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FINALLY!!! A NATIONAL PLAN TO REFORM THE ELECTRAL COLLEGE

 
 
AliceInWonderland
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Mar, 2006 06:48 pm
Seems like this plan would make close elections even MORE contentious than they are now. You'd have candidates running around to every tiny district after the election, contesting votes, accusing folks of cheating, getting votes thrown out and added in. It makes every district a potential contention point, rather than just a few close districts in a close state. The lawsuits would never cease.
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Mar, 2006 01:27 am
We've all seen a map of the red states and blue states, which illustrates the lopsided nature of where Republican and Democrat voters reside. The following link is much more revealing, which shows the support by congressional district. Now this site was started with the colors reversed and the author says he does not want to go through the hassle of changing it, so red is Democratic and blue is Republican support by congressional district. When you open the site, click on "2000" in the "General by Year" box, then click the button, "cong. dist."

http://www.uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/

So we see that the entire country is almost completely Republican support except for splotches of Democratic support in major metropolitan areas and a few old traditionally liberal or democratic areas. The map indicates the people closest to the land are more conservative.

Now, the following site explains pretty well the reasoning and the ways of looking at the electoral college.

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/west/040903

This site has very interesting information, one being if the 2000 election had been determined by electoral votes by district rather than by state, referred to as CDM (congressional district method), Bush would have won by a larger margin, 285-253 instead of the 271-266 that resulted in winner take all by state (except for 2 states that use CDM). If we were to circumvent the current system whereby most states have winner take all, I think the CDM method makes sense. One of the advantages of this system is that a person's vote has a much higher statistical chance of impacting at least one electoral vote, that which comes from the district in which you vote, plus it impacts the chances overall in the state, which impacts the two electoral votes allocated for the senate seats.

So I submit the CDM method as making much more sense than BBB's proposal of choice. I don't give either one much chance however, because states wish to keep as much influence as possible, for very good reasons.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Mar, 2006 02:02 pm
okie wrote:
Under the proposed plan, what if a candidate won the nationwide popular vote by 1 vote, but only carried 1/5 of the states, simply because that candidate promised a blank check to every man, woman, and child living in cities over a few million?

Bingo. Thats precisely why the Electoral College is and will remain a feature of the US electoral system. There have been challenges to the Electoral College system dating back nearly to its inception - typically mounted by the party rendered, by The Electorate, no longer possessed of the White House.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Mar, 2006 06:57 pm
I still don't understand. I see one, exactly one advantage of the EC: in theory, the candidates have to cover all states rather than just the few heavily populated ones.

However, in reality that results in candidates concentrating on a few swing states rather than on all the states. And a even larger number of voters is ignored (because no candidate is really campaigning in California, for example). And it gives your vote an incredibly different weight, depending on where you live.
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Mar, 2006 09:17 pm
old europe wrote:
I still don't understand. I see one, exactly one advantage of the EC: in theory, the candidates have to cover all states rather than just the few heavily populated ones.

However, in reality that results in candidates concentrating on a few swing states rather than on all the states. And a even larger number of voters is ignored (because no candidate is really campaigning in California, for example). And it gives your vote an incredibly different weight, depending on where you live.


I understand the arguments made, but I simply think the arguments against BBB's proposal outweigh those of her proposal, even though they are valid points. There is no perfect system, and the fact remains that the constitution allows for states to have rights and to elect a president through the electoral system. Perhaps the CDM method discussed in a couple of posts back would be a worthy alternative to mitigate the effects you cite?

Given the system as it is, there are quite a few swing states, and given the widespread media of today's world, does it really matter tremendously where a candidate goes to campaign? His or her message reaches all corners of the country and often times I don't even notice where they are at. I do not reside in much of a swing state, but I was always fully aware of the campaign.

There is no perfect method, but BBB's proposal of electors voting according to national popular vote seems to me to be an outright betrayal of the voters in their state that they are lawfully meant to represent. No state that really cares about its people and its interests is going to voluntarily give up their rights. And a vote counts one vote whether you are greatly outnumbered or not. That is not a valid argument to say that your vote does not count if you lose big. Or if you win big. If my state wins easily the way I vote, I could also consider my vote wasted because it would have more impact in a closely contested state. But these effects have shown to balance themselves out pretty well.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Mar, 2006 11:03 pm
The prime function of the Electoral College is to prevent tyranny - by either the majority or the minority.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Mar, 2006 04:53 am
Timber: How?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Mar, 2006 07:50 am
old europe wrote:
And a even larger number of voters is ignored (because no candidate is really campaigning in California, for example).


The claim that candidates don't visit the "base states" (CA, MA, NY, etc.. for Dems and TX, OK, etc.. for Reps) is a myth.

Do a Google search on "Presidential Candidate visits California" and you'll get in excess of 5 milllion hits. There are MANY news accounts of candidates from every Party stopping in various cities/towns in CA.

These states may not get the attention they think they should but they DO get attention. A part of the problem is that the states are large and heavily populated so that the candidates may not hit every single city/town. People in northern CA may not realize when candidates are visiting southern CA for example.
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Anon-Voter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Mar, 2006 04:26 pm
fishin' wrote:
old europe wrote:
And a even larger number of voters is ignored (because no candidate is really campaigning in California, for example).


The claim that candidates don't visit the "base states" (CA, MA, NY, etc.. for Dems and TX, OK, etc.. for Reps) is a myth.

Do a Google search on "Presidential Candidate visits California" and you'll get in excess of 5 milllion hits. There are MANY news accounts of candidates from every Party stopping in various cities/towns in CA.

These states may not get the attention they think they should but they DO get attention. A part of the problem is that the states are large and heavily populated so that the candidates may not hit every single city/town. People in northern CA may not realize when candidates are visiting southern CA for example.


Ya know, Bush DID come to Ca. to tell us he had won the war ...

Anon
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Mar, 2006 08:56 pm
okie wrote:
Given the system as it is, there are quite a few swing states, and given the widespread media of today's world, does it really matter tremendously where a candidate goes to campaign? His or her message reaches all corners of the country and often times I don't even notice where they are at. I do not reside in much of a swing state, but I was always fully aware of the campaign.


That's actually a good argument against the Electoral College. If you had a national one-man-one-vote system, a national overall majority electing the president, and candidates would rather concentrate on the heavily populated areas, it wouldn't really matter that much. With media coverage today being as it is, it's not really important where candidates actually are. Right?
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Mar, 2006 09:12 am
old europe
Old Europe, of course you are right, but the Luddites don't recognize the communication technology progress made since the Founder's time.

The only benefit of the winner-take-all system, other than incumbents and the two party system, are the Media, both print and electronic. They make millions of dollars in advertising. The infrastructure providers also make millions: transportation, lodging, printing, food-drink, go-fers, etc. also make a bumble of money. Election time economy resembles the tourist economy.

I live in a battleground state and I can tell you most of us wish the candidates and their hangers-on would be somewhere else. The only people that actually attend their events are the strong supporters. The rest of us stay away and wait for the sound bites on TV.

It seems to me that the only state that actually mingles and talks to the candidates are the states having the first and second primary or caucus. The rest of us can listen in to any conversations because everything is on TV except when they are taking a crap in the john. Modern communication technology allows us to learn everything we want to know about candidates. We can communicate our opinions easily to them.

If the winner-take-all state laws were gone, we might have a fair and honest election. Why are the opponents so afraid of each person's vote being honored as it was voted?
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Mar, 2006 09:25 am
timberlandko wrote:
The prime function of the Electoral College is to prevent tyranny - by either the majority or the minority.

Yes, I quite agree.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Mar, 2006 09:32 am
Dys
dyslexia wrote:
timberlandko wrote:
The prime function of the Electoral College is to prevent tyranny - by either the majority or the minority.

Yes, I quite agree.


I agree with the original intent. But retaining the Electoral College is not the topic of this thread. It is about eliminating the winner-take-all state laws which were not part of the original Electoral College. It was a device invented decades later by those wanting to consolidate their political power. Another benefit was their elimination of third party threats. Still another dirty little secret was the support of the slave states to retain their depraved economy.

BBB
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Mar, 2006 10:59 am
dyslexia wrote:
timberlandko wrote:
The prime function of the Electoral College is to prevent tyranny - by either the majority or the minority.

Yes, I quite agree.


Well, a democracy per se should be the ultimate safeguard against a tyranny by a minority.

A tyranny by a majority is the more likely the less parties you have. In a two-party-system, you definitely have the highest risk of a tyranny by majority.

So the Electoral College is a safeguard against the very circumstances it creates, while depriving the voters of their right of their votes carrying equal weight.
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Bodo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Mar, 2006 11:32 am
For those interested about this plan, I just found some more good articles; one from the Houston chronicle and the other, a diary from Daily Kos written by former US Senator Birch Bayh. Enjoy.

Birch Bayh diary

Houston Chronicle
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