners who have access to the data and know how to put it to use. We won the presidency, it’s time to focus, just as Republicans did in the 80’s and 90’s to brilliant effect, on local races and state legislatures. The next really important year for us isn’t 2016, it’s 2020, and the contest is for being in control of the redistricting process when that happens.

    I see this election as being a vindication or a continuation of Harvey Milk’s testament:

    I ask for the movement to continue. Because it’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power… it’s about the “us’s” out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s. Without hope, the us’s give up

    This wasn’t about the candidate Barack Obama or the candidate Mitt Romney, this was about a convergence, a moment in time when the marginalized “us’s” had the numbers to be a decisive force, combined with a candidates who, in their histories and in their identities, totemistically represented that struggle between the existing seat of power and the rising tide.

    And this was a good thing for the country from any ideological perspective because any group who takes their power for granted endangers both democracy and the country they lead. If you want proof of that, look at Romney’s campaign. This was the man whose single consistent message was that he could bring superior management skills to bear in Washington… and his campaign completely belied that claim. The Romney organization failed to exploit analytical technology to more effectively target and more efficiently broadcast their message; they failed to properly develop, test, or train on the technology they did use; they failed – they tragically failed – to accept data that challenged their worldview (one could argue that this was hardly surprising, given that both their domestic and foreign policies are based on the premise that they will have the intended outcomes because shut up, that’s why). The Obama organization, not the Romney campaign, employed superior management practices, and we were all rewarded for it.

    We are capable in this country of repeating at a state level and at a local level what happened at a national level on Tuesday night. We can do it because we are not bound any longer in the margins of our past. We can do it because we have embraced already the tools of tomorrow. And we can do it because we have been filled with the full realization of those truths today.

  27. 27
    Schlemizel says:

    They want to do this now because they gerrymandered the CDs completely after ’10. The Dems would have retaken the House this year had the old districts remained.

    This is actually a rich front for the GOP. They can play the “we hate the EC” feelings into a way to slant the table in their favor again. It is their big hope for ’16 since the suppression crap didn’t work.

  28. 28
    Comrade Mary says:

    @RoonieRoo: I have seen claims here from people involved in OFA that they DID make a big push in 2010, but they didn’t get the media attention the tea party got.

    Anyone here involved who can confirm?

    Anyway, I really, really doubt OFA will be hitting the snooze button any time soon. It’s like a game of whack a mole here, only with more sociopaths.

  29. 29
    RoonieRoo says:

    @Comrade Mary: That’s actually pretty interesting information. It also scares me just a tad. I guess I just don’t remember seeing the push back on the GOP lies at all during the 2010 cycle and assumed that OfA, DNC and DCCC had been asleep at the wheel.

  30. 30
    FredW says:

    In theory, I have no problem with EVs by CD (with the statewide winner getting the two bonus EVs) but with a couple of caveats.

    First, in every state the CDs must be drawn by a non-politcal process. And like the National Popular Vote compact, it needs to be done in more than swing states. When Texas goes for it, then we can talk.

  31. 31
    ericblair says:


    This is a great plan, and should definitely be applied in Texas, Arizona and North Carolina.

    Oh, yes, it will be, when these states threaten to go blue for good and Republican state governments see the writing on the wall. However, at that stage, it will be somewhat pointless since the electoral college will be out of the goopers’ reach.

    I believe other states have floated the idea, but the main nonpartisan argument against it is that it seriously diminishes the state’s power in the electoral college. Instead of fighting over the state’s total EV count, the parties will be only fighting over maybe one or two EVs at most, especially if the districts are gerrymandered to hell. It gives the national party as a whole a structural advantage, but takes the state off the map during the election.

  32. 32
    FredW says:

    In theory, I have no problem with EVs by CD (with the statewide winner getting the two bonus EVs) but with a couple of caveats.

    First, in every state the CDs must be drawn by a non-politcal process. And like the National Popular Vote compact, it needs to be done in more than swing states. When Texas goes for it, then we can talk.

  33. 33
    Original Lee says:

    If they really have problems with winner-take-all as being unrepresentative, then the EVs should be split proportionately based on PV totals.

    Yeah, right.

  34. 34
    r€nato says:

    sadly, he/Ohio can do this if they like. It smells, it’s highly partisan, but it’s not illegal.

    The real answer is to get rid of the Electoral College and just elect our president by popular vote.

    When elections can’t hang on whether a state’s entire EV goes one way or the other, electoral shenanigans like in FL and OH don’t matter anywhere near as much.

  35. 35
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Scott S.:

    Her problem was thinking too small. Why flaunt the law when you can change it outright and effect ALL ballots instead of two?

    When your crimes get past a certain scale, they become nigh-impossible to prosecute.

  36. 36
    r€nato says:

    @FredW: Arizona instituted an ‘independent commission’ to do redistricting, and the GOP litigated the hell out of it. It survived, just barely.

    If electoral votes were distributed based on this commission’s work as well, there would be even more litigation.

    Nice idea, but in practice it’s going to be yet more trouble. Much easier just to get rid of the Electoral College.

  37. 37
    Neutron Flux says:

    @Violet: Jim Messina tells me in an e-mail, that this is exactly what will happen soon.

  38. 38
    ant says:

    If we get rid of the electoral college in favor of a national popular vote, that means that republicans will be rat fucking the election in all kinds of states that are irrelevant now.

    What kind of turnout do you think we’ll see in Alabama in such a scenario?

  39. 39
    Sharl says:

    I didn’t see it linked here (may have overlooked it in my hasty perusal), but Husted has other nasty things in the works. From Andrew Cohen over at The Atlantic’s website:

    On the day after Election Day, just hours after Mitt Romney had conceded the presidential race to President Obama, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted sent his public lawyers into a federal courtroom in Columbus to try to disenfranchise his fellow citizens whose provisional ballots were not properly completed by poll workers. Here is the transcript for the extraordinary hearing held Wedneday by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley. It’s worth a read to get a sense both of the judge’s dismay at Ohio’s position and Ohio’s utter lack of a reasonable defense for Husted’s voter-suppression efforts.

    Read that whole thing, especially the exchange between judge Algenon Marbley (what a cool name) and Husted’s staff lawyer, Arnold Epstein. Basically, Husted is trying – again – to weasel out of a court-ordered action.

  40. 40
    Patricia Kayden says:

    President Obama won Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, so why can’t the Dems in those states vote out the politicos in their states who want to split the electoral votes?

    VOTE THE REPUBS OUT. Husted and Gov Scott should be targets 1 and 2 for Dems after how they mishandled the election.

  41. 41
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @r€nato: Actually, what is wrong with the Electoral College? Why should Dems want to get rid of something that has worked in their favor in the last 2 elections?

  42. 42
    kindness says:

    Second Amendment solutions?

  43. 43
    Steve says:

    They floated this in Pennsylvania after the 2010 elections. It got shot down in a hurry. Why would one of the most sought-after swing states have any interest in making itself irrelevant? Even many Republicans in PA understood how stone-cold stupid that would be.

  44. 44

    @Comrade Mary: I do remember getting a lot of emails from OfA (under the off-year name “Organizing for America”) during the 2010 cycle. But they seemed out of touch, asking for money without providing a strong sense of what they were doing with it. I also remember a lot of articles about disaffected liberals just getting annoyed by the continued pleas and tuning them out. Maybe the big-data push they did for 2012 will help with that.

    It’s also possible that the better economic situation will help them, if it continues. Another thing that I think is currently being underrated: on January 1, 2014, the majority of the provisions of Obamacare come into effect. Unless they’re hopelessly bungled somehow, Obama will actually be able to point to that as a gigantic achievement that is directly affecting people’s lives, instead of a meaningless abstraction or an amorphous boogeyman.

  45. 45
    NCSteve says:

    If ever there was an example of why the Supreme Court is critical, this would be it. A judge who actually lived in this century (or even the last one) would find the notion of using gerrymandered districts to effectively disenfranchise a state’s voters presented a facial violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

    But I absolutely guarantee you that “Originalists” Nino and Alito and Thomas would be just fine with a system that caused the popular vote to become irrelevant to electoral votes because, after all, the Founders never intended for the hoi polloi to elect the president anyway. Yes, let us go back to the original intent and make the electoral college work the way it did until the radical, unconstitutional innovations of 1800.

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m sorry why isn’t Husted in jail for felony voter disenfranchisement?

    @Southern Beale: Because he failed.

    That being said, I think it’s time for the DOJ to haul him in and start asking a LOT of questions. Keep him busy.

  47. 47
    SatanicPanic says:

    @ericblair: The citizens of Ohio, who are probably sick to death of campaign ads may just go for it. In the end, we just need to have a national policy on both electoral college vote allocations and voting. There is no rational reason for the states to get to decide this stuff.

  48. 48

    The National Popular Vote compact (unlike these split-EV proposals) is an interesting idea, but it can’t possibly function unless election systems get reformed first. A disputed popular-vote count would be a nightmare far exceeding anything we saw in 2000, because every single vote in the country would count.

    But that’s not really an argument that the Electoral College is a good idea, so much as an argument that vote-counting is criminally screwed up. It shouldn’t be the case that we can’t count a national popular vote.

  49. 49
    Town says:

    It’s not Obama’s job or OFA’s job to organize for you.

    Organize for YOURSELF.

    If you think Husted or anyone else’s plan is scary, ORGANIZE YOURSELVES and work to defeat him. Depending on Obama or Kerry or Gore or whoever to do the work for you is what got us in this mess to begin with.

  50. 50
    Bob says:

    This may be the “next thing” they’re going to try – it was a topic trial-ballooned on the OutFront monstrosity on CNN but Roland shot it down pretty well. If the popular vote had been closer, there may have been more of an excuse. Still, any blue or purple state controlled by Republicans (Ohio, Michigan, Florida, etc) can ram it through their legislature if they have the will to sacrifice their electoral influence for the good of their party. After all, if their guy wins the presidency, suitable payoffs can be arranged.

  51. 51

    @Town: It’s a good point. This kind of thing ought to be defeatable without Obama’s organization at the head. Still, national coordination of some sort is always helpful.

  52. 52
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    State houses absolutely have to be the priority now, because that’s where the bulk of the chicanery will come from over the next few cycles.

    I desperately want to flip the Texas Lege so that we can establish a non-partisan commission that’s in charge of redistricting and enshrine it in a way that will be difficult to impossible to challenge.

    There should be no such thing as a safe House seat.

  53. 53
    Irony Abounds says:

    Splitting the EC by congressional district would be a disaster for Democrats. Nationwide Democratic candidates for the House received more votes than Republican candidates, yet Republicans took around 235 seats, all due to horrific gerrymandering in various states in which Republicans controlled the state legislatures. Morever, given that Republicans generally win more states (lots of the little ones), they have the advantage on that side of things as well. Romney would have cruised to an easy victory despite losing by around 3M votes. It would be the end of the Democratic Party if that approach was adopted.

  54. 54
    kindness says:

    Honestly I hope Republicans do the dirty work for us. When they see the current Electoral College favors Democrats for the next 2 or 3 (or more) cycles it is my hope that it is they that put forth the Constitutional Amendment to make the POTUS vote a popular vote position and eliminate the Electoral College.

    I say this because I realize that if Democrats proposed and pushed this thought it would immediately be rejected by Republicans. Let’s let them make the push and then surprise them by agreeing.

  55. 55
    ThresherK says:

    @Nina: National Popular Vote?

    I say this with all due respect: Screw it. It’s just another bipartisan idea that’s good enough for Democrats to give something away with. But if it’s so incredible, why don’t we let the GOP do it first?

    Every time I hear about the NPV my instinct is:

    Where’s Texas?

    Where’s the solid south?

    Where’s all those thinly populated, overrepresented states between the West Coast and the Mississippi?

  56. 56

    1. “The lion’s share” is not most, or a large majority of something. The lion’s share is ALL. See Aesop’s Fables.
    2. Going into this election there was a Democratic base which voted Democratic in each of the past 5 presidential elections of 18 states with 247 electoral votes. Three other states, New Mexico, Iowa, and New Hampshire, each voted once for Bush but Democratic in the other four elections. Their 15 electoral votes were easily won by President Obama on Tuesday. In addition, the President carried Nevada with 56% in 2008 and 53% this year. The growing Hispanic presence there renders it very unlikely that it will vote Republican for President in 2016 or 2020. If so, that will put the Democratic nominee in 2016 at 268 electoral votes.

    So I’ll take any split we can get in Ohio. It just about guarantees the election of a Democrat in 2016, and frees resources for Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and wherever the base needs shoring up (did you notice that Obama only carried Connecxticut by three points?)

  57. 57
    Town says:

    I think the Electoral College is fine as it is. The only time it was a problem was in 2000 when a corrupt FLA sec’y of state (headed by Bush’s brother) and corrupt SCOTUS handed the presidency to Bush. Obama won the popular vote and the EC vote both times.

  58. 58
    Don says:

    They floated this in Pennsylvania after the 2010 elections. It got shot down in a hurry. Why would one of the most sought-after swing states have any interest in making itself irrelevant? Even many Republicans in PA understood how stone-cold stupid that would be.

    @Steve: Exactly. This is never going to happen. The national political machine may want this to happen, but way too many business interests profit from a state being on the tipping point. Media in that state raked in bucks, as did printers and suppliers of temporary workers. Property gets rented, food gets eaten by folks who would otherwise have NO reason to visit the state.

    Not to mention that it’s a big winner if you can tip it the other way. I guess if a party were to try to really pursue a strategy of abandoning big cities for rural areas they could want this deal but that wouldn’t be a working path for long even with split EVs.

  59. 59
    bcinaz says:

    I think Husted is missing the career boat, wasting his life in politics. He needs to be doing something that requires determination measured on the Richter scale, like the first manned mission to Mars or establishing a human colony in the Abyssal Trench.

    At the very least he should be heading the RNC where everyone can admire his determination in DAYLIGHT.

  60. 60

    @Ron Thompson:

    Correcting my post at #56, I got some bad information about Connecticut and passed it on without checking it. In fact, Obama won Connecticut by 15 points. Not central to my comment, but sorry for the error.

  61. 61
    Triassic Sands says:

    The real question is When will the voters of Ohio stop electing Republicans to be their Secretaries of State? Kenneth Blackwell (Crook and Thug, R). Jon Husted (Crook and Thug, R). This is getting really old.

    Would you hire an opioid addict to be a pharmacist? So why put people who don’t believe in free and fair elections in charge of running elections?

    It’s time the people of Ohio started taking responsibility for the threat their votes pose to the rest of the country.

  62. 62
    Hob says:

    @ThresherK: “But if [NPV is] so incredible, why don’t we let the GOP do it first?”

    There’s no “first”. The NPV compact only goes into effect if enough states have ratified it to provide at least 270 electoral votes. That means the popular vote winner is guaranteed to carry the EC, so there’s no way other states that didn’t ratify NPV can sabotage the process.

  63. 63
    suthrnboy says:

    Romney still would’ve lost the election handily. They will never, ever get it…

  64. 64
    IanY77 says:

    Dems lose: “How do we do better?”
    Republicans lose: “How do we rig the game so that we can do the exact same thing and win?”

  65. 65
    Joe Miller says:

    @Ron Thompson: CT went for Obama by 18 points.

  66. 66
    grandpa john says:

    @jwb: Or we could go back to Dean’s 50 states strategy which if I recall correctly gave us control of Congress in 2006, then got shit canned because the top party leadership was afraid of Dean taking some of their power and fame , since power and fame is more important to governance that winning elections.

  67. 67
    grandpa john says:

    @Sharl: Of course if You or I had thumbed our noses at a judges ruling Like he has, Our asses would already be behind bars for contempt. there is still two sets of laws in effect in this country. one for us peons and one for the elected and selected upper class.

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