Presidential election by popular vote

Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2007 07:11 pm
old europe wrote:
TI don't see how a Parliamentary system would make a difference. If a country uses a system of party-list proportional representation, you would just vote for a list of candidates that has been selected by the party instead of giving your vote to a Presidential candidate. However, the party that gets the majority of the vote would then proceed to elect the Prime Minister/Chancellor/Premier.


he thing is: in the Electoral College system, you seem to end up with the negative effects of both worlds. Local issues wouldn't play a role due to the lack of a Parliament, but votes still have a different weight depending on where you are voting.

As far as I know, Party-List Proportional systems are only used where you are filling multiple offices. Our Senate and House elections are entirely independent of the Presidential election (they take place on the same day every 4 years but the results don't affect each other directly). To implement this we'd need to entirely revamp all of our election systems - not just the EC (whihc mean additional amendments to our Constitution...)

Local issues aren't supposed to be the concern in electing a President. They are expected to act on behalf of the entire country - not a specific region, state or city. Someone running for President that shows inclination to favor one region over another generally looses.
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Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2007 07:24 pm
Re: Presidential election by popular vote
old europe wrote:
I'm somewhat surprised that y'all seem to think that concerns about vote fraud would be such a major obstacle to a popular vote system. Probably because I can't remember a single case of recounted votes in this country here. Different cultural background, I guess. I agree that this would be a concern when switching to a popular vote system, but I don't see it as a hurdle that couldn't be overcome.

Vote fraud is as American as apple pie and baseball. But then our elections are also a bit more complicated than your typical "one X and you're out the door" European elections. An American voter may typically cast 50 or 60 separate votes in a given election. With that many different ballots cast, it is impossible to count them all by hand, as is still done in much of the rest of the world. Instead, we have machines do the counting -- and when machines are involved, there's always the possibility of some technological problem arising.

And then there's the vote-stealing, vote-buying, ballot-rigging, and other forms of time-tested electoral shenanigans.

old europe wrote:
Apart from these technicalities, the other major point you had mentioned in your earlier posts, joe, were concerns about compromising the two-party system and suddenly having several candidates running for presidency. While I don't see how changing the voting system from the current electoral to a popular vote one would have the effect of making it easier for third candidates, it raises a valid point.

Want an example of how a popular vote system encourages multiple parties and multiple candidates? Look at France.

old europe wrote:
How would you determine the winner of the popular vote? Would it simply be the candidate who gets most of the popular vote, or would you have to institute some kind of system where you would end up with runoff elections?

That depends on who you ask.

old europe wrote:
So my question here is: would you have to change the Constitution if you wanted to institute a system that relied on an interstate compact and possible runoff elections in case that no candidate wins a certain majority?

A runoff system would require a constitutional amendment. The interstate compact plan would award each state's electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes on election day -- even if that candidate does not receive a majority of the votes. So, theoretically, a candidate could become president by winning only 20% of the national popular vote, as Jacques Chirac did in the first round of the 2002 French presidential election.
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2007 10:22 am
Stop the GOP Electoral College Power Grab in California
by Sen. Barbara Boxer
Posted August 16, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to start thinking about having a Democrat in the White House, along comes a cynical power grab by Republican operatives. And unfortunately, it's happening right here in my own state of California.

If you haven't heard already, Republican strategists recently announced plans to begin raising money for a dangerous initiative that would radically change the way California apportions our electoral votes in presidential elections. Rather than awarding all of California's electoral votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote -- the way it works in every single state except the small states of Maine and Nebraska -- their scheme would divvy up California's electoral votes based on the number of Congressional districts each candidate wins.

What does this mean? Well, if the last few elections are any guide, rather than the Democratic nominee winning all 55 of California's electoral votes in 2008, this new partisan scheme could hand 20 of California's electoral votes to the Republican candidate and only 35 to the Democrat.

Don't get me wrong: After the 2000 and 2004 election debacles, I'm a strong advocate for election reform. But it's absolutely wrong for California to go it alone. It's just patently unfair for a large "blue" state like California to change our system for awarding electoral votes while other large states which trend "red" like Texas and Florida don't change their system at the same time.

This isn't reform -- this is a partisan power grab by Republican operatives in the Karl Rove tradition.

The initiative's sponsors claim that their plan will make the presidential candidates spend more time campaigning in California. That's nonsense. Their scheme won't make candidates come to California during a general election any more than they do now -- which is rarely, and only to raise money.

Just look at the 2006 election. In 2006, only 2 of California's 53 Congressional districts were truly in play. In the remaining 51 districts, the margin of victory for the winning Republican or Democratic House candidate was always more than 6% -- and in most cases, the difference was 20 or 30 percentage points or more. The number of competitive districts in the 2008 election will not be much different than what we saw in 2006 -- so apportioning our electoral votes based on the winner of each Congressional district would clearly do nothing to bring the presidential candidates to California more often.

If America wants real election reform -- and I know I do -- we need to elect our President directly by the national popular vote, plain and simple. Then the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia would be elected President. That's the fair thing to do.

If you're interested in joining the fight against this power grab by Republican operatives, I hope you'll check out www.FairElectionReform.com. You don't have to live in California to get involved, because by skewing the results of the 2008 presidential election, this initiative clearly will affect all Americans.

Please join me in fighting for real, fair election reform -- and rejecting this cynical partisan power grab.
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2007 12:28 pm
Two- Party system is rotten
"we need to elect our President directly by the national popular vote, plain and simple. Then the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia would be elected President. That's the fair thing to do. "

I hope USA tries to undertstnad the word DEMOCRACY
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2007 05:10 pm
Americans do understand the meaning of democracy. Why do you question us? Cool
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2007 06:00 pm
Because were a republic.
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Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 11:11 am
Stacking the Electoral Deck
Stacking the Electoral Deck
The New York Times | Editorial
Wednesday 22 August 2007

The Electoral College should be abolished, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. A prominent Republican lawyer in California is doing it the wrong way, promoting a sneaky initiative that, in the name of Electoral College reform, would rig elections in a way that would make it difficult for a Democrat to be elected president, no matter how the popular vote comes out. If the initiative passes, it would do serious damage to American democracy.

California currently gives all 55 of its electoral votes - the biggest electoral college prize in the nation - to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. Virtually all states use this winner-take-all method. The California initiative, which could go to a vote in June, would instead give the 2008 presidential candidates one electoral vote for every Congressional district that they win, with an additional two electoral votes going to whoever got the most votes statewide. (Democrats appear to have backed off from plans to try just as anti-democratic a trick in North Carolina, which is good.)

The net result of the California initiative would be that if the Democratic candidate wins in that state next year, which is very likely, the Republican candidate might still walk away with 20 or more of the state's electoral votes. The initiative, backed by a shadowy group called Californians for Equal Representation, is being promoted as an effort to more accurately reflect the choices of the state's voters, and to force candidates to pay more attention to California, which is usually not in play in presidential elections. It is actually a power grab on behalf of Republicans.

The Electoral College should be done away with, but in the meantime, any reforms should improve the system, not make it worse. If California abandons its winner-take-all rule while red states like Texas do not, it will be hard for a Democratic nominee to assemble an Electoral College majority, even if he or she wins a sizable majority of the popular vote. That appears to be just what the backers of the California idea have in mind.

If voters understand that the initiative is essentially an elaborate dirty trick posing as reform, they are likely to vote against it. But judging by the misleading name of their organization, the initiative's backers want to fool the public into thinking the change would make elections more fair. They are planning on putting it to a vote in June 2008, an election when there will be few other things on the ballot, and turnout is expected to be extremely low. This bad-faith initiative is yet another example of the ways in which referenda can be used for mischief and a reminder of why they are a bad way to resolve complex public-policy issues.

Opponents of the initiative announced yesterday that they are sponsoring their own, rival initiative, which would commit California to a national plan that aims to ensure that the winner of the national popular vote becomes president. That idea makes much more sense.

Leading Republicans, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been silent about the initiative to split California's electoral votes, but they should be speaking out against it. The fight isn't about Republicans vs. Democrats. It is about whether to twist the nation's system of electing presidents to give one party an unfair advantage. No principled elected official, or voter, of either party should support that.
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Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 12:21 pm
Ever notice it is always the losers who complain about the system the most?
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Reply Sat 1 Sep, 2007 05:12 pm
"Americans do understand the meaning of democracy. Why do you question us?"
Democracy is a foreign word in USA.
USA is not a puny pitten pigmy like Germany or India.
USA's faulty step shatters the DREAMS of decent people around the globe.
WE are not with you(U yes aha)
V R fed up with your big mac and cock
Calling or branding USA as Americans is nonsense to the core.
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