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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:01 PM   #1
neiltc13
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Will there ever be electoral reform of US presidential elections?

Looking at the total figures now Florida is in, Obama didn't really win that easily.

61,715,465 vs 58,507,338

I think this highlights a huge flaw in the US Presidential Elections and this whole "electoral college" thing. Obama ends up with 50.5% of the votes, but has 61% of the electoral college votes. In what way is that fair?

Surely the winner should be the person who has the most votes. As the same candidates are standing across the whole country, what is the benefit of breaking it down into individual states like this?

Will there ever be proper reform here to make the elections a fair first past the post system based only on the popular vote?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Surely the winner should be the person who has the most votes. As the same candidates are standing across the whole country, what is the benefit of breaking it down into individual states like this?
Some people/States are more equal than others.

Next??
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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I voted for Obama but I was really hoping that Romney would take the popular vote while Obama won the college. Just because this would seriously encourage criticism of the college from both sides (Gore lost one and now Romney).

I hate the electoral college, I think when it comes to the election of the president there should be no location requirements. I should be able to get a presidential voter card or ID number which allows me to vote for the president at any polling place in the country.

In the end this would probably help liberals much more than conservatives because it would make it easier for college students to vote, and they are overwhelmingly liberal.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:24 PM   #4
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Everyone hates the electoral college when it works against their favor.

Everyone loves the electoral college when it works in their favor.

The electoral college was created - at least in part - because of (1) the difficulty in individual-vote counting, and (2) the difficulty in ensuring each state got "proper" attention. The former is now irrelevant, and the latter is now championed only by democrats (e.g. California).
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Fair or unfair, it's a minor issue compared to more glaring ones.

What they should do is deal with all this banana republic crap that makes US elections look like the country was founded two weeks ago.

Voter suppression, robo-calls, weird and inconsistent voting systems, abysmal turnout by first world standards (under 50% a few times), gerrymandering (the parties engaging in 'redistricting' to gain advantages)... c'mon, it's supposed to be "the world's foremost democracy", that stuff sounds more like Colombia or Pakistan.

The turnout is especially problematic, IMO. This is an election that, unlike most, interests the entire world, and with good reason since the US economy and its foreign policy affects just about every other country. But since only half of the eligible voters can be arsed to vote, a president of the US is put in the White House by a quarter of the population. Another quarter voted against him and two quarters didn't care. Where's the mandate for that guy to police the rest of the world?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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While several posters (along with much of the electorate) may hate the electoral college, the actual issue of political and electoral reform goes much, much, deeper and right to the heart of the constitutional scaffolding which underpins and reinforces the existence of the United States.

The theory is to guarantee that each state receives 'proper' and proportionate, relative to population, representation, which is all very fine and really rather impressive.

But, just as the EU needs to work out a number of core contradictions which have been there from the start, (a German Europe or a European Germany; a supranational structure versus national self-interest; a protected Common Market in agriculture versus Free Trade and deregulation in much of industry; 'widening' versus 'deepening' of Europe; the fact that economic means are used to achieve political ends.....and so on), so, too, has the US.

And, above all, with regard to the relationship between the powers of the states which constitute the Union, and the Federal centre. Even a Civil war didn't fully resolve this issue. Unless and until the US decides how it wants the relationship between the individual states and the Federal centre to be described and regulated, reform of the electoral college won't work.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Where was this bitching about jettisoning the Electoral when Bush lost the popular yet won the Electoral vs Al Gore?

I love how conservatives were coming out of the woodwork that we need to go to popular vote when their pony looked like he was going to win the popular.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:53 PM   #8
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Everyone hates the electoral college when it works against their favor.

Everyone loves the electoral college when it works in their favor.
Both true, for it always comes down to who's ox is being gored.

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Originally Posted by kavika411 View Post
The electoral college was created - at least in part - because of (1) the difficulty in individual-vote counting, and (2) the difficulty in ensuring each state got "proper" attention.

The former is now irrelevant, and the latter is now championed only by democrats (e.g. California).
Now that's a porky right there. "Proper attention", i.e. special consideration, is the goal of all States, no matter their political affiliation.

Time to do away with this arcane hold-out, to fix problems inherent in living in the 1800's.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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States
You must have not gotten the memo. "States" is code for "States Rights." It needs to all be popular/federal.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:14 PM   #10
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:34 PM   #11
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Everyone hates the electoral college when it works against their favor.

Everyone loves the electoral college when it works in their favor.
YES!!! This is so true. I was just saying this on Election Night after Obama won. (Yay!)

However, the electoral college becomes moot if the candidate also has the highest popular vote. Win by much, win by little. It's still a win.

In short: Haters gonna hate.

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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:41 PM   #12
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Everyone hates the electoral college when it works against their favor.

Everyone loves the electoral college when it works in their favor.
I just wan't it gone, period it didn't work for or against my wishes this election and I hoped that it would to encourage its elimination.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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Leave it as it is
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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I'd change the House of Representatives as well as state legislatures to reflect proportionally the will of the people. Instead of winner-take-all districts, parties would get to seat members based on the proportion of votes received overall.

I'm a Green Party member, but I vote Democrat because I want to make sure the most liberal, viable candidate gets my vote. Proportional representation helps to ensure that my 3rd party vote will actually result in a party member gaining office. That system will help to break the stranglehold that Democrats and Republicans have held over our political system.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:47 AM   #15
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I don't have any real issue with the electoral college per-se. My gripe is that no state should be an all or nothing state. Rather they should award electoral votes proportionally.

I think it's absurd that the republicans can technically win Texas by just a few thousand votes (not that it happened that way, but it could) and win the entire 38 electoral votes. It's similarly ridiculous that California awards all 55 electoral votes to the democrats even though the state really broke like 60-40.

Those 40% (3.6 million voters) in California, and 41% (3.3 million voters) in Texas all had no voice in the election whatsoever.

6.9 million people in just two states that were powerless to aid their candidate on to election makes the system as it's currently constituted pretty pathetic.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:49 AM   #16
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I don't have any real issue with the electoral college per-se. My gripe is that no state should be an all or nothing state. Rather they should award electoral votes proportionally.

I think it's absurd that the republicans can technically win Texas by just a few thousand votes (not that it happened that way, but it could) and win the entire 38 electoral votes. It's similarly ridiculous that California awards all 55 electoral votes to the democrats even though the state really broke like 60-40.

Those 40% (3.6 million voters) in California, and 41% (3.3 million voters) in Texas all had no voice in the election whatsoever.

6.9 million people in just two states that were powerless to aid their candidate on to election makes the system as it's currently constituted pretty pathetic.

Until we stop gerrymandering, awarding EC votes proportionately is highly unfair.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:54 AM   #17
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Until we stop gerrymandering, awarding EC votes proportionately is highly unfair.
Why? I'm not proposing that it go by district even; I think the EC votes should be distributed by percentage of the overall state popular vote. That way redistricting and other games have no effect on the result.

Ohio went 50-48% for Obama, why not give Obama 10 and Romney 9.

Texas went pretty much 60-40 for Romney, why not give Romney 24 and Obama 14?

Something like that.

I know Nebraska and Maine do it in a similar way already so I know it's not impossible.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 12:02 PM   #18
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I think the EC votes should be distributed by percentage of the overall state popular vote.
I could also agree with that.

But one question ...

If EC simply reflects popular vote, then what would be the purpose of it?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 12:48 PM   #19
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I could also agree with that.

But one question ...

If EC simply reflects popular vote, then what would be the purpose of it?
I suppose there wouldn't be much purpose to it over the idea of simply deciding the presidency on national popular vote. I just have a hard time with the notion that people in reliably red and blue states have absolutely no say in the presidential election if they vote for the non-dominant party.

I guess it is just a possible solution to compromise between those who favor the EC and those who want popular vote to decide.

I think this would also force the candidates to campaign to all states rather than just swing states. Neither Obama or Romney visited my home state or my current state of residence to campaign because my homestate is reliably red and my current state is reliably blue. Obama has no idea what my homestate needs/wants and I suspect he doesn't much care (we were politically punished under the Clinton administration, and I won't be surprised to see the same at the end of the Obama administration). Likewise, my current state of residence would have been a mystery to Romney most likely.

It's a shame.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:02 PM   #20
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for me I would love to see states change to proportionately giving out their electoral votes and the winner of the state getting anything that does not split evening.

So say a state as 30 electoral and one guy gets 60% of the vote and the other gets 40%. That would give the winner 18 and the loser 12.

If the state has 3 then the winner would get 2 and the loser would get 1.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:06 PM   #21
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Why? I'm not proposing that it go by district even; I think the EC votes should be distributed by percentage of the overall state popular vote. That way redistricting and other games have no effect on the result.
What about fractional EC votes? Do they go entirely to whoever has the higher proportion, or are they subdivided? If subdivided, how many decimal places?

If you're subdividing to 6 or 9 or whatever decimal places, then you may as well just count popular votes and be done with it.

If you're not subdividing EC votes, then consider a state with 3 EC votes, say Wyoming. If it's winner-take-last-EC-vote, then a 50.1% popular vote would give 2 EC votes to the winner, and 1 to the loser. In order to win all 3 votes, the winner would need 83.34% of the popular vote (5/6ths).

Now consider the population of Wyoming. They have under 200k people per EC vote. So half of an EC vote represents 100k people, and the winner of the 3rd vote may have "won" up to 99.99k people who didn't vote for that candidate.

Next consider a state like Texas, with over 700k people per EC vote, or 350k per half of an EC. Now, the winner of the last EC vote wins up to 350k people who didn't vote for that candidate. So there is still an imbalance in the number of people represented by one EC vote. A Texas EC vote represents more people, but it still counts the same as a Wyoming EC vote.


Short version: this change won't eliminate the conflict, it only changes the level where the conflict occurs, which is at the fractional-EC-vote level, rather than at the per-state level.

Very short version: do the math; it won't solve the popular-vote to EC-vote imbalance.


Reference for population per EC vote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elector...#Apportionment

Last edited by chown33; Nov 11, 2012 at 01:24 PM. Reason: fix typo, math
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by SLC Flyfishing View Post
I suppose there wouldn't be much purpose to it over the idea of simply deciding the presidency on national popular vote. I just have a hard time with the notion that people in reliably red and blue states have absolutely no say in the presidential election if they vote for the non-dominant party.

I guess it is just a possible solution to compromise between those who favor the EC and those who want popular vote to decide.

I think this would also force the candidates to campaign to all states rather than just swing states. Neither Obama or Romney visited my home state or my current state of residence to campaign because my homestate is reliably red and my current state is reliably blue. Obama has no idea what my homestate needs/wants and I suspect he doesn't much care (we were politically punished under the Clinton administration, and I won't be surprised to see the same at the end of the Obama administration). Likewise, my current state of residence would have been a mystery to Romney most likely.

It's a shame.
California is always a major source of funds for Dems but the candidates only come here to raise money, not campaign. Eliminating the Electoral College would mean that states with only one or two Congressmen would get ignored, but let's face it, they do now so it doesn't much matter.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:28 PM   #23
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What about fractional EC votes? Do they go entirely to whoever has the higher proportion, or are they subdivided? If subdivided, how many decimal places?

If you're subdividing to 6 or 9 or whatever decimal places, then you may as well just count popular votes and be done with it.
I think it should be rounded. I in a place like Wyoming, you'd have to earn enough votes to be rounded up to 33% to get one electorate (1/3). So in this year's election, Wyoming result wouldn't have been changed since Romney got over 80% of the vote. But if Obama wanted any electoral votes from Wyoming, he'd have to stop ignoring it, which would be a good thing.

But in places like Texas and California, things would get shaken up a bit as there would be multiple ECV's going to the rival candidate. It only seems reasonable to me to do it this way.

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California is always a major source of funds for Dems but the candidates only come here to raise money, not campaign. Eliminating the Electoral College would mean that states with only one or two Congressmen would get ignored, but let's face it, they do now so it doesn't much matter.
That's just it. Romney did plenty of fundraising in Utah, but Obama ignored it completely. Romney also didn't campaign there either.

Neither Romney nor Obama did much of anything in Oregon to my knowledge. Though the vote was closer than I thought it might be here (54%-43%), it went and always was going to go to Obama. Still, outside of Portland and Eugene, Oregon is a lot more conservative than I originally realized.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SLC Flyfishing View Post
Why? I'm not proposing that it go by district even; I think the EC votes should be distributed by percentage of the overall state popular vote. That way redistricting and other games have no effect on the result.

Ohio went 50-48% for Obama, why not give Obama 10 and Romney 9.

Texas went pretty much 60-40 for Romney, why not give Romney 24 and Obama 14?

Something like that.

I know Nebraska and Maine do it in a similar way already so I know it's not impossible.
Maine, at least, does it by congressional district.

What you're proposing sounds fair, but I think it would lead to endless recounts in cases where rounding up or down is a close call.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 02:12 PM   #25
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Maine, at least, does it by congressional district.

What you're proposing sounds fair, but I think it would lead to endless recounts in cases where rounding up or down is a close call.
Just pass a law outlining the rounding process. Say it's 32.5% to 66.3% in Wyoming (3rd party gets some votes too) then the 32.5 gets rounded up to a 33 and the 66.3 gets rounded down to a 66 and the votes get split 2-1.

It wouldn't be that hard, and I'll bet this would produce a result that most people could get on board with.

Another positive potential outcome would be that it would likely force Democrats to pay attention to rural voters, and Republicans to take inner city voters more seriously.

It's really shameful to see the electoral map and realize that Democrats hold just about every state with a major city, while the republicans nearly swept the rural majority states.

And like I said, it could cut down on the concept of "punishment" by incumbents on states that didn't vote their way. Like I said before, Clinton did this in Utah at the end of his tenure. I'm sure it's not uncommon elsewhere either.
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