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Electoral on the way out!


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#1 yano

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 01:31 AM

Looks like Iowa is in the process of removing the electoral college from its state. I wonder how many more states will follow suit?

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/12/1338223

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#2 dc3

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:44 AM

At first glance one would think that this is a no brainer, let's do away with the electoral college and let the people vote in their choice. But there are certain checks and balances that this has worked for over the last two hundred years. Let's look at some of the pros and cons outlined in this article by by William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC National Clearinghouse on Election Administration.

Arguments for the Electoral College
Proponents of the Electoral College system normally defend it on the philosophical grounds that it:

* contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president
* enhances the status of minority interests,
* contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and
* maintains a federal system of government and representation.

Arguments Against the Electoral College
Those who object to the Electoral College system and favor a direct popular election of the president generally do so on four grounds:

* the possibility of electing a minority president
* the risk of so-called "faithless" Electors,
* the possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout, and
* its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.

After watching the last two President Bush elections I have to admit that I too would like to have seen the popular vote count, but after reading this article I now have my doubts that this really would be the answer over all.

Edited by dc3, 13 February 2009 - 03:45 AM.

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#3 jgweed

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:44 AM

A State cannot change the constitution; what Iowa is attempting to do is to modify the way the Electors are "elected." I think their choice is absolutely wrong, as it would be like choosing their Senators based on which party got the most national votes. The Electoral College is indeed a part of the subtle checks and balances envisioned by the writers of the Constitution, and should be preserved, even if their power is only potential and never used.
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#4 ddeerrff

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:16 PM

The Electoral College is indeed a part of the subtle checks and balances envisioned by the writers of the Constitution, and should be preserved, even if their power is only potential and never used.


Absolutely right. The electoral college gives a bit more political power to those areas of the country with lower population densities. This is done for the same reason that we elect House members based on population, but Senate members 2 per state. In fact each State gets one electoral college vote for each House member, and one for each Senator. A straight popular vote for president would mean that the voters of New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles would define the outcome, and the rest of us would have no say. Do you really think that would be a good idea? Not me!
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#5 JohnWho

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:15 PM

I'm not going to search for this right now,

but some years ago a study was made to determine the viability of the Electoral College.

The result was reportedly stated thusly:

"The Electoral College is the worst possible way to elect a President,

except for any way else."


In other words, while it has it's problems, no other method was better according to the study.


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#6 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:30 PM

The problem is not so much with the electoral college, but with party polcies that promote political paralysis rather than effective governance. That is why some folks have been calling for instituting a parliamentary system in our country; that would, at the very least, give third parties a voice in policy and a chance at governance. On the other hand, parliamentary democracies don't always do so well, either, there are other cultural factors at work in addition to those affecting pure political party structure.




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