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The United States Electoral College


The Electoral College is unique to the USA as near as I can see. Its purpose is to protect both the rights of the individual and the States when it comes to Presidential elections. The individual, who should have a voice and the States who submit some of their sovereign authority to the Federal government and also deserve a voice in who will be the President and Vice-President of the USA. The design of the Electorial College in melding both of these legitimate interests was based on the Congress of the USA and it was understood and self-evident that the total number of electoral votes would change as the population of the USA grew. In 1918 this premise was effectively destroyed when the Congress of the USA set a cap on the number of seats in the House of Representatives at 435. The end result is not known but the trend is for the individual's voice in the election process to become more and more diluted. Two States, Maine and Nebraska, have addressed this trend by moving to a simple "Congressional district method" of allocating their "electoral votes" within the Electoral College. This method does address both the individual and states rights within their respective States but is unable to address the proportional weight of the individual's vote when compared to the votes of the individual in other States.

To address this inconsistency in representation and still guarantee the safeguarding of the rights of the individual States I would propose the following changes to the makeup of the Electoral College.

1. That the number of "electoral votes" in the college be predicated on the individual rights of the people using the ]Wyoming Rule to set "Electoral Districts" for each State.

2. The adoption of a simple "Electoral District" method in the allocation of each of the states delegates to the Electoral College.

The first protects individual rights and also the individuals "voting weight" while the second ensures the States rights are not ignored in the effort to correct the problems created by the cap placed on the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

So how would this work in practice? Pennsylvania would have had 23 districts + 2 at-large districts = 25 electoral votes. Donald Trump won the popular vote in that State. So he would have received 2 votes for winning the state (satisfying the States rights concerns) and 12 votes from the electoral districts (total = 14) while Hillary Clinton would have received the remaining 11 electoral votes for Pennsylvania. This is predicated on fair and impartial election district lines and does not take into account any potential gerrymandering by either of the two major political parties.



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11/12/2016, 12:04 pm Link to this post Send e-mail to   Send PM to Blog
 
Kaunisto Profile
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Re: The United States Electoral College


Regarding that last sentence, how about just dividing electoral votes relative to state's popular vote, without districts?

Let's see...
That would cause a dramatic change on third parties. They would be inevitably receiving some votes and would hold balance of power in tight elections - this one would've likely been decided by Libertarians with that system.
But that's a difficult dilemma: which is worse, third parties (in this case over 5%!) having no real say/effect or the possibility of them holding balance of power? In other words, we're asking if president should be one who has most support or one who has majority support (when forced to choose from top two).

That might often lead to electoral college unable to choose president, unless their process was changed. For that I'd suggest the system Finland had before changing to direct popular vote: electors vote and unless anyone gets 50%(+), after every vote the candidate who got least votes is removed. (Same way Olympic hosts are decided.)
So they would be undecided only if final vote between last two was tie.

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11/13/2016, 9:43 am Link to this post Send e-mail to   Send PM to
 
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Re: The United States Electoral College


If we were going for just a popular vote system and treating the USA as a single homogenous entity that would almost be fair. There would still be the 7 USA Territories to consider (which currently have representation on a case-by-case basis).

The problem is that each State in the USA is a sovereign State, not just an administration center. So any change to the Electoral College must take into account the status of both the States and Territories that comprise the whole USA. The States MUST have representation that is independent of the popular vote or they lose another of their sovereign rights. That is one of the main checks in the USA designed to limit the power of the Federal Government and hold it accountable to both the people and the States for its actions. Territories are just administrative centers so your system idea would work for them (if I am reading your intent correctly).

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Re: The United States Electoral College


quote:

The States MUST have representation that is independent of the popular vote or they lose another of their sovereign rights.


States' rights have to do with state laws, not electing a president. A President is supposed to represent every citizen of the country, not just a handful of swing states that determine who will be the next President.

quote:

Amendment 10

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


The Electoral College made sense in the days before radio and high-speed transportation made national campaigning possible. Now that voting can be done electronically, and tallying those votes can be done automatically, it's even more ridiculous to keep such an archaic and undemocratic system.

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Re: The United States Electoral College


Had the Senate remained as an office whose members were selected by the States (and thereby giving them a voice in the direction and policies of the Federal Government) then I could come closer to being in agreement but as it stands the electoral college remains one of the few places where States have a say in what happens.

The States have not delegated their Right to have a say in the choice of those who serve in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government in either the office of the President or Vice-President so to do away with the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment. Much the same as was done when they gave up the right to choose their State Senators and assign that function to a popular vote within their respective States.

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Re: The United States Electoral College


What if states would technically reserve right to assign electors/votes while there would be a de facto system of electoral votes divided by popular vote within state?

But that would rely on all states honoring the idea. If a state clearly ruled by one party would decide to slip and use their right, they could tilt a tight election...

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11/14/2016, 8:56 am Link to this post Send e-mail to   Send PM to
 
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Re: The United States Electoral College


I see the idea behind what you are saying Kaunisto and it does have some merit. Using your idea and combining it with the Wyoming Rule for electoral apportionment The Electoral College Reform would look like this:

1. Each State would have a number of Electoral Districts defined by The Wyoming Rule.
2. Electors would be chosen by popular vote in each State.
3. We then give the State legislatures the choice of "affirming, protesting, or abstaining" the overall choice of the citizens within that State.
    Affirmation would give the States two electoral votes to the candidate who won the majority of electoral districts.
    Protesting would give the States two electoral votes to the candidate who lost the majority of electoral districts.
    Abstaining would split the States two electoral votes with one electoral vote going to each of the two leading candidates by popular vote.

On the day of the elections, it would be assumed that all States would follow the will of the people by majority vote for the purposes of reporting. Each State would have a 7-day period after the public elections in which they could change the defacto "Affirmation" vote to either "Protest" or "Abstain."

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Re: The United States Electoral College


quote:

Rick wrote:

...but as it stands the electoral college remains one of the few places where States have a say in what happens.



If you are only aware of a few, then you have not been paying attention to all the various state laws that are out there. Just the other day, I had a conversation with someone about the need to familiarize ourselves with various state laws just to drive across the country. If someone lives in a state where it's legal to keep a gun in your glove compartment, and they drive through a state where that's illegal, they could find themselves in a whole heap of trouble.

States' rights are about allowing states to create their own laws. If I'm not mistaken, 3 more states will be legalizing marijuana. Some states have open carry laws, some do not. I'm pretty sure the legal drinking age is still set by the states, although they all chose to move it up to 21 at some point. Some states have ridiculous TRAP laws, while most do not. Some states require motorcyclists to wear helmets, while others do not, or only require them under certain conditions. Our Civil War was fought over one particular States' right. That is, the right for a state to make it legal for white men to own other human beings and torture and kill them as they please.

Texas state laws don't affect me directly, although I feel bad for anyone who lives in Texas, can't afford to move away, and is negatively impacted by some of those laws. Texas laws are not my laws, but now the whole country is stuck with a President that most American voters didn't choose, and to top it all off, we'll all be stuck with a radical Supreme Court justice for the next few decades, who doesn't give a damn about the U.S. Constitution in cases where it conflicts with the judge's bigoted beliefs. Then again, maybe Trump was lying about that, too.

quote:

Rick wrote:

The States have not delegated their Right [...] so to do away with the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment.


Everything up to and including the part I edited out is not why an amendment would be required. The ONLY reason a Constitutional amendment would be required to overturn the 12th Amendment is because a Constitutional amendment is required to overturn a Constitutional amendment.

Yes, we do need a Constitutional amendment to overturn the 12th Amendment, which is exactly what I am advocating for.

quote:

Kaunisto wrote:

What if states would technically reserve right to assign electors/votes while there would be a de facto system of electoral votes divided by popular vote within state?

But that would rely on all states honoring the idea. If a state clearly ruled by one party would decide to slip and use their right, they could tilt a tight election...



We the People don't actually elect the President. The Electors cast the only votes that really count, and they do have the option to choose either candidate. I am aware of one petition to have the Electors vote according to the popular vote, and there are probably others.

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Re: The United States Electoral College


I think that as it's part of the system, a lot more thought must be put in for them to see a reason to take it down. The reality is that that's what we have and regardless of what we want personally, it's part of the system*.

*This post does not reflect any of my political views (or whatever they say emoticon )

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Re: The United States Electoral College


The system used to give states the right to make slavery legal. Even after black people were recognized as human beings and slavery was made illegal, they still had to fight for a Constitutional amendment to recognize them as American citizens who should have the right to vote.

Some people still believe black people are subhuman, and don't believe they should have the same rights as everyone else.

The system didn't used to allow women the right to vote. Some people still believe this shouldn't be a right.

The systems used to allow men the right to treat their wives as though they were the husband's property. Some people still believe this is how things should be.

When Trump says he's going to make America great again, and when you hear all the bigotry he has spewed against racial minorities, women, the LGBTQI community, etc., the most logical conclusion to draw is that Trump wants to go back to the days when people could be owned and rights could be denied, based on things like religion or assumed religion, race, gender or assumed gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and other arbitrary things.

But back to the Electoral College, some laws are immoral, and some laws are simply ridiculous. The Electoral College is ridiculous to keep in this day and age, but of course the House and Senate won't vote to get rid of it, because they don't want We the People to have that much voting power.

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