Electoral College - Is It Time To Abolish It?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by rdowns, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #1
    Arguments Against the Electoral College

    1.the possibility of electing a minority (one without the majority of popular votes) president
    2.the risk of so-called "faithless" Electors,
    3.the possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout
    4.its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.

    Arguments for the Electoral College

    1.contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president
    2. enhances the status of minority interests,
    3.contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system
    4. maintains a federal system of government and representation.

    What got me thinking about this is that small state (population) voter's votes carry more weight than votes from those in larger states. THis table explains it.

    [​IMG]

    Discuss...
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    i wonder why there isnt a set amt of people per electoral vote
     
  3. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #3
    It's certainly a flawed system, but it does a surprisingly good job of reflecting the national popular will. Only three failures so far.

    I would however consider penalizing states with abysmal voter turnout, such as Texas, where only some 40% can be arsed to vote, while other states like Minnesota are closer to 70%. TX has 33 electoral votes and MN 10. Suppose you were to penalize states that fail to reach 50% turnout and reward states that get over 60%? E.g. take 3 electoral votes from TX and give them to MN. This would be a strong incentive for lazy states to get out the vote.
     
  4. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #4
    3 questions come up here.

    What are you meaning by 'minority'? I know you're not meaning anything racial here, but I'm just not getting the context you're using here.

    As far as 'smaller states' are you meaning geographically smaller? If so, what you're saying makes sense. I believe the original intent was to give the smaller states equal amount of say in selecting the president, where 'smaller states' is based off of population. In this case, Wyoming would be smaller than Hawaii. Without reading up on it more, it's hard for me to say ATM.

    Lemme have a look through the Constitution and see what I can see.

    BL.
     
  5. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #5
    I think we should keep it, but make it start a football program.
     
  6. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #6
    In reality, there is. Each state has as many members of the Electoral College as it has representatives (based on population) and senators together. However, lower population states are given a greater say in the electoral process than they would have in a popular vote.
     
  7. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #7
    By minority he means didn't win the popular vote. Like George Bush did in 2000.

    By smaller, I think he means in population.
     
  8. Bosunsfate macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Well, on 2000 I certainly was for abolishing the Electoral College. As it was a major reason for why Bush was allowed to occupy the Whitehouse.

    But in the end, this is one of those systems that is very, very entrenched in the US.

    I do think that a truly popular vote for President is not the right answer. The biggest reason being the lower voter turn out.
     
  9. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #9
    Yes. I have edited my post to make it clearer.
     
  10. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #10
    Why would it result in a lower turnout?

    Austria - popular vote - 92% turnout
    Italy - popular vote - 90%
    Denmark - popular vote - 87%
    Germany - popular vote - 86%
    Sweden - popular vote - 86%

    (the list goes on...)

    United States - 54%

    Virtually all democratic countries go by popular vote, and virtually all of them have higher voter turnout than the US has.

    If anything, I think it would get more Americans to the polls because the smaller states would be eager to not let the big cities have all the power.
     
  11. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #11
    that number is very likely from the time voting was mandatory .. since that laws are all gone now it has been currently around 78-82% for the last elections for congress etc.

    since president is not really an figure with any political power here the voting turnout in austria was only 71% for the president election
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    Well sure, it's past time -- but it's also impossible to abolish. But it is possible to effectively short-circuit the Electoral College. Those plans are advancing, though I'm not sure how far they've advanced.
     
  13. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #13
    I think the real reason that voting is so poor in the US is the winner take all system.

    Really the only person who can win is either a Rep or a Dem. Third parties do not have much of a chance.

    Then when you boil it down there really is not a huge difference between the 2 parties. They are both middle of the road over all.

    Next we are no longer voting for who is better or even the best person for the job any more but instead the lesser of 2 very crappy evils.

    It either unfit to lead power hunger person one or unfit to lead power hunger person 2.

    That is why no one vote any more. We are voting for idiots who are unfit to lead.

    As for the electoral collage it is not going to go away. It gives small states a lot more power than the big states and make the small states matter more to win since per person those states matter more. That and if it was just popular vote the canidates could do almost all their campaigning in Washington or some other random city. They would never have to really leave a TV studio. At least this way they are force to travel around.

    With out the Electoral college you would only see the canidates in the big states like Texas and California.

    As for the cart it seems strange to have Texas be the lowest since off per population it should be California. Mind you Texas does have one of the best if not the best voter registration rate in the country so that would throw it off. It would explain why it is at the bottom. Texas makes registering to vote REALLY easy. When you go to the DMV all you have to do is say yes register to vote and you are done. Nothing to fill out. And that chart is proof Texas has a much better rate the California because other wise it should be on the bottom.
     
  14. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #14
    Without the Electoral College, the candidates would treat all voters equally. The state they live in would become meaningless.
     
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #15

    Two things:

    1) The US is the only wealthy democracy that uses a presidential system of government; the rest use parliamentary.

    2) Voting is not mandatory in the US (and neither is registration) so it's a bit deceptive to think that Americans vote less than others exclusively because of the structure of government.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the populations in that table are based off of 2007 estimates, while seats were apportioned off of the 2000 census.

    If we use those numbers, Texas had 613,289 people per EV while California had 615,848.

    As for my opinion on the Electoral College...well, I'm a bit divided. :p

    It may surprise many to learn, but the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution had originally planned on numerous people running for President, and thus Congress (or rather the House) choosing most presidents, in effect making it similar to a parliamentary system.

    Now of course what emerged was a two-party system, since that's the most effective way to win that office.

    In terms of modern times, I think that the EC still serves a good purpose. It essentially prevents too many elections from being decided by the House, which would arguably be a worse scenario these days since we would essentially have a lot of unified government and remove that precious check and balance.

    While I do think that a direct popular vote would likely improve turnout, I feel compelled to note that this would only affect Presidential election cycles; midterm elections and local elections would likely continue to suffer as they do now, and that's arguably where more voter accountability is needed.

    Overall, I think the system still has some worth and while not perfect, I'd like to point out that among the wealthy democracies, the US electorate has proportionally greater power in choosing its executive compared to other nations, since party allegiance and power make the PM, not the "will" of voters.
     
  16. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #16
    That's only because of how we run elections. I prefer an automatic runoff system, which would enable other parties to participate.

    I also think we have to have same-day voting.

    Here's a proposal for keeping the same system, yet really using the popular vote:
    http://www.fairvote.org/?page=773

    And the same group's proposal for primaries:

     
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #17
    No matter what method you use, the fact that it's a single district (you can't have more than one president) with concentrated power means that all coalitions will eventually merge into two large parties.

    It's the only way to win a first past the post election.
    I know about this, but frankly, I doubt it will ever go anywhere. After a few election cycles where the popular vote coincides with the electoral vote, the fervor of the 2000 election will fade.

    If implemented, it could lead to someone being elected president with a shockingly low percentage of the popular vote. Is that really how a president should be chosen?
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #18
    people keep siting the 2000 as where the college failed but it is also a prim example of where it showed it power.

    In the entire mess is Bush lost just ONE and JUST ONE state he would never of been in office. Florida would not of mattered.

    The state in question is Vermont with it 3 electoral votes. where it was a very close race there and Gore could of won it if he had campained there. If he had put some attention to the small little state he would of been in office. Instead he put all his effort into trying to take a few large states and lost because of it.

    Remember in 2000 Bush had to win every state he got. Gore just needed one little small state and he would of had it.
     
  19. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #19
    Lets also not forget an even more egregious failing....Gore didn't win his home state of Tennessee.
     
  20. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #20
    that is pretty said. Almost every president who made it into office almost always wins there home state.

    So there are 2 things Gore screwed up on that would of lock him in.
     
  21. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    Just a quick point, it was actually New Hampshire.

    But otherwise, I agree. 2000 was Gore's election to win if he had run a competent campaign and not simply banked on winning large states.

    As ucfgrad93 points out, not winning his home state showed just how far Gore had drifted from his roots, which cost him the election in the end (and why most politicians always go back to their roots).
     
  22. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #22
    Dang I was just coming here to fix that and point out my error.

    The 2000 election shows a fundimental problem with the democrats and how they campain for precident. They only target the big states but neglect the little ones like New Hampshire which close them the election in 2000.

    Everyone gets so high on Florida but Gore blew it in a lot of ways and instead they complain about Bush winning. Bush got one lucky break and did a lot of things right. Gore got one bad break but screwed up a lot of things to the point that minor bad luck cost him the election. If he did not make 2 huge mistakes he would of been president.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    France has both a president and a prime minister, so at least some governments have a hybrid system.
     
  24. Queso macrumors G4

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    #24
    It's a system which is no longer needed, so get rid. It concentrates far too much candidate attention on the battleground states, whilst ignoring enormous swathes of the country. The other thing that is drastically in need of reform is the ridiculously long handover period between administrations. In most countries this happens in a matter of days if not immediately. Two months is totally excessive, and in these partisan times even a bit dangerous.
     
  25. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    I suppose it does, until the next revolution comes around. :p

    The French system is quite confusing to be honest; from the way I understand it, the president has the power to dismiss the PM. Imagine if Bush could simply dismiss Pelosi...
     

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