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Why the Electoral College?

Posted on 02/02/2012 12:11:30 PM PST by Jacquerie

Why the Electoral College?

In 1789 our elected Executive, the President, was unique among nations.

We recently won a costly revolution against a King who was armed with extensive executive powers. They were not unlimited, but enough to take his country to war. Most of our Declaration of Independence consisted of accusations against the British King. Beginning largely with “He has . . . ,” the Declaration specified twenty-seven charges. The Framer’s generation was understandably cautious and suspicious of executive power.

Peruse Revolutionary era State Constitutions and you’ll find the people dominated their governments through elected, representative Assemblies. Given the executive abuses by George III, our first State Governors were understandably kept weak.

It was against this background our Framers came to the conclusion that a national executive was needed for a country that would rather do without one. Yes, national executive, for it would be some time before the delegates were brave enough to use the term President. No other topic demanded so much time at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as evidenced by more than sixty votes necessary to define the method of Presidential election. From near the beginning of the Convention on May 25th and almost to the end, September 17th, they wrestled with Presidential powers, the balance of those powers with Congress, and how a free people could design an office that precluded the trappings of monarchy, minimized internal and external corruption and prevented foreign influence.

Check out the timeline of electoral ideas below. There were many blind alleys on the way to a President. I hope some of the “read only the title” tribe take their time and read a little before commenting.

Chronology of Electoral Considerations at the Constitutional Convention of 1787:

1 June. A single executive. Heads explode at the thought of an elected monarch.
Multiple executives. Single or multiple terms?
Elected by the House of Reps.
Elected by entire Congress.
What powers?
Popular election? Too difficult, too much democracy.

2 June. First Electoral College, with electors chosen by the people. Defeated by 7-2 vote.
Election by state legislatures.
Election by House of Reps for a single seven year term passed 8-2.
Multiple executives to reduce sectional jealousies.

4 June. A single executive by 7-3 vote.
Would he evolve into an elected monarch?

9 June. Election by State Governors. Small States oppose. Defeated 10-0.
Election by House invited corruption.

17 July. If appointed by Congress expect a corrupted creature of Congress.
Back to popular election.
Congressional appointment retained by 9-1 vote.
State legislatures to appoint electors, defeated 8-2.
Unanimous vote for Congressional appointment.
Unlimited number of terms passed 6-4.
One election, Executive-for-life. Defeated 6-4.

19 July. Two year, multiple terms, popularly elected.
Popular election of Executive electors.
Fear of direct, popular elections.
State Governors to appoint electors.
State legislatures to appoint electors by the ratio of State populations.
Congressional appointment.
Shall the Executive be appointed by electors? Yes, 6-3.
Shall electors by chosen by State Legislatures? Yes, 8-3.
Limit the Executive to one term? No, 8-2.
Seven year terms rejected. Six year terms passed 9-1.

20 July. How many electors per State?
Legislators, Civil Officers precluded from being electors.

24 July. Return to Congressional electors?
Divide the nation into three electoral districts to select three executives.
Fear the elected Monarch.
Electors equal in number to the State’s Congressional delegation resoundingly defeated.
Return to Congressional appointment by 7-4 vote.
Executive must be independent of Congress after the election. A single twenty year term?
To prevent intrigue, draw fifteen Congressmen by lot to immediately vote and elect an Executive.

25 July. First election by Congress, subsequent elections by State Legislatures to prevent intrigue.
Four choices: By National or State authorities, electors chose by the people, or direct popular election.
Fear of foreign influence.
Each State to have an equal number of electoral votes.
Fear the Order of Cincinnati.
Popular election was “radically vicious.”

26 July. Summary of proposed methods.
Popular election by the people.
By the State legislatures.
By State Governors.
Electors chosen by the people.
Freeholders to each vote for several candidates.
By the people, with proviso to not vote for a favorite State son.
By Congressional lottery.
By Congress.

Back to square one, Congress elects a single executive to one seven year term, passed 6-3.

10 Aug. A motion to require a clear and unencumbered net worth of $100,000 for the President, and lesser amounts for Senators and Judges was defeated.

24 Aug. First formal use of “President.”
Single seven year term.
Elected by Congress, by joint session or by each house separately?
By joint sessions, which threw dominance to large States, passed 7-4.
One vote per State? No, by 6-5 vote.
Corruption & intrigue w/Congressional election.
Popular vote to appoint electors failed narrowly, 6-5.

4 Sep. Unlimited four year terms.

5 Sep. Electors equal in number to Congressional delegation and chosen “in such manner” as State legislatures may direct.
Each elector to vote for two persons.
Votes counted in Senate. Majority to win.
If no majority, Senate to elect President from five highest votes getters.
Second highest became Vice-President.
Fear that most elections would be decided by Senate intrigue.

6 Sep. Remove election from Senate and send to House. One vote per State passed 10-1.

Chronology Source: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, by James Madison.


TOPICS: History; Reference
KEYWORDS: constitution; electoralcollege; nationalpopularvote; npv
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How in the world did our Framers come up with the method in Article II to elect a President? It was by process of elimination.

The Convention considered and rejected Executive appointment/election by Congress, State Governors and the people. Corruption and backroom deal making were feared in the first two methods. A President could hardly be independent if he was beholden to Congress or Governors for his job. As for the third, there was no telling what sort of characters the people would fall for, and voting qualifications varied widely among the States; more liberal qualifications to the North and less so in the South. Direct democracy would be limited to the first branch, the House of Representatives.

Since appointment/election by Congress and the people were rejected, it left the process to the States. By diffusing the vote across a large and growing country in which geographically diverse electors had to vote on a single day, it would render corruption, intrigue and deal making difficult.

The overriding consideration, the ever present Bull-in-the-China Shop of the Convention was the small State near-paranoid fear of large States. In probably the majority of votes, small State fears had to be reckoned with. In deciding the Presidential voting strength of States, there was no way small States would submit to the proportion delineated in Article I Section 2 for the House of Representatives. Four to five populous States could dominate the first House of Representatives, and just as the small States got their way in the Senate (equality of suffrage) they demanded greater presence in the Presidential election than their meager populations justified. That is why the sum of Representatives and Senators determine a State’s electoral vote presence.

What if there was an electoral tie, or no candidate got a majority? In this situation the Senate was initially given the duty to elect a President. This was not regarded as a fall-back or demeaning method. Just the opposite, it was thought that in most elections, no one would achieve a majority vote from the States and therefore, most elections would end up in the Senate. However, this raised the problem of possible corruption between the tidy Senate and candidates. There were other problems as well. If impeached, which was not expected to be a rare occurrence, the President could hardly expect to be found guilty by the same men who put him in office. Also, some delegates, most notably George Mason of Virginia who would become a vociferous opponent of the Constitution, were already fearful of an overly aristocratic Senate.

What to do? Give the House of Representatives the responsibility instead. In the event of a tie, Congressmen immediately vote for one or the other for President. No intrigue was possible. Should no candidate get a majority, the House casts ballots by State, one vote per State from among the five highest vote getters.

Look at the system this way:

Small States demanded (as they did with the Senate) and got representation out of proportion to their population and wealth. Advantage small States.
In a tie, (not likely) Congressmen voted at-large. Advantage large States.
When no candidate achieved a majority (thought very likely), each State was allowed one vote to cast for one of the five highest vote getters. Thus the House of Representatives of the people, which favored large States would vote in a manner acceptable to small states. Brilliant. Advantage small States.

By this arrangement, small States felt secure against the large. In the two most probable electoral situations, they held the advantage.

Our Framers specifically rejected direct, popular election and instituted the filter of electors chosen outside the reach of federal power. In this sense, the States were expected in most elections to serve as nominating conventions of five candidates for the House of Reps to choose from.

This power to appoint Presidential electors, left to the judgment of State Legislatures, was a big plus for ratification at the State Ratifying Conventions. The electoral system was simultaneously new, yet familiar enough to be accepted.

Today as then, the process is not debauched, nor is “democracy” screwed if the House of Reps must do its duty and elect the President. Popular nationwide vote count be damned; it is irrelevant.

What came to be known as the Electoral College provided a corruption resistant method acceptable to suspicious, distrustful small States, yet reflected majoritarian, federal selection of this new guy to history, the President of the United States.

1 posted on 02/02/2012 12:11:34 PM PST by Jacquerie
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To: 6SJ7; 13Sisters76; 1010RD; atc23; afraidfortherepublic; astounded; bmwcyle; C210N; central_va; ...

Electoral College ping!


2 posted on 02/02/2012 12:14:23 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Jacquerie

The pro popular vote troll will be along shortly to pimp whatever his script tells him to say. (mvymvy)


3 posted on 02/02/2012 12:19:58 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Jacquerie

If it weren’t for the Electoral College We would have President Egore in 2000 instead of President Bush.


4 posted on 02/02/2012 12:23:27 PM PST by tallyhoe
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To: Jacquerie

ping for later study


5 posted on 02/02/2012 12:23:52 PM PST by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: Jacquerie
If the president were directly elected by a tally of the national vote, imagine the chaos in the 2000 election where the US would not have had a president for potentially months waiting for the wrangling over votes, recounts and court challenges that would have spread well beyond Florida. The Electoral College gives certainty to the presidential election and if as in 2000 there were challenges they would be confined to individual states not into a national recount. The downside is on occasion the Electoral College will give the Presidency to the candidate with less of the national popular vote...e.g. the 2000 election.
6 posted on 02/02/2012 12:27:04 PM PST by The Great RJ ("The problem with socialism is that pretty soon you run out of other people's money" M. Thatcher)
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To: All

Because sane people trust the judgement of the Founders over the judgement of today’s politician.....


7 posted on 02/02/2012 12:27:41 PM PST by Maverick68
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To: The Great RJ

Once the left wingers get rid of the electoral college, replace it with a popular vote, and render the heartland vote as irrelevant, then the election will be totally decided by the clustered up major population center dwellers. A president like Nancy Pelosi would not be out of the question.


8 posted on 02/02/2012 12:32:32 PM PST by San Jacinto
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To: San Jacinto

Popular vote is a fast track to a rural revolt.

(Not that I’m strictly opposed to starving the cities into submission)


9 posted on 02/02/2012 12:34:47 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Jacquerie

Well stated. California, Texas,New York, and Florida would decide our national election otherwise.


10 posted on 02/02/2012 12:35:06 PM PST by Nifster
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To: Jacquerie

Thank G-d for the Electoral College. Do we want a President to be elected by the corruption that is New York city, Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Los Angeles — cities that have more votes counted than they have voters registered?

One important blessing of the Electoral College is to prevent the country’s leaders being chosen by a few big, overcrowded, filthy, dishonest cities (Yeah, you are right, I may not have expressed my opinion of city-dwellers clearly enough, LOL.)

Remember that map of the election districts in 2000? “Blue” was only in the welfare-dependent cities. The rest of the country was Red — but we came frighteningly close to having those 1% choose a leader for the other 99% of the USA. Allowing electoral votes to be proportionally tied to popular votes will only destroy the nation faster.


11 posted on 02/02/2012 12:43:04 PM PST by womanvet (Lesser of 2 evils is not Romney,because.he is not "lesser," -- he is pure evil.)
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To: Jacquerie

Thank G-d for the Electoral College. Do we want a President to be elected by the corruption that is New York city, Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Los Angeles — cities that have more votes counted than they have voters registered?

One important blessing of the Electoral College is to prevent the country’s leaders being chosen by a few big, overcrowded, filthy, dishonest cities (Yeah, you are right, I may not have expressed my opinion of city-dwellers clearly enough, LOL.)

Remember that map of the election districts in 2000? “Blue” was only in the welfare-dependent cities. The rest of the country was Red — but we came frighteningly close to having those 1% choose a leader for the other 99% of the USA. Allowing electoral votes to be proportionally tied to popular votes will only destroy the nation faster.


12 posted on 02/02/2012 12:43:40 PM PST by womanvet (Lesser of 2 evils is not Romney,because.he is not "lesser," -- he is pure evil.)
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To: Jacquerie
By this arrangement, small States felt secure against the large.

And still do. Mostly.

The top 5 states by population today are:

California

Texas

New York

Florida

Illinois

I mean no disrespect to anyone living in those states, but the last thing I want is for elections to be decided solely by those states.

One other thing of note: Over 50% of the population lives in only 10 states.

13 posted on 02/02/2012 12:44:30 PM PST by newheart (What this country needs is a good dose of bran. Attack Muffins Unite!)
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To: Jacquerie

Not this ignorant sh*t again.


14 posted on 02/02/2012 12:51:51 PM PST by Jack Burton007 (This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.)
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To: newheart
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
15 posted on 02/02/2012 12:53:56 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: San Jacinto

We’ve already got a President like Nancy Pelosi.


16 posted on 02/02/2012 12:55:32 PM PST by Sudetenland (Anybody but Obama!!!!)
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To: The Great RJ
certainty to the presidential election

Without trying, it certainly does. I think James Wilson of PA and Roger Sherman of CN were the only strong proponents of popular election.

I suspect the ulterior motive of the NPV types is violence. Our FL Supreme Court really messed up; it should have refused algore's suit and let the election law proceed.

17 posted on 02/02/2012 12:57:27 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Sudetenland

LOL I was thinking the same.


18 posted on 02/02/2012 12:59:16 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Jack Burton007

Please explain the ignorance of my post.


19 posted on 02/02/2012 1:00:44 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: womanvet

It must really frost the Left to know that the dirty old slave owning Framers were on to their fraud 220+ years ago and designed a system to prevent it.


20 posted on 02/02/2012 1:09:24 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Nifster

Yep, Kalifornia is a great example of how the popular vote works. Thus, we can blame L.A. and S.F. for those elected to the statehouse for the past 30+ years and point DIRECTLY at that being the reason Kalifornia is known as the welfare state run by fruits and nuts. The only people in Kalifornia held to social restriction are those of us who WORK and PAY TAXES. All of the druggies, criminals, homeless etc.......... are considered to be the victims of some other person’s success. It used to be as Kalifornia goes, so goes the nation. I pray that is no longer the case.


21 posted on 02/02/2012 1:21:27 PM PST by drypowder
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To: Jacquerie

The proposal to apportion Electoral votes by Congressional District looks appealing as it would break the power of the Democratic cities to consistently deliver the entire state’s votes under the current system.


22 posted on 02/02/2012 1:24:54 PM PST by Oatka (This is America. Assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: Jacquerie

There are many convoluted reasons why Popular Vote proponents will gladly try to deceive you with. Much based on fears of state redistricting, state electoral vote assignments, etc. Some of the arguments </i>sound</i> so convincing. But they are based on supposition, fear, and recent events and fears. I’m perfectly happy with it as it is. It stopped Al Gore. Finally, there is NO way in Cowboy Hell I am willing to let the direction of this country be decided by the roaches in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. I want to know what Utah thinks, I want to know what the Dakotas think, and, yes, I even care what the hell Rhode Island thinks (even if I think they’re batshit crazy)....I am not interested about LA, NYC and ShyTown whatsoever!


23 posted on 02/02/2012 1:31:57 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Oatka

I’m amazed at how many electoral modes the Framers considered, rejected, reconsidered . . .

I would consider any mode other than direct, popular election. Electors by Congressional district works for me.


24 posted on 02/02/2012 1:48:43 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Jacquerie

A-GAIN!!????

How many times are we going to discuss this here??

The electopral college evens the playing field and the left hates it. Makes it tougher to cheat on elections!!


25 posted on 02/02/2012 1:49:18 PM PST by DustyMoment (Congress - Another name for white collar criminals!!)
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To: tallyhoe

And if it weren’t for the electoral college the president would be chosed by California and NY every 4 years. There’s a thought.


26 posted on 02/02/2012 1:53:01 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Gaffer

Look to the in state elections themselves for why the popular vote is a bad idea.

While we are turning things around in Michigan due to tougher voting laws and fleeing liberals, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Kalamazoo have a great deal of influence in statewide elections. This is why we have two democrat senators and a liberal republican governor but a wide mix of representatives from very conservative Tim Walberg to radical democrat socialist John Conyers.

Statewide we go liberal but at the district level we lean republican.


27 posted on 02/02/2012 1:53:48 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Gaffer
Ever since the 17th Amendment, too much democracy at both the federal and state levels is killing our republic. Electors standing between the people and government is conducive to our happiness.
28 posted on 02/02/2012 1:54:12 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: DustyMoment

In researching and writing this post I educated myself.

The Framers did not come up with what we call the electoral college in an afternoon. The back and forth proposals went on all summer long.

Near the end, they got it right. I was hoping that more posters would actually read a little of what the Framers went through.


29 posted on 02/02/2012 2:00:07 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Jacquerie
Proof of the merits of the Electoral College:

Math Against Tyranny.

30 posted on 02/02/2012 2:02:06 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Jacquerie

Notice how:

(1) throughout the chronology, direct popular election of the executive is defeated,

(2) selection of the electors for each state - given with the understaning that the expectation is that the state is actively chosing the electors who are selected to presumably actually MAKE a choice - with language that the methodology for that selection will be set “by the state legislatures”, and then

(3) the “national popular vote” agenda uses that provision to attempt to say that the “state legislatures” can do away with the essence and purpose of the electoral college by, through mere legislation, ending the responsibility of states from exercising an actual choice of their electors, and demanding, by previous legislative fiat, that the “national popular vote”, not any actual will of their state, will chose their electors for them.

Our NPV troll here on FreeRep often trots out the excuse that the “winner take all” assignment of electors by most states is at the heart of the problem, yet he denies that to the extent that there is any truth to that, a state’s assignment of electoral votes proportionately, instead of winner take all (something I believe a few states do) is a remedy the states can enact, without accepting the “national popular vote” agenda.

As far as the issue of the really big states, due to their very big populations in our time, possibly achieving an electoral vote majority out of some combination of those big states alone, with that victory accounting NOT for a popular vote close to a majority, there is a remedy and “national popular vote” is not it.

The number of states and the population distribution of the states has changed considerably since we allocated two federal senators for each state and set the number of electors from each state, for the electoral college, to the number of their legislative seats in the House and Senate combined.

If necessary, for preventing a tiny portion of very large states from acquiring an electoral college majority on their own, without adding additional federal senators, we could change the number of electors from each state, for the electoral college. as equal to their number of seats in House of Representatives plus three (or whatever is needed over time). By that method a balance might be restored between “most of the states” and “the states with the most”.


31 posted on 02/02/2012 2:02:21 PM PST by Wuli
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To: Jacquerie
The Electoral College - after quite a bit of tweaking - became the most unpolitical, least corrupt, and (finally) the most popular method of ultimate election.

Its detractors say that it's too complicated, unfair and still corrupt.

Nonetheless it still stands, thankfully, as the mightiest hedge ever devised against total socialism.

32 posted on 02/02/2012 2:11:35 PM PST by Ron C.
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To: Jacquerie

Bookmark for later digestion, Thank you.


33 posted on 02/02/2012 2:20:33 PM PST by moose07 (The truth will out, one day.)
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To: San Jacinto

In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole.

Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: “I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States.

National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it.”

Former Tennessee U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson(R), former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), and former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) are co-champions of National Popular Vote.

2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

National Popular Vote’s National Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT), and David Durenberger (R–MN) and former congressmen John Anderson (R–IL, I), John Buchanan (R–AL), and Tom Campbell (R–CA).

Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the NPV plan would not help either party over the other.

Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:”A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”

Some other supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote “ http://www.every-vote-equal.com/ include:

Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She is the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

James Brulte served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

Dean Murray is a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.

In a recent Gallup poll, support for a national popular vote, by political affiliation, is now:
53% among Republicans, 61% among Independents, and 71% among Democrats.


34 posted on 02/02/2012 2:21:04 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: newheart

With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.


35 posted on 02/02/2012 2:23:00 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: Jacquerie

The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.

Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution— “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state’s electoral votes.

As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.


36 posted on 02/02/2012 2:24:51 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: DuncanWaring
Man, that is worth an afternoon study on its own. Probs and Stats were never my strength. Gotta like his comparison to the World Series.
37 posted on 02/02/2012 2:26:03 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Jacquerie

Why? Here’s why...

Value of an individual vote under the Electoral College relative to a vote using Direct Election:

State | ECV/DEV

Alabama 103%
Alaska 228%
Arizona 102%
Arkansas 116%
California 85%
Colorado 107%
Connecticut 112%
Delaware 199%
D.C. 301%
Florida 88%
Georgia 95%
Hawaii 158%
Idaho 144%
Illinois 91%
Indiana 94%
Iowa 127%
Kansas 116%
Kentucky 104%
Louisiana 105%
Maine 165%
Maryland 97%
Massachusetts 101%
Michigan 93%
Minnesota 106%
Mississippi 110%
Missouri 102%
Montana 159%
Nebraska 151%
Nevada 128%
New Hampshire 166%
New Jersey 95%
New Mexico 132%
New York 90%
North Carolina 97%
North Dakota 236%
Ohio 93%
Oklahoma 107%
Oregon 103%
Pennsylvania 91%
Rhode Island 210%
South Carolina 105%
South Dakota 197%
Tennessee 98%
Texas 84%
Utah 110%
Vermont 250%
Virginia 94%
Washington 93%
West Virginia 144%
Wisconsin 97%
Wyoming 281%

Example: a vote in Wyoming is worth 3.3x that of one in Texas ... reducing Texas’ overwhelming 45-to-1 voter advantage over Wyoming to 14-to-1.


38 posted on 02/02/2012 2:26:12 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: Jacquerie

The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: “To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election—and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?”


39 posted on 02/02/2012 2:26:25 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: womanvet

With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as voters in Florida.


40 posted on 02/02/2012 2:29:48 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: The Great RJ

The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush’s lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore’s nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.


41 posted on 02/02/2012 2:32:05 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: Jacquerie
One little-noted advantage of the Electoral College is that it stops corruption at the state line. No matter how many votes are stolen in State X, the corruption affects only the electoral votes in State X. The stolen votes don't get included in a national "popular" total.
42 posted on 02/02/2012 2:33:05 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. A primer on armed revolt. Available form Amazon.)
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To: mvymvy

NPV would render many/most states’ votes moot outright.

Per prior post, between population and popular vote Texas out-votes Wyoming 45-to-1, while using Electoral votes brings that down to a more sensible 14-to-1 and persuades candidates to at least show up there.

I’d rather the problem be theft than systemic exclusion.


43 posted on 02/02/2012 2:33:36 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: drypowder

In California state-wide elections, Los Angeles and San Francisco don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, so it can hardly control a nationwide election.
In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.


44 posted on 02/02/2012 2:34:40 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: Ron C.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

NationalPopularVote


45 posted on 02/02/2012 2:36:17 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: mvymvy
National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . .

This helps explain why Ford, Dole and others named in your post were unable to perceive the pitfalls. But don't worry. In one or two more election cycles, the obvious and unavoidable effect of a popular vote will become all too evident. Even if the electoral impact of the more rural, less populus states is preserved through the electoral college, it will be difficult enough for a conservative to prevail against the growing hordes of "takers" now amassing in the welfare-friendly urban areas. If we go to the popular vote, it will become impossible.

As I said, the disastrous consequences of a popular vote will soon become self evident even to those who can't presently appreciate the ramifications.

46 posted on 02/02/2012 2:37:41 PM PST by San Jacinto
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To: Gaffer

Now presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE —75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%, NE - 74%, NH—69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by three jurisdictions.


47 posted on 02/02/2012 2:38:54 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: Gaffer

A survey of Utah voters conducted on May19–20, 2009 showed 70% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

Voters were asked:

“How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

Then, voters asked a second question that emphasized that Utah’s electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states, not Utah, vote. In this second question, 66% of Utah voters favored a national popular vote.

“Do you think it more important that a state’s electoral votes be cast for the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state, or is it more important to guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states becomes president?”

The results of the first question, by political affiliation, was 82% among Democrats, 66% among Republicans, and 75% among others. By gender, support was 78% among women and 60% among men. By age, support was 70% among 18-29 year olds, 70% among 30-45 year olds, 70% among 46-65 year olds, and 68% for those older than 65.

The results of the second question, by political affiliation, was 77% among Democrats, 63% among Republicans, and 62% among others. By gender, support was 72% among women and 58% among men. By age, support was 61% among 18-29 year olds, 64% among 30-45 year olds, 68% among 46-65 year olds, and 66% for those older than 65.

NationalPopularVote


48 posted on 02/02/2012 2:40:37 PM PST by mvymvy
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To: Wuli
Well, I don't know why the troll found this post so quickly; I did not ping him.

The Framers put together what we call an electoral college to minimize corruption. NPV would constitutionalize corruption and help destroy what remains of our republic. Democracy is killing us. Yes, we should elect true electors; people we trust to make intelligent decisions. It is too bad our State legislators were not bound to elect the President.

49 posted on 02/02/2012 2:41:15 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Gaffer

A survey of South Dakota voters conducted on January 28–30, 2011, showed 71% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

Voters were asked:

“How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 61% among Republicans, 82% among Democrats, and 77% among others.
By gender, support was 83% among women and 59% among men.
By age, support was 73% among 18-29 year olds, 67% among 30-45 year olds, 70% among 46-65 year olds, and 77% for those older than 65.

In a second question in the 2011 poll, 78% of South Dakota voters said “yes” in response to the question:

“Do you think that South Dakota voters should be given the chance to vote on the question of whether the President should be elected by a national popular vote OR by the current Electoral College system?”

NationalPopularVote


50 posted on 02/02/2012 2:42:25 PM PST by mvymvy
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