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danielost

Electoral college

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The electorial college needs to be changed. Currently in 48etates it is winner takes all. That means in most cases one or two cities in each state decides who gets that state's vote.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting information on the Electoral College:

Why Was The Electoral College Created?

by Marc Schulman

The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between population and the selection of a President. The second as part of the structure of the government that gave extra power to the smaller states.

The first reason that the founders created the Electoral College is hard to understand today. The founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power. Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers:

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.

(See All of the Federalist 68)

Hamilton and the other founders believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.

The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the winner takes all the votes in the state. Therefore it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a recipe for one individual to win some states by large pluralities and lose others by small number of votes, and thus this is an easy scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This winner take all methods used in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century.

While there are clear problems with the Electoral College and there are some advantages to it, changing it is very unlikely. It would take a constituitional amendment ratified by 3/4 of states to change the system. It is hard to imagine the smaller states agreeing. One way of modifying the system s to eliminate the winner take all part of it. The method that the states vote for the electoral college is not mandated by the consitution but is decided by the states. Two states do not use the winner take all system, Maine and Nebraska. It would be difficult but not impossible to get other states to change their systems, unfortunately the party that has the advantage in the state is unlikely to agree to a unilateral change.

Also:

Four presidents were elected after losing the popular vote.

  • John Quincy Adams in 1824 (Andrew Jackson won the popular vote. Jackson also led in electoral vote but did not get the required majority so the House of Representatives decided the election.

  • Rutherford Hayes in 1876 (Samuel Tilden won the popular vote)
  • Benjamin Harrison in 1888 ( incumbent president Grover Cleveland won the popular vote)

Edited by Kowalski

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The electorial college needs to be changed. Currently in 48etates it is winner takes all. That means in most cases one or two cities in each state decides who gets that state's vote.

What changes would you propose?

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What changes would you propose?

Do what they do in main. Along congressional disterects.

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Do what they do in main. Along congressional disterects.

So you would keep the electoral college, just make it by district instead of by state? Well that would be up to each state. Some split their electoral college votes now based on the popular vote in their state. Most don't becasue they realize that it weakens their political clout.

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I understand the "partial" rationale of having an Electoral College, but I do NOT agree with it as a whole in electing a US president.

Of course, there have been occasions(2, I think?) where the popular vote was deemed more relevant than the EC, yet it still seems the EC has far too much power.

IF anything, the EC should exist SOLELY as an advisory to popular vote.

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Interesting website to check out: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/

Thomas Jefferson hated the electoral college.

I have ever considered the constitutional mode of election ultimately by the Legislature voting by States as the most dangerous blot in our Constitution, and one which some unlucky chance will some day hit and give us a pope and antipope. - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Hay, 1823.

Here's another good website: http://www.historyhouse.com/in_history/electoral_college/

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I understand the "partial" rationale of having an Electoral College, but I do NOT agree with it as a whole in electing a US president.

Of course, there have been occasions(2, I think?) where the popular vote was deemed more relevant than the EC, yet it still seems the EC has far too much power.

IF anything, the EC should exist SOLELY as an advisory to popular vote.

The electoral college was devised so that the small (population wise) states voters would not be swamped by the larger states voters. Since each state gets two senators and at least one representative each state has at least three EC votes. If we go by population then states like Wyoming and Alaska might feel like they have lost their say in who gets elected to the Presidency to the larger states like New York and California (each of which have cities with larger populations than Wyoming or Alaska).

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Get rid of it all and just count the votes . Big city, small city, none of it makes any difference if you just count the votes . The guy/party with the most Wins!*

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Yes indeed, the EC was originally setup to prevent manipulation. And the Founding Fathers understood that. But yet in 2008, that is what happened. 15 of the most populated counties swung the election. Now, I am not a fan of the popular vote because that results in mob rule and plus there are too many low information voters out there. We need to take the EC down to the county level. One vote per county.

How many counties are there in the United States?

There are 3,141 counties and county equivalents in the 50 States and the District of Columbia. They are categorized as follows:

3,007 counties

16 Boroughs in Alaska

11 Census Areas in Alaska (for areas not organized into Boroughs by the State)

64 Parishes in Louisiana

42 Independent Cities (1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Nevada, and the remainder in Virginia)

1 District - the Federal District or District of Columbia.

This does not include Commonwealths and territories with what are generally county equivalents, which are as follows:

78 Municipalities in Puerto Rico

2 Districts in the U.S. Virgin Islands

9 Election Districts in Guam

17 Districts in the Northern Mariana Islands

and

5 Districts in American Samoa

So that would be 3252 electors, 1627 to win. Do away with the states having winner take all. This would make manipulation much harder (which would lessen the fears that Jefferson had). Voters on the West Coast would still be *in it*. It would also swing the power toward the land owner as it should be. Land owners have more of a stake in the process. The election should not be based on popular vote but by the one more capable as Hamilton thought.

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Get rid of it all and just count the votes . Big city, small city, none of it makes any difference if you just count the votes . The guy/party with the most Wins!*

The U.S. is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. The Founding Fathers were observant enough to notice that voters from rural/agricultural areas and voters from metropolitan/commercial areas had very different interests and that the interests of both should have equal chance at representation, which is why the Electoral College was developed. I agree that the "All or nothing" way it works today is broken because it no longer does what it's original intent was. The House members of the Electoral College should each vote according to the majority vote in their district, and the Senate members should vote based on the majority vote of their state, but not in a simple way: if the vote is split in such a way that no candidate has more than 70% of the total popular vote in a state, then the Senate votes should be split between the two candidates with the highest percentage of votes, if one candidate does have more than 70%, then that candidate should get the 2 Senate votes. Getting rid of the Electoral College would result in the disenfranchisement of all but the majority.
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thanks IamsSon , ya, i dunno.. is there really that much difference nowadays between the interests of " voters from rural/agricultural areas and voters from metropolitan/commercial areas" ?

let's have a democray then... coidn't be woise. lol

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thanks IamsSon , ya, i dunno.. is there really that much difference nowadays between the interests of " voters from rural/agricultural areas and voters from metropolitan/commercial areas" ?

let's have a democray then... coidn't be woise. lol

Yes, there are still significant differences between the interests of city dwellers and non-city dwellers, between voters in the coasts and voters in the middle of the country, between voters in the northern states and voters in the south and southwestern states. Democracy at anything larger than the county level is nothing but mob rule. I prefer the constitutional republic.
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Posted (edited)

Now, I am not a fan of the popular vote because that results in mob rule and plus there are too many low information voters out there.

OK. That's your opinion, and I respect opinions(versus those who have none)

However, I strongly disagree.

The EC was founded during a time when the general populace did not have access to intimate governmental issues. Fine.

As such, it CLEARLY had it's place. (low information voters)

That IS NOT THE CASE NOW, nor has been for at least a decade or so.

Furthermore, the EC has turned into a strictly partisan-divided institution, much to the disdain of us common people whom want solutions and not party bickering.

I think the notion of "mob rule" is wrong. That would be like saying "YOUR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT, only the EC's VOTE counts"

That, to me, is not healthy for America, as is suggest there is no need AT ALL for populace vote. And that is SERIOUSLY WRONG, as that puts government by the government instead of government by the people.

Edited by pallidin
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OK. That's your opinion, and I respect opinions(versus those who have none)

However, I strongly disagree.

The EC was founded during a time when the general populace did not have access to intimate governmental issues. Fine.

As such, it CLEARLY had it's place. (low information voters)

That IS NOT THE CASE NOW, nor has been for at least a decade or so.

Furthermore, the EC has turned into a strictly partisan-divided institution, much to the disdain of us common people whom want solutions and not party bickering.

I think the notion of "mob rule" is wrong. That would be like saying "YOUR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT, only the EC's VOTE counts"

That, to me, is not healthy for America, as is suggest there is no need AT ALL for populace vote. And that is SERIOUSLY WRONG, as that puts government by the government instead of government by the people.

Although information is available, just the fact that there are voters walking around who cannot tell you who the Vice President is, who their House Representative is, what the difference between leftist and conservative is, why what is happening in Greece (Where is that? Wasn't that an old movie with the guy from Pulp Fiction?) impacts us, or even how many times they are legally allowed to vote is more than clear indication that voters, despite the fact that information is much more readily available, are not well informed.
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I'm not sure where I sit on the electoral college.

I think every vote should count. Thomas Jefferson did say: Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his particular deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.

But, I worry about low information voters. And it scares me how many people out there can't even tell you the three branches of government....Yet they can vote! :no:

You'd think with ALL that information on the internet people would be a little better informed these days! In history many a democracy has been pushed to the brink, because of a demagogues.

A demagogue (/ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/) or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated people of a population in order to gain power. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.

So, I can see why our Founding Fathers did this. I think Ravenhawk's suggestion to take it down to a county level is pretty good idea.

Yes, there are still significant differences between the interests of city dwellers and non-city dwellers, between voters in the coasts and voters in the middle of the country, between voters in the northern states and voters in the south and southwestern states

Very true. :tu:

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Although information is available, just the fact that there are voters walking around who cannot tell you who the Vice President is, who their House Representative is, what the difference between leftist and conservative is, why what is happening in Greece (Where is that? Wasn't that an old movie with the guy from Pulp Fiction?) impacts us, or even how many times they are legally allowed to vote is more than clear indication that voters, despite the fact that information is much more readily available, are not well informed.

I respect your opinion. Thank you.

May I offer, again, that "government by government" is not a viable or even a responsible solution, in my mind.

Just my opinion...

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Interesting information on the Electoral College:

It is, but it doesn't seem to have made much a splash on the conversation. The rationale for the Electoral College that Hamilton laid out there was very straightforward: the choice for President would best be made by a small group of capable, well-educated men acting independently and autonomously (and it would avoid the "tumult and disorder" of having communities voting directly for the final candidate instead of for intermediate electors).

All the scenarios folks are offering to change the Electoral College have nothing to do with this. Offering an alternate way of tabulating (or diluting, as the case may be) popular vote totals--by county! by state! by a hybrid of both!--misses the point of why this body was established. And that's fine, as long as no one pretends that their favorite scheme is somehow intended to recapture the original intent of the system, when it obviously is not.

Coming up with alternate methodologies for summing popular vote totals doesn't get you back to the idea that only a tiny elite group of autonomous supercitizens (elected by their peers and not chosen en masse as part of a slate of party hacks, as it's done today) should handle the decision-making in presidential elections.

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I respect your opinion. Thank you.

May I offer, again, that "government by government" is not a viable or even a responsible solution, in my mind.

Just my opinion...

Every other country on the planet is government by government. They have the right to raid your bank accounts if they want to.

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If we were doing it my way, gore would have won in 1999, and romney would have won.

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For those whom haven't heard this, listen on! I think it's approriate.

I previously posted this vid on another thread here, and I apologize for their initial cussing. I don't know how to delete that part.

MODS: I hope you don't mind my reposting this vid. If so feel free to delete...

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Posted (edited)

I respect your opinion. Thank you.

May I offer, again, that "government by government" is not a viable or even a responsible solution, in my mind.

Just my opinion...

I agree that "government by government" is not responsible, but as long as the Electoral College's vote is representing the vote of the people, it is not government by government. It may not be the perfect way to avoid the dangers of mob rule, but it is pretty good.

I appreciate your willingness and ability to disagree without getting ugly. :tu:

Edited by IamsSon
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Yes indeed, the EC was originally setup to prevent manipulation. And the Founding Fathers understood that. But yet in 2008, that is what happened. 15 of the most populated counties swung the election. Now, I am not a fan of the popular vote because that results in mob rule and plus there are too many low information voters out there. We need to take the EC down to the county level. One vote per county.

How many counties are there in the United States?

There are 3,141 counties and county equivalents in the 50 States and the District of Columbia. They are categorized as follows:

3,007 counties

16 Boroughs in Alaska

11 Census Areas in Alaska (for areas not organized into Boroughs by the State)

64 Parishes in Louisiana

42 Independent Cities (1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Nevada, and the remainder in Virginia)

1 District - the Federal District or District of Columbia.

This does not include Commonwealths and territories with what are generally county equivalents, which are as follows:

78 Municipalities in Puerto Rico

2 Districts in the U.S. Virgin Islands

9 Election Districts in Guam

17 Districts in the Northern Mariana Islands

and

5 Districts in American Samoa

So that would be 3252 electors, 1627 to win. Do away with the states having winner take all. This would make manipulation much harder (which would lessen the fears that Jefferson had). Voters on the West Coast would still be *in it*. It would also swing the power toward the land owner as it should be. Land owners have more of a stake in the process. The election should not be based on popular vote but by the one more capable as Hamilton thought.

So using your method each county, no matter how many people live in the county, would get 1 EC vote. Hmm... Counties with a few thousand people would count the same as counties with 10s of thousands people. Over 9 million people live in LA County (Ca), Loving County (Tx) has 82 people. Doesn't seem right that 82 votes could cancel out over 9 million votes.

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Posted (edited)

So using your method each county, no matter how many people live in the county, would get 1 EC vote. Hmm... Counties with a few thousand people would count the same as counties with 10s of thousands people. Over 9 million people live in LA County (Ca), Loving County (Tx) has 82 people. Doesn't seem right that 82 votes could cancel out over 9 million votes.

Again, this is not a democracy, it's a Constitutional Republic, and as such, the "equality" of representation is laid out in the Constitution and is not necessarily a one-for-one thing. We see the reality of this in the House of Representatives, where although each Representative's vote is equal to the vote of any other Representative despite the fact that one may represent a few hundred voters more than another. However, I agree that it should not be a vote by county but by electoral district, since districts are more closely balanced. Yes, there may be some districts that have more voters than others, but the difference is not as great as 82 to 9 million. Edited by IamsSon
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Again, this is not a democracy, it's a Constitutional Republic, and as such, the "equality" of representation is laid out in the Constitution and is not necessarily a one-for-one thing. We see the reality of this in the House of Representatives, where although each Representative's vote is equal to the vote of any other Representative despite the fact that one may represent a few hundred voters than another. However, I agree that it should not be a vote by county but by electoral district, since districts are more closely balanced. Yes, there may be some districts that have more voters than others, but the difference is not as great as 82 to 9 million.

I believe that the Districts are redrawn if necessary to reflect the latest census numbers so that each district contains about the same number of people. Of course each district will not have exactly the same number of people, but they should be fairly close in terms of percentage of the total population.

I think the EC District idea has merit, counties not so much.

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