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Abolish the Electoral College
NY Times ^ | August 29, 2004

Posted on 08/28/2004 11:34:36 PM PDT by Former Military Chick

When Republican delegates nominate their presidential candidate this week, they will be doing it in a city where residents who support George Bush have, for all practical purposes, already been disenfranchised. Barring a tsunami of a sweep, heavily Democratic New York will send its electoral votes to John Kerry and both parties have already written New York off as a surefire blue state. The Electoral College makes Republicans in New York, and Democrats in Utah, superfluous. It also makes members of the majority party in those states feel less than crucial. It's hard to tell New York City children that every vote is equally important - it's winner take all here, and whether Senator Kerry beats the president by one New York vote or one million, he will still walk away with all 31 of the state's electoral votes.

The Electoral College got a brief spate of attention in 2000, when George Bush became president even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than 500,000 votes. Many people realized then for the first time that we have a system in which the president is chosen not by the voters themselves, but by 538 electors. It's a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis. There should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president.

The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote. This shocks people in other nations who have been taught to look upon the United States as the world's oldest democracy. The Electoral College also heavily favors small states. The fact that every one gets three automatic electors - one for each senator and a House member - means states that by population might be entitled to only one or two electoral votes wind up with three, four or five.

The majority does not rule and every vote is not equal - those are reasons enough for scrapping the system. But there are other consequences as well. This election has been making clear how the Electoral College distorts presidential campaigns. A few swing states take on oversized importance, leading the candidates to focus their attention, money and promises on a small slice of the electorate. We are hearing far more this year about the issue of storing hazardous waste at Yucca Mountain, an important one for Nevada's 2.2 million residents, than about securing ports against terrorism, a vital concern for 19.2 million New Yorkers. The political concerns of Cuban-Americans, who are concentrated in the swing state of Florida, are of enormous interest to the candidates. The interests of people from Puerto Rico scarcely come up at all, since they are mainly settled in areas already conceded as Kerry territory. The emphasis on swing states removes the incentive for a large part of the population to follow the campaign, or even to vote.

Those are the problems we have already experienced. The arcane rules governing the Electoral College have the potential to create havoc if things go wrong. Electors are not required to vote for the candidates they are pledged to, and if the vote is close in the Electoral College, a losing candidate might well be able to persuade a small number of electors to switch sides. Because there are an even number of electors - one for every senator and House member of the states, and three for the District of Columbia - the Electoral College vote can end in a tie. There are several plausible situations in which a 269-269 tie could occur this year. In the case of a tie, the election goes to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation gets one vote - one for Wyoming's 500,000 residents and one for California's 35.5 million.

The Electoral College's supporters argue that it plays an important role in balancing relations among the states, and protecting the interests of small states. A few years ago, this page was moved by these concerns to support the Electoral College. But we were wrong. The small states are already significantly overrepresented in the Senate, which more than looks out for their interests. And there is no interest higher than making every vote count.

Making Votes Count: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/makingvotescount.


TOPICS: Editorial; US: California; US: District of Columbia; US: Florida; US: Nevada; US: New York; US: Utah; US: Wyoming
KEYWORDS: 2004electionfraud; algoreisnotmyprez; algorelostgetoverit; california; callawaaambulance; districtofcolumbia; elections; electoralcollege; federalist68; florida; howtostealanelection; mathagainsttyranny; mediabias; moveonalready; nevada; newyork; newyorkcity; newyorkslimes; newyorktimes; nytimesbias; slimes; utah; waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa; wyoming
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To: Che Chihuahua; Hermann the Cherusker; Lunatic Fringe; Squantos; demlosers; jnarcus; dila813; ...
I posted another article, that might get your dander up as well.

Where Prosecutors Say Votes Are Sold

41 posted on 08/29/2004 12:03:05 AM PDT by Former Military Chick (I previously posted under Military Chick)
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To: Former Military Chick
The Electoral College got a brief spate of attention in 2000, when George Bush became president even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than 500,000 votes.......It's a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority

Well for one, 500,000 votes is miniscule for an American election. It says nothing of who's more popular. That's an attempt by the writer to use a big looking number to make his point look better. Second, Gore didn't the majority, so that doesn't work either. A runoff would probably have been necessary, and Bush could have won a runoff.

With our country divided into states, something like the Electoral Collage is necessary. Without it, a few big cities would decide the close elections.

Most ridiculous is this idiot trying to make the electoral college look like a few hundred people deciding the outcome of the election. I'm sorry, but that's hilariously stupid. The electors are decided by the results from each state, and going state by state, each state getting a say, is the best way to go.

42 posted on 08/29/2004 12:03:05 AM PDT by baseballfanjm
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To: Former Military Chick

Let's see now. kerry wins 49 states by 50,000 votes each. Pres Bush wins Texas by 3,000,000 votes. BUSH WINS!


43 posted on 08/29/2004 12:03:36 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Graybeard - Illinois resident - Keyes voter)
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To: Former Military Chick

Let's see now. kerry wins 49 states by 50,000 votes each. Pres Bush wins Texas by 3,000,000 votes. BUSH WINS!


44 posted on 08/29/2004 12:04:30 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Graybeard - Illinois resident - Keyes voter)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

lol


45 posted on 08/29/2004 12:05:05 AM PDT by TeleStraightShooter (Sorry Kerry, you're 3 decimal places adrift: 3,000,000 not 3,000 "displaced"/murdered SE Asians)
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To: Former Military Chick
In the case of a tie, the election goes to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation gets one vote - one for Wyoming's 500,000 residents and one for California's 35.5 million.

So what's the problem?

46 posted on 08/29/2004 12:05:08 AM PDT by kesg
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To: weegee

I think this is where someone would inject the "slippery slope" theory.

Excellent post.


47 posted on 08/29/2004 12:05:56 AM PDT by Former Military Chick (I previously posted under Military Chick)
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To: baseballfanjm
A runoff would probably have been necessary, and Bush could have won a runoff.

A runoff?

48 posted on 08/29/2004 12:08:04 AM PDT by Dont Mention the War (we use the ˇ°ml maximizeˇ± command in Stata to obtain estimates of each aj , bj, and cm.)
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To: Graybeard58

I like your method. Lets put into action.


49 posted on 08/29/2004 12:09:03 AM PDT by Former Military Chick (I previously posted under Military Chick)
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To: Cold Heat

I knew one of the Texas electors.


50 posted on 08/29/2004 12:09:35 AM PDT by weegee (YOU could have been aborted, and you wouldn't have had a CHOICE about it.)
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To: Leatherneck_MT

Uh, when did the originally system ever have the US Senate choose both the President and the VP??

Really, it never happened. The electoral college has always picked the President and Vice-President. When there was no majority or a tie, then the House of Representatives, with the States each having ONE vote chooses the President, and the Senate chooses the Vice-President.


dvwjr


51 posted on 08/29/2004 12:10:22 AM PDT by dvwjr
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To: TeleStraightShooter

The real reason the Slimes wants to get rid of the EC is that it is a major barrier to election fraud.

No matter how many votes the Dems cook up in Chicago, NYC, LA, etc, it doesn't matter past the point that the Dems "win" those states.

The only states where fraud will really help the Dems then are the battleground states where their political machines are unlikely to be very strong, and rampant fraud somewhat likely to be caught...

So, remove the EC, and all the sudden the fraud we all know goes on in big cities via Democrat election officials allow them to "win" every presidential election that isn't a Republican blow out.


52 posted on 08/29/2004 12:10:46 AM PDT by swilhelm73 (There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men. --Burke)
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To: Dont Mention the War

"Yeah, I'm sure port security is at the top of the list of concerns of the average resident of Syracuse."

Actually, with the port of Oswego only 35 miles directly upwind, port security does get some thought here in Syracuse.


53 posted on 08/29/2004 12:11:33 AM PDT by Jim Ralls
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To: jnarcus

Wisconsin has two senators and neither of them represent our state's interests. I don't know what they do.

Whereas Kerry and Kennedy have sucked up millions of tax dollars from the rest of the nation for the Big Dig.


54 posted on 08/29/2004 12:11:33 AM PDT by Duke Nukum ([T]he only true mystery is that our very lives are governed by dead people.)
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To: Former Military Chick

Liberals always howl "Count Every Vote!" or "Every Vote Counts!" but they never seem to practice what they preach.


55 posted on 08/29/2004 12:12:47 AM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (Real gun control is - all shots inside the ten ring)
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To: weegee; Former Military Chick
No need to give every state (including Rhode Island and Alaska) 2 Senators.

States used to distribute state senate districts based on geography.
The ill-advised SCOTUS 1964 Baker vs Carr decision ended that.
I'm am certain the NYTimes loved it.

56 posted on 08/29/2004 12:13:05 AM PDT by TeleStraightShooter (Sorry Kerry, you're 3 decimal places adrift: 3,000,000 not 3,000 "displaced"/murdered SE Asians)
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

They have been taught incorrectly. A democracy is five wolves and a labd voting on whats for lunch. This a constitutional republic.


57 posted on 08/29/2004 12:14:02 AM PDT by Natural Law
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To: Former Military Chick

No matter how many times history has proven the danger of "pure" democracy, aka mob rule, the NYT just won't give up on it.


58 posted on 08/29/2004 12:14:40 AM PDT by Bonaparte (the lyric said forevermore, forevermore's a memory...)
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To: Former Military Chick

Wanna stop the "dump the electoral college" people in their tracks?

Ask them if they wanted a Florida-style recount in ALL 50 STATES in 2000 because the two candidates came within the margin of error that should require a recount. Can you imagine the chaos and dirty tricks that would happen? Or would they want NO recourse for a narrow loser in the national popular vote?

Sorry. One state of that sort of hokum was plenty enough for me.

The electoral college is one of the most ingenius things our founding fathers have devised. Once in a blue moon it creates a controversy like it did in 2000 but most of the time it settles arguments rather that starts them and we should be grateful for that.


59 posted on 08/29/2004 12:14:41 AM PDT by Tall_Texan (Let's REALLY Split The Country! (http://righteverytime3.blogspot.com))
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

They have been taught incorrectly. A democracy is five wolves and a labd voting on whats for lunch. This a constitutional republic.


60 posted on 08/29/2004 12:15:54 AM PDT by Natural Law
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