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What do you think of Electoral College?


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#1 altair05

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 04:05 AM

Personally, I believe that a "national popular vote" would be best where the U.S. citizens can vote for who they want to be president rather then vote for "Electors" who then vote for them. I've seen that there has been some controversy about this specifically during 1876,1880, and currently 2000 with President Bush who was elected "wrongly" as some like to put it. Based on some research I did, the 2000 election popular vote goes to Al Gore beating Bush by nearly 550,000 individual votes. However, electoral college gives Bush 271 votes. I don't think this is right.

I think that candidates start lobbying larger states with large number of "electoral voters" because smaller states with less population have less "electoral voters". In the end, shouldn't we get to vote and not have someone vote for us.

I also understand that there may be voter fraud, but honestly, I think with large oversight we can get rid of this problem.

I'm eager to hear your views on this.

P.S. "MODS should really put in a poll system, it would really help, and if I'm being an idiot and there happens to be a poll system, please do tell me."

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#2 Animal

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:12 PM

Our apologies the poll system was disabled for some reason. I have re enabled it for this forum. However I will watch for abuse of the feature in the coming months. You should be able to edit your topic to add a poll. If you are unable to do so create a new post with a poll of your liking and I will make that topic visible and delete this one.

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#3 Tiger54

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 04:05 PM

Thank God for the electoral college! Sure there have been times when someone or other wanted to eliminate it. But there are very few times over the course of our history when the electoral college did not agree with the overall popular vote. Certainly not enough times to warrant getting rid of it.

The electoral college is a vital part of our Federal system, intended to prevent the more populous states from overwhelming the small states. If there was no electoral college, presidential candidates would campaign only in the large population centers and the states with the largest populations. Forget about "flyover country". But boy, would the people in California, Texas, New York, etc. be well courted.

No, the electoral college is just what we need to make sure that the States are fairly represented in the presidential elections. It creates a Federal, not Democratic, Presidency. Removing it would do to the presidency exactly what the 17th Amendment did to the congress.

The PEOPLES election is for the House of Representatives and it is a shame that the electorate doesn't give that the attention it deserves every two years.
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#4 altair05

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:04 PM

I see. However, I do disagree with a little of what you said.

When you said that electoral college prevents states with a larger population from overwhelming smaller populated states, the concept can also be applied to electoral college. States with larger population centers receive more electoral votes then their smaller adversaries in the first place, so how does this differ from popular vote.

I do agree with you that our legislative branch receives very little attention, but that could be because there are so many candidates in just one state, unlike the presidency which eventually comes down to just 2 people, excluding the smaller parties.

#5 Tiger54

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:57 PM

The difference between the Electoral College and the popular vote is the way the number of electors is determined. Each state has the same number of electors as the total representation in BOTH houses of Congress (the number of Representatives plus 2 because each state always has two senators. The least number of electors any state can have is three. For purposes of the Electoral College, the District of Columbia is given three electors even though it has no senator of representatives in the house.

After every decennial census, the number of representatives of the states is re-apportioned, always maintaining a total of 435 representatives. As a result, the number of representatives changes for some states and, therefore their number of electors. Also, the number of people (not voters) that each elector represents is not the same for all states. The number of people that are represented by an elector from California is far greater than an elector from Wyoming.

I don't quite understand your comment about the legislative branch. My concern is that voter turnout is generally much smaller for off year (non presidential) elections. That doesn't make sense to me because Congress makes the laws that are executed by the President. They, especially the House of Representatives, should be challenged by serious voters every two years. As far as so many candidates, you have exactly two choices for a maximum of six legislative positions (A presidential candidate every four years, a U.S. Senator every six years, a U.S. Congressman every two years, a Governor usually every four years, a State Senator whose terms vary, and a State legislator every two years). I'm assuming here that third party candidates are not an issue so that shouldn't be too difficult for any voter to handle. Oh, I know that there are also candidates for country and local offices but these are people you should know well so that should not be a problem.

Now, getting back to the Electoral College, it is true that Gore received the larger popular vote but Bush received the larger electoral vote. However, the controversy over that election was not about the one-half of one percent difference in the national popular voet. Rather, it was about the recount of the votes in only a few jurisdictions in the state of Florida. Those 27 electoral votes would have given the election to Gore. After all the dust had settled (I don't want to start a discussion about this), it was decided that Bush had won the popular vote in Florida and their electoral votes were given to him.

I recommend you read The Electoral College. This is a 20 page PDF that provides an excellent discussion of it's origins, history, anomalous occurrences, and detailed arguments both for it and against it. It was written before the 2000 election but, in the conclusion, the author suggests that the Electoral College ensured that G. W. Bush had SUFFICIENT popular support (47.9%) and that his popular support was SUFFICIENTLY distributed (check the electoral map) to enable him to govern effectively. He did a good enough job to get re-elected in 2004.

Anyway, check out the PDF and then let me know what you think.
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#6 altair05

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 03:42 AM

Interesting, I didn't think I was looking at electoral college so wrong. Could be so kind as to reupload the PDF file, I keep getting a "Doesn't exist error"

#7 JohnWho

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 09:45 AM

I read once that the Electoral College method for electing a President

is the worst possible method - except for anything else!


Sorry I can't recall what study it came from, but essentially they found that every method has some problems.


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#8 elmongo2

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 01:46 PM

We should get rid of it. I want MY vote to count. I don't "need" someone else to vote for President for me.
People do dumb things. And I'm not talking about paying too much for car insurance either.

#9 thrillhouse

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 02:34 PM

I feel it is a necessary evil but that assumes that the congress votes with their constituents' best interests in mind which I don't think they do. My main problem with voting without the electoral college is that it will lead to majority rule. America is a constitutional republic where everyone is represented; we can't have 51% of the people leading 49% by the nose. Minorities wouldn't have a voice without it.

But how much does it really matter when the gop and dems are so similar. Instead of seeking reform through the electoral system we need to end corruption in our elected officials. There is no incentive for congressmen to vote with the people if they are getting paid on both sides of the vote. Watch the movie "The Distinguished Gentleman" with Eddie Murphy if you don't know what I am talking about: www.imdb.com/title/tt0104114

/soap box rant

#10 Tiger54

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:01 PM

Here's the full url: http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf . If clicking on it doesn't work, just type it into your browser. I found it by browsing for "Electoral College" in Internet Explorer.

IMHO, it wouldn't hurt if all of you read it and thrillhouse, you've pretty much got it. A means of ending corruption and the effect of influence in Congress would be a term limits amendment but that is a subject for another thread.
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#11 altair05

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 01:53 PM

I'm still a little confused despite reading that PDF, which was interesting by the way.

In electoral college, electors are distributed by the population of each state. For example, I'm from NJ. NJ receives 15 votes, were as CA receives 55. There may be more minorities in NJ then CA, how does this system distinguish between that. It seems that CA gets more votes because they are larger with no regard for which party they favor. If CA has less democrats then republicans, then the democrats in that state won't be represented based on the Winner take all system. How is that fair over the popular vote system?

I also agree with a number of people above me who has stated that their is to much corruption in the Senate and House and both sides need shorter terms and term limits, and BOTH the Presidency, Senate, and House need a much smaller pay check. They are there to represent us, (I'm taking about domestic laws, not stuff like foreign policy etc).

Looking forward to your answers

#12 JohnWho

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:21 PM

(quote Tiger45) A means of ending corruption and the effect of influence in Congress would be a term limits amendment but that is a subject for another thread.(end quote)


Gets my :thumbup2: even in this thread.

That, and a "line item veto" would change politics as we know it, and for the better IMHO.


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#13 mvyvmy

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:13 PM

The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. It is obscene that two years before the 2012 election one less state, now only a mere 14 states, are agreed by the pundits and political operatives to matter . This will be worse than the already outrageous facts that in 2008,, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states (with less than 7 electoral college votes) were not among them. Nor were big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

Voter turnout in the "battleground" states has been 67%, while turnout in the "spectator" states was 61%.

Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in 4 of the nation's 56 (1 in 14) presidential elections. Near misses are now frequently common. 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of 3,500,000 votes.

#14 mvyvmy

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:15 PM

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

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). The United States has a "republican" form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as has been the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popular Vote bill).

The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, along district lines (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ME — 77%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, RI — 74%, and VT — 75%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, and VA — 74%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, WA — 77%, and WV- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR (6), CT (7), DE (3), DC (3), ME (4), MI (17), NV (5), NM (5), NY (31), NC (15), and OR (7), and both houses in CA (55), CO (9), HI (4), IL (21), NJ (15), MD (10), MA(12), RI (4), VT (3), and WA (11). The bill has been enacted by DC, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

#15 mvyvmy

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:17 PM

Under National Popular Vote, when every vote counts, successful candidates will continue to find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support It would no longer matter who won a state.

Now political clout comes from being a battleground state.

Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 smallest states (3-4 electoral votes), that are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota), and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections. Nine state legislative chambers in the smallest states have passed the National Popular Vote bill. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia and Hawaii.

Of the 22 medium-smallest states (those with 3,4,5, or 6 electoral votes), only 3 have been battleground states in recent elections-- NH(4), NM (5), and NV (5). These three states contain only 14 of the 22 (8%) states' total 166 electoral votes.

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 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.

With National Popular Vote, big states that are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country, would not get all of the candidates' attention. In recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states have been split -- five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). 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. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.. The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down in name recognition as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. Cleveland and Miami certainly did not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida in 2000 and 2004. A "big city" only campaign would not win.

For example, in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles.

If the National Popular Vote bill were to become law, it would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 21% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a "big city" approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would still have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn't be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as voters in Ohio.

With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. It would no longer matter who won a state. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.




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