Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is calling a lawsuit challenging the state’s method for awarding presidential electoral votes as a bad faith “scheme . . . designed to benefit people like Donald Trump if not Donald Trump himself.”
In an interview, Galvin was riled up about a lawsuit filed against him and Governor Charlie Baker Wednesday that challenged the state’s “winner take all” system for allocating its 11 Electoral College votes in presidential elections.
The suit was filed by former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld, who ran in the vice-presidential slot on the Libertarian Party presidential ticket in 2016, and two other plaintiffs. It’s part of a four-state push organized by several law firms and the League of United Latin American Citizens. The coalition also spearheaded lawsuits in California (another blue state), South Carolina, and Texas (both reliably Republican states).
Weld did not respond to a request for comment, and Baker’s team declined to comment.
The suits claim the “winner take all” approach disenfranchises voters who cast ballots for candidates who lose the popular vote. Plaintiffs cite the more than 1 million people who voted in 2016 for President Trump in Massachusetts, which went for Hillary Clinton with 60 percent of the vote.
That the plaintiffs are not advocating to ditch the Electoral College and elect the president by pure popular vote, Galvin said, shows the lawsuits are politically motivated, despite the fact that lawsuits were filed in two red states.
The lawsuits want the court to force Massachusetts and the other states to develop a new way of handing out electoral votes. But they also say they don’t want Electoral College votes doled out by congressional district, as is done in Maine and Nebraska, the only two states that don’t follow a pure “winner take all” method.
The lawsuit “just deepens the lines of division,” Galvin said. “This whole thing is preposterous, but it’s not something to be taken lightly. We are in a very uncertain time.”
The coalition behind the lawsuits says it is nonpartisan, and it includes David Boies, who represented former vice president Al Gore in the contested 2000 presidential election.Victoria McGrane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.