-By Gary Heinlein
February 24, 2013- Lansing — Republicans handed Bobby Schostak another two-year term as state chairman Saturday and overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to change Michigan presidential electoral vote rules in a way opponents charge is intended to distort election results in favor of GOP candidates.
By a 1,370-132 margin at the party convention in Lansing, GOP members approved a resolution backing a proposal from Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, to divvy-up 14 of the state's 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the state-wide vote total winner.
That switch from a winner-take-all formula that has been in effect 175 years could water down the dominance Democrats have had in Michigan in presidential elections for the last 24 years.
Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan's 16 electoral votes last year, although he lost by more than 500,00 votes to President Barack Obama state-wide. With the win, Obama captured all 16 Michigan electoral votes.
Lund introduced a bill to make the revision last year but it was unsuccessful. Hesaid he intends to reintroduce it in 2013, but leaders of the Republican majorities in both legislative chambers haven't publicly announced a position on it.
There was ardor for the idea in GOP-controlled legislatures in other states with a similar history in presidential elections — Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — but that appears to have cooled. All states except two, Maine and Nebraska, currently follow the winner-take all formula.
Gov. Rick Snyder, who made an appearance to deliver a speech backing Schostak, remains leery of the proposal. At a brief meeting with the press, he reiterated that it's "not the appropriate time" to discuss it.
"The right way is to talk about it in a bipartisan way … just prior to a census," Snyder said.