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Author Topic: How can we change the electoral college system?  (Read 6924 times)

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Offline LunaTopic starter

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How can we change the electoral college system?
« on: November 10, 2016, 11:32:34 AM »
I don't understand why we still have a system that seems to favor the more sparsely populated and, dare I say, less educated areas of the country. Clinton got more votes than Trump, by any measure of fairness she should be our next president. Yet more populated areas of the country like New York and California seem to have a much less proportionate delegation of electoral votes.

I know it is too late for Clinton, but is there anything we can do to change the system, going forward?

Offline Ralhend

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2016, 11:57:09 AM »
It would take another Amendment.  To my understanding the electoral college is supposed to protect minorities and what have you. If it actually does this I dont know.  I don't trust the numbers I'm given. I'd like to look at pure unfiltered data, and that won't happen when the data changes hands of someone who is biased either way and then posts it to the net.

I Think the process would involve getting in with a legitimate group advocating for this, plead your case, and get an Amendment made.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2016, 12:35:18 PM »
It will require a ground swell of petitioning from the populace to their incumbent Congress members to begin the process of having a Constitutional Amendment enacted to change the voting system.  Groups and individuals need to push for this and be persistent.  It is hard to have an Amendment brought forth, written, debated and ratified by the necessary 38 states but it can be done.  Get to work and keep on working for it.

Offline Trevino

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2016, 12:54:19 PM »
Yes indeed. But to make it work, one will need a movement before such an amendment can become a real possibility. There are still too many politicians on both political parties that are beholden to the status quo at the moment.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 01:22:23 PM »
Still, those politicians depend on the voters to keep them in office.  The voters need to push for what they want and push hard. 

At this moment there are protests happening in cities all across the US demonstrating the unhappiness of people with the incipient Trump presidency.  Find groups like that in your area and support them in some way.  Write letters to the newspapers in your area telling the world how you feel.  Keep it clean and polite so people listen but speak out every chance you get and every chance you can make.

Offline Denivar

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 12:43:05 AM »
Actually there is an initiative to do this! It is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

How does it work? It doesn't actually get rid of the electoral college -- because that is more difficult to do since it would require changing the constitution -- but it brilliantly subverts it!

The goal of the compact is a simple one: Make it so the President is the person who wins the nationwide popular vote. That's what we want, right?

How does it work? States can choose to enter into the compact. The compact will only become active once enough states have entered the compact to control 270 electoral votes -- the number needed to control who will be president.

Once this happens, the states in the compact agree that rather than casting their electoral votes based on the candidate who won the vote in their state, they will do so based on the candidate who won the popular vote. This will guarantee that the candidate who won the national popular vote becomes president.

This might seem like some 'pie in the sky' proposal that's never going to be agreed to, but we are already over 60% of the way there. Ten states + DC have signed the compact, and these ten states control 165 electoral votes. So we only need another 105 electoral votes worth of states to agree to it for the compact to become active.

That said, it might be difficult to convince many more states to enter into the compact, since the electoral college system tends to favor the candidates their state tends to prefer.

You can read more about the compact here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

Offline Denivar

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 01:17:56 AM »
Also, this is realistically unlikely to go anywhere, but you could sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2016, 01:50:07 AM »
First, we need ranked choice voting.

Second, the necessity for 3/4 of the states to ratify a Constitutional Amendment will preclude the electoral college ever being changed or removed until the Republicans lose two elections themselves after winning the popular vote.  Lots of Democrats are ready to change it, but Gore and Clinton lost elections because of it, not a Republican.  They've actually made out on it twice.  Why would they want to change it?

And to those who say that just using a simple majority of the popular vote would make smaller populated states lose out--yeah, that's why it's called majority rules.  Otherwise you are disenfranchising the majority, whose will is supposed to supersede the minority in a democracy.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 12:48:09 AM »
What happens when say once they use popular vote only, the one people prefer actually loses and would've won had things been kept the same?

Example, we dropped the college system this year, Clinton got less votes and someone kept track of the college system for fun and turns out she would've won had it been kept in place.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 09:44:30 AM »
The electoral college system in it's current format marginalizes the minority and undervalues the individual vote.

Simply put: A vote for democrat in Indiana has no real meaning, because the number of people voting Republican far outweigh the number of people voting democrat. In California the same happens with the parties reversed. This is by definition marginalization of the minority, there exists in America today no more efficient method of marginalization.

Simply put, in it's current format, the Electoral College is by far the worst system to conduct a true democracy.

Offline Zakharra

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2016, 09:50:04 AM »
The electoral college system in it's current format marginalizes the minority and undervalues the individual vote.

Simply put: A vote for democrat in Indiana has no real meaning, because the number of people voting Republican far outweigh the number of people voting democrat. In California the same happens with the parties reversed. This is by definition marginalization of the minority, there exists in America today no more efficient method of marginalization.

Simply put, in it's current format, the Electoral College is by far the worst system to conduct a true democracy.

 Slight nitpick, the US isn't a true democracy. It has never been a true democracy. You don't want a true democracy (that's mob rule)

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2016, 09:57:41 AM »
Slight nitpick, the US isn't a true democracy. It has never been a true democracy. You don't want a true democracy (that's mob rule)

I like sound of Tyranny of the majority over mob rule as the words to use to explain why true democracy would be bad. I got it off Wikipedia.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2016, 11:38:32 AM »
I never said Direct Democracy, nor did I intend so. The truth is America as it is now is much closer to an oligarchy than a real democracy. If you don't believe me then look up Gerrymandering and Lobbying for starters.

Offline Missy

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2016, 11:45:15 AM »
What is true democracy

Quote
Democracy is a dynamic participatory means of governance. Democracy is a dynamic set of governing principles and laws for establishing and maintaining social, political, and economic standards within a community, society and country. Democracy is formed and maintained by well-informed, involved and organized citizens, exercising their inalienable rights directly, and through term-limited elected representatives. In a true Democracy common people are considered the primary source of political voice and power. The effectiveness of a true Democracy is measured by the degree of citizen’s involvement, knowledge of true current events and news. Only the informed and involved citizens could be the guardians of their democracy.

*Bold and italics added for emphasis

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2016, 12:20:07 PM »
I'm actually not rabidly against the electoral college, to be honest. It needs to be tweaked (granted, it won't be) but pure national majority rule has its own flaws by my mind.

In another thread I'd mentioned the idea of possibly creating a block of EC votes that follow the popular vote nationally and moving the total to clinch accordingly.

Alternate idea - treat the election like primary contests, at least in part. Designate a fixed share of EC votes guaranteed to the leading vote getter in a state (40-60%?) and then have the remainder divided proportionately between the candidates. Better to me than the all or nothing approach, although I doubt it would have changed the outcome here (but I could take a crack at the math there to be sure).

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2016, 12:23:31 PM »
No matter what system we use there will be discontent and unhappiness.

It is wise to remember you can't have it both ways or as they say, you can't eat your cake and have it, too.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2016, 01:03:38 PM »
Exactly. Don't forget that a majority of voters in California voted to ban same sex marriage in 2008. Majority rules is just as likely to burn you as save you in my mind, which is in part what the EC tries to insulate against.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2016, 02:22:25 PM »
I hadn't looked at the vote totals since Tuesday night. I asked Google today and the vote difference is under 1 million. I kept hearing 2 million difference from the side that wants to blow up the college system. Take away California and Trump might have landslide victory.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2016, 02:50:49 PM »
I hadn't looked at the vote totals since Tuesday night. I asked Google today and the vote difference is under 1 million. I kept hearing 2 million difference from the side that wants to blow up the college system. Take away California and Trump might have landslide victory.

 ::)

Yes, if you discount the millions of voters that skewed to one candidate, the victory margin for the other one sure looks more impressive.

There are millions of votes outstanding, and a large block of them are in states Clinton can expect to grow the gap, not shrink it. They just won't help because Clinton already won those states. And as Trump proved, its less important to get votes than it is to get selective votes.

An article today by the Atlantic suggests Clinton's lead in popular vote might end up reaching 2%+. Which at these numbers is a significant number of voters.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2016, 02:56:44 PM »
I don't see any sign of her having 2 million more than him nationally:
http://www.cnn.com/election/results

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2016, 03:06:05 PM »
Again:

There are millions of untallied votes in states like NY/CA, which will skew heavily to Clinton but are not included in the official count yet because they have not yet been counted.



Thought experiment. If 35,000 Clinton supporters had moved from CA to WI last year and voted in the election, she would have won both states.

Offline CriminalMindsFan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 09:11:04 AM »
I now see some news sources declaring that Trump also won the popular vote and other news sources saying some votes won't even be added to official count because they wouldn't change the results in the state containing those votes.

Then you have new polls with nearly ten hypothetical results that say Sanders would've steam rolled to victory or how a third Obama term may have been best option even had Clinton won.

Guess everyone thinks they are right so I'm just taking everything as opinion until I see who actually walks into White House on the appropriate date in 2017.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 06:34:39 PM »
I don't understand why we still have a system that seems to favor the more sparsely populated and, dare I say, less educated areas of the country.

Firstly, I hadn't realized there was a minimum level of education required to vote in our current democracy.

Second. That's exactly why it exists. If it didn't then the prevailing political party of three major cities would take the elections every time. Every single time. That's not so much will of the people as will of LA, NYC, and Chicago. The deligates aren't perfect, and they could use more restrictions on how they cast their votes (as opposed to willy-nilly), but the straight popular vote is far more skewed than people realize.

Though if you think it's just the countryside. It was actually delegates of New York and Philadelphia who wanted the EC be instituted. At the founding of the country more people were entering cities than dying (the old city model). Cities were not hubs of industry as they would become. The Southern farming states were far more populous (and wanted to count slaves but got 3/5ths).

So, it's more like the doubled edge of the sword.

Offline FionaM

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2016, 07:19:39 PM »
18 states allow for initiated constitutional amendments(to their own individual state constitutions). With enough signatures, one could put a question on the ballot to change the apportionment of those states electors from the statewide popular vote to the national popular vote.

Offline BCdan

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2016, 08:37:24 PM »
Ran some interesting numbers.

If the electoral college was distributed fairly by population instead of each state getting an arbitrary 3 'starter' votes, California would have 65 votes, not 55. If Puerto Rico were a state, it would have 7 electoral college votes. 

Also, I think CGP grey does an adequate job of shooting down the idea that a candidate would only love on the cities instead of the rest of the country without the EC.