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Published on June 8, 2007 By Jythier In Politics
In the 2004 elections, I did not vote. I did vote in 2006 though, and plan to for the rest of my life, so don't get all "Hey, he didn't vote!" on me. However, when I look at the system for voting for president, and I look at my state, I realize that my vote would not have carried any weight regardless. The person I would have voted for already won my state, therefore my vote would not have helped him.

The electoral college has outlived it's usefulness. If I remember correctly, it was started to keep the public from doing something stupid, like voting for a third party candidate, or voting in someone who was unfit for office. Now that George W. Bush has been voted in by the electoral college designed to prevent that very thing from happening, there is no longer a need for it!

Actually, holding onto the electoral college system could be okay. But I propose we change it up a little bit. Right now, if you get win the popular vote in California, you get 100% of the electoral votes. I propose that the electoral college should closely mirror the American public. If only 33% of voting-eligible Californians vote for the winning candidate, he should only get 33% of the electoral votes (rounded up). That way, every vote counts, as it will increase the percentage of voting-eligible people. So, my vote would have counted in that situation, as it might have increased that percentage to the next vote.

We could just go with a straight popular vote for the nation, which would make everyone's vote mean the same thing. Currently, the smaller the state, the more your vote means. California has .15 electoral votes per 100,000 population, while Rhode Island has .37 electoral votes per 100,000. Vermont has .48. And you thought moving to California would make your vote mean more!

http://www.fairvote.org/?page=985Link

Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 08, 2007
I propose that the electoral college should closely mirror the American public. If only 33% of voting-eligible Californians vote for the winning candidate, he should only get 33% of the electoral votes (rounded up).

Whoa... that got a double-eyebrow raise from me. What a stellar but completely unrealistic idea!

California has .15 electoral votes per 100,000 population, while Rhode Island has .37 electoral votes per 100,000. Vermont has .48.

This means that living in the District of Columbia, North Dakota, or Wyoming would increase your say on election day? Very cool, except that I have no desire to live any of those places. Oh well, I guess I'm voluntarily giving away the power of my lone voice. (A Republican in DC would be a lone voice in the wilderness!)
on Jun 08, 2007

Bush was the 4th president (and the first since the 19th century) to win while not winning the popular vote.  But the reason for the EC 200+ years ago is still germaine today.  It was a bone thrown to the small states so that they could have a voice in the direction of the country.  And indeed, that is why it is still needed. 

There are 2 major problems with electing a president by popular vote, one forseen by the founding fathers, and one shown to us by AL Gore.  First is that if a president was only elected by popular vote, the small states would never see a candidate for office.  Yet in the last 2 elections, states such as WV, NM, and IA were heavily campaigned as they were seen as swing states, even though they only had a handful of EC votes.

The second problem is that recounting 150m votes is unfeasible.  Yet Al Gore beat Bush in the popular total by what amounts to less than 1/2 percentage points.  So there was no need to recount 95% of those votes since only Florida (and actually NM - but that one is rarely talked about) were close enough for a recount.

But the reason the EC is not going to go away is that it would take a constitutional amendment.  And there are a lot more small states (if we use 10 as a cut off - about 37) than large ones, and they would need 37 states to go along with it.

on Jun 08, 2007
Who cares about states anymore? Bah. I would rather we go back to the legislatures electing the senators, because that's how state rights got destroyed. When they were dependent on the states to get them in, they were more careful with what the Feds could actually have their hands on.
on Jun 08, 2007
Who cares about states anymore? Bah. I would rather we go back to the legislatures electing the senators, because that's how state rights got destroyed. When they were dependent on the states to get them in, they were more careful with what the Feds could actually have their hands on.

there is a case to be made for that, and cases to be made against it. i'm not gonna try n settle that here...but an observation that should be talked about more. parated2k is a big advocate of that i believe.

i don't think the electoral college is completely fair and may be obsolete. ,,,, but a pure popular vote might not be fair either. but i have a feeling, if the folks in washington really wanted to, they could figure something out. but that'll never happen as long as we don't demand it.
on Jun 08, 2007
i like that idea about the percentage weighting the electoral count...hmmmm.
on Jun 08, 2007

i like that idea about the percentage weighting the electoral count...hmmmm.

2 States, Nebraska and Maine, have a way of dividing their votes.  Maine divides theirs by congressional district, with the popular winner getting the other 2.  nebraska does it on percentage alone.

on Jun 08, 2007
Yeah, but it's the same thing, just in congressional district instead of state. I didn't know that about Nebraska. But, I like the idea of removing votes from the pool entirely instead of giving them to the other candidate. And note, that I didn't think it should be weighted based on percentage of VOTERS, but ELIGIBLE voters, which would make voter turn-out more important. And, to make sure everyone votes, George W. Bush should remain in office unless there's 70% turn-out.
on Jun 08, 2007
, to make sure everyone votes, George W. Bush should remain in office unless there's 70% turn-out


you could do what saddam did and hold a gun to everyones head
on Jun 08, 2007
2 States, Nebraska and Maine, have a way of dividing their votes. Maine divides theirs by congressional district, with the popular winner getting the other 2. nebraska does it on percentage alone.


i thought colorado had somethin special in that vein too...anyone? anyone? bueller? bueller?
on Jun 09, 2007
State rights?! Having legislators elect our president?! Why should citizens give up their direct voting to further politicize the process? In essence legislators already elect the president to a large degree. The nomination process is controlled by the state parties, which is in turn controlled by state legislators.

Getting rid of the electoral system would mean that areas like New York and Los Angeles control the election. In 2000 Gore won the popular vote mostly on the fact that he won New York by a huge margin.

Splitting the vote by popular vote is also a ludicrous idea. Take a look at the last election. Unless you are going to give candidates a fraction of an electoral vote the system will almost always be deadlocked. In most states the winning candidate will have between 50-60 % of the vote unless a third party candidate splits the vote. That means that almost all states would be evenly split.

If you want to make the electoral college more representative, I would have each congressional district up for grabs with the winner of the popular vote getting the 2 electoral votes that represent their states US Senators. Republicans would win some votes in California and northeast, and Democrats in the south.
on Jun 09, 2007
State rights?! Having legislators elect our president?! Why should citizens give up their direct voting to further politicize the process? In essence legislators already elect the president to a large degree. The nomination process is controlled by the state parties, which is in turn controlled by state legislators.


if this took place then the president would answer to the states not the people

even tho the ec actually elects the president. all of the real presidents know that they answer to the people not to the states, not to the senate, not to the house, and not to the courts, but to the people
on Jun 11, 2007

i thought colorado had somethin special in that vein too...anyone? anyone? bueller? bueller?

They had it on the ballot, but rejected it. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/vote2004/2004-11-02-co-initiative-electoral_x.htm

on Jun 11, 2007
There can be no Constitutional "straight popular vote for the nation" because we have no national elections in the United States. We have 50 state elections. Any changes to the choosing of our President has to keep that in mind. Each of the
states are free to decide how their votes will be used.
on Jun 11, 2007
Good point ParaTed! The people vote to tell the state who to vote for... now it all makes sense again.
on Jun 12, 2007
Good point ParaTed


that's why i asked him for some input here. i know it's a subject he has spoken on before.

thanks ted.