Americans to Electoral College: Drop Dead

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A new Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans want to get rid of the Electoral College. 62 percent of respondents say they would support a Constitutional amendment that would replace the president-making Rube Goldberg machine with a popular vote. For the first time since George W. Bush won the 2000 election because elderly people in Florida thought they were redeeming coupons for cantaloupe instead of voting, a majority of Republicans are in favor of scrapping the Electoral College as well. Full disclosure: This poll was conducted based on individuals' direct responses, not on a series of delegates elected to respond based on an agreement made at a convention held months prior.

In 2000, after the Supreme Court decided in George W. Bush's favor for the Florida recount, only 41 percent of Republicans said they preferred a popular vote. Not surprisingly, a huge majority of Democrats--75 percent--wanted to scrap the Electoral College at the time.

Now, 53 percent of Republicans are on board with the popular vote.

Republicans' decade of supporting the Electoral College was somewhat of an aberration. Most polls conducted on the subject in the latter half of the 20th century were resoundingly in support of a popular vote, no matter the respondent's party.

America has been using this unpopular system for electing unpopular presidents for the past 224 years. Why change? As they say, if it works for India, Burundi, and the Vatican, it'll work for the United States.

Americans Would Swap Electoral College for Popular Vote [Gallup via Politico]

[@nickgreene][ngreene@villagevoice.com]


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7 comments
overlandpark4me
overlandpark4me

redeeming coupons for cantaloupe instead of voting, lol. Or blacks voting for a guy because they thought he was black. You're an embarrassment Nick. Get off of the hard stuff.

Reason
Reason

There MUST be other electoral standards written in the amendment though: a paper trail where the voter sees their vote and puts it in a locked box. Random boxes must be verified no matter how wide the margin. Ballot access for third and fourth and fith party candidates with an instant run-off so that the least favorite candidate does not get past a split between top two candidates. Debates should be controlled by voter groups and not negotiated by top two parties. Crack down on vote tampering. Preventing groups from getting to the voting booth is vote tampering no matter who does it. Get corporate cash out. Only registered voters should be allowed to contribute and only to candidates that affect their jurisdiction. (a person in California should not be able to donate to politician in Florida...possibly exceptions for students and multi-property voters). Any money for corporate interests must go to an employee first, get taxed and then can go to a candidate - no more board of directors approving money for candidates. No employer can have rules against or influencing employees' contributions. (REAL journalists are often the most informed voters and should be able to participate). TRUTH in campaign ads! For any incorrect ads, the buyer of airtime or print must buy a correction.

TRUTH in news: if an employee or guest makes a false statement on a show or network with "news" in the title, the host must broadcast a correction after the falsehood is discovered. THEN listeners and viewers can make decisions about the credibility of their chosen shows.

visitor
visitor

There are two advantages to having the winner of a presidential election determined by the Electoral College, at least in theory. One is that by giving less populous states more electoral votes in proportion to their populations, their interests won't be so easily dismissed by candidates.

The other is that it eliminates the incentive to challenge vote counts everywhere. For example, in 2000, if the winner was to be determined by the popular vote and not the electoral vote, there would have been efforts to force recounts all over the country rather than in just some districts in Florida.

mvy
mvy

Thankfully, there's the National Popular Vote bill. It would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). 

Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE). Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate. 

With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn't be about winning states or districts (in ME and NE). No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. 

Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

Now, 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored.

States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president, without needing to abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.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%. 

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes -- 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

NationalPopularVote

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

Greg Palast would probably have words with Nick Greene over the 2000 elections, because he has serious proof that the Bush campaign rigged voting their way.

It doesn't matter now, but if Cheney or Bush ever wind up in the Hague, Palast and a number of other reporters will probably be called to give evidence for the prosecution.

mvy
mvy

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 ordisputed 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.                          A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and recount.

The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causesunnecessary 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 aboutonce 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.

mvy
mvy

Now political clout comes from being a battleground state.                          Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws, presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are almost invariably non-competitive,in presidential elections.  Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota), and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections.                               Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recentpolls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as everydemographic group.  Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine -- 77%, Montana – 72%,  Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%,  South Dakota – 71%, Utah - 70%, Vermont -- 75%, West Virginia – 81%,  and Wyoming – 69%.                                In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine statelegislative chambers -- including one house in DC, Delaware, Maine,  and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia,Hawaii, and Vermont.

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