BOSTON (CN) - Former governor and Libertarian vice presidential candidate William Weld is asking the federal court to toss a Massachusetts law awarding all 11 of the state’s presidential electors to the candidate who wins the popular vote.
“(U)nder the [Winner Take All] system, millions of Massachusetts citizens have been and will continue to be denied their constitutional right to an equal vote in the presidential election,” the Feb. 21 complaint claims.
In 2016 Hillary Clinton won 60 percent of the vote in Massachusetts, but received all of the state’s electoral votes, essentially nullifying every resident’s vote against her, the complaint argues.
It continues, “The predominant method in America for counting votes in presidential elections violates the United States Constitution. It also distorts presidential campaigns, facilitates targeted outside interference in our elections, and ensures that a substantial number of citizen voters are disenfranchised when their votes are tallied in early November, only to be discarded when it really counts in mid-December.”
Weld served as Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997. In 2016, he switched his affiliation from Republican to Libertarian and ran on the party’s presidential ticket alongside Gary Johnson. Weld currently works for lobby firm ML Strategies.
The suit, which was filed by James Gotz of Hausfeld LLP and a collection of out-of-state law firms, also names Weld’s fellow ML Strategies employee RJ Lyman and Massachusetts resident Robert Capodilupo as plaintiffs.
Weld is suing Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker and Secretary of the Commonwealth William Frances Galvin.
Although five of the last six Massachusetts governors have been Republicans, Democrats consistently win the state at the federal level. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican candidate to win Massachusetts’ electoral votes in 1984.
During the last eight presidential elections, 9.6 million votes went to Republicans, Libertarians or other non-Democrats, all of which were negated when the state’s electoral votes went to the Democratic candidate.
The 21-page complaint further argues that Winner Take All rules, which exist in 48 of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, give the candidates incentive to focus on battleground states, diminishing the influence of places like Massachusetts or Texas where one party tends to dominate.
This makes elections easier to manipulate by focusing on just a small subset of voters from swing states.
“In close elections, WTA makes it much easier and much more likely for a very small number of voters in a few predictable battleground states to determine the final electoral result than would be the case with a system of proportional selection of Electors. This increased vulnerability gives the Court added reason to ensure that the current system satisfies the requirements of the Constitution,” said the complaint.
A spokesperson from Governor Baker’s office did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
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