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Georgia Republicans warn against Electoral College overhaul

As Capitol Hill Democrats push to overhaul or do away with the Electoral College, some Georgia Republicans are sending a signal that the debate will go nowhere in the Peach State.

The Georgia GOP's 11th District passed a resolution Monday opposing a shift to eliminate the Electoral College and replace it with a system where the popular vote decides the presidency, declaring it "undermines the doctrine of federalism."

Democrats are reviving calls to change the voting system after Donald Trump prevailed over Hillary Clinton despite trailing the Democrat by more than 2.6 million in the popular vote. It was the second time in two decades when a Democrat lost the presidency despite winning the popular vote.

In Georgia, legislation brought by Republican leaders earlier this year stoked the debate.  SB 376 and HB 929, which both failed to get final passage, would have made Georgia’s electoral votes based solely on the outcome of the national popular vote rather than on votes cast in Georgia alone.

Both measures have Republican authors – Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, and Senate President pro tem David Shafer of Duluth. And the No. 2 signature on each bill belongs to the Democratic leader in the House and Senate – Stacey Abrams of Atlanta and Steve Henson of Tucker, respectively.

Both also reflect the agenda of a non-partisan group called National Popular Vote, which for the last 10 years has pushed a strategy for circumventing the vagaries of the Electoral College – without an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

That was before Trump's surprise victory. There's little talk in GOP circles of reviving the debate. And the 11th GOP District's resolution was a preemptive strike of sorts, urging lawmakers to reject any measure that would have a "destructive impact" on the electoral system.

Expect to see more like it from other grassroots Republican groups.

The Wall Street Journal has more on the most talked-about plan in the works:

The plan with the most support to reform the election college at the panel was the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a proposal first developed in 2001 that would give the national popular vote winner the majority of electoral college votes through an agreement between the states.

If enough states representing 270 electoral votes pledge to give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, the U.S. would have a de facto popular vote system without the need for a constitutional amendment.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.