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Is it Time to Send the Electoral College Packing?

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If we were to apportion EC vote by who wins a congressional district, wouldn't we be just as well off to let only the House of Representatives vote for President with a few stray Senatorial votes here and there?


It's worked pretty well for 200 years. I'd try another 200 before messing with it. We're still dealing with fall out from the direct election of Senators.

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SeattlePioneer, it goes to the House, where one would assume the party with the majority members would win, which unless the 3rd party has done it's complete ground game including having a majority in the House - they then lose to which ever of the two other parties holds the majority in the House.

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If we ever get the effective 3rd political party some want, one that gets enough Electoral College votes so that no Presidential candidate gets a majority, who knows what happens then?


Then the House of Representatives chooses the President, as happened 1824 when Andrew Jackson won a plurality of Electoral votes (as well as a plurality of the popular vote!), but John Quincy Adams was elected President.

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It doesn't just "go to the House."


If the electoral college fails to produce a majority for one Presidential candidate, then the House votes by a special procedure:


The House members of each state select a President to vote for among themselves. Each STATE then gets one vote to elect the President.


So the election for President by the House would have a maximum of fifty votes.


A small state with one House member would get the same vote as California or New York.


A state with an equal number of Republican and Democratic House members might not be able to cast a vote for President.


That could produce some interesting results.



I'd like to see an analysis of how that might play out with the House members elected this November.


If someone asks the minimum number of votes needed to be elected President, the correct answer would appear to be -----26!


Anyone care to vote for a 3rd party?



>(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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Yes, a legitamate third party would certainly mess up the electoral college system. Maine just elected an independent Senator. I'd really like to see Scott Brown run as an independent if/when Kerry is tagged for a Cabinet post. He would have a much better shot at winning if he'd shed the scarlet R in Massachusetts. Once folks see independents actually winning seats, ...maybe it's a start.





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The EC as I understand it has served two purposes:


1) An easy way to collect the votes of one state and convey that vote to DC in a time before mass communication and rapid transit. The state elections officals would count the vote, total it, and then send the electors to Washington to cast that state's vote for the republic. Kind of out of touch with reality now since we have every major news organization calling the election results before poles close on the west coast!


2) To balance the large population states with the less populated states. Ok, I can understand this one. Not everyone is fond of CA, FL, TX, and NY being the only states with a say. However, is it any better to have states (or more likely a few counties in the states of) Ohio, South Carolina, Penn, and Colorado have the final say in the presidential election? Most in CA, TX and NY would tend to disagree. Is it really a national referendum on a leader when 90+% of the EC's are predicted PRIOR to the first ballot even being cast? I'd like to think the leader of the free world is determined by more than 3 to 5 "swing" states that are going to see billions of ad dollars and stumping dumped on them while the other 45 states and their issues are effectively ignored by the candidates (except for when they need more $$ for the campaign to go spend in the "swing" states, then they show up in CA for a weekend). It gives the candidates AND the special interest groups a rather small target demographic to push their agenda upon.


Now, what are the rationale for doing away with the EC?


1) One person = one vote. This is how the majority of our citizens envision an election in a free society works. Most folks are astonished to find out this is not the case. Why does a democrat in Texas and a Republican in California even BOTHER to cast their vote in a national election? Just go and vote the local ballot issues and leave your presidential vote blank... it doesn't count !!!


2) Along those same lines, what effect does a red living in a blue state or a blue living in a red state have on voter turn out? Does the EC not discourage certain folks from going to the poles? If I know my vote for president isn't going to count in my state, WHY show up? What effect does this then have on statewide and local election results? The EC directly affects the voter turn out and thus the input into state and local elections... its the federal government influencing state and local politics.


3) The EC makes even modest victories appear to be a landslide for the winner of the election. This has worked in both party's favor in the past. But, to the uneducated - it looks like Obama won by a huge margin, when in fact the popular vote was less than 2.5% margin. Yet, the winning party will tout their "landslide" victory as a "mandate" by the populace. Obama has done it, Bush did it... its spin doctor 101. If an election is truely as close as this past one was - it needs to be reported and respected as such. Both in the media and by BOTH political parties. A less than 1,000,000 vote win in swing states out of greater than 100 million votes cast, does not make a landslide...


4) The EC pretty much guarentees that a 3rd party candidate will never be viable in the election cycle. This keeps the power and control firmly where the dems and repubs all want it.... with the power brokers of the respective parties. Its the federal equivalent of gerymandering for your unfair share of the vote. It allows the parties to use historical data as a means to squash new ideas and to push a 3rd party candidate out of the debate forums, etc.... after all - if a 3rd party candidate can't even carry ONE EC vote, why should the major parties allow them to debate with the big boys? I find it ammusing that in our country, there are probably 50 different ways to get your hambuger at McDonalds, but we are force fed a diet of TWO predetermined candidates each election and we the people seem to be fine with that "choice". Not much of a choice, its an either / or, a yes / no.


Ultimately, the largest problem I see with the EC and its causation of "swing states" and only a two candidate choice is this....


It has caused the election to be more about why you shouldn't vote for the other guy, instead of what I can do for you and your country. The negativity in political ads and the overwhelming negativity of the electorate's attitude can be associated with the phrase "the lesser of two evils". Instead of attempting to find the most viable candidate that can do the most for our country, can lead and affect change / growth, the national election becomes who can have the least amount of mudslinging stick to them? The EC encourages this type of election, it propigates it. It is the reason that every election cycle becomes more cynical and the electorate more devisive.


Look on our own boards here, or look at other political boards... Very few folks ever discuss the positive that their candiate can do or has done. Its only about what the other has either failed to do, or will fail to do if elected! Heck, even in the media post election... no one is talking about what Obama did to win, they are talking about WHY Romney lost! The EC encourages milk toast candidates... the one with the least to say or the least accomplished record wins because they have less to be attacked about! That to me is the real problem with the EC.

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The two party system has been a force for national unity. In the end, national unity is a LOT more important than pandering to those who want a "horse race".


From time to time both political parties have split and formed third parties ---- usually causing their political opposition to win. That usually causes the abandonment of 3rd parties for another generation.


Personally I think the current system serves us well, despite the fact that the ******** elected the wrong guy as President in the election just past!

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Doing away with the electoral college in favor of either a national popular vote, or a by congressional district vote, would have a tremendous impact on local races. All those "safe" congressional seats that no one pays attention to would suddenly get a kick if the President came to town.


This, I hear, was the primary reason the idea was rejected recently in Pennsylvania. Suburban Republican congressmen thought about having to run in a gerrymandered 51% district (so the Democrats could be packed into 85% districts) with their opponent standing next to the President, and they balked.


And didn't Nebraska try to change back to a winner-take-all state after Obama won Omaha?

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We need to keep the Electoral College. If you look back in history of two candidate elections, the only time the popular vote winner has lost the electoral college is when the results were very close, less than a percent difference. We are a representative republic. When the popular vote is close, the winner of the most geographic area is the winner. Makes sense to me.

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