A fight is brewing in Pennsylvania as some Republicans indicate that they wish to transform
the way the state allocates its electoral votes for the presidency. The President of the United States is not elected by the national popular vote, but rather by the popular vote in each of the 50 states--if one candidate in Ohio gets 55% of the popular vote in Ohio, that candidate receives Ohio's electoral votes. To win the presidency, one needs to win at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes; these votes are divvied between the states based on congressional representation, plus three for the District of Columbia. The Electoral College is designed to support federalism by forcing candidates to campaign across a broad spectrum among the states and also maintains for us a relatively stable and fraud-free system, especially compared to other nations. Yes, there is occasionally a fluke when the popular vote and the electoral votes do not match up--the 2000 Election an example of this--but these are rare, and not a reason to discount the entire system.
Every state except for two operates on the winner-take-all system mentioned above. Maine and Nebraska use the Congressional District System, which apportions the votes by district rather than the entire state. In these states, elections are held within each congressional district and whoever wins in those districts gets the votes, and the winner of the popular vote in the state receives a bonus two electoral votes. Pennsylvania is considering adopting this method of voting instead. Some people seem to be decrying it as unconstitutional or an attack on the Electoral College; this is plainly wrong. The Constitution allows each state to decide how its electoral votes are split up. Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 states: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors." So, there are no constitutional arguments to be made against this way of divvying up the Electoral Votes.
There are, however, some practical and political concerns with shifting over to the Congressional District System. While it is a bit more democratic and may comfort those seeking to abolish the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote, it may have the adverse consequence of increasing gerrymandering, which is already a huge problem in the country; parties will have further incentive to strengthen districts for themselves in order to ensure electoral success. The fact that the GOP in Pennsylvania is trying to do this purely for partisan reasons rather than concerns of suffrage and whatnot is also disconcerting (and strengthens my concern about gerrymandering), and furthermore foolish as it would very well harm Republican candidates in the future as well as Democrats. It is also worth noting that, based on the various data and articles I've been looking over, if every single state operated on a Congressional District System for their electoral votes, it would not change the outcome of any single election in recent history.
So, while it is perfectly within the constitutional rights of Pennsylvania to apportion its electoral votes in whatever way it sees fit, it is foolish to do so for the perceived political gain of a party, and could have some bad consequences. I have also seen proposed that one divvies the electoral votes up by percentage (if someone wins 55% of Ohio, they get 55% of the Electors, and second place gets their percentage and so-on), but my chief concern with that is that it would give more success to third party candidates which may cause systemic problems by making it more difficult for anyone to receive 270 votes in the college, opening the way for Congress to vote on the matter. The winner-take-all system is not perfect, but it is better than any alternative yet put forth.