Electoral College / Popular Vote

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Pastor Larry, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Several last night mentioned the possibility that Bush could win the popular and lose the electoral college. If so, I wondered would the same Democrats who decried such a system last time still raise their voices? Or do you think they would get laryngitis all of the sudden?

    But more to the point, what about the electoral college? Past its prime? Still good?

    I am slightly of the opinion that it might be time to look another direction (though not convinced by any means). I was thinking that for the president, a single national system of voting and counting, rather than state systems. It would provide a national registration to prevent multiple voting in diferent states.

    I am also very skeptical about absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are a recipe for trouble. If I vote in my precinct what's to stop me from going and casting provisional ballots. If I get caught, they just throw my vote out. If I don't get caught, then the vote is illegitimate but counted anyway. Absentee ballots and early ballots likewise are troublesome. Doesn't the Constitution says we are to vote on a particular day. That rules out voting on any other day, does it not? When someone casts an "early ballot," they seem to be violating the constitution.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Kiffin

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    I support the Electoral college because of it's protection of States rights. I doubt any of the candidates would ever visit Louisiana, Mississipi or other small states but would stay in Califonia, New York, Texas etc.. A single national system would have the same problems in that the Federal government seems to be the most incompentent of doing anything.

    I strongly agree with you on the Provisional ballots and the Absentee ballots have proven to be a recipe for trouble. There needs to be a better way to handle that.

    I heard on MSNBC last night an interesting discussion. When we use our ATM or Credit card that record can be verified very easy. Maybe someone much smarter than me could somehow use that technology in our voting. If it works for your Bank and Visa, why not your State?
     
  3. JGrubbs

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    The Constitution states:

    The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    This means that the Electors have to be selected by the states and will all cast their votes on the same day throughout the United States.

    According to 3 USC Ch. 1 § 1.

    The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.

    This means the states have to pick their electors by the end of election day Tuesday.

    According to 3 USC Ch. 1 § 2.

    Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.

    3 USC Ch. 1 § 7. tells when these electors are to vote in order to comply with the US Constitution.

    The electors of President and Vice President of each State shall meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointment at such place in each State as the legislature of such State shall direct.

    We don't have one big federal election. We have 50 individual state elections that send the electors to the state capitals to select the president that the state wants.
     
  4. swaimj

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    In the legislative branch, the founding fathers came up with a compromise between small states and large ones by having two houses, one with equal representation by all states (the Senate) and one with representation based upon population (the house). The electoral college serves a similar purpose by giving a set weight in the election to each state. The weight is based upon the population of each state, yet does not fluctuate in the case of disproportionate turnout rates among the states in a given election. Rescinding the electoral college and going to a popular vote system would not only diminish the power of the individual states, it would put even large states at the mercy of the large cities within them. Since the cities have large populations who quite naturally vote their own self-interest, and since city populations tend to have similar self-interests among them, the cities would impose their point of view upon the nation. As a resident of Philadelphia, I can assure you, that would not be a happy prospect. The 2000 election was a rare occurence in American history in that the electoral winner was not the popular vote winner. I don't think it is wise or necessary to change the electoral system based upon that one event.
     
  5. JGrubbs

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    Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states, in part: "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress: but no senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector." This established our Electoral College.

    Although the Constitution does not require the states to adhere to any specific manner in electing these electors or how they cast their votes, it suggests, by its wording, that prominent individuals from each congressional district, and from the state at large, would be elected or appointed as electors that represent that district. Under this arrangement, a voter would vote for three individuals, one to represent his district and two "at large" representatives to represent his state. These electors, in turn, would then carefully and deliberately select the candidate for president. Under this system each congressional district could, in essence, select a different candidate. The candidate with the most electors nationwide would become the next president.

    This was the general procedure used until the 1830's, at which time all the states, except for South Carolina, changed to a "general ticket."

    The "general ticket" system is still in use today. Inherently, it causes corruption by the inequitable transfer of power from congressional districts to the states and large cities at the expense of rural communities.

    The Constitution Party encourages states to eliminate the "general ticket" system and return to the procedure intended by the Framers.

    Source: Constitution Party National Platform
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Two of you (and many others elsewhere) have said that the electoral college protects states rights and small states power. And Jonathan said that it protects states from big cities.

    But does it really? Under hte electoral college, states with big cities such as Detroit here, are at the mercy of that big city. In Michigan, everything except Detroit is extremely Republican, but it doesn't matter since the city is not. Under a different kind of system, the rest of Michigan could "band together" with, say for instance northern California (which I think is more conservative). Now, a one vote win in Michigan is as good as a unanimous vote. That does not seem right to me, anymore.

    Kiffin said that candidates would not visit states like Louisiana or something. But I actually think they would.

    The electoral college is like match play golf. You can lose a hole by 10 strokes or 1 stroke, but you only go down one. In stroke play, you lose by 10 strokes, it hurts worse than losing by one stroke. It puts more emphasis on the individual strokes.

    Something other than the electoral college would put more emphasis on the individual votes, it seems to me.
     
  7. Johnv

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    The 12th amendment is well written. If Bush has won the pop vote, but lost the electoral votes, I would have said that Kerry won the election properly, and in line with the constitution. I said the same thing 4 years ago when Bush won over Gore.
     
  8. tragic_pizza

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    What John said.
     
  9. TC

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    The electoral college was a great idea. It seems to be in trouble many places because of the big city issues. I like the idea of splitting the electoral college votes based on the percentage of the popular vote. If Detroit gives dems 51% of Michigans vote and the rural areas give the reps 49%, the electoral college votes would be split accordingly. That way state rights can be preserved and rural areas won't be ignored because of the big city vote.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    TC, that essentially becomes a popular vote election, I think.

    I agree with you, John, that is Kerry had won the electoral vote without the popular vote, he would be the legitimate president, just as Bush was. I was simply wondering out loud if the Democrats who wanted to change the system last time would still want to change it this time ...
     
  11. Daisy

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    I don't know any Democrats who decried the Electoral College last time. What outcry I heard was due to the Supreme Court halting the Florida recount prematurely and taking it upon themselves to declare a winner.

    Even though I come from a large, densely populated state, I think the smaller, sparser states should be given more weight as they are from the College. It's up the individual state whether they want a winner take all system or some other.

    Colorado rejected the initiative on its ballot to divide its electoral votes proportionately based on the popular vote. Only two states do not have the winner take all system.
     
  12. swaimj

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    I think the electoral system still works and, at least here in Pennsylvania, it effectively nuetralizes the big cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Sometimes the big cities rule and PA gets liberal officers in statewide races, for example our governor is a liberal democrat and the US House members from the Philadelphia area are very liberal. On the other hand we have had conservatives who have won statewide elections like former governor Bob Casey and our current US Senator Rick Santorum. In yesterday's election, Bush lost to the more liberal Kerry, but US Senator Specter beat the more liberal Joe Hoeffel. So, within our state, the big cities can be nuetralized and conservatives can win. Consider this also, If the large cities in PA dominate the decision of the state under the electoral college, their maximum effect is reached when they achieve one more vote than the rural areas of the state. If they dominate the decision by half a million votes or by a million, their effect is no greater than if they win by one vote. Under a popular voting system, the extra votes would affect the national election in a greater way. The founding fathers wanted the infleunce of large population areas to be restricted. The electoral college accomplishes this. In a strait popular vote for the president, Philly would vote with other large cities like NYC, LA, and Detroit and their collective effect could not be neutralized.
     
  13. JGrubbs

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    I wouldn't call a Senator Specter a win for conservatives. Especially now that he is the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has vowed to block any pro-life judges. :(
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Hillary Clinton among others ... They said it needed to be changed, and several bills were introduced I believe.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/11/10/politics/main248645.shtml

    Not exactly ... SCOTUS told the Florida Supreme Court to figure it out according to Florida Law within the confines of the US Constitution. They failed, and SCOTUS sent it back to them a second time, as I recall. They failed a second time. After that, the court voted 7-2 that the recounts violated the equal protection clause and 5-4 that the recount could not be completed by the deadline set by law. (In other words, they said that hunting for a Gore victory by examining chads for "voter intent" does not justify the suspension of legal deadlines.)

    Under later recounts done by the news agencies, the BUsh vote was shown to be upheld by 537 votes, showing that the Supreme Court decision was the right one and did not affect the outcome of the race.
     
  15. Pennsylvania Jim

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    They would get laryngitis. The GOP has no corner on hypocrisy.

    As to the main question, the EC is a good thing, it gives people a stronger voice by state.

    Call 888-322-1414 for a good summary between now and next Monday.
     
  16. JGrubbs

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    Jim,

    Thanks for the number for the "Legislative Update" line. I didn't know that Ron Paul had this service available. I will be posting information about this on my blog.

    Here is a link to the Press Release on Ron Paul's site from 1997 when he launched this service.

    http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press97/prfeb27.htm
     
  17. swaimj

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    I didn't call Senator Specter a conservative. I said that he beat the more liberal Hoeffel. I think you'd agree that Hoeffel is more liberal than Specter. However, I did cite two conservative candidates who have won statewide elections in PA: Santorum, and the late Bob Casey. My point stands.
     
  18. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Why do you say that Specter is less liberal than Hoeffel?
     
  19. JGrubbs

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    Even if Specter were less liberal than Hoeffel. Hoeffel is not going to be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It would have been best if Clymer would have won, but better for Hoeffel to win the race than for Specter.
     
  20. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Absolutely. But I am still interested, honestly, in why Swaimj perceives Specter to be less liberal than Hoeffel.
     

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