View Poll Results: do away with the electoral college?

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  • yes

    29 46.77%
  • no

    29 46.77%
  • other

    4 6.45%
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Thread: the electoral college

  1. #91
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    Big State Realities

    The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States and a candidate would win the Presidency if 100% of the voters in these 11 states voted for one candidate. However, if anyone is concerned about the this theoretical possibility, it should be pointed out that, under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in these same 11 states -- that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

    Of course, the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely act in concert on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states, the highest levels of popular support were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas (62% Republican),
    * New York (59% Democratic),
    * Georgia (58% Republican),
    * North Carolina (56% Republican),
    * Illinois (55% Democratic),
    * California (55% Democratic), and
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic).

    In addition, the margins generated by the nation's largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas -- 1,691,267 Republican
    * New York -- 1,192,436 Democratic
    * Georgia -- 544,634 Republican
    * North Carolina -- 426,778 Republican
    * Illinois -- 513,342 Democratic
    * California -- 1,023,560 Democratic
    * New Jersey -- 211,826 Democratic

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 -- larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004.

  2. #92
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    Congressional District Method is Worse

    The congressional district method of awarding electoral votes (currently used in Maine and Nebraska) would not help make every vote matter. In NC, for example, there are only 4 of the 13 congressional districts that would be close enough to get any attention from presidential candidates. A smaller fraction of the country's population lives in competitive congressional districts (about 12%) than in the current battleground states (about 30%) that now get overwhelming attention , while two-thirds of the states are ignored Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

  3. #93
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    Current System Magnifies Incentive for Fraud

    The potential for political fraud and mischief is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.

    Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party's precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore's margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 statewide recounts was a mere 274 votes.

  4. #94
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    National Pool of Votes REDUCES the likelihood of Recounts

    A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

    Under the current winner-take-all system, there are 51 separate opportunities for recounts in every presidential election. Thus, our nation's 55 presidential elections have really been 2,084 separate state-level elections. There have been five seriously disputed counts in the nation' 56 presidential elections. The current system has repeatedly created artificial crises in which the vote has been extremely close in particular states, while not close on a nationwide basis. Note that five seriously disputed counts out of 2,084 is closely in line with the historically observed probability of 1 in 332.

    A national popular vote would reduce the probability of a recount from five instances in 56 presidential elections to one instance in 332 elections (that is, once in 1,328 years). In fact, the reduction would be even greater because a close result is less likely to occur as the size of the jurisdiction increases. Indeed, only two of the 23 recounts among the 7,645 statewide elections in the 26-year period from 1980 through 2006 were in big states.

    The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical recount (averaging only 274 votes), no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

    A single national pool of votes is the way to drastically reduce the likelihood of recounts and eliminate the artificial crises produced by the current system.

  5. #95
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    Re: the electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by mvymvy View Post
    The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states....
    Looking forward to the citation for all of this.

  6. #96
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    Official Count of the Popular Vote

    Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site at U. S. Electoral College 2004 Election
    U. S. Electoral College 2008 Election

  7. #97
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    Re: the electoral college

    The UK Parliment is much better. They limit new subjects to one minute. they're all adressed to the PM who gets up and responds right there and then, also in one minute. No dragged out voting, just yea and nay.

    ricksfolly

  8. #98
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    Re: Big State Realities

    A question for the people with the "federalism" argument:

    If the electoral college is really about federalism, why is it weighted by population at all? Why not simply have 50 votes, one from each state?

  9. #99
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    Re: the electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by ricksfolly View Post
    The UK Parliment is much better. They limit new subjects to one minute. they're all adressed to the PM who gets up and responds right there and then, also in one minute. No dragged out voting, just yea and nay.
    That's because the PM is beholden to Parialment.
    Here, there's a seperation of powers, where the head of state is elected by the states, and Congress is elected by the people, and neither is beholden to the other.

  10. #100
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    Re: the electoral college

    Quote Originally Posted by mvymvy View Post
    A "republican" form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President).
    No, a republican form of government means that politicians do not inherit their office. What you're talking about is a representative form of government.

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