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Electoral College

Politics-American Electoral College

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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 02:18 AM

I don't *think* we've done this before.

Anyway, the question:

Should the US abolish the Electoral College and move directly to popular elections (the question being removed from the context that such an act would have made Gore president in 2000)?

While it's unlikely to go for a variety of reasons, it's an interesting debate.

Edited by Certifiably Cait, 02 September 2012 - 03:44 PM.

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Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

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#2 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 02:24 AM

My Take:

Keep it. It's the only way that close elections can ever be decided.

Imagine, if you will, the sheer chaos that would result if two candidates were extremely close... Say, 543,895 votes (to pull a number out of thin air).

With over 100,000,000 people voting, it would be chaos. Every state would need to do a recount, and every one of them would have to be closely monitored. It would be absolutely impossible to sort it out, or ever know who actually won.

While it was an unintended effect, the electoral college keeps any sort of 'who won?' chaos purely local. Switching to popular election would mean that, in our lifetimes, it would be quite likely to see "Florida Times Fifty". *shudder*.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#3 Godeskian

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 02:44 AM

Okay,

the first thing to remember is that the US is not a democracy, it's a republic.

That having been said while i loathe the electoral college system as a great way to ignore the will of the people, i tend to think what you paint is likely

I doubt every election would be that close, if you look at the actual number of votes cast, most of the recent elections have had largely enough different numbers that there would be no point in recounting, it is definitely a possibility

The problem is that under the current system, the minority can elect the president, which gives a lie to the goverment being chosen 'by the people' as the majority may have voted differently.

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#4 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:03 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Jul 30 2003, 10:14 AM, said:

My Take:

Keep it. It's the only way that close elections can ever be decided.

Imagine, if you will, the sheer chaos that would result if two candidates were extremely close... Say, 543,895 votes (to pull a number out of thin air).

With over 100,000,000 people voting, it would be chaos. Every state would need to do a recount, and every one of them would have to be closely monitored. It would be absolutely impossible to sort it out, or ever know who actually won.

While it was an unintended effect, the electoral college keeps any sort of 'who won?' chaos purely local. Switching to popular election would mean that, in our lifetimes, it would be quite likely to see "Florida Times Fifty". *shudder*.
A good point in favor of keeping it, Rov. While Florida became the battleground last time, it certainly wasn't the only place with extremely close numbers. There should have been more of a battle made here in Wisconsin where a mere 6,000 votes separated Bush and Gore; particularly considering the number of suspicious things that went on here during the election. We had college students casting multiple votes (with both their home and school addresses), we had Democrats soliciting absentee votes from mentally retarded people in group homes, and if I recall correctly we had votes from people who weren't even citizens.

Florida became the big battleground because of the number of electoral votes it gave. Florida X 50 . . . scary thought.
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#5 Godeskian

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:07 AM

Would that still be in issue though if all the votes were tallied, not on a state by state basis, but on a general basis

It would eliminate the fact that every state that might have a close count would have to recount, and if the total was so close that a recount was necesarry, then it would probably be a good thing.

Defy Gravity!


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#6 Delvo

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:09 AM

The system was set up to prevent rural people from being constantly held to the whim of the urban people just because there would never be enough of them to stand up to urban tyranny in a straight vote. Since the urbanization of the country has gotten even more drastic since then, the system needs to be made stronger and applied more, if anything. The electoral college isn't working anymore. If it were, Gore would never have been so close, since he only appealed to the majorities in a few dense urban population centers; his Presidency would have been more like a mayorship, chosen by less than a dozen cities, and imposed on the rest. New York residents wouldn't constantly be getting New York City's ideas pushed on them no matter how or even whether they bother to vote. Citizens of most of the expanse of Missouri would still have certain freedoms that have instead been taken away by the people of Kansas City and Saint Louis... this country's drift to the Left has been because of precisely this phenomenon.

#7 Anna

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:17 AM

Electoral college? It's better than a popular election. As I said in the other thread, if you go to popular elections, then there's no reason for a candidate to visit New Mexico. Our 1.5 million state population wouldn't hold a candle to New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc... Why bother? There's no bang for the buck to even bother with us.

The point is driven home if you look at the county by county map of the last election. Gore scored big in the cities/suburbs, while Bush had most of the rest of the country. I'd like my mostly rural state to have some voice in future elections. It's the lesser of the evils until we come up with something better. Popular elections ain't it.

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#8 G1223

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:17 AM

Well I see the purpose of the college. It is to be a balnce so that states do not feel that they do not count otherwise elections come down to Califonia Texas New York with the folks in the rest of the nation basically being told they do not count.

I mean otherwise why remain in a system where the lesser states are unimportant or not even bothered with asking thier input but handing them expense of a election. or at least their share of the bill. Look the college is imperfect but this is the only way to give states with less than 20 electoral votes a voice in the system.

Edited by G1223, 31 July 2003 - 03:18 AM.

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#9 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:19 AM

On one hand, land doesn't vote, people do. If we believe in majority vote, we have to accept that the majority lives in urban centers.

On the other hand, the issues and concerns of rural American are not the same issues and concerns of urban American. And there is a helluva lot more "rural" than "urban." Therefore, the Electoral College allows a sort of "regional" vote to provide for this distinction.

I'm happy to live in Flyover Country, but it's almost a completely different nation out here in the hinterlands.

And we like it that way.  ;)
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#10 Rhea

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:23 AM

Short answer: absolutely. One person, one vote. The electoral college is an unnecessary dinosaur. It's pointless, and it sometimes actually thwarts the will of the people instead of carrying it out.

It was a necessity when the US was formed, because the population was scattered and it was the only practical way for people to vote.  Now that we have almost instantaneous voting (well, except in Florida :p :p), it's useless.

*Every* person's vote should count equally. Period.

Edited by Rhea, 31 July 2003 - 03:26 AM.

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#11 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:25 AM

Rhea, on Jul 30 2003, 11:13 AM, said:

Short answer: absolutely. One person, one vote.
Except in Chicago, Milwaukee, and other places where Democrats have figured out how to work the system.  :cool:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#12 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:26 AM

In *principle*, I'm with Rhea. It's the logistics that make me favor the current system. Watching half blind elderly volunteers with magnifying glasses trying to determine the intent of the voter is something that should be confined to, at most, one state.

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 31 July 2003 - 03:28 AM.

St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#13 QuiGon John

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:29 AM

I believe that the Electoral College has some things going for it... but here's my problem with it.

I have voted Democratic for some offices, Republican for others.  I've yet to vote for a Republican president in my two chances, but I've seriously thought about it, and would vote for certain Republicans... say, Colin Powell.

But in my state... it wouldn't matter.  At all.  Massachusetts voted for McGovern, for cryin' out loud.  We're going democratic even if they run B*rn*y the Dinosaur.  There's absolutely nothing I can realistically do about it.

I could be persuaded, I suppose, that the electoral college needs to remain, but on a gut level, I'd like to abolish it.  I think one person should equal one vote, period, no matter where they live.

Edited by John Burke, 31 July 2003 - 03:43 AM.


#14 QueenTiye

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:36 AM

If the Electoral college were REQUIRED to vote the way they the populace told it to - I would have no problem with it.   And in that sense - I see no real purpose to the electoral college - in the computer age - we can calculate the way that vote should go.  

BUT - they AREN'T required to vote like that at all.  I don't know if there are any recent or historical situations in which the electoral college voted the way they felt like voting, but as I've understood it - they have the right.  And I have issues with that.

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#15 Rov Judicata

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:41 AM

QueenTiye, on Jul 30 2003, 09:26 AM, said:

BUT - they AREN'T required to vote like that at all.  I don't know if there are any recent or historical situations in which the electoral college voted the way they felt like voting, but as I've understood it - they have the right.  And I have issues with that.

QT
Good post John.

QT-- There's only one case of an elector defying the will of the people, and it didn't make any difference. States, however, are free to pas laws forcing their electors to obey the will of the people.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#16 Anna

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 03:45 AM

QueenTiye, on Jul 30 2003, 10:26 AM, said:

I don't know if there are any recent or historical situations in which the electoral college voted the way they felt like voting, but as I've understood it - they have the right.  And I have issues with that.
In that particular aspect of the electoral college, I agree wholeheartedly with you, QT. But regarding the computer age... well, in my county (the largest in the state) the voting machines were programmed incorrectly. They discovered it on election night. OOOPS.

Anna
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#17 Kosh

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:07 AM

Quote

Keep it. It's the only way that close elections can ever be decided.

The college has followed the popular vote on all but two elections. Keep it, it works. Drew mentioned the funny business in his state, we know that something was going on in Florida. West Virginia had a good election for a change, but ther have been many problems in the past with both parties. The college is a check and balance to the popular vote.


Quote

Massachusetts voted for McGovern, for cryin' out loud.

Used to be much the same way here, but it has changed, it can there too.

Edited by Kosh, 31 July 2003 - 05:10 AM.

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#18 Lover of Purple

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:11 AM

With a popular vote states like mine (Oregon) would never see anything on the candidates. They would concentrate all of their efforts in winning votes in heavy population states like California and New York. Oregon became an important stopping point because our EC votes were needed.

Keep it.

#19 Cauda

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:20 AM

There are various arguments for keeping the electoral college, some of which are good ones, but they all fall before the one big argument for direct popular vote; the guy with the most votes should win. That is far more important than anything else. Admittedly only four times has the popular vote winner not won the election (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000) but that's four too many. Of course this is all academic because there are not enough states willing to approve a change to the constitution. Perhaps a fairer way is to do it like Maine and Nebraska and allocate their votes by congressional district. At least that way avoids the scenario where, for example, someone could win California by just one vote and get all 55 electors.
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#20 Lover of Purple

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 05:29 AM

I can guarantee that if we used the popular vote many, many fewer people in smaller states would vote. Why vote when the candidates ignore you?

I have found that in most cases (no all by any means) the people who are forusing the popular vote live in BIG population areas. Smalland mediumareas tend to prefer the electoral college where we at least get a chance.



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