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Electoral College Breakdown

 
 
yeahman
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2004 05:56 am
Republicans will have 179 electoral votes in 2004 from the states in which they won by more than 6.3% in 2000.
Democrats will have 168.

The following states were decided by 6.3% or less in 2000. The number of elector votes they will have in 2004 is indicated in parenthesis.
Arizona (10 electoral votes)
Arkansas (6)
Florida (27)
Iowa (7)
Maine (4)
Michigan (17)
Minnesota (10)
Missouri (11)
Nevada (5)
New Hampshire (4)
New Mexico (5)
Ohio (20)
Oregon (7)
Pennsylvania (21)
Tennessee (11)
Washington (11)
West Virgina (5)
Wisconsin (10)
----------------
Total = 191

Republicans need 91 electoral votes from the list above to win. Democrats need 102.

What surprised me is that the only state to have voted Democrat in every election since 1976 (denying Reagan a 50-state sweep in 1984), Minnesota, is now a battleground state. They voted Democrat by just a 2.4% margin in 2000. Virgina which hasn't voted Democrat since 1964 was decided by only 8% in 2000. I say we should make Washington DC (a solidly Democratic city) a part of Virgina.

Without considering public appeal, Dennis Kucinich would seem to have the advantage. Ohio has 20 electoral votes and is a battleground state. Clark's Arkansas has 6 and is also a battleground state as is Gephardt's Missouri with 11 electoral votes. Dean's Vermont is already solidly Democrat and only has 3 electoral votes anyway. Kerry's Massachusetts is also already solidly Democrat as is Lieberman's Conneticut. Even if Edwards wins the nomination he may not be able to carry his own North Carolina which hasn't voted Democrat since 1976 but it does have 15 electoral votes.

Which Democratic candidate has the best shot at winning those states?

I once thought that Clark was our only hope but it seems as though Edwards would be a serious contender as well. A Clark/Edwards ticket could work very well. Dean is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to electoral votes.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2004 07:28 pm
Excuse my ignorance, but how exactly are the electoral votes decided upon, and how exactly does that affect the presidential elections? I understand the basics, but not the specifics.
0 Replies
 
yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 12:00 am
IronLionZion wrote:
Excuse my ignorance, but how exactly are the electoral votes decided upon, and how exactly does that affect the presidential elections? I understand the basics, but not the specifics.

Each of the 50 states gets a certain number of electoral votes. They each get 2 plus at least 1 more based on the population. So a small state like Vermont only gets 3 while a big state like California gets 55 electoral votes. Washington DC is special and gets 2 electoral votes.
One election day, each state tallies the votes. Whoever gets the most votes within the state gets all of the state's electoral votes. Whoever gets the most electoral votes wins.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 10:53 pm
ye110man wrote:
IronLionZion wrote:
Excuse my ignorance, but how exactly are the electoral votes decided upon, and how exactly does that affect the presidential elections? I understand the basics, but not the specifics.

Each of the 50 states gets a certain number of electoral votes. They each get 2 plus at least 1 more based on the population. So a small state like Vermont only gets 3 while a big state like California gets 55 electoral votes. Washington DC is special and gets 2 electoral votes.
One election day, each state tallies the votes. Whoever gets the most votes within the state gets all of the state's electoral votes. Whoever gets the most electoral votes wins.

So the electoral votes are completely independent of the current caucuses?

The caucuses are to decide the Democratic candidate, while the electoral votes can go to either a Republican or a Democrat and are used in the presidential election, right?

Are these electoral votes decided upon based on a one person one vote basis? Or, do you have to be a registered member of a party or what?
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 11:47 pm
Party registration doesn't affect electoral votes, but it's not precisely one person-one vote either. Electoral votes are determined by your congressional district, and not all have equal population. I do not believe all states require their electoral votes to go to just on candidate. That is, a state could have a split vote - as I understand it.

Now believe this - some states require their electors to vote in the electoral college as the voters have instructed. Some do not. Nobody seems really sure what happens if an elector is required to vote a certain way, and doesn't.

I happen to like the way votes are allocated, especially as my state is not highly populated. I do not care for the electoral college itself.

I guess your answer, ILZ, is "or what?"
0 Replies
 
IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 11:56 pm
roger wrote:
Party registration doesn't affect electoral votes, but it's not precisely one person-one vote either. Electoral votes are determined by your congressional district, and not all have equal population. I do not believe all states require their electoral votes to go to just on candidate. That is, a state could have a split vote - as I understand it.

Now believe this - some states require their electors to vote in the electoral college as the voters have instructed. Some do not. Nobody seems really sure what happens if an elector is required to vote a certain way, and doesn't.

I happen to like the way votes are allocated, especially as my state is not highly populated. I do not care for the electoral college itself.

I guess your answer, ILZ, is "or what?"


Ah. But what about my first two questions?

Also, I have no idea what this sentence means: "some states require their electors to vote in the electoral college as the voters have instructed." This is probably due to the fact that I do not understand what an 'electoral college is' or the distinction between 'electors' and 'voters'. It seems I am even further out of the loop than I suspected. I better hit the books.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:10 am
Bad sentence. An example, then, would be a state in which the majority of voters in each district vote for the Peace and Freedom candidate. Now, some states require the electors go to the electoral college and simply relay that vote. Others do not. I suppose this goes back to some theory that we (the voters) don't have enough smarts to know what we are doing. In a technical sense, you do not vote for president; you vote for an elector. Normally, it makes no difference. In the last election;however, Bush won the electoral vote while Gore won the popular vote. That's the way the system works, but it would have taken very few maverick electors to have thrown the election the other way.

I do not know how electors are selected. You might check out Swimpy's caucus thread and ask there. I believe she said she has been selected as an elector.
0 Replies
 
IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:12 am
I see. Thanks.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:50 pm
Electoral College delegates are selected by the state's parties. In most states (the one's that use "all or nothing" apportionment) the popular vote is counted in each district and then rolled up into a total for the state. If the majority of the vote is for the Republican candidate then the state's Republican Party selects the delegates to go and vote at the EC. If the majority vote is the Democratic candidate then the Democratic Party selects the slate of delegates.

In NE and ME (where the EC votes can be split) The popular vote is rolled up at the Congressional district level and the delegate for that district is selected by the party that won that district. State's always have more votes than Congressional Districts so the remaining delegates are selected by the party that wins the state's overall popular vote.

As mentioned above - the cacuses are for deciding who will be the candidate on the national ticket. The EC has nothing to do with the cacuses at all. The EC only votes based on the out come of the national election.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:55 pm
roger raised a good point about accountability.

Isn't the punishment for being a "maverick elector" only a slap on the wrist in a few states?
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:56 pm
The system stinks, as we learned in 2000, because it can lead to anomalous results. A president winning the EC vote but having fewer popular votes than the loser. Or a winner having fewer popular votes and winning fewer states, but still receiving more EC votes in total.

I know this system is in the constitution, but if we can discuss something as idiotic as an amendment requiring heterosexual marriages, then this can be changed, too.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 01:10 pm
The system is strange for a presidentialist system. But it works pretty much the same way in several parlamentarian systems, in which theorically the winner of the majority of popular votes can end up with less seats than the runner up party (the cases of UK and Spain come to mind).

It's like the difference between a basketball game and a tennis match.
In basketball, whoever makes the most points wins.
In tennis, sets, not points, count for the result. So you can lose a game by 6-0, 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-7. That's what happened to Gore.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 01:12 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
roger raised a good point about accountability.

Isn't the punishment for being a "maverick elector" only a slap on the wrist in a few states?


Electors in AL, AK, CA, CO, CT, Washington DC, FL, HI, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, OH, OK OR, SC, VA, WA, WI and WY are bound by state law to vote for the candidate they were sent to vote for. The punishment varies by state. Here in MA the law says the delegate must vote for the popular vote winner but there is no mention of any punishment in the law itself.

For the other states there isn't much vote switching because the parties pick the delegates so they stick with the part faithful. If someone did go out on a limb the worst that could happen to then is their party wouldn't be sure never to pick them again.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:05 pm
fishin' wrote:
For the other states there isn't much vote switching because the parties pick the delegates so they stick with the part faithful. If someone did go out on a limb the worst that could happen to then is their party wouldn't be sure never to pick them again.


These were the states I had in mind. In theory a maverick elector could be a king maker and the only punishment would be that he doesn't get to do it again?

Razz

To me the biggest hole in the system is that in theory some of them could apoint a president in close elections. They'd have no real motivation to reflect the will of the people.

Hmm, in the states where the law states that the vote reflect the popular vote what happens if they don't?

I'm not talking about punishment, but does the elector's vote still count?
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:20 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
These were the states I had in mind. In theory a maverick elector could be a king maker and the only punishment would be that he doesn't get to do it again?

Razz


Yeah, you got sumtin' againat that? :p

Quote:
To me the biggest hole in the system is that in theory some of them could apoint a president in close elections. They'd have no real motivation to reflect the will of the people.

Hmm, in the states where the law states that the vote reflect the popular vote what happens if they don't?


It's usually up to the state to determine what the actual popular vote counts are and notify the parties if their slate of electors are going or not. Since it's in the law, if the Sec. of State called the wrong party and told them they were going I'd guess the winning party would get a court injunction in a hurry. I don't think it's ever happened.

Quote:
I'm not talking about punishment, but does the elector's vote still count?


It'd still count. I don't know that there is any real remedy if it happened. I suppose the voters could sue the elector... *shrugs*
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:29 pm
fishin' wrote:

Yeah, you got sumtin' againat that? :p


Yeah, I don't much like the existing system. But the fact that it can breakdown and fail to reflect the public's will isn't half as bad to me as the fact that it can work perfectly and do so as well.

Either way, I think it's one of the sillier things about American government.

I prefer one person one vote. Democracy has it's flaws but it would be more domocratic. Dunno what the currest system counts as except maybe beaurocratic.

Quote:
It's usually up to the state to determine what the actual popular vote counts are and notify the parties if their slate of electors are going or not. Since it's in the law, if the Sec. of State called the wrong party and told them they were going I'd guess the winning party would get a court injunction in a hurry. I don't think it's ever happened.


That wasn't the scenario I was aksing about. Let's say the right party's elecors are chosen but they have conspired to vote differently.

Sure the party would kick 'em out but that's like saying that the punishment for robbing a bank is to be escorted out of the bank with the cash.

What I'm wondering is if the votes can be reversed (e.g. "give back the cash"). I think you answer it next.

Quote:

It'd still count. I don't know that there is any real remedy if it happened. I suppose the voters could sue the elector... *shrugs*


LOL. But now I'm wondering why someone doesn't try this.

The checks and balances must be on the selection end. Perhaps it's so random a drawing as to make it impractical.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:33 pm
There is a much simpler answer to ILZ's question. Each state is apportioned a number of electors equivalent to their congressional delegation. As each state sends two senators, and has at least one representative, each state will have at least three electors. The states themselves determine how to select the electors.

The purpose of this system was to strike a balance in the electoral process. Small states (in 1787, New York, New Jersey, Connecticutt, the Carolinas, Georgia, New Hampshire, Delaware and Rhode Island) feared that the political power embodied in the population of the large states (in 1787, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts) would overwhelm them. Two compromises resulted. One was that which created the Senate, in which there was "equality" of representation (each state sending two senators, originally chosen by the state's assembly) and empowered in matters of sovereignty; the House, with the power of the purse, embodied proportional representation, on the principle that those paying the most should have the most say in how it is spent.

The constitution of the electoral college is the second, usually overlooked compromise. By allowing each state a number of electors equivalent to the number of members in their congressional delegation, the constitution dillutes the potentially overwhelming power of the most populous states. The framers were always concerned to strike a balance between minoritarian and majoritarian tyranny.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:37 pm
This is the second paragraph of Section 1, Article II of the Constitution:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:55 pm
I understand the original rationale behind the electoral college (as Setanta sets it forth), but I don't think it serves any purpose anymore. A vote in Wyoming = a vote in NY in the popular count. The electoral college probably overrepresents the small states now, given the fact that each state starts with two electoral votes. I assume that was how the plan was sold to the small states back then, but we've changed a lot of electoral roles since then to be more democratic. Senators, for instance, were chosen by state legislators in the orginal plan.

Can you imagine the fun the Tom DeLays of our time would have with that system!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 03:43 pm
In fact, D'Art, i do believe the Constitution was ammended precisely because of the perception that local political bosses were "packing" the Senate.
0 Replies
 
 

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