Author Topic: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?  (Read 1768 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« on: November 06, 2012, 07:43:20 pm »
Exactly as the thread title says. Should it be abolished? I never really understood it much or saw the purpose of it.  :P

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Offline Ziel

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 09:56:51 pm »
Yes.

Suffice it to say that the fact that there even exists a possibility that the candidate who lost the popular vote wins the election makes it seem pretty dysfunctional to me. If the votes distributed just right (never would in reality), a candidate could win the election with as little as 22% of the popular vote. It's pretty sad.

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Offline Acton

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 10:15:12 pm »
No
The reason it allows smaller state to have a voice in the election. In a popular vote scenario a candidate can bypass smaller populated state. The Electoral College fits the Federalist ideal of the candidate has to get approve from each state rather than large populations of the whole.  I would instead limit each state by constitutional amendment to 5 members.
 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 12:02:11 pm by Acton »

Offline Avor

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 02:15:02 am »
Absolutly,

the ideal that it protects the smaller populated states seems mute given that it effectively silences the other half of voters in any given state. This system simply prevents the less popular voters in a district from having any effect on the total numbers that determin who is made president. This just isn't democracy.



 

Offline Yip

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 03:07:14 am »
In a popular vote scenario a candidate can just bypass smaller populated states.
With the electoral college a candidate can just focus on the swing states. How is that better?

Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 03:26:06 am »
A thousand times yes.  In fact, the whole voting process should really be revisited (though it is somewhat simple, there are a *lot* of problems with it).

No
the reason it allows smaller state to have a voice in the election. In a popular vote scenario an candidate ca just  bypass smaller populated state. The Electoral College  fits the Federalist ideal of the candidate has to get approve from each state rather than large populations of the whole  I would instead limit each state by constitutional adornment to  5 member.

I agree that the electoral college adds bias in favor of less populated states.  Whether that is desirable or not is subjective; I personally would prefer to see a more general way to minimize the degree to which any given population (states, party affiliations, ethnicities, etc.) can be disenfranchised that didn't entail an effective bias to votes, but I'm not aware of a particularly good solution to that problem.

Having said that, the fact that states give 100% of their electoral college votes to the candidate with 50%+1 votes in that state imposes a considerably larger bias in favor of states anticipated to have close elections.  Strongly Democratic and strongly Republican states, for instance, didn't get very much presidential campaigning this season, whereas "swing" states got the vast majority of presidential campaigning.  This is because winning votes to tip the scale in a swing state leads to more electoral college votes, but winning more votes in a state that's already likely to vote strongly in your favor provides no benefit in the election whatsoever.

What I've described above is explained well in this video (it's made by the same guy as the video I linked in the last political thread, but sadly, this one lacks the previous one's furry theme).  The video's author opposes somewhat strongly the notion of giving individuals in smaller states more effective voting power, but his comments about the swing state bias I discussed above hold independently of this.  The video also explains where the 22% popular vote Ziel mentioned in his post came from.

Note that if a candidate instead decides to use the same strategy for largest states (in other words, deliberately campaigning against the benefit of the electoral college to small states), he/she can still win the electoral college vote with 28% of the popular vote by playing the electoral college.  In other words, the bias in favor of winning 50%+1 in as many states as you can is so strong that it trivializes the benefit that smaller states are given by the electoral college.

If the electoral college, for example, were changed such that electoral college votes of each state were distributed in proportion to that state's popular vote, the bias in favor of small states would remain but the bias in favor of swing states would no longer exist.  Under such a system, a discrepancy between electoral college votes and popular vote can still exist, but it is less likely.  For instance, a minimum of 44% of the popular vote would be required to secure 50% of the electoral college vote; this could only be done if a candidate won 100% of the least populated states, ignoring the rest.  Though I would be more in favor of a more advanced form of the popular vote, I think you may prefer a voting system like this given your desire to safeguard the interests of smaller states.
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Offline Ziel

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Re: Should the Electoral College voting system be abolished?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 10:51:01 pm »
Yeah... having lived in Ohio all my life until the last year and a half, I've experienced the campaigning bias caused by the electoral vote system first-hand. I always thought that everybody got political ads, mailings, and phone calls as often as we got them when I was growing up. Now that I'm in Michigan, I can say that it's a nice break to hear a lot less about the election in terms of ads and such.

So like others have said, all the electoral college does is shift the focus from the 3-5 most populous states to the 3-5 swing states.

I did a fair bit of research back in high school on this topic. If you want to keep something somewhat like the electoral college around, then distributing the electoral votes based on the percent of votes won in the given state would be far more fair. As it stands now, a republican in California or a democrat in Texas might as well just not bother voting because those states are essentially decided from the start of the election. If the electoral votes were split based on percentage won, then these people would actually have a reason to vote. It would make it feel like their vote is actually going to count for something.

Similarly, you might actually see some independents pick up a few electoral votes if they get a high enough percent of votes, particularly in the states that are assigned more electoral votes. With this system, votes for an independent presidential candidate wouldn't feel completely wasted, either. You might actually see more votes going for these people because they might actually mean something. I know I've spoken to several friends just this election period who said they would prefer to go for an independent candidate, but in order for them to feel like their vote matters, they're limiting themselves to just picking one of the two main-party candidates.

I would also like to see us go back to the spoils system, where the presidents don't pick running mates, but they actually end up with the losing candidate as their VP. If we're going to stick with a 2-party system, I feel like this is really the best way to do it.

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