Mass. Representative Files Bill to Alter Electoral College Voting Procedure

On Monday, December 19, members of the Electoral College are expected to select Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. But since his victory in November, there has been a push to somehow give that win to Hillary Clinton.

“She will not have enough electors to win,” said Paul Yorkis, one of eleven electors in Massachusetts.

Yorkis has always intended to vote for Clinton, but that hasn’t quelled concerns from people who are still opposed to a Trump presidency.

Across the country, the 538 electors in the college have received emails, letters and phone calls from voters who are hoping to convince members to prevent Trump from taking office. While only one Republican elector in Texas has indicated he won’t vote Trump, the effort to stop the president-elect has only grown in recent weeks.

“I think that folks are nervous, still surprised, still maybe a little shocked from the election results last month. They’re confused, angry and looking for solutions,” explained state elector, Jason Palitsch.

Because Clinton won the popular vote, many have called for an end to the Electoral College.

But Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, said there is another route for Massachusetts. Within the last couple weeks, Dooley filed a bill proposing the state adopt a model similar to Maine. Under the plan, the state’s nine congressional districts would each receive one elector who is required to vote for the district’s chosen candidate. There would also be two at-large electors who would follow the popular vote.

“We are taken for granted by the Democratic Party and we are written off by the Republican Party,” Dooley explained, “If all of a sudden one or two districts are in play, both the Democrats and the Republicans would be coming, talking to Massachusetts voters.”

Similar proposals have failed at the legislature in the past, but Dooley hopes the increased attention on the issue leads to further consideration.

Massachusetts electors will cast their votes at the State House on Monday at 3:00 p.m.

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  • Written by William Rigdon

ELECTORAL COLLEGE PLAN WOULD ENTICE CANDIDATES TO VISIT MASS., REP SAYS

By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 12, 2016…..Rep. Shawn Dooley wants Massachusetts to play hard to get, at least when it comes to presidential politics.

The Norfolk Republican last week filed a bill to change the way the Bay State metes out its Electoral College votes for presidential candidates to allow the 11 votes be split by congressional district, similar to how Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes.

Under his proposal (HD 5192), one presidential elector would be chosen from each of the state’s nine congressional districts and two would be chosen as “at-large” electors. The at-large electors would be bound to cast ballots for the presidential candidate that wins the state popular vote, but the congressional electors would cast their ballots for whichever candidate won their district.

The switch would create swing counties, Dooley said, and would give candidates more of an incentive to campaign in Massachusetts and fight for the votes of residents outside the populous Greater Boston area, rather than focusing on the metropolitan areas to run up the popular vote count and take all 11 votes.

“I believe it will make Massachusetts more in play because instead of being a slam dunk for the Democrats, it allows for more of a possibility, especially in some of the western Mass. districts for other candidates to win,” Dooley, who served as Norfolk town clerk before being elected to the Legislature in 2014, said. “What it’ll do is help make sure that whichever presidential candidate is running will come out to different areas if there is a possibility they could win.”

Maine distributes its electoral votes in a similar fashion, and Dooley cited the attention President-elect Donald Trump paid that state during the campaign as a reason Massachusetts should consider the switch.

Thinking he would need to win one congressional district in Maine — and therefore one electoral vote — to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold, Trump spent significantly more time in Maine than other presidential candidates have in recent election cycles.

“I went to Maine four times. I went to Maine [second congressional district] for one, because everybody was saying you can get to 269 but there is no path to 270,” Trump told the New York Times last month. “But there is no path to 270, you have to get the one in Maine, so we kept going back to Maine and we did get the one in Maine. We kept going to Maine [second congressional district], and we went to a lot of states that you wouldn’t spend a lot of time in.”

Not since Ronald Reagan 1984 has a Republican presidential candidate captured a single electoral vote from Massachusetts. Next Monday, the state’s 11 electors will gather at the State House to officially award their votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won Massachusetts with 60 percent of the vote.

With a reputation as a reliably blue state, Massachusetts is “somewhat taken for granted on the national stage right now,” Dooley said.

Neither Trump nor Clinton held a public general election campaign rally in Massachusetts during the general election, though both candidates stopped by for private fundraisers with donors. But if a Republican candidate had a chance of winning at least one electoral vote from Massachusetts, Dooley said, both candidates would have to take the state more seriously.

“Hopefully we would have more of a voice and more participation. The more candidates we get here and the more people get to experience that and get to notice them, then they can really understand them,” he said. “It makes Massachusetts more part of the process.”

Four other House members — Republicans Brad Jones, Paul Frost and Joseph McKenna, and Democrat Chris Walsh — co-sponsored Dooley’s bill when he filed it last week.

Though he has no illusions of his bill becoming law, Dooley said he wanted to file the proposal while the country is paying attention to the Electoral College. Though Trump won the Electoral College and presidency, about 2.5 million more voters cast ballots for Clinton across the nation.

While others have suggested getting rid of the Electoral College system and relying solely on the national popular vote to pick the president, Dooley said his proposal “is something we, as the Legislature, have within our ability to do … as opposed to some pie-in-the-sky, throw the baby out with the bath water and go with the popular vote.”

“Do I anticipate the Legislature enacting this before the end of the session? No. But I thought it was a good time to file it given the conversation going on and how passionate both sides were,” he said. “I wanted to bring it up now when people are really talking about it, and have a true open and honest discussion about things we can actually change to make Massachusetts a stronger player in presidential politics.”

-END-
12/12/2016

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Timilty: Foxboro train plan off track

 

Timilty, D-Walpole, said he believes the MBTA fiscal management control board and Department of Transportation directors dropped a planned presentation on the subject a week before their joint meeting because they knew he and others were going to raise a fuss.

“Many of us were going to go there” to object, he said, adding that planners “didn’t have their ducks in a row.”

A spokesmen for the MBTA said specific items are not placed on the agenda until a few days before the meeting.

However, Foxboro officials had been told earlier that the project would be taken up at the meeting Monday.

The two state boards were supposed to receive a presentation on a pilot program for providing daily commuter rail service from Boston to Gillette Stadium in cooperation with the Kraft Group.

There is already rail service for Patriots games at the stadium, but the new program would be for daily commuters.

The pilot program needs the approval both boards.

Fierce opposition to the plan from Walpole residents and officials has surfaced with the support of Timilty and state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk.

They question the need for service to Foxboro when there are nearby stations in Mansfield, Norfolk and Sharon.

Also, the lawmakers complain that service on existing routes is abysmal.

Timilty said he cannot support rail expansion of any kind until the MBTA fixes its current problems, solves its financial woes and brings facilities up to the handicapped-access requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

He said the MBTA is scaling back proposed expansion of Green Line street car service because of costs, yet wants to extend service to Foxboro.

“The T has been poorly run for generations,” he said.

Dooley also criticized the current state of the MBTA, and said the Foxboro project only benefits Bob Kraft, the owner of Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots and Patriot Place.

“The only person who wins on this is Kraft.  But meanwhile, all the people who are trying to get to work on time or home in the evening so they can pick their child up at day care without penalty are being screwed,” he said.

“We have a huge budget deficit and needed to cut $98 million dollars from people who really needed help last week — but the money for the silly ‘Kraft Express’ keeps flowing out.”

If approved by the two boards, the pilot program would last about 11 months and be used to determine if there is enough interest from riders to make it a permanent route.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment.

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Electoral college plan could entice candidates to visit Massachusetts

 

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Shawn Dooley wants Massachusetts to play hard to get, at least when it comes to presidential politics.

The Norfolk Republican last week filed a bill to change the way the Bay State metes out its Electoral College votes for presidential candidates to allow the 11 votes be split by congressional district, similar to how Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes.

Under his proposal ( HD 5192), one presidential elector would be chosen from each of the state’s nine congressional districts and two would be chosen as “at-large” electors. The at-large electors would be bound to cast ballots for the presidential candidate that wins the state popular vote, but the congressional electors would cast their ballots for whichever candidate won their district.

“I believe it will make Massachusetts more in play because instead of being a slam dunk for the Democrats, it allows for more of a possibility, especially in some of the western Mass. districts for other candidates to win,” Dooley, who served as Norfolk town clerk before being elected to the Legislature in 2014, said. “What it’ll do is help make sure that whichever presidential candidate is running will come out to different areas if there is a possibility they could win.”

Maine distributes its electoral votes in a similar fashion, and Dooley cited the attention President-elect Donald Trump paid that state during the campaign as a reason Massachusetts should consider the switch.

Thinking he would need to win one congressional district in Maine — and therefore one electoral vote — to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold, Trump spent significantly more time in Maine than other presidential candidates have in recent election cycles.

“I went to Maine four times. I went to Maine [second congressional district] for one, because everybody was saying you can get to 269 but there is no path to 270,” Trump told the New York Times last month. “But there is no path to 270, you have to get the one in Maine, so we kept going back to Maine and we did get the one in Maine. We kept going to Maine [second congressional district], and we went to a lot of states that you wouldn’t spend a lot of time in.”

Not since Ronald Reagan 1984 has a Republican presidential candidate captured a single electoral vote from Massachusetts. Next Monday, the state’s 11 electors will gather at the State House to officially award their votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won Massachusetts with 60 percent of the vote.

With a reputation as a reliably blue state, Massachusetts is “somewhat taken for granted on the national stage right now,” Dooley said.

Neither Trump nor Clinton held a public general election campaign rally in Massachusetts during the general election, though both candidates stopped by for private fundraisers with donors. But if a Republican candidate had a chance of winning at least one electoral vote from Massachusetts, Dooley said, both candidates would have to take the state more seriously.

“Hopefully we would have more of a voice and more participation. The more candidates we get here and the more people get to experience that and get to notice them, then they can really understand them,” he said. “It makes Massachusetts more part of the process.”

Four other House members — Republicans Brad Jones, Paul Frost and Joseph McKenna, and Democrat Chris Walsh — co-sponsored Dooley’s bill when he filed it last week.

Though he has no illusions of his bill becoming law, Dooley said he wanted to file the proposal while the country is paying attention to the Electoral College. Though Trump won the Electoral College and presidency, about 2.5 million more voters cast ballots for Clinton across the nation.

While others have suggested getting rid of the Electoral College system and relying solely on the national popular vote to pick the president, Dooley said his proposal “is something we, as the Legislature, have within our ability to do … as opposed to some pie-in-the-sky, throw the baby out with the bath water and go with the popular vote.”

“Do I anticipate the Legislature enacting this before the end of the session? No. But I thought it was a good time to file it given the conversation going on and how passionate both sides were,” he said. “I wanted to bring it up now when people are really talking about it, and have a true open and honest discussion about things we can actually change to make Massachusetts a stronger player in presidential politics.”

 

Read the original article by Colin A. Young here.

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  • Written by William Rigdon