The Electoral College – Fix it, scrap it or leave it alone?

posted at 8:31 am on October 27, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Before you ask, yes… this topic was already touched upon in the Green Room yesterday. But since the comments section isn’t up and around yet, (edit: Comments are back up! Great job, tech geeks!) you may as well have the chance to weigh in along with my own, long standing take on it. Democratic rep Steve Israel came up with what may be one of the silliest ideas ever put forward in terms of restructuring American elections.

The head of the House Democratic campaign arm this week proposed a constitutional amendment that would give the winner of the popular vote in the presidential race an additional 29 electoral votes.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) did not offer an explanation in the joint resolution filed in the House for why he was proposing to change the way elections in the U.S. are decided.

This suggestion fails on two levels. First, if you’re going to propose an amendment to fix the electoral college, you’re admitting that it’s broken. And if you’re willing to go so far as to say that it’s not working, perhaps you should just admit that it’s not needed in the modern era.

Second, even if we are to assume that the EC is worth fixing, you should at least propose something which actually addresses its many, obvious shortcomings. The suggested solution simply seems to say, “Hey! this system ignores the popular vote. So we should give the popular vote more power!” Well, Steve, if that’s your argument then all you’re proposing is to make an already convoluted and distorted system more complicated.

I’ve opposed this appendix in the American body politic vigorously since the 2000 election, but there was never much resonance among Republicans since it would have resulted in an election loss for George W. Bush. However, we’re now seeing a situation where Barack Obama could, in theory, pull off the same dubious achievement that Bush did twelve years ago. (As I briefly noted yesterday morning.)

I’ve heard the arguments in favor of keeping the Electoral College in place. In fact, Doug Mataconis published a roundup of them this fall, including the only argument I’ve ever found persuasive, as written by Daniel Foster.

In short, the College reflects the formal and constitutional fact that the president is elected chief executive of a union of states — federated but sovereign — and not a conglomeration of people. The executive of the Constitution, of the Founders, is president of the United States, not president of America. Its detractors consider it an anachronism, but if federalism still means anything — and sadly, that’s something of an open question — then the College is as vital as ever. It affirms that we vote as citizens of the several states, not mere residents of arbitrarily drawn administrative districts.

I get that part of it. There’s a natural inclination among those who favor the original vision of states’ powers to keep hold of the idea that each state should vote as a a single entity. But that’s hardly the only reason that the founders put it in place. It was also a measure to ensure that the unwashed masses didn’t do something foolish. Further, it eased the logistical problems of reporting election results in a nation which still relied on horses to get official results transmitted over long distances. But America has grown past those problems with instant results being available to every cable TV viewer on a minute by minute basis in multicolored charts and holographs.

The people of the several states still get to elect their own representatives and nothing is changing that. The executive branch is unique, with the Oval Office resident representing everyone. And that, I think, is where even Foster’s persuasive argument falls apart. The President most certainly is not the “chief executive of a union of states — federated but sovereign — and not a conglomeration of people.” In fact, the idea of Washington being the boss of the individual states should be an idea abhorrent to most conservatives. But he is elected by the people of all the states.

As things stand now, your vote doesn’t really count unless you live in one of roughly ten states. If you live in New York or California, your vote doesn’t count. It’s going to Obama whether you like it or not. And if you live in Georgia or Alabama, your vote doesn’t count either. It’s going to Romney. And your voices are not heard by presidential candidates, They don’t visit you and they don’t pay attention to your concerns unless you live in one of those ten aforementioned states.

Other common arguments include the cry of, “National Recount!!!” (eleventy!) Why? Each state can still report their own numbers and determine how close the vote would be before a recount would be required. But instead of sending in electors with scraps of paper, they could record the total vote.

Finally, (you may applaud now, Bill Clinton fans..) what does the current system have to say on the issue of faithless electors? While no election has been overturned by them, there have been a few in the past several decades. And with the stakes this high – particularly in an electoral college vote as close as this one may well be – do you really like the odds? What if, as some observers are now speculating, Romney wins the popular vote and the electoral college vote comes down to a gap of only two or three in either direction? What if three or four “patriots” from states which have just flipped back into the red column decide that kicking out the historic figure of America’s first black president is too great a burden for history to bear and change their vote? A few slips of the pen and Barack Obama is on his way to a fully constitutionally supported second term, even if he lost both the popular vote and the EC.

This system is long past its Best Sold By date. Steve Israel is on the wrong track. He recognized that there is a problem, but the solution is to abandon a system which hasn’t served a real purpose in centuries. (And don’t even get me started on the possibility of turning over the decision to Congress – a body with an approval rating only slightly higher than foot fungus.) Let the candidates make their case to all of the American people. And let them decide national elections on a national level.

You may now fire up the torches and break out the pitchforks.


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Very few other countries with Presidents have a popular vote either. It is much more common for the President to be chosen by the legislative body or a select group of legislators.

Nutstuyu on October 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Obama is at a -5 approval rating in the latestRasmussen poll. I wonder if the Benghazi thing is starting to have an effect…

Frankly, I think things are building towards a landslide. I fear that if Romney needs Ohio to win, that he will wind up losing, because the Dems will steal the election. However, I don’t think that Romney is going to need Ohio. Romney likely will win Ohio, but it will gravy.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

O/T Everyone needs to read THIS.. Filthy treasonous bastards.

Naturally Curly on October 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Very few other countries with Presidents have a popular vote either. It is much more common for the President to be chosen by the legislative body or a select group of legislators.

Nutstuyu on October 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Separation of powers is probably the wisest innovation developed by the founders.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I’d prefer that the electoral votes be divided up proportionately to reflect the vote in each state. None of this ‘winner take all’ crap.

You’ll notice that Barry only goes to California to pick up cash. So all those conservatives who vote for Romney, get NOTHING from the state in the way of an electoral vote.

Nothing like having your cake and eating it too.

GarandFan on October 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

This system is long past its Best Sold By date. Steve Israel is on the wrong track. He recognized that there is a problem, but the solution is to abandon a system which hasn’t served a real purpose in centuries.

Do they no longer teach what a Republic is in schools any more or why our founding fathers setup the type of government we have? Our founding fathers purposely didn’t want to voters to decide the present because they didn’t have faith in them to make intelligent choices and if anything our current elections show how true this is.

I would suggest you read the Federalist papers and specifically 68.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._68

The final say, however, lies with the electors, who Hamilton notes are

“Men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”

JeffinSac on October 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Leave the Electoral College alone!!..:)

Dire Straits on October 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Villaraigosa.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM

The one who was totally lost with the voice votes at the DNC? He is POTUS material?

bayview on October 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Leave the Electoral College alone!!..:)

Dire Straits on October 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Phuckin’ A right.

I ghet up at almost the crack of noon, turn on HA and what do I find? Squishly goodness.

Lanceman on October 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

2000 was a debacle. In 2000, Florida was a debacle.

[ClintACK on October 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM]

Just to clarify and in keeping with the rest of your point.

Dusty on October 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM

No, he was right the first time. Everybody remembers Florida, but I seem to recall ballots in NM that were “found” in the trunk of somebody’s car. Things worked out in the end, but it could have been much worse if not for the EC.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Everyone praising the EC needs to come to grips with the fact that there’s a very good chance it will be directly responsible for re-electing Obama, thus ushering in the death of federalism.

pauljc on October 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The only consistent argument from a Democrat is that they’ll support whatever happens to give the Democrat an advantage in an election, although they aren’t really concerned with setting those rules in advance of the election. They’re just as content to see the vote counts and then set the rules.

RW_theoriginal on October 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Yep, like the Massachusetts legislature after the drunken slob passed.

slickwillie2001 on October 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Obama is at a -5 approval rating in the latestRasmussen poll. I wonder if the Benghazi thing is starting to have an effect…

Frankly, I think things are building towards a landslide. I fear that if Romney needs Ohio to win, that he will wind up losing, because the Dems will steal the election. However, I don’t think that Romney is going to need Ohio. Romney likely will win Ohio, but it will gravy.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

***Romney is probably MUCH smarter than any of my own sentiments on the issue but it’s just stunning to me that we on the right have FAILED to penetrate the mainstream of political dialogue. I know the mainstream media is traitorous but we’ve got to do better.

If we had not failed since Reagan to find a TRUE CONSERVATIVE we wouldn’t immediately concede California, and New York and other states.

WHY do we have to concede the Left Coast? Why don’t CONSERVATIVE FREEDOM values resonate in the blue states? We have to go on OFFENSE in the decades to come. We have to ditch this BUSH era self-castrated leadership in the gop and take this freedom agenda to the blue states. Romney should get 400 electoral votes, not be fighting for 270.

GET ON OFFENSE gop leadership!! The base is already there.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The electoral college is a *powerful* check on voter fraud.

The states were voter fraud are most likely to occur – those where the state is strongly controlled by one party – gain nothing by engaging in voter fraud. The battleground states increase in importance, BUT they are almost most likely to have a political class split between the parties so voter fraud would be tougher.

Take away the electoral college and CA will almost always be able to produce enough fake votes to provide the Democrat candidate with a win.

18-1 on October 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM

His name is Villaraigosa. I agree having this hack as POTUS is a frightening prospect.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I’ll vote for Governor Romneyez and his running mate Ryanaigosa this time around.

slickwillie2001 on October 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The fact that the electoral college has been different than the popular vote a few times actually proves it’s worth. It is a safety valve against a treasonous media, third party shenanigans, and even more census packing games. An all popular vote would make 3rd and 4th party candidates more relevant, but it would also mean we’d still have many presidents that didn’t get the support of at least half the population. Disgruntled figures could sabotage the process by running just to stick it to the party that didn’t elect them.

Money would be even more important. A Ross Perot type could give us 4 more years of this commie because of the money he could spend to divert votes from the GOP.

The two party system has its flaws, but the electoral college makes sure all states have a say in the President (even if a few consistently go to one party, which does change over time) and protects us from minority representation. With a multi-party system we would be “ruled” by the party most represented in the media and the populace areas. Right now that’s the crowd that wants the government to provide everything for “free.”

This is proven, not disproven, by the RINO’s in the GOP. The media and “political correctness” have driven the party one way. But the people, at the grassroots level, in towns and cities all over the country are pushing the elephant consistently back to where it should be. We can only do that because we can fight what’s “popular” or “chic” in places like eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania and shift things by 5 electoral votes, instead of having to change millions of votes in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York.

PastorJon on October 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

This is actually a no-brainer. If you like federalism you keep the electoral college. Eliminating it invites more federal intrusion into our lives. So embrace it, warts and all.

NotCoach on October 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

The one who was totally lost with the voice votes at the DNC? He is POTUS material?

bayview on October 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Yes, I think that was him. Obviously, no, he is not POTUS material. I think that KhunJoe’s point was that a big-city pol like Villaraigosa could get traction on a national level, but that the EC limits the ability of those kinds of pols to win the presidency. I’m so sure about that. Frankly, I think that we already have a Villaraigosa in the WH in Obama….

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Lanceman on October 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

rofl..:):)

Dire Straits on October 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Those 6 long years that a Senator serves would not be so long if the state legislature and the Governor could replace the Senator if he is going against the wishes of the State.

I’m beginning to think we need to do away with re-elections altogether, maybe with an amendment that prohibits serving consecutive terms. Well, maybe allow consecutive term limits in the House since they’re so short, but definitely make Senate and President non-consecutive. My main beef is that it seems Obama should have been primaried but wasn’t because of deferring to the incumbent. It wouldn’t have hurt to have GWB primaried either.

Nutstuyu on October 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM

I’d prefer that the electoral votes be divided up proportionately to reflect the vote in each state. None of this ‘winner take all’ crap.

You’ll notice that Barry only goes to California to pick up cash. So all those conservatives who vote for Romney, get NOTHING from the state in the way of an electoral vote.

Nothing like having your cake and eating it too.

GarandFan on October 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Nebraska and Maine already apportion their EV’s accordingly. 2 are awarded based on popular vote in the state, the rest are divided to the winner in each Congressional district.

Leave the EC as is. If the citizens really want a change they can change the way they apportion EC votes at the state level.

A change to the entire EC would require the states to adopt anyways. Why not just continue to allow the states to choose how they apportion their votes.

I live in Nebraska. My vote counts twice. Once for the popular winner and once for my district winner.

weaselyone on October 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

I don’t think owning property or serving in the military are fair stipulations.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I agree. I rent, but truly, I pay the property taxes for this apartment. How are you gonna draw that line?

ladyingray on October 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

The Electoral College – Fix it, scrap it or leave it alone?

Actually, let’s just rewrite and combine Articles I, II, and III. We can have an oligarchy of the 10 richest men in America running things. Obviously, if you can make the most money, you should certainly know how to run a country set up more or less upon a corporate structure. If you’re not wealthy, you’re too stupid and/or lazy to run anything.

While we’re at it, let’s look at some of these amendments and make them less confusing. Define “press” as radio, TV, magazine or newspaper defined as having a minimum circulation of X percent of the population…everyone else, shut the hell up, because obviously no one’s interested in what you have to say.

Let’s make it so you’re allowed only one firearm (since you only get one vote), and it can’t be bigger than a .22…preferably muzzle-loading ’cause you might be a crook, a drug dealer or a terrorist.

And of course the police should be able to search you or your property at will…’cause you might be a crook, a drug dealer or a terrorist.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

“I get that part of it. There’s a natural inclination among those who favor the original vision of states’ powers to keep hold of the idea that each state should vote as a a single entity.”

Jazzshaw

No you fail to get it entirely. The electoral college is the very distinction between a Democracy and Republic, and are not only dissimilar but antithetical, reflecting the sharp contrast between (a) The Majority Unlimited, in a Democracy, lacking any legal safeguard of the rights of The Individual and The Minority, and (b) The Majority Limited, in a Republic under a written Constitution safeguarding the rights of The Individual and The Minority; as we shall now see.

If you are for banishment of the electoral college, you are against states rights and for Federalism AND BIG government. The Founders used this as a part of the checks and balances, not some “logistical convenience”.

Simple concept and it is, in part, what makes this country exceptional.

DevilsPrinciple on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

O/T:

Ohio. Just a sample of some good work done at this site.

Lake County:

A 2008 analysis of Ohio presidential election results from 1960 to 2004 found that no other county more closely follows the statewide Ohio voting pattern. Lake County doesn’t always vote with the winner, but consistently is closer to the winner’s Ohio vote percentage than any other Ohio county.

Salon: Can Obama hold on in Ohio?

“To do so, he’ll have to win over Lake County, which has been besieged by ads and campaign canvassers for months…”

2008 Lake County final vote (all) tally:

Obama: 60,155 – 49.58%
McCain: 59,142 – 48.74%
Differential: 0.84%

2008:

Absentee ballots requested: 51,266
AB returned: 17,618 (34.4%)
Democrats returned: 7,343 (41.7%)
Republicans returned: 10,275 (58.3%)

In 2008, 14% of Democrats returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 20% of Republicans did.

2012:

Absentee ballots requested: 37,590
AB returned: 14,942
Democrats returned: 6,345 (42.5%)
Republicans returned: 8,597 (57.5%)

In 2012 so far, 17% of Democrats have returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 23% of Republicans have.

Wood County:

Wood has sided with the winner in every presidential election since 1992.

2008 Wood County final vote (all) tally:
Obama: 32,956 (52%)
McCain: 28,819 (46%)
Differential: 4,137
2008:
Absentee ballots requested: 15,394 (61.7%)
AB returned: 9,495
Democrats returned: 5,491 (57.8%)
Republicans returned: 4,004 (42.2%)

In 2008, 36% of Democrats returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 26% of Republicans did.
2012:

Absentee ballots requested: 14,013
AB returned: 8,207 (58.6%)
Democrats returned: 4,192 (51.2%)
Republicans returned: 4,015 (48.9%)

In 2012 so far, 30% of Democrats have returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 29% of Republicans have.

Tuscawaras County:

It, too, has gone with the winner in every presidential election since 1992.

2008 Tuscawaras County final vote (all) tally:
Obama: 20,957 (50%)
McCain: 19,940 (48%)
Differential: 1,017

2008:
Absentee ballots requested: 12,501
AB returned: 7,956 (63.6%)
Democrats returned: 5,521 (69.4%)
Republicans returned: 2,435 (30.6%)

In 2008, 42% of Democrats returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 14% of Republicans did.
2012:

Absentee ballots requested: 12,313
AB returned: 4,370 (35.5%)
Democrats returned: 1,940 (44.4%)
Republicans returned: 2,430 (55.6%)

In 2012 so far, 16% of Democrats have returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 20% of Republicans have.

This looks very very close.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Will that include Romney conceding, and then taking back his concession?

And will it include the Republicans enlisting the aid of Activist Republican Justices at the state Supreme Court level to try and change the election laws, and thus change the election results, after the election has already taken place?

F-

Del Dolemonte on October 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM

If we abolish the EC, nobody who lives outside a major population center will ever see a candidate for President or a TV ad again. We will have government of, by, and for the cities. Guess who wins those elections from now on, and who pays for the resulting urban-focused government? This is the surest and swiftest path to another Civil War in this country, as the smaller and rural states will be tyrannized to the point of secession.

rockmom on October 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

You can see this on a smaller scale already in Illinois and other states with very large urban centers. When running in Illinois statewide, right now, the D candidate really only needs to run in Crook County and win a small handful of other counties to carry the state. As long as the turnout and the margin of victory is big enough in Crook, you don’t need many other areas to win statewide.

In the 2010 statewide elections for governor and US senator, Gov. Quinn (D) only won four counties out of 102 that make up the state. Sen. Kirk (R) won all the counties except for three. Which county was overwhelmingly the deciding factor? You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.

italianguy626 on October 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I really won’t care if Obama wins the EC and loses the popular vote. He will have to conduct himself and his second term very, very differently, knowing that the people did not give him a mandate for his class warfare stagnation policies. Losing the popular vote will sting him badly and maybe teach him a little humility about his own political prowess.

rockmom on October 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

No, if the scenario you describe comes to pass, O’bamna will not show humility in his second term.

Because He Won.

Del Dolemonte on October 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

And if Obama loses, you liberals threaten violence and riots.

Liam on October 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Make electors reflect Congress. Electors equal to the number of Reps divided proportional to state vote totals and an equal number (for the State) winner take all. Maintains some level of republic v direct democracy, while making all states relevant again.

Empiricist on October 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I don’t think owning property or serving in the military are fair stipulations.

Badger40 on October 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I agree. I rent, but truly, I pay the property taxes for this apartment. How are you gonna draw that line?

ladyingray on October 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Again paying personal income or personal gains taxes was also an option.

Paying rent AND paying property taxes is the exception and not the rule, laws should never be based on exceptions.

Sorry but if a person cannot own property, serve or pay of their personal wealth/income to the government then no they should not vote imo.

I find it interesting you pay property taxes one something you do not own, or is it the owner requires you pay the property taxes of which he is actually still responsible for?

Skwor on October 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM

This looks very very close.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Judging from your limite data, it seems like the Dems aren’t winning the early voting by large enough margins to withstand the edge that the Republicans will have on Election Day.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Naturally Curly – Thank you for link, I started to read it and will finish later. I want to go outside and do some pre-storm prep to my garden. Everything will break, I am going to remove stakes from too tall plants so that they don’t become weapons if the winds are as bad as they expect.

We should keep Electoral College, our Founding Fathers though of almost everything, but I don’t think they expected the fourth estate to stop doing its job of actual reporting of events. Sad that to get the truth of what is really going on in our country, we have to go to British and Canadian newspaper websites.

CBS has done a good job on LIbya, I’ll give S. Attkisson an A.

carolt2 on October 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

In 2008, 42% of Democrats returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 14% of Republicans did.
2012:

Absentee ballots requested: 12,313
AB returned: 4,370 (35.5%)
Democrats returned: 1,940 (44.4%)
Republicans returned: 2,430 (55.6%)

In 2012 so far, 16% of Democrats have returned their ballots, as a percentage of the absentee ballots requested. 20% of Republicans have.

This looks very very close.

PappyD61 on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I would argue it looks like a blowout with the dems suffering greatly, the difference for 2008 to 2012 is crushing.

Skwor on October 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

If Obama wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we’re going to witness the most hilarious complete reversal of every partisan from 2000.

libfreeordie on October 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Actually, I think that such reversals would tend to be much more likely on the left, because liberals seem to hold that the ends justify the means as a general principle.

And no…. It wouldn’t be “hilarious” to subject this country to four more years of Obama’s inept stewardship.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

All of the problems talked about are solved by having the electoral votes of each state divided proportionally instead of winner take all.

If you eliminate the EC and replace it with a shallow national popularity contest then the incumbent will never lose. Personal campaign visits in states will become obsolete and only things that make national news will matter. You might as well have call in votes at the debates like on American Idol. strategic campaign battles waged across states and meeting the citizens in person? That is over. End of story.

Resolute on October 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM

It was also a measure to ensure that the unwashed masses didn’t do something foolish.

Didn’t work.

But before we go scrapping the EC, let’s try just basing the number of electors a state gets on the number of citizens living within its borders, instead of the number of persons.

Barneys Bullet on October 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM

And now that I’ve stirred up the pot of the Senate being appointed instead of directly elected, let’s move on to the House of Representatives.

This group that has recreated themselves as a “Super Class” of people by locking in the number of representatives at 435.
We are no longer represented in the apportioned ratio as intended (1/30,000) by the Founders. The intent was to keep a similar ratio of Representatives to the Represented so as to not dilute each of our votes. With average population size of a district now at 600,000+, we have created that Super Class of “Congressman” who now exempt themselves from the laws that they create and generally look down their noses at us peasants.

This has given us entrenched political animals who make a career of “government” instead of the original intent of the “farmer-representative” or “printer-representative” or “doctor-representative”…people who feel it is their duty to serve a term or two and then go back home to resume their true profession/occupation.

TexasEngineer on October 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I used to think the EC should go but then I learned about its purpose and I think it’s fine just as is. I hope you’re wrong about this election being close and then this whole argument is for naught. And why do YOU believe that? Just because some biased media people have nothing better to do than imbibe in wild speculation as if it was an adult beverage doesn’t make it any closer to reality. And then you inject fraud into the equation which shouldn’t be allowed to stand anyway but fraud isn’t about the process, fraud is about people who refuse to be honest.

I also object to your assuming that certain states will always vote a particular way. When was the last time you looked at maps of previous presidential elections? You’ve assumed that NY and CA always vote Dem so then explain what happened in 1972, 1980 and 1984? Also, in 1968, 1976 and 1988, CA voted opposite NY, as did IL (yeah, HWBush in ’88) another assumed Dem bastion and don’t concede IL to Obama this year either–that may be a November surprise. Georgia and Alabama have not always voted with the same party either or with the big two. Both states voted 3rd party George Wallace in 1968, Nixon in 1972, Carter in 1976, and they voted differently from one another in 1980 and 1992. I really loathe it when people tell me my vote doesn’t count.

Take a look at maps of presidential election results starting in 1880, see how the red and blue are basically transposed between north and south. Then up pops the 1912 map which looks like someone broke out the crayola box. Follow the maps through the 1900s and you’ll see swings from red to blue to red to blue. Many of today’s dyed-in-the-wool red states, especially southern states, were the opposite in the early 1900s and many of today’s dyed-in-the-wool northern blue states were red. What the maps say is that it can be circumstances or candidates themselves that turn the tide, and voting for native sons also seems to be popular.

To me it seems the problem lies not with the process but with the people. In all of America we got too comfortable with our prosperity and we went to sleep. We take our freedom for granted and have more and more blindly given our power over to the wheels of government, forgetting what our form of government is. There’s been a lot of polarization in the last handful of elections and too many people have been bribed and brainwashed. We’ve forgotten that it’s We The People who are in charge, not da’ gubmint, so we need to all wake up and start looking at what’s what, how we really want to live, and take responsibility for ourselves. We need to start expecting our elected officials to do their jobs, stop living it up and getting rich on the taxpayers of this country, and most importantly, we need to hold them to a higher standard and kick their selfish lazy butts to the curb if they don’t by voting them out of office.

Many processes like the EC were put in place by the founders to protect us mostly from ourselves. The problem is too many Americans have been convinced that their vote doesn’t count–a total fallacy–and we just don’t have any self-respect anymore.

stukinIL4now on October 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I am not closed to the idea of reforming the electoral college–it’s worth remembering that even the Founders revisited their creation after the election of 1800 and the Jefferson/Burr tie.

With that said, those who advocate changing the current system should take into account that you might be changing more than you realize. Proponents of changing or scraping the electoral college always seem to assume that the two party presidential system would still be intact with a direct, popular vote system. But what if the two party presidential system evolved, at least in part, because of the realities of the winner-take-all set up of the electoral college? It’s not beyond possibility that you could have three, four, even five candidates with double digit numbers on election day. Even if you set up a run-off system, as you almost certainly would need to do, there’s no guarantee that you wouldn’t get a fringe candidate as one of the final two.

Again, I’m not at all closed to the idea of rethinking how we select our Presidents. But before we do so, let’s all refamiliarize ourselves with the Law of Unintended Consequences.

pdc on October 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I say leave it. He who messes with the genius of the Founders does so at the peril of us all. There are disadvantages to every method. We should not devolve our Republic to a Democracy.

servative on October 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Obama will suspend the elections due to mass flooding/ power outages. He will keep making excuses why it is inappropriate to hold elections until he can find a legal justification to have the EC vote without a popular vote. Crazy?

tdarrington on October 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

A national popular vote would just shift the places folks campaign from the ‘swing’ states to the coasts and Texas. I prefer it this way. I like that a candidate has to pay attention to smaller states like say New Hampshire and Iowa instead of California and Texas.

I like the system as is. It spreads them out a bit more than the alternative.

Dawnsblood on October 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I thought this was supposed to be a conservative site? Please drop all pretenses that it is.

“And let them decide national elections on a national level.”

We don’t have a national election.

Dante on October 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM

The electoral college prevents any one state from gaining any more relative influence than their representation in Congress. I like that idea because it prevents disenfranchisement of smaller states.

If every state had the Maine / Nebraska / New Hampshire method of allocating electoral votes we would not be having this discussion because the electoral votes would more closely reflect the popular vote and it would be practically impossible for a candidate to win one but lose the other. That doesn’t require any changes at the federal level.

crosspatch on October 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I don’t want to be the prisoner of New York and California.

Cindy Munford on October 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM

No, he was right the first time. Everybody remembers Florida, but I seem to recall ballots in NM that were “found” in the trunk of somebody’s car. Things worked out in the end, but it could have been much worse if not for the EC.

ghostwriter on October 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Ugh, I was reinforcing his point that the EC was important, thus, my “in keeping with the rest of your point”, where he said right after “2000 was a debacle” :

Can you imagine how much worse it would have been without the electoral college?

The popular vote difference was about half a million votes.

As you say, it worked out anyway so, if Florida had gone to Gore, how would the status of NM been important on an Electoral College level? It went to Gore. If they stole NM (5 EC), how would that matter to the outcome in Florida (25). How could the election in 2000 have been much worse?

No, the reason 2000 was a debacle and why everybody remembers Florida, including SCOTUS is because of Florida … AND because of the electoral college. In fact, that is the reason JS argues for eliminating the electoral college, i.e., that it will avoid debacles like Florida, not, NM, a state that would have had no affect on the outcome where the would have otherwise been decided by the 543K PV margin (equivalent to the entire vote of NM) Gore received.

Dusty on October 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I really loathe it when people tell me my vote doesn’t count.

Are your electoral delegates required by law to cast their vote for the person who received the most votes in your state?

If not, then your vote for President does not count. At all.

From the National Archives website:

Are there restrictions on who the Electors can vote for?

There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. Some State laws provide that so-called “faithless Electors”; may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

Imagine a case where virtually no one in a state votes. You can have more electoral votes for a candidate than were cast in the entire state. I get that that is an absurd scenario, but yet physically possible. In that scenario, a single vote could have been cast for say, Romney, in California. Yet, Obama receives all of CAs electoral votes. Perfectly legal. If that was your vote, did it count?

BobMbx on October 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Given that we live in a deeply divided country, why waste any energy on trying to get a super majority to agree on any issue?

Laurence on October 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM

If not, then your vote for President does not count. At all.

BobMbx on October 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM

It never did.

Dante on October 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Just like the method of selecting senators should not have been changed with the 17th Amendment (senators were once appointed by the states to represent the states and were subject to immediate recall) so to the electoral college should be maintained. Our Founders were smarter than the political pundits and manipulators of today.

The method of electing the President actually represents an example of the fact that the Federal government was formed as an agent of the States. If the Constitution pertained to the whole people, then the President would be elected directly by a majority of the American people under a national format. Instead, the President is elected by electors chosen in a manner prescribed by the legislatures of the several States under a federal format. In fact, the State legislatures have the constitutional authority to completely exclude the people of the several States from the election process by simply appointing their electors. The method of electing the President, the Electoral College, operates as an institution of the States because the President is the chief executive officer of the government of the States through the legal compact of our Constitution.

As Robert Greenslade notes in his analysis of the electoral colllege system;

“The Electoral College is a Key Component of Our Federal System of Government and a Check on the Abuse of Power

In the North Carolina Convention debating ratification of the proposed constitution, William Davie stated that the States control the election of the president and this would be a check on the federal government:

“Is not this government a nerveless mass, a dead carcass, without the executive power? Let your representatives be the most vicious demons that ever existed; let them plot against the liberties of America; let them conspire against its happiness, – all their machinations will not prevail if not put in execution. By whom are their laws and projects to be executed? By the President. How is he created? By electors appointed by the people under the direction of the legislature – by a union of the interest of the people and the state governments. The state governments can put a veto, at any time, on the general government, by ceasing to continue the executive power.” Sadly – We Have Lost This Power!

James Wilson made the following remarks in the Pennsylvania Convention:
“The President of the United States is to be chosen by electors appointed in the different states, in such manner as the legislature shall direct. Unless there be legislatures to appoint electors, the President cannot be chosen; the idea, therefore, of the existing government of the states, is pre-supposed in the very mode of constituting the legislative and the executive departments of the general government. The same principle will apply to the judicial department. The judges are to be nominated by the President, and appointed by him, with the advice and consent of the Senate. This shows that the judges cannot exist without the President…”

The importance of the Electoral College in our federal system of government was made crystal clear by Abel Upshur in his 1868 book, “The Federal Government: Its True Nature and Character;”
“So absolutely is the Federal Government dependent on the States for its existence at all times, that it may be absolutely dissolved, without the least violence, by the simple refusal of a part of the States to act. If, for example, a few States, having a majority of electoral votes, should refuse to appoint electors of President and Vice-President, there would be no constitutional Executive, and the whole machinery of government would stop. ”

The ability of the States to exercise this control over the federal government has been diluted by the 20th Amendment, which grants Congress the power to appoint a president until a selection is made. However, it is clear that the Founders intended the Electoral College system to be a key component of the federal system of government because the States could use the electoral process to check the abuse of power.”

We don’t need demicans, republicrats, or RINOs tampering with the Constitution anymore. In fact, we need a repeal of the 17th Amendment and as Edwin Vieira (PhD, JD, Harvard) notes in his work; “Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution” the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act – rescinded, nullified, or otherwise made to cease to exist.

Falcon46 on October 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Obama will suspend the elections due to mass flooding/ power outages. He will keep making excuses why it is inappropriate to hold elections until he can find a legal justification to have the EC vote without a popular vote. Crazy?

tdarrington on October 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yes, it is crazy. The President doesn’t have the authority to suspend elections.
If he tried it, do really think he would get away with it?

single stack on October 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

…don’t like the winner take all feature in states where someone gets all the electoral votes…but wins only 49% of individual votes

KOOLAID2 on October 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I think it’s long past time for option D: Tar and feather the people who insist on asking at every election if the electoral college is finally outdated.

The answer hasn’t changed in the last four years.

There Goes The Neighborhood on October 27, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I think it is time to do away with the current winner take all electoral college (with caution however). The reasons are that when it was originally set up people did not move that much from state to state, and people were much more loyal to their home state. I am normally a defender of state’s rights, but in this case it does not apply. The president’s job is to enforce federal laws (not state laws) and to defend the nation, not a select few states.

Here is a good example of why I think the EC should be done away with. Iowa! Most people (even a lot of Democrats) know corn ethanol is beyond stupid. You are taking an important staple crop and using it in fuel that only cause food prices and gas prices to rise. However, It has taken years to fight back against Ethanol subsidies and like some monster in a horror movie it always seems to come back to life. Presidential candidates spend an inordinate amount of time twisting themselves into pretzels over this issue all because Iowa is a swing state. One state should not be allowed to hold the rest of the country hostage over an issue. It is one thing if Iowan congressmen manage to get support for this in congress. That is their job to support their state and represent it, but the President, who represents all Americans, should not be bound by a single state this way.

I live in Maryland and will vote Republican, but my presidential vote will not count in this election (it is not a fallacy…it is reality in this election). Now that does not mean we need to go to a pure popular vote, I would be happy with going to a proportional EC. By going to a proportional EC, it will force the candidates to visit many more states and regions of this country, which would be a good thing.

I am also for term limits on Supreme Court and Federal Judges (15 years), and for term limits in Congress. The federal government should not be a life time job. The founding fathers created a wonderful system, they also intended that system to evolve with the times (with caution and if needed). People have found ways to game the system they created at the expense of the majority and the country’s health.

William Eaton on October 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM

The electoral college prevents any one state from gaining any more relative influence than their representation in Congress. I like that idea because it prevents disenfranchisement of smaller states.

crosspatch on October 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Which is why ethanol subsidies exist and we don’t develop a serious foreign policy with Cuba.

Oh wait…

I don’t want to be the prisoner of New York and California.

Cindy Munford on October 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM

They would hold less political weight than they do now by electoral mass. Instead of a guaranteed 84 votes going to the left we’d have a 2/3:1/3 split and actually represent the opinions of every member in that state. Essentially every metropolitan area would be a campaign focus, as opposed to specific metropolitan areas and random districts in specific swing states. Either way you’ll have selective campaigning. A popular vote would at least guarantee a national election as opposed to one centered on battleground state issues.

The original EC was intended to keep presidential control in Congress because the founding fathers in all their infallibility did not see political parties forming and believed that no true winner would ever come from presidential elections. We’ve already changed the EC from what was originally intended along with altering the way ballots are established because the original system had already failed by the time Jefferson was elected. Why we keep an anachronistic system that has already failed to reflect the will of the people at large four times and continually denies forty states numerical participation in the most important election in the country is beyond me.

Kriggly on October 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Yes, it is crazy. The President doesn’t have the authority to suspend elections.
If he tried it, do really think he would get away with it?

single stack on October 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The President doesn’t have the authority to declare the Senate in recess. Yet…….

BobMbx on October 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

As a citizen of a rural state, it must be understood that the electoral college exists not merely to recognize the states’ status in our republic but to protect the smaller and less populous states from the complete domination of large states and urban centers. Because the electoral college consists of one elector for each senate representative as well as each member of the house, small and rural states have a weighted voice. For example, here in WV our former Senator, Byrd, cluelessly wanted to do away with the electoral college giving the people of his own state less voice. This betrayal was applauded in places like NYC and LA. The real purpose of the electoral college is to preserve the voice of citizens in small states not to give everyone equal voice.

If you want to do away with the electoral college because you foolishly believe that we are a democracy rather than a republic, then why be hypocritical and stop there . . . do away with the disproportionate representation in congress . . . do away with the Senate. It is the same argument, rural citizens are not represented proportionately in the Senate. Let’s only have one chamber of Congress, the House of Representatives.

Our journey to the dark side will be complete!!! Er . . . I mean to a democracy. Majority rules, the rule of law abandoned and rights cease to exist. Ok, maybe I really did mean the dark side.

Stephen L. Hall on October 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Yep, like the Massachusetts legislature after the drunken slob passed.

slickwillie2001 on October 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Some of us drunken slobs resent that association…

affenhauer on October 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Unfortunately Mr. Shaw, all you’ve done is create a system where the media has even more power to elect who they want! What the Founders did was create a system that was the lesser of the evils. A straight electoral Democracy, has been proven to fail, because of the power that the Jihadi media takes on. All they have to do is create & seed the proper Lie and they have all the power. Who thinks the Morons who listen to the Jihadi media, should have the electoral control of the Country? There would be no need for campaigning & convincing people, even from swing states. The Leftist Campaign Staffers we laughingly refer to as reporters/media, will have all the power to influence Nationally & even local media will mean nothing. It’s time to fight & make the Obama Jihadi media weaker, not stronger. The jihadi media have been proven to be untrustworthy and Anti-American principles. Their interest is in imposing their Socialist/Marxist Ideology & they don’t care about anyone or anything else. If some Americans Die in the process, well, so be it. This is why the Obama jihadi media needs to be hit hard. So, the next time an Attack is called for by the left, the jihadis won’t feel encouraged & emboldened by the cowardice of the politicians on the right. Here’s how to take on the Obama Jihadi media & Win: http://paratisiusa.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-those-who-should-know.html?spref=tw

God Bless America!

paratisi on October 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Yes, it is crazy. The President doesn’t have the authority to suspend elections.
If he tried it, do really think he would get away with it?

single stack on October 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Irrelevant: he thinks he can, and for good reason…

affenhauer on October 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Try this:

For presidential elections each state gets one electoral vote, making South Dakota just as valuable as California.

Until we elect a President based on a popular, national vote the above method is the only fair way to do it.

BobMbx on October 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Yes, it is crazy. The President doesn’t have the authority to suspend elections.
If he tried it, do really think he would get away with it?

single stack on October 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Yes. He would frame it as “fairness” and “disenfranchisement” and “we just want a level playing field, everybody to have a fair shot, have his voice heard.”

The Honey Boo-Boo watchers will eat it up.

tdarrington on October 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM

As a citizen of a rural state, it must be understood that the electoral college exists not merely to recognize the states’ status in our republic but to protect the smaller and less populous states from the complete domination of large states and urban centers. Because the electoral college consists of one elector for each senate representative as well as each member of the house, small and rural states have a weighted voice. For example, here in WV our former Senator, Byrd, cluelessly wanted to do away with the electoral college giving the people of his own state less voice. This betrayal was applauded in places like NYC and LA. The real purpose of the electoral college is to preserve the voice of citizens in small states not to give everyone equal voice.

A proportional EC would still protect rural areas, because all EC votes would count the same, no matter if they came from NY or WV. In fact it would allow Republicans to pick up EC votes in rural and conservative areas in liberal states like NY and California. Many rural issues in general are the same. By keeping the current system you are depriving them of their vote and thus decreasing the power of rural America. Smaller states already have a major influence in our federal government…it is called the Senate. BTW Byrd did a wonderful job of funneling federal tax dollars to his state…I know because many of my relatives live in WV. He did not need the current all or nothing EC to do that.

William Eaton on October 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Isn’t there a plan creeping through various state legislatures to award the state’s EC votes to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of the state outcome?

tdarrington on October 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Very few other countries with Presidents have a popular vote either. It is much more common for the President to be chosen by the legislative body or a select group of legislators.

Nutstuyu on October 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Yeah, but in most of the countries that elect their president indirectly (Germany, Italy, Israel, India, etc) for most part the president doesn’t have executive power, these countries have a prime minister who is actually the head of the executive. In Germany, Italy and Israel the office of the president is largely symbolic, it’s the prime miister who is in charge of the government and the prime minister is usually nominated by the party who won the majority of votes in the parliamentray elections (that is actually true for the UK too, only they have a constitutional monarchy there) with the president formally endorsing the PM. Personally I prefer the French system where the president is elected by direct vote, only problem being that there is no way to basically elect the president in one round of elections, since rarely one of them gets the majority of votes in the first round, so there’s almost always a second round of elections (and yes, it’s costly, especially in a country the size of rhe US)…..another peoblem problem with this in th US would be that people won’t drag their azzes to the polls twice within a month, heck, they hardly vote once, as things are now :)…

jimver on October 27, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Electoral college should be left alone.
It works just fine.
We need to stop the fraud that occurs and stop early voting!
If you can’t get off your fanny and go to the polls on election day you should not vote!
Absentee voting is different and should continue.

As much as I hate the thought of an Ohio holding all the cards, I’d hate for people in Kansas to be outvoted by California…

Electoral college is there to protect the votes of the smallest population.

Delsa on October 27, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Further, it eased the logistical problems of reporting election results in a nation which still relied on horses to get official results transmitted over long distances. But America has grown past those problems with instant results being available to every cable TV viewer on a minute by minute basis in multicolored charts and holographs.

I give you… the 2000 presidential race. Just a few counties with recounts begot layers of court challenges that dragged out the resoilution for weeks. All cable TV did was create the illusion of a stolen race for viewing pleasure.

And those recounts were done where the winner had a clear majority, spurred on by a theory that undercounted votes would also be in the majority (for Gore) and would net the additional few hundred votes necessary to win the national election.

Now imagine a recount in every voting precinct in the nation. Imagine all the cities where the dead vote suddenly becoming relevant to the outcome of a national election. Imagine every accusation of voter fraud and voter intimidation being taken to court. We’ll not know who’s president until his term is over, UNLESS a court selects/annoints him as winner. Which would be a disaster.

Campaigns will be divided into two season – pre-election to garner maximum support and post-election to squeeze as many votes in or out as required for victory. We don’t need that.

shuzilla on October 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I live in Maryland and will vote Republican, but my presidential vote will not count in this election (it is not a fallacy…it is reality in this election). Now that does not mean we need to go to a pure popular vote, I would be happy with going to a proportional EC. By going to a proportional EC, it will force the candidates to visit many more states and regions of this country, which would be a good thing.

William Eaton on October 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Agreed. . Changing to a popular vote here would be a bit too abrupt and disruptive, if you think abiut the fact that – take the example of France – there would hardly be a presidential candidate winning a majority of votes in the first round of elections (especially since there would probably be a proliferation of presidential candidates in the new system) – and most likely a second round of electios would have to be organized that is pretty costly and disruptive and time consumming. Not good for a country the size of the US. But proportional EC sounds like a great idea.

jimver on October 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

A proportional EC would still protect rural areas, because all EC votes would count the same, no matter if they came from NY or WV. In fact it would allow Republicans to pick up EC votes in rural and conservative areas in liberal states like NY and California. Many rural issues in general are the same. By keeping the current system you are depriving them of their vote and thus decreasing the power of rural America. Smaller states already have a major influence in our federal government…it is called the Senate. BTW Byrd did a wonderful job of funneling federal tax dollars to his state…I know because many of my relatives live in WV. He did not need the current all or nothing EC to do that.

You are incorrect, a proportional EC would allow for greater urban dominance as urban population densities are already media centers and centers of public spending, much like the Romans the cities would be the source of political power, it would just move the divide from small states vs. large states to a more pronounced divide between urban and rural.

And BTW, Byrd did a wonderful job of funneling federal dollars to out of state contractors/political donors, WV saw little if any of this money. I know because I live in WV.

You really want to help correct this problem, work to repeal the 17th amendment not the Electoral College.

Stephen L. Hall on October 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

In this debate, I sometimes think there’s a bit too much focus on the Electoral College itself.

No, that’s not a contradiction in terms.

A simple question: Why did the Framers want choosing a President to be made on a state-by-state basis?

Good explanation here: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will110300.asp

Owen Glendower on October 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Leave the Electoral College alone!!..:)

Dire Straits on October 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!..:)

SparkPlug on October 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM

The system we have-
Paper ballots-
Voter ID- which means ID issued only to those individuals with verified citizenship and voter eligibility-

Works for me.

M240H on October 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM

One State – One Vote
Problem fixed.
Should fat people’s vote count more than skinny people’s vote? No.
Each state should have one electoral vote towards the national election. True Federalism.

redhead on October 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

How about allocating each congressional district individually. It would be easy to administrate and would make all states relevant.

netster007x on October 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

It’s silly to discuss getting rid of the Electoral College because it’s never going to happen. To change the system in any way of course will require a Constitutional Amendment, ratified by 75% of the states; 13 states say no and we’re stuck with what we’ve got. With all the attention to their desires and millions of dollars being spent in Ohio, Virginia and Florida there’s no way they would vote to fundamentally alter it. Small states are given stronger representation under the EC (Wyoming had 0.2% of the population but had 0.55% of the power here the current system) with the breakeven point on EC power vs. population is somewhere around Colorado so those states should all oppose it. Then there’s places like Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa where they are overrepresented in the Electoral College AND are close so they get attention paid to them, and they will scream bloody murder if anyone tried to do away with the it. In short, way more than 13 states are benefitting because of the current system so there’s basically no way it’s ever going to be done away with completely.

alchemist19 on October 27, 2012 at 2:10 PM

All this talk about abolishing the EC is balderdash. Does anyone really think that enough states would vote for it?

Physics Geek on October 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I agree.
Any candidate that wins California and New York should get 60 electoral votes taken off his total.

TexasJew on October 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The EC is fine. Wanting to change the rules because our guy might lose under the current rules is pretty pathetic if you ask me. Frankly, it’s something I would expect from liberals.

While no election has been overturned by them, there have been a few in the past several decades. And with the stakes this high – particularly in an electoral college vote as close as this one may well be – do you really like the odds?

So basically, we need to address a problem that has never been an issue in the entire history of this nation? Yeah, like I said earlier, sounds like the kind of thing you’d expect from liberals. And the kicker is the changes you recommend wouldn’t keep Obama from getting elected under the scenario you laid out anyway, unless you live in a political fantasyland where the rules changes you’re calling for actually had a chance in hell of being put in place 10 days before the next election.

xblade on October 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I really won’t care if Obama wins the EC and loses the popular vote. He will have to conduct himself and his second term very, very differently, knowing that the people did not give him a mandate for his class warfare stagnation policies. Losing the popular vote will sting him badly and maybe teach him a little humility about his own political prowess.

rockmom

You started drinking early this morning, didn’t you?

Why don’t CONSERVATIVE FREEDOM values resonate in the blue states? We have to go on OFFENSE in the decades to come. We have to ditch this BUSH era self-castrated leadership in the gop and take this freedom agenda to the blue states. Romney should get 400 electoral votes, not be fighting for 270.

GET ON OFFENSE gop leadership!! The base is already there.

PappyD61

Yes, states that consistently elect people like Governor Moonbeam, Nancy Pelosi, Barbera Boxer, etc, are just dying for conservatism to break out, lol. Meanwhile, back in the real world, blue states are blue for a reason, and it ain’t because they’re craving conservatism. You started drinking early too, didn’t you?

xblade on October 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Anyone wanting to do away with the electoral college is an ahistorical moron and should be whipped. Anyone actually proposing legislation which would circumvent or obviate the electoral college or propose any sort of democrat-socialist direct popular vote replacement of the EC needs to be hanged from the nearest gas station awning.
The Founders of this representative republic very deliberately eschewed the mobocracy of direct popular vote, specifically to PREVENT the very situation you idiots are trying to bring about. Shame on your ignorance. Shame on your willingness to grasp at the idiocy of direct democracy.

rayra on October 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

I have a problem with attempting to proportionally delegate electoral votes to each state according to population. My vote in California always seems wasted. Why not just give one “point” for each county in the United States, then one electoral vote for each state. The winner of the super majority of states and counties becomes President. In the event of a split, the popular vote becomes the tie breaker. And/or include the majority of Congressional districts won in addition to counties and states to be used as the tie breaker.

Decoski on October 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

One State – One Vote
Problem fixed.
Should fat people’s vote count more than skinny people’s vote? No.
Each state should have one electoral vote towards the national election. True Federalism.

redhead on October 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I completely agree. I would like to add counties and possibly Congressional districts to that as well. See my post above.

Decoski on October 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM

I’m with those that say keep the Electoral College. Without it, urban centers will determine the Presidential winner every time, to the detriment of small and rural states. Even the so-called compromise of apportioning electoral votes to match the popular vote undermines the need for a president to appeal to a diverse electorate.

The only election reform I’d like to see is a national Photo ID requirement (easier now that driver’s licenses must comply with the Secure ID law). Proof of citizenship could be rolled into the ID law–legal residents who are not citizens could just have different color cards so they couldn’t be used to vote (much as teenage drivers here in Delaware have different color cards than those with no restrictions).

mathgal60 on October 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM

someone may have already said this, but: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. simple as that.

AndStatistics on October 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM

One State – One Vote
Problem fixed.
Should fat people’s vote count more than skinny people’s vote? No.
Each state should have one electoral vote towards the national election. True Federalism.

redhead on October 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

The Articles of Confederation were superior to the Constitution in many ways.

And we don’t have a national election; we have a federal election. What you are describing is a federal election.

Dante on October 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Just to add my support to what’s already been said, election of the president based on a direct popular vote is another way to weaken federalism.

It seems like my political activity is more focused on preventing the federal govt from imposing solutions than on developing solutions at the local and state level. I’m not sure which is the cause and which is the effect.

marlin77 on October 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM

The best argument for getting rid of the electoral college is that it’s out of sync with “one man, one vote” but the Senate is far more so. So lets get rid of the Senate.

VorDaj on October 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM

The Articles of Confederation were superior to the Constitution in many ways.

Dante on October 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Much like a “rope of sand” is superior to a steel cable for holding up a bridge.

You’d probably have been one of the brainless bumpkins in the Whiskey Rebellion.

MelonCollie on October 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Leave it alone. The electoral college was designed to protect the integrity of our Presidential election. What needs reform is the safeguards to prevent fraud and manipulation. There has been massive manipulation in the swing states, such as influx of questionable capital, temporary job creation, gas price manipulation, influx of new residents.

One thing that would help is voter id and one year residency. Person can still vote in old state of residence by absentee ballot but must have multiple proofs of continuing residency in new state.

eaglesdontflock on October 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Can’t abide the junking of the electoral college.

First off, it’s not the Federal Government’s call to make. Any change in this process needs to go through the state houses, like a constitutional amendment. Any suggestion that the House, Senate, and President alone can make this change is repugnant (not that JazzShaw said that here, but this is for others with a dubious understanding of things).

Second, it further erodes the notion that the states are sovereign entities. This principle has already been fatally compromised, but at least at its current “lip service” level, campaigns can be launched to restore what was lost. Take away the electoral college, and the concept of one giant governmental bloc as opposed to fifty smaller ones takes hold permanently.

The best argument for getting rid of the electoral college is that it’s out of sync with “one man, one vote” but the Senate is far more so. So lets get rid of the Senate.

VorDaj on October 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM

I, for my part, agree with junking the Senate in its current form.

We have, in effect, two Houses of Representatives, one with a logical proportion in relation to population, the other with an illogical one. The Senate was supposed to allow for representation of state houses in the Federal Government through the appointment of Senators to the Federal body. It was supposed to be a parliamentary body to provide a check on the potential abuses from the famous “tyranny of the majorities” that would be more likely to arise from the House. (We can debate the need for such a check, but California voters, for example, vote for some pretty dumbass stuff via ballot referendum. I reflexively trust the people more than I do politicians to make correct decisions, but the Senate was, nevertheless, meant to provide a parliamentary counterpoint to the direct will of the voters. It also, of course, was a compromise between a representative body based on population, and one based on equal representation of the states. All well and fine, but the state houses were supposed to have a say in the personnel here. They do not.)

Furthermore, the change to direct election of Senators via the 17th Amendment further eroded state power in choosing how they would select their Senators. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are going to die in office, notwithstanding having faced the voters every six years. If Senators were appointed instead of elected, this would encourage more voter participation in state elections, because a change in their state Houses might produce a different appointed Senator. Furthermore, a state could set term limits on how many times an individual could be appointed to the Federal Senate, going around the Feds to establish term limits. Repealing the garbage that is the 17th Amendment could hardly do much worse in sending career politicians to the Senate than keeping it in place. (And, to be sure, if a state’s voters wish to keep the direct election of their Senators in place, so be it, fine and dandy. This was never the Federal Government’s call to make, and I don’t, for the life of me, know why so many states sold away their sovereignty in this manner.)

So I agree: The Senate is a gross bastardization of its original intent, and I’ve little use for it in its current form.

Hawkins1701 on October 27, 2012 at 4:17 PM

(Others might have had similar feeling, but I don’t feel that I should comment from work which I am getting ready to go to, so I’ll read the preceding comments later, but:)

I am not only in favor of keeping the electoral college, but I wish the 17th Amendment would be undone as the prohibition amendment was and senators would again be elected by the state legislatures. I want to see the balance more restored between the states and the federal governments.

Kevin K. on October 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I’m a liberal and I think the EC needs to go, even if it does cost Obama the election. It’s simply unnecessary in a modern era where media and the internet exists. State by state boundaries break down every day when we go online and exchange ideas like we’re right next to each other.

triple on October 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I don’t support any kind of changing of the Constitution, but I would support more states doing what Nebraska and Maine do, that is allocate their electoral college votes by Congressional district, plus giving the two Senate seats to the statewide popular vote winner. It wouldn’t entirely solve the problem of noncompetitive districts because there are obviously quite a congressional districts that are not competitive, but it would localize that much more. Even if you live in a noncompetitive district, there’s a good chance that you live within driving distance and/or in the same media market of one that is competitive.

Progressive Heretic on October 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Leave it the hell alone!

Possibly the greatest creation of the Founders; To protect the small states from the tyranny of the majority.

Do away with the Electoral College and you allow the Leftist enclaves of the big cities to elect their leftist Presidential preference essentially all by themselves, disenfranchising the people who live in ‘flyover country’.

Which is, of course, why they want to get rid of it.

If they get rid of the Electoral College then By God, they better allow any state to secede.

LegendHasIt on October 27, 2012 at 4:28 PM

DevilsPrinciple on October 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM
weaselyone on October 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Exactly. Leave things as they are – the founders knew the extreme dangers and pitfalls of demacracy vs a republic. They made very persuasive, historically-based arguments in Federalist 10 and 58 (14 too). There is now way I want to go to popular vote. States need to retain that power.

batter on October 27, 2012 at 4:40 PM

The EC has worked just fine over the years. I was taught that the EC was designed to protect smaller states from being dictated to by the larger states. A lot of the problem lies with the fact that for decades nobody has challenged the media and politicians when they refer to the US as a democracy. I learned in grade school that we were a republic, but it seems a large segment of society never learned this fact. Why do people like Jazz want us to be a democracy. Already there are citizens who want to vote themselves free stuff. If we switch from the Republic with the EC to a democracy based on the popular vote, then we’ll roll over that fiscal cliff like a bullet train as the people will really be able to vote for the candidate who offers the most free stuff.

Consider this on a musical theme. The majority of the country likes pop music. In a popular vote, pop music fans could determine that all Americans have to listen to pop music, because they would have the most votes. In a representative republic, those who like jazz or bluegrass or classical, etc. would also have a say in what kind of music we could all listen to.

The rules that were put into place when this country was founded aren’t broke. What is broke is our media and our education system.

Ibanez Lotus on October 27, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Leave the EC alone.

Here’s a better idea: Only citizens who actually pay taxes are allowed to vote.

petefrt on October 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Yeah…….the aclu will fight this one and win that taxes paid at the pump, that medicare taxes, that payroll taxes, are all TAXES and so these people should be allowed to vote.

It used to be that you had to be a “land owner” – ie producer of something, manufacturer of something, and those that merely “worked” that land or in the factory were a little upset they couldn’t vote so there went that idea which ushered in unions vs. bosses and the whole socialism gig. Bad idea to give up the “land owner” line in the sand. Should’ve tried to get more people to be “land owners” – we’re still fighting this battle today. Its Rousseau vs. Locke.

Then came the three-fifths person idiocy – I mean really – you’re either a person or you’re not. So thank heavens that went bye bye because we can all agree – this was nuts to begin with.

Next was the woman’s vote.

So, everyone is on board now right? eh, maybe/maybe not if you include/exclude Somali’s bused to Ohio and told to vote BROWN (D-Sen Candidate) in loud tones as if they were deaf not just english-impaired as well as not citizens of Ohio. But I digress…….

Simply put? Democracy has occurred, everyone is voting, and that includes the electoral college delegates who are supposed to vote for their guy/gal/I-am-the-walrus presidential candidate they signed up to vote for.

We the people are actually voting for THEM – the electoral slate.
Why isn’t this included in the 15 second ads? Something like “please vote for my electoral candidates – this message approved by president chair”
That would be a teachable moment……..

athenadelphi on October 27, 2012 at 4:50 PM

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