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The Electoral College

Government Elections Electoral College GOP changes 2013

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#1 Cait

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

The net is all atwitter with the stories at the state level of changes in Electoral College distribution.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  If I trusted the districting in states I might go along with the GOP plans, but I don't trust districting.  I don't trust Democrats and I don't trust Republicans.  Human beings can't help but be biased in their favor when it comes to the halls of power.  

I also don't know what my opinion would be if my candidate had just lost under the "winner take all" existing Electoral college map.  I think there is an easy case to make that Republicans are stacking the deck at this point, but I don't think they invented it.

In any event, I was wondering what anyone else thought about it.  Should we change the rules governing the award of electoral votes?

How will it impact the popular vote?  [I ask this because I think if we had a series of elections where the electoral distribution didn't follow the popular vote, there would be unrest.  Once or twice in a century is fine, but I can see where it would/could become the norm.]

How would you reform the Electoral college?

http://www.npr.org/b...l-college-rules

Quote

That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.

In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.
"I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," Reince Priebus, who was just re-elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.


A bill in Virginia might get a vote as early as next week. It would award most electoral votes by congressional district, setting aside two votes to be given to the candidate who carries the most districts in the commonwealth.

Currently, every state but Maine and Nebraska awards all its electoral votes to the statewide popular vote winner. (Those two states have systems that would allocate electors based on congressional district results, but so far neither has split their electoral college votes because a single candidate has swept the state.)

Edited by Cait, 25 January 2013 - 06:02 PM.

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#2 Omega

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:16 PM

I absolutely think that winner-take-all is a terrible system. But the Republicans are obviously trying to stack the deck by increasing the power of their already-tremendous gerrymandering. If states are going to award their votes proportionally, ALL of them should, not just the ones that benefit the Republicans. You can bet I'll push for such a thing here in Tennessee.

Also, awarding by congressional district is just stupid. Award the votes by proportion of the popular vote in the state. All the districts do is open it to abuse.

#3 Themis

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:54 AM

I've been against the winner-take-all system but never envisioned anything like what the Republicans are trying to pull off.  I was thinking by proportion of the popular vote.  What I'm really for is getting rid of the electoral college and electing the pres by popular vote.  Some folk bitch that it would give big states too much power, but not so.  The House and Senate are still elected at the state and district level.  The president (and vp) is the one who should represent all the people, so should be elected by all the people.
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#4 Bobby

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

My understanding is the electoral college was a way to make sure every state got to have a say since it's the United States of America.  I would never be for a popular vote system for President because it would take away each states ability to have a say versus the bigger states deciding every election. California could pretty much decide the presidency on it's own.  Having said that, on a state level the votes should be allotted based on the percentage of the popular vote each candidate receives.

Last semester I had to take a class in American Government and one of our assignments required us to learn about our congressional district, our representatives and senators, etc.  In Tennessee, the county that includes Nashville and the county that includes Memphis are the only ones that go Democrat now.  Middle and West Tennessee used to go Democrat sometimes, up until around 1994, but that's changed in recent years, now the whole state leans Republican.  The district I'm in was represented by "blue dog" Democrat John Tanner(Michael Moore accosted him in one of his movies) for twenty years until he retired.  Now we have that clown Stephen Fincher.  

Giving all of the electoral college votes to the statewide popular vote winner is a way of suppressing voter turnout.  I knew when I went to cast my vote for Obama that it wouldn't have an impact because Tennessee was going to go Republican anyway, so I'm sure there are plenty of people who think "what's the point" and stay home.   If they allocated them based on percentage of the popular vote it would probably increase voter participation to a certain degree.

Edited by Bobby, 26 January 2013 - 04:48 PM.


#5 Omega

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

I made the following suggestions to my state representative, who happens to be the Speaker of the House.

Quote

1) There are deep problems with how we run every election for every office in this nation. Reform of presidential elections should not be pursued at the expense of correcting the more widespread issues. Approval voting should be implemented for every election in Tennessee, regardless of any other reforms implemented.

2) Any election reform should be pursued with the goal of making elections more fair, not with the goal of helping one party win. The latter is the clear intent of the proposed reform in several Democrat-leaning swing states. Modifying the system to give one party a systematic advantage over the other is also called "cheating". (We're talking about breaking the fundamental structure of our democracy for personal gain! "Cheating" is a very, very light word for that idea.) Partisan concerns should be put aside for the purposes of any election reform in Tennessee.

3) Winner-take-all is an awful system, both for the electoral college and for legislative elections. It completely removes most states from consideration during Presidential elections, including Tennessee. Our votes have no effect on the outcome of the election. Winner-take-all rules disenfranchise us.

4) Apportioning electoral votes by congressional district, as has been proposed in other states, is not a good solution. It allows gerrymandering to have even further-reaching consequences than it already has, further defeating the will of the people. Straight proportional distribution of electoral votes should be used instead. If one candidate gets 60% of the votes in Tennessee, that candidate should get 60% of the electoral votes. The geographic distribution of those votes within Tennessee should be of no consequence. Any other system invites abuse.

5) I would also suggest that geographic districts be eliminated entirely for US Congressional elections, to be replaced with a similar proportional system. Unfortunately, federal law prohibits this. Our representatives in Washington should be encouraged to repeal this law, and allow the states to run elections as they see fit.


#6 Cait

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

View PostOmega, on 25 January 2013 - 07:16 PM, said:

Also, awarding by congressional district is just stupid. Award the votes by proportion of the popular vote in the state. All the districts do is open it to abuse.

Agreed. It has to be proportional popular vote  NOT by districts.  Both political parties have been guilty of gerrymandering, and it is just too tempting to "cheat".  It's already "cheating" as far as representation in the House of Reps imo.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#7 Themis

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:16 PM

View PostBobby, on 26 January 2013 - 04:47 PM, said:

My understanding is the electoral college was a way to make sure every state got to have a say since it's the United States of America.  I would never be for a popular vote system for President because it would take away each states ability to have a say versus the bigger states deciding every election. California could pretty much decide the presidency on it's own.

See, I just don't get that.  The winner would be the one who got the most votes, which would include the total from every state.  And as I said, the pres represents all the people, and should be elected by all the people.  As it is, especially with the winner-take-all system, the bigger states have more electoral votes so they're deciding the elections anyway.

And yes, I'm from Nashville.  I knew from the beginning that my vote wouldn't count.  Plus, unlike California and all the propositions, there was nothing else on the ballot I gave a fig about.  Thought about staying home.  But I worked close to an early voting place and it was really easy to do my civic duty in early voting, plus it's been drummed into my dna that voting is a must.  But I'm sure some folk do stay home, knowing their vote doesn't make a difference except to demonstrate that like thinkers aren't alone.  For presidential elections, voters in less populous states might stay home because they know their few electoral votes won't really count.  If we can't have election by country-wide popular vote, at least let us have vote by proportion of statewide popular vote.
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#8 Rhea

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

View PostOmega, on 26 January 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

I made the following suggestions to my state representative, who happens to be the Speaker of the House.

Quote

2) Any election reform should be pursued with the goal of making elections more fair, not with the goal of helping one party win.

I absolutely agree with you. It's not pretty no matter which party it is.
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