Republicans Seek to Change County Elections and Electoral College Vote Distribution

Republicans Seek to Change County Elections and Electoral College Vote Distributiongallowaycollens1

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 17, 2014)

Five Republican State Representatives from Oakland County have introduced legislation that would change the election date of the County Executive from Presidential Election Years to Midterm Election Years.

HB 5953 was introduced Nov. 12 by Klint Klesto of District 39, covering Wixom, Commerce Township, and West Bloomfield. It was co-sponsored by Hugh Crawford (District 38, covering South Lyon, Lyon Township, Walled Lake and Novi), Mike McCready (District 40, covering West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham), Gail Hines (District 43, covering Independence Township, Clarkston and royal_servicesLake Angelus) and Eileen Kowall (District 44, covering Highland Township, White Lake Township, Springfield Township, Milford Township and part of Waterford Township.

The bill would bring Oakland County Executive elections in line with Executive elections in Macomb and Wayne Counties. As introduced it would mean that whoever runs for the position would need to run in 2016 for a two-year term. Then whoever runs in 2018 would be back on the four year schedule.

Democrats have spoken out against the move, noting that turnout for Democrats is higher in Presidential election years. “This latest power grab is one in a long pattern of Republicans’ willingness to use their legislative power to overrule the will of the people,” said County Commissioner Dave Woodward to the Oakland Press.

Bill Mullan, Communications Officer for Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the administration does not have an opinion on the bill. “It makes no difference to Mr. Patterson what the Michigan legislature HowesLocationdetermines the election cycle for county executive should be. County Executive Patterson will continue to deliver an effective, well-managed, and transparent county government no matter when the next election is. One that has a balanced three-year budget, AAA bond rating, job growth in the knowledge-based economy, and a great quality of life for all residents,” Mullan said.

A similar bill, HB 5941 was introduced by Republican Tom McMillin to change county-level elections in counties with over 100,000 residents, requiring “a county clerk, a county treasurer, a register of deeds, a seed_raylon_leaks_may_ Dec14prosecuting attorney, a sheriff, a drain commissioner, and a surveyor shall not be elected at the 2016 general November election but shall be elected at the 2018 general November election and every fourth year after that,” thus removing them from the Presidential Election dates.

HB 5974, introduced by Republican Pete Lund that would reallocate Electoral College votes. Currently Michigan has a “winner-take-all” system, but Lund’s plan which was heard today in the House Elections and Ethics Committee, would divide up the votes making Michigan only the third state to do so. According to The Detroit Free Press, “Under Lund’s proposal, the candidate winning the popular vote in Michigan would get at least nine electoral college votes — half the votes, plus one extra — in addition to one electoral vote for every 1.5 percentage points above 50% of the popular vote that candidate wins. Any Electoral College votes left over would go to the second-place finisher.” For example, in 2012 President Barack Obama got 55% of the votes in Michigan and got all 16 Electoral College votes for the state. Under HB 5974 Republican challenger Mitt Romney would have gotten four of the Electoral College Votes, leaving Obama with 12.


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