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Electoral College September 19, 2008

Posted by mk in Uncategorized.

Good news!  Barack Obama is moving up in the polls again.  The margins are not statistically large enough to get overly excited but they are heading in the right direction.

I am starting to feel a little bit more confident in the upcoming elections.  Not overly confident because it definitely is going to be another tight election but still a little bit better.

Which brings me into my concerns with the electoral college.  The 2000 and 2004 elections brought up discrepancies between the popular vote and the electoral vote.  In 2008, when we have the technology to count each individual vote, why don’t we?  I understand why the electoral college was formed but we are in a different time period now and have different capabilities.

I feel strongly that more people would vote if they felt like their vote counted.  I reside in the extraordinarily politically conservative state of Utah.  I am one of a political minority and I might as well not go vote — I do because I believe it is an important responsibility — because they have already painted the state bright red before we even open the polls.

Even if it is only an effort to recruit new voters, maybe we should reconsider the election system.  Is there a good reason that we don’t consider our other options?



1. susan - September 23, 2008

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people were merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com


2. susan - September 23, 2008

The current system does not reliably reflect the nationwide popular vote. The statewide winner-take-all rules makes it possible for a candidate to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

Nationwide popular election of the President is the only system that makes all states competitive, guarantees that the candidate with the most popular votes nationwide wins the Presidency, and makes every vote equal.


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