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Author Topic: How can we change the electoral college system?  (Read 6134 times)

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Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2016, 06:40:21 PM »
There is not a problem with the electoral college, it is designed not to give more power to the smaller states, it is designed to keep larger states like New York, California, etc from overwhelming power. Back when the country was formed, you must remember that there were only a few states. About 3 or 4 smaller ones peppered around two larger ones. If it was a basic democratic system, all a presidential candidate had to do was plant them self in one of the bigger states and win off of popular numbers. The point of the electoral college is to force a potential president to see as much of the country and speak to as many people as possible. They must win the hearts and minds of the people! And not just California and or new york.

If the electoral college was abolished, then states that have overwhelmingly been with the left for years would ultimately decide the entire presidency year in and year out to all be democratic. IE: California picks the president. Not so fair now is it? Even today the Electoral College while flawed, is an important tool against collectivism and mob think. Our country was founded by thinkers, men who understood the merits of Intellectual honesty, integrity, courage and whats most lacking in this day and age; Intellectual Humility. (The ability to understand the flaws and weaknesses in your beliefs and arguments or to accept them when presented towards you.) All hallmarks to true debate our country sorely lacks.... Our founding fathers wanted fair discourse that adhered to the constitution, allowing all people to be heard. Every side of the discussion to matter. And not just the side that had the most people.

In the end. We are NOT a democracy, a democracy in and of it'self as JUST a democracy is a flawed goverment. We are a Constitutional Representative Republic. Designed to give power to the people as a whole. Not the Majority. And to change it would be not only unconstitutional, not only wrong! But ultimately damaging to the freedoms of this country's discourse.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 06:59:21 PM by Prosak »

Online Eikichi

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2016, 03:45:58 PM »
There is not a problem with the electoral college, it is designed not to give more power to the smaller states, it is designed to keep larger states like New York, California, etc from overwhelming power. Back when the country was formed, you must remember that there were only a few states. About 3 or 4 smaller ones peppered around two larger ones. If it was a basic democratic system, all a presidential candidate had to do was plant them self in one of the bigger states and win off of popular numbers. The point of the electoral college is to force a potential president to see as much of the country and speak to as many people as possible. They must win the hearts and minds of the people! And not just California and or new york.

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't have any wish to abolish the Electoral college. It serves fine as it stands and instead think that both parties should be barred from redistricting voting votes or that it's should be decided by a non-partisan group/institution.

But the electoral college was never created with the intention of leveling the game between small and large states. That happened later on in it's lifetime as the divide began to develop and the electoral votes between states was debated. It is an institution against the mob rule, since the founding fathers established the Electoral college with the sole purpose of keeping the mob from election anyone that the electors would think was unfit. It was their own way of establishing elitism for the presidency and making sure the president would be chosen by them should they not like the outcome. It's the reason why some electors can chose not to vote as the state decided, because the constitution was written so that they could chose their president as they wanted, not how the people wanted.

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2016, 08:48:58 PM »
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.

Having voted for Clinton this election, I feel perfectly comfortable saying that I would accept "Yes, Clinton got more votes in a system that oddly overvalues certain states in a winner-takes-all system, but several million more Americans wanted Donald Trump to be president."

The EC is a non-optimal system that prioritizes arbitrary geographical boundaries over actual voters, and whose sole use case is never going to actually be used. It's a bad system.

I also really dislike this "It favors the sparsely populated areas" argument...no it doesn't. It favors some sparsely populated areas where the vote totals are near 50%.

How many times did candidates visit Idaho? Wyoming? The Dakotas?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 08:51:59 PM by CopperLily »

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2016, 08:58:13 PM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2016, 09:02:10 PM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

This is effectively a national popular vote, administered on the state level, with some inevitable loss of precision due to rounding. All told, it's a decent idea, though I'd prefer that EC votes also get re-calculated so that a voter in California matters as much as one in Ohio.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2016, 11:46:24 PM »
This is effectively a national popular vote, administered on the state level, with some inevitable loss of precision due to rounding. All told, it's a decent idea, though I'd prefer that EC votes also get re-calculated so that a voter in California matters as much as one in Ohio.

Isn't a state's electoral college vote allotment determined by its population (specifically by its Representative count, which is derived from population)? Unless I'm missing something, that does mean an individual California voter matters equal to an individual Ohio voter - but California as a state matters more than Ohio because there are more California voters. If you make the states equal, then the voters become unequal, and vice versa.

I do like the idea of proportional allocation rather than winner-takes-all though.

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2016, 12:57:23 AM »
Isn't a state's electoral college vote allotment determined by its population (specifically by its Representative count, which is derived from population)? Unless I'm missing something, that does mean an individual California voter matters equal to an individual Ohio voter - but California as a state matters more than Ohio because there are more California voters. If you make the states equal, then the voters become unequal, and vice versa.

I do like the idea of proportional allocation rather than winner-takes-all though.

There is considerable drift between the true population and the representative count.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2016, 01:43:37 AM »
Actually, the number of representatives each state has is evaluated every 10 years with the census, so as to reflect the proportional number of people each state has at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_congressional_apportionment#The_method_of_equal_proportions

12 states actually gained reps last time around, and 12 lost reps.

Yes, the raw number of 'people per rep' has increased over the years, but it's still a proportional allocation.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 01:44:54 AM by Oniya »

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2016, 01:54:48 AM »
Actually, the number of representatives each state has is evaluated every 10 years with the census, so as to reflect the proportional number of people each state has at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_congressional_apportionment#The_method_of_equal_proportions

12 states actually gained reps last time around, and 12 lost reps.

Yes, the raw number of 'people per rep' has increased over the years, but it's still a proportional allocation.

Except that:

a. 10 years is enough time for population drift to be a thing
b. Because 1 Seat now = 700,000 people (approx) with 1 guaranteed seat, there is considerable rounding error. The range represented by a single house seat ranges from 526,000 (RI) to 989,415 (Montana).

That's drift.

Offline Valerian

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2016, 06:19:31 AM »
One thing that I saw recently was a proposal that kept the electoral votes the same, but instead of the 'Winner Take All' tally that we currently have in most states, the allocation was proportional to the popular vote in that state (the way that Maine and Nebraska currently allocate, as I recall.)  That way, winning 'half plus one' of a given state would give you roughly half of that state's allocation instead of the whole enchilada.

Apparently that system wouldn't help and might even make the issues worse, according to this study from fairvote.org:

Quote
  • The congressional district system would make the presidential election less meaningfully competitive. Recent elections demonstrate that a smaller percentage of the population lives in current swing congressional districts than in current swing states.
  • The congressional district system would increase the likelihood of a candidate winning the election without winning a majority of votes nationwide. If it had been used in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won the presidential election over Barack Obama, despite winning 5 million fewer votes nationwide.

I freely admit to not fully understanding all the math, but it seems like a comprehensive article.  So it looks like there really isn't a good way to reform the system, at least not without constitutional amendments.  :/

Offline Trevino

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2016, 08:49:32 PM »
The results from the Electoral College are now in. Apparently, more electors tried to defect from Clinton than from Trump: http://www.npr.org/2016/12/19/506188169/donald-trump-poised-to-secure-electoral-college-win-with-few-surprises

The Electoral College does need reform to be sure, but I think in this particular case all we can all conclude that we should probably first ensure that we have better candidates to start with. Both Clinton and Trump were the most unpopular candidates in history after all (and with good reason, they really were that bad)...

Offline minioch

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2016, 12:00:53 PM »
The Electoral College is what keeps California and New York from deciding everything. Without it, the other 48 states may as well not even vote. The country's founders foresaw this and it works as intended.

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2016, 02:19:17 PM »
The Electoral College is what keeps California and New York from deciding everything. Without it, the other 48 states may as well not even vote. The country's founders foresaw this and it works as intended.

Instead, a couple states in the Midwest decide everything?

Also, New York and California make up less than 20% of the total population of the United States. Not only would a popular vote *not* be decided by those two states, but you've effectively just told a large portion of the population "Hey, you don't matter as much because you happen to live in a large state". That's exactly the same as writing people off because they live in "Flyover Country", except you've done it to more people.

Furthermore, the Electoral College is what means that the small farming communities in my state might as well not even show up to the polls.

Beyond that, "We don't trust big states" was not the reasoning behind the EC. Distrust in people generally, and wanting to have a last stopgap to stop a popular but unqualified leader from taking control is the main reason outlined in the Federalist Papers. It's ironic that the party that spends so much time mocking "The Elites" is relying so heavily on a constitutional enshrining of the power of the elite over "Joe Average".


Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2016, 05:06:24 PM »
Interestingly, the 'A California vote means more' argument is kind of misleading. 

California has 55 electoral votes.  It has a population of around 38.8 million (Source:  2014 census)
Wyoming has 3 electoral votes.  If has a population of around 584,000 (Ibid.)

Each California vote represents about 705,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits) - more than the entire state population of Wyoming.
Each Wyoming vote represents about 195,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits).

As a result, an individual Wyoming vote is a greater fraction of the state's electoral college vote than an individual California vote.

Online CopperLily

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2017, 01:24:11 AM »
Interestingly, the 'A California vote means more' argument is kind of misleading. 

California has 55 electoral votes.  It has a population of around 38.8 million (Source:  2014 census)
Wyoming has 3 electoral votes.  If has a population of around 584,000 (Ibid.)

Each California vote represents about 705,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits) - more than the entire state population of Wyoming.
Each Wyoming vote represents about 195,000 people (rounded to 3 significant digits).

As a result, an individual Wyoming vote is a greater fraction of the state's electoral college vote than an individual California vote.

Indeed. Compounding the ideological problems, it's also bad math.

Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2017, 01:29:05 PM »
Apparently that system wouldn't help and might even make the issues worse, according to this study from fairvote.org:

I freely admit to not fully understanding all the math, but it seems like a comprehensive article.  So it looks like there really isn't a good way to reform the system, at least not without constitutional amendments.  :/

You are one hundred percent correct, which is why in my earlier response where I essentially painted my opinion on the matter. I stated to change the EC is constitutionally wrong.We are a Constitutional Republic, not a true democracy. However, I will boldly say this: The EC was a perfect system for it's time, it really is simple civics I dont see how any one can NOT understand it's use. I do believe an argument can be made as to the EC being outdated. It served it's purpose for when there were only a few states, but now there is the whole continent now. However, just as she said in the quote, amending it will be more trouble then it is worth. And lead to more then likely, political catastrophe. One can not just dip into our constitution and change any one thing. Changing one thing, even one, opens a door to changing just about everything else. To which point, why even have a constitution! Or how I like to call it: That priceless piece of paper that keeps your individual freedoms intact from the possibility of a Tyrannical US government.

(Joke alert)
Oh no, im being to reasonable! >_< Uh, um.... Quick! Say something awful! .... Great, T_T I got nothing.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2017, 03:13:29 PM »
One can not just dip into our constitution and change any one thing. Changing one thing, even one, opens a door to changing just about everything else. To which point, why even have a constitution! Or how I like to call it: That priceless piece of paper that keeps your individual freedoms intact from the possibility of a Tyrannical US government.

I'd like to point out that changing the constitution isn't at all an easy thing to do - and for precisely this reason.  First, the amendment has to be proposed - either by a 2/3ds majority vote in both the House and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called for by 2/3ds of the state legislatures.  (This latter option, while legitimate, has never been used.)  Following this, it goes to the Archivist (note - not the President), and is sent out to the individual State Governors, who send it on to the State legislatures.  Thirty-eight (three quarters) of the states must ratify the amendment before it is adopted.  The most recent amendment (actually proposed along with the Bill of Rights, but not ratified until 1992) states that if a law is passed that affects Congressional salaries, it doesn't go into effect until the following term.  On the flip side, the Equal Rights Amendment failed in 1982 with only 34 states ratifying it.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2017, 09:01:47 AM »
Interesting aside, there's some legitimate talk that the GOP has gotten eerily close to the degree of influence that they could unilaterally call for a Constitutional Convention.

Which would certainly allow us to live in interesting times.

Offline Prosak

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2017, 10:06:44 PM »
I doubt that would happen with trump in the white house, like him or hate him he is all for Smaller government and preserving the fundamentals of our society, to the Constitution. Even if the gop really wanted to change it, which I doubt, he would veto it. That aside, you are correct. There is a vast enough majority to do so. However there have been just as strong majority's in the past.

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2017, 06:59:32 AM »
A convention is an exceedingly unlikely outcome of course, but don't be surprised if it gains momentum - particularly if there's a watershed moment in the next couple years where it looks like the GOP is headed for a crash. They have groups that have spent literally decades planning towards the possibility.

There are a number of hot-button issues that could unite a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives to get to the table, even if only because each wing of the party imagines it could dictate the process. Birthright citizenship, balanced budget amendments, abortion and same sex marriage bans, along with a whole slew of "states rights" advocates who might just want to dismantle as many powers of the federal government as possible.

The party in power generally has little incentive to rock the boat. And truth be told the GOP generally  does better - election performance-wise - when they get to rail against the perceived failings of our country than when they actually get to try applying their "fixes" to them. But if they decide they need to fall on the sword of ideology...

Offline LunaTopic starter

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2017, 10:26:00 AM »
Unfortunately for now it seems like most of the Republican Party is following in lockstep behind Trump. That could change if he starts to propose policies that are too liberal for them, or just plain crazy stuff like "Hey lets lift the sanctions on Russia, because.... look over there!"

Offline Soveliss

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2017, 11:05:30 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.

There's your answer. It's either

1) the electorate college

or

2) them acting at best as tiebreaker, and being at the mercy of people who do not live in the same economic conditions, and usually having no voice, basically in effect they would live under dictatorial rule since they will have no say over their gov't, which would  lead to the third option sooner or later

or

3) them seceding, a logistical nightmare if it even happens peacefully, but it could end up as an armed revolution.

unless you've got a fourth option the electoral college is here to stay. It's not ideal, but it's the least worst option the US have.

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2017, 04:36:32 PM »
There's your answer. It's either

1) the electorate college

or

2) them acting at best as tiebreaker, and being at the mercy of people who do not live in the same economic conditions, and usually having no voice, basically in effect they would live under dictatorial rule since they will have no say over their gov't, which would  lead to the third option sooner or later

or

3) them seceding, a logistical nightmare if it even happens peacefully, but it could end up as an armed revolution.

unless you've got a fourth option the electoral college is here to stay. It's not ideal, but it's the least worst option the US have.

Well, as a fourth options you could choose to give great independence on some issues to more sparsely populated states. Regard less of that fact, they would still have a voice. They would just not have a booming, overwhelming voice. A voice that often seems to force much larger communities to adapt and change around the needs of these smaller communities, rather than catering to the majority, which is essentially the democratic way of life.

Some things will need to be governed on the federal level, while others can be dealt with more locally. If dirtier industries are truly a necessity to the economy of sparsely populated areas, certain privileges could be granted that would make sure that these communities won't be out of work, if you follow.

It's not impossible to manage the great puzzle that is the USA, but to say that some voices should matter more, depending on where you live in the country, doesn't make any sense to me. The "Winner takes all"-system is also absolutely unfair, as it basically silences up to 49.9% of voters, and hand a 100% win to the other side. I agree that the electoral college could be kept, one the one condition that the results were made proportional to the votes cast.

It's entirely possible to fix the system in a great many ways that would make elections far more fair - I the only issue seems to be that no candidate ever wants to do so after they've been elected. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Offline Scott

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #48 on: February 18, 2017, 07:25:44 PM »
I looked back through this thread in 2008, and didn't see any complaints about the system at all... How odd.

Online Oniya

Re: How can we change the electoral college system?
« Reply #49 on: February 18, 2017, 07:55:13 PM »
Would using the popular vote have given a different result than the electoral college vote did in 2008?