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Virginia Should Be For Lovers, Not Election Riggers

January 24, 2013 2:04 pm ET
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Virginia's GOP state senators took advantage of the absence of a single lawmaker, a civil rights lawyer, for the Inauguration to push through a bill to manipulate the state's voter district lines. Now, along with several other state legislatures, they're trying to rig the electoral college. Go on offense to expose their actions and motive.

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CORE MESSAGE

If they can't count on your vote, they don't want you to count.

Connect: This is America. It should be voters choosing their leaders in our democracy.

Define: But in Virginia, Republican politicians are trying to pick and choose their voters -- and they're targeting the voters who disagree with them.

Illustrate: On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, they pushed through a proposal to undermine the voting rights that King worked to secure for all Americans.

Explain: They waited until a state lawmaker, a civil rights leader, was away attending the Inauguration so they could pass their bill to keep the voters they can't count on from voting where it counts.

Connect the dots: They're trying to push through new laws that manipulate the voter district lines and the electoral college -- so they can make the voters they CAN count on count for more than other Americans.

Warn: Virginia's Republican lawmakers didn't like losing the election so they're trying to rig the next one.That may keep their political opponents from winning today, but they could be on the losing side tomorrow.

Values: In the world's leading democracy, voting is the one thing that should bring us all together and the one time when we all have the same say as Americans. Let's keep it that way.


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES

CLAIM: "The Virginia GOP lawmakers' redistricting plan is constitutional under their state constitution."
RESPONSE:

  • Their redistricting scheme manipulates Virginia's voter district lines just so Republican politicians can choose the voters who can vote for them. It should be voters choosing leaders.
  • Electoral districts are supposed to be adjusted after each Census. The Virginia Constitution clearly states that redistricting should be done "in the year 2011 and every ten years thereafter" and the Virginia courts reaffirmed that the state legislature can't redo the redistricting. It's 2013.
  • Virginia's Republican lawmakers didn't like losing the election so they're trying to rig the next one. That may keep their political opponents from winning today, but they could be on the losing side tomorrow.

CLAIM: "The Virginia GOP lawmakers' electoral college reforms will make the presidential election fairer and more competitive in the state."
RESPONSE:

  • This plan is about Virginia's Republican lawmakers who didn't like losing the last presidential election trying to rig the next one. If these politicians can't count on your vote, they'd rather have your vote count for less.
  • If their plan had been in place in 2012, President Obama wouldn't have won the state -- he would've gotten only 4 out of the state's 13 electoral votes despite winning the popular vote statewide. That's the very picture of making presidential elections less fair and less competitive.
  • No wonder independent experts warn that the plan "gives more advantage to Republicans than any other plan short of simply going back to the days of legislatures appointing electors" -- two hundred years ago.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The Virginia redistricting bill could put Republican lawmakers in position to win 27 seats in the state Senate at the next election, which would give them a veto-proof supermajority in the chamber in contrast to the current 20-20 tie.
  • The redistricting bill could also displace almost 3 million Virginia residents into new districts.
  • Due to many Republican state legislatures controlling the redistricting process, Republicans in Congress currently hold a 33-seat majority in the House, even though Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts in 2012. 
  • In fact, the Republican State Leadership Committee has openly bragged about how they used gerrymandering of voter districts to lock down GOP majorities in the House.
  • Another elections bill that Virginia's Republican legislators are trying to push through would alter the electoral college so that the winner of the statewide popular vote would no longer get all the state's electoral votes, as is the case everywhere else except for two states. Analysis shows that the proposal would favor the GOP presidential candidate.
  • In fact, if the Republican legislators' electoral college scheme had been in place in 2012, President Obama wouldn't have won the state -- he would've gotten only 4 out of the state's 13 electoral votes despite winning the popular vote.
  • These proposals pending in the Virginia statehouse are part of a national trend. As the Associated Press reported, "After back-to-back presidential losses, Republicans in key states want to change the rules to make it easier for them to win."
  • Making it harder for Americans to even cast a ballot isn't new to Republican politicians, either. Since President Obama was elected, many Republican-governed states have enacted new laws and restrictions that deliberately make it harder for people to register and vote, such as purges of voters off the voter registration rolls and photo ID laws.

 We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Voting Rights - 2012 Elections - Judiciary

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