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Slashdot Asks: Should The US Abolish The Electoral College? 1081

Last night as votes were still being counted, statistician and editor-in-chief for FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver pointed out that while Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States, "it's possible, perhaps even likely, that [Hillary Clinton] will eventually win the popular vote as more votes come in from California." We now know that she has indeed won the popular vote by a slim margin. American journalist Carl Bialik adds via Silver's blog: Hillary Clinton could still conceivably win the election -- or she could lose the national popular vote. But since both outcomes look unlikely, we should start preparing ourselves for the possibility of the second split between the national popular vote and the electoral vote in the last five presidential elections. A coalition of 11 sates with 165 electoral votes between them has agreed to an interstate compact that, once signed by states with a combined 270 or more electoral votes, would bind their electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote -- in effect ending the Electoral College. New York just joined this week. It wasn't enough to affect this election, but maybe today's result will spur more states to join. The results of this election echo the 2000 results, where Democrat Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote, but George W. Bush won the White House. It brings into question whether or not the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of the popular vote. As a refresher, the Electoral College is comprised of electors that cast their votes for president. Each state has a set number of electors that is based on the state's population -- the candidate who wins the state's popular vote gets those electors. Technically, on Election Day, the American people are electing the electors who elect the president. The New York Times has a lengthy article describing how the Electoral College works, which you can view here.
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Slashdot Asks: Should The US Abolish The Electoral College?

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  • yes they should (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:41PM (#53250867)

    yes they should

    • Re:yes they should (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:04PM (#53251159) Homepage Journal
      No, they should not.

      The electoral college is there for a reason and serves a purpose.

      Could it be tweaked? Sure, I would like to see all the states' electoral votes be proportioned to the candidates by the popular vote within each state.

      But really it is there for a REASON. You are a citizen of your state first, and then a citizen of the United States.

      The voting set up in the college, gives more equal proportional voice to all states based on population. If this were only the popular vote nationally, we'd forever have policy and presidents dictated based on 3 or so states, most on either coast with more extreme views and vast different needs from those other states between them.

      The states are the unit of power in the US. A citizen in Maine has vastly different needs often, than someone in Wyoming, than in Louisiana, than northern NY.

      Each of these states needs to have voice...hell, even with the electoral college, you have a lot of fly over states. It was shown last night, that maybe politicians should NOT take some of these states for granted (Hello W, where Hillary never set foot again during general election).

      But like I said, I do with it wasn't winner take all in each state for their electoral votes. HOWEVER, that decision is up to the states themselves.

      It is great that most power does reside in each state to make decisions just like this. The state is more answerable to its own citizens, and one size Federal does not fit all.

      The nice thing with such difference in the states is, if you don't like the laws and culture of one state, you are free to move to another state that more fits your views and lifestyle.

      I don't like that potentially voters in the Electoral College could vote how they want instead of how their state laws say....but again, I like the principal of the EC, maybe just tweak the rules a little.

      • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

        by localman ( 111171 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:17PM (#53251345) Homepage

        Why do we level the playing field between rural and urban, but not along any other axes? There are plenty of demographics that are disenfranchised by their relative size, and they would gain important safeguards against oppression by having a louder voice. But we don't, for example, count black people's votes eight times to put them on a level playing field with whites. The electoral college doesn't make the whole system more fair, it just tips the scale in one particular direction.

        Also, the idea that if you don't like a state you can just move is meaningless in this case -- we're talking about the results of a federal election. You can't move anywhere to escape those, so that suggestion doesn't weigh on electoral college considerations.

        • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @10:48PM (#53253273)

          Why do we level the playing field between rural and urban, but not along any other axes?

          Because that was the concession given to smaller and rural states in order to get them to join the original Union. Without that keystone in the voting process, the United States of America wouldn't exist.

          You can argue it isn't relevant today, 240 years later. But removing that aspect from the Constitution would entail getting all the smaller and rural states (well, a bit less than 3/4 of them) to agree to give up the leverage the electoral college gives them over the more populous states. Good luck with that. Forcing the change upon them without a Constitutional amendment would be akin to a bait and switch - get someone to agree to one set of terms to enter a contract, then unilaterally change those terms after they've signed on. If you're willing to do that, then there's really no point to even having a Constitution, is there?

        • There are 40 states, yes, complete states with a population smaller than NYC. Think about that concentration of power and narrow world perspective. You'd end up with alaska completely controlled by a few square blocks half a world away with completely different needs and wants

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          http://www.wolframalpha.com/in... [wolframalpha.com]

      • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:27PM (#53251491)

        Every state (except Maine and Nebraska) wants to give the majority of its population the largest voice possible. That's great. This is why the plurality popular vote in a state gets all the electoral college votes.

        But wait... what about the voice of the people who are not part of each state's plurality? They are effectively silenced. No good. And these silenced votes represent different proportions in different states; they range from low in deep-red/deep-blue states to high (perhaps even a majority) in swing states.

        Another problem with the EC is that swing states effectively decide each election. The candidates don't visit the vast majority of the states because they have practically guaranteed outcomes. The candidates don't get the opportunity to listen to those citizens. Promises are made to the citizens of swing states, but rarely in deep red/blue states.

        • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:31PM (#53251527)

          And if you abandon the electoral college then the ONLY states that matter will be the few most populous states.

          • But we have to do something! The quick fix never goes wrong!

      • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:28PM (#53251501)

        Could it be tweaked? Sure, I would like to see all the states' electoral votes be proportioned to the candidates by the popular vote within each state.

        I think this would undermine the remaining purpose of the electoral system. In this fashion you will essentially have a popular vote, quantized in a funny way. Giving these small states 3 electoral votes and winner-take-all gives them more power than they would have had otherwise. It creates for some inversions, but because the states are low population, it's not so significant that an overwhelming majority is defeated by a powerful minority, it has always been near split.

        But really it is there for a REASON. You are a citizen of your state first, and then a citizen of the United States.

        Very few people identify this way in the modern age. I've been a citizen of over half a dozen states. I don't even consider it anymore, I move where the jobs are, wherever the jobs are. I am an American first. The one thing I've noticed about state & local governments is that they're the most corrupt, backwards institutions in America, highly subject to cliques and backroom dealing, mostly for sale to the local businessman. Honestly I think our Federation outlived its usefulness long ago. Most of the problems and bullshit fights we see are about state politicians losing some power for corruption and graft based on federal policies. Some states are better than others, but Texas is pretty shitty.

        The states are the unit of power in the US. A citizen in Maine has vastly different needs often, than someone in Wyoming, than in Louisiana, than northern NY.

        This we can agree on, it is the best reason for states to exist and to retain some autonomy at their level. Which is not to say that I agree that they should continue to function wholly outside of federal control and influence as they often do now, but there is a purpose to their existence.

        I don't like that potentially voters in the Electoral College could vote how they want instead of how their state laws say

        This is dangerous and scary but doesn't happen much. The original purpose was that this group of intelligentsia would decide that the rubes didn't know what they were doing, that they very blatantly WOULD go against the popular vote. In this case, almost certainly they wouldn't have chosen Trump... he is almost the definition of what the EC was designed to prevent. It seems inconceivable in this day that they'd go against the grain, I would feel better if it were the actual law that they had to (in all states), but I suspect there will be no change until the day it happens.

      • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

        by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:33PM (#53251559) Homepage Journal

        But really it is there for a REASON.

        There was a reason we had it. Several actually.
        1 travel time of a day or more to the polls for a significant chunk of eligible voters (and outside information getting to the voters was also greatly slowed)
        2 extremely limited current information on political issues and events for the average citizens (not a lot in the way of "informed voters")
        3 because of (2), many of the politicians and people running the government were sincerely worried about what would happen if the election became a popularity contest among the dumb citizens and a truly bad person was elected president of the country (some would argue we had that happen last night, others would argue it was inevitable given the available options...)
        4 the college gave the final say to a smaller handful of more politically-informed people (the electorate) that could, in the event of insanity by the "dumb public", choose the sane option, overruling the popular vote.

        The reasons for the college have long since disappeared. The best reason we have at this point to continue using the college is that we've been using it since forever and we're not comfortable with change, even when it's for the better.

        The whole "first past the post" scheme itself has problems also, and IMHO should be ditched while we're at it. CGPgrey has a great explanation of this issue and how to fix it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] It doesn't completely fix all the issues, fixes several problems, improves some of the remaining issues, and doesn't cause any new problems. Please watch this before responding, I promise you'll enjoy it if you're even remotely interested in the voting process, even if you don't end up agreeing with it by the end,

        There is one thing I'd like to clear up that I think a lot of people miss when this discussion comes up. It's actually a point toward KEEPING the college. Just because I have an opinion doesn't mean I'm going to blindly ignore opposing reasons, and here's a good one anyone thinking about this needs to consider. Everyone games the college. In a political race, they'll do anything they can (legally, or that they can get away with) to help their candidate win. I'm OK with them doing everything they can within the rules to win. States with lower electoral votes get mostly ignored in races like this. States that have a history of voting very strongly in one direction also get ignored by both candidates. (one says "I have it in the bag, why waste my time here?", the other says "I'll never win these, why waste my time here?") So this WILL tend to create a lopsided popular vote vs electoral vote. Campaigning would be done VERY differently if we went strictly by popular country vote. It's difficult to look back at an election and say with any confidence "would it really make a difference?" States that got lots of ground pounding due to their high electoral count and "batleground state" status would see a lot less traffic, and other more moderately populated areas would see more campaigning. Surely this would change the numbers quite a bit. In what direction is very hard to say. Some years, maybe no noticeable difference. Other years, maybe a huge difference. So what I'm saying is that we can't just look at an election where the popular vote and electoral vote disagree (even somewhat strongly) and say with any great confidence "it would have made a difference if we did it the other way this election". Because we can't. But that being said, I still believe a popular vote using proportional representation would produce results that more closely aligned with who the public would rather see in office. (a lot moreso for congress than president, actually)

        • Re:yes they should (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @09:56PM (#53252947)

          You left out the main reason the electoral college works the way it does: the small states insisted on it. They wouldn't agree to the constitution unless they were given outsized power relative to their populations. It was a devil's bargain from the very start: build an undemocratic system into the constitution, or the small states would walk away and there wouldn't be any constitution. Everything else is just rationalizations that people have added to cover that fact.

        • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Informative)

          by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @10:42PM (#53253227)

          But really it is there for a REASON.

          There was a reason we had it. Several actually.

          Yes, there were reasons -- unfortunately none of the ones you mention really are correct. They're the reasons that modern political analysts make up because they seem to make sense to them, based on how the system operates NOW.

          But the Electoral College operated differently at the beginning, and if you read the various proposals and debates among the Founders, it's very clear that their motivations were quite different.

          I'll try to sum it up briefly. There were some of the Founders who wanted Congress to choose the President. There were others who wanted more diverse voices from state government representatives. Few really wanted to entrust it to "the people," because they had all read their ancient Greek and Roman history and knew that democracies were largely disasters that eventually ended up putting tyrants into power.

          There is NOTHING in the Constitution saying how Electoral College members are chosen, only that the state legislatures decide how. In the majority of states for the first few decades of the U.S., Electors were mostly chosen by state governments -- many states didn't even bother holding a popular vote AT ALL. Others had various hybrid systems. See the Wikipedia article on the Electoral College if you want more details.

          Anyhow, how precisely did the Founders think things were going to work? Remember that there were no political parties at the beginning. They all assumed George Washington would be the first president, but they couldn't imagine consensus emerging after him. So the Electoral College was set up to create a "short list" of good candidates chosen by the states (according to whatever method the legislatures decided).

          The Electors originally did not cast separate votes for President and Vice President -- they just had two votes, and at least one of them was required to be not for his home state. That was to prevent states from just deadlocking by electing people from home (since so much was invested in individual states at this time).

          The idea was that most Electors would end up voting for someone from their home state, but also someone with more regional or even national consensus. And then those few names would float to the top -- and the "short list" would be sent to Congress to actually decide the election. Remember that originally the person with the most votes would be President, and the person with the 2nd-most votes would be VP.

          The Founders -- living before political parties -- assumed that Congress (specifically the House of Representatives) would choose the President in most elections. The Electoral College only existed to create a "short list" based on representatives of state governments and thereby to guarantee more diversity than might come from an established body like Congress. (Also, Electors were required to meet SEPARATELY in their states, not en masse, to prevent the sort of collusion and "backroom dealing" that might happen in a body like Congress. That was another benefit.)

          THOSE were the reasons why the Electoral College was created. It originally had nothing to do with most of the crap people say today. The concept that a "popular vote" would even be taken for President in most states wasn't even contemplated by the Founders, who just preferred to get input from state governments to narrow down the field, rather than letting Congress choose the President directly.

          So now you know. The Founders were much more anti-"democratic" than you ever thought. And they introduced this complex mechanism to prevent centralized collusion and to get regional consensus around a short list of candidates in an era before parties and factions were assumed.

      • >But really it is there for a REASON. You are a citizen of your state first, and then a citizen of the United States.

        That is not the reason. The EC was created for one very simple reason - to ensure the US was not truly democratic, and it was created in a very specific context. If the constitution was written one decade later it would never have existed, and there's a reason no other country in the free world has such a profoundly undemocratic system.
        The context was a number of states that passed debt re

    • No, that is a terrible idea. The POTUS is the only office that is elected at the national level. It is the only national election we have! As such, it should reflect the government we have. Which is a republic of states. If you elect a POTUS on the popular vote you alienate the rural areas because that office will be chosen exclusively by a few large cities.

      How do you ensure that the only national election we have has the interests of the nation at large with a popular vote? We are a republic because of the

      • Re:yes they should (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:40PM (#53251649)
        Why should the majority be held captive by the majority of the minority? Said another way, why should my vote count for say 1/8 that of a vote from a neighboring state? Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, why should my dissenting vote be taken away from me and awarded to the majority position of my state? Even if my vote counts for less than a vote from say South Dakota I should still be counted. With the electoral college I am not.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wellwhatever ( 4769151 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:42PM (#53250881)
    The operators of /. are unhappy about the results of the election, so the system is broken.
    • That's so unfair! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:57PM (#53251093) Homepage Journal

      The operators of /. are unhappy about the results of the election, so the system is broken.

      Indeed.

      The Democrats moved $60 mil from down-ballot elections to Hillary to torpedo Bernie(*), gave the media questions to grill trump, got debate questions ahead of time, got to vet media articles before they were published, hired protestors to shut down a rally and start fights, colluded with PACs, published oversampled and biased polls, tried to frame Julian Assange.

      The electoral college is unfair!!

      (*) Are the democrats bemoaning that R's control both houses? Now we know why!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And don't forget that the Democrats and Hillary supporters paid the media to NEVER EVER mention this when they were having a go at Trump over the wall thing:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yMmG5p0Ll8

    • Short answer: No (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spazmania ( 174582 )

      It's important that a candidate win as much of the country as possible, not just the populous areas. The broad but sparse rural population has different concerns than suburbanites. A voting system which disenfranchises them would be a bad thing.

      If there was a 20 point spread in popular vote and the election went to the other candidate I'd change my tune. But that's not the case. The popular vote numbers are functionally a tie.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:43PM (#53250887)

    Eliminate the electoral college, eliminate the Federal nature of our government, and we will be dominated by NYC, LA, & Chicago. Look at the Blue
    areas. Big metro areas and largely black areas voted Blue. The rest of the country voted Red. The problems of the big city are not the same as
    the REST of the nation.

    • by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:08PM (#53251221) Journal

      This. the EC is like the bicameral congress. It is supposed to ensure that the POTUS isn't electd by a few heavily populated cities. POTUS is the ONLY office of the executive for election by the nation and we should not have it selected by one or two cities. The EC guarantees broad national support of the president by the States. How else do you ensure that the POTUS has the interests of small states in mind? We are a republic of states and you cannot have a healthy republic if you ignore the States that do not have a few large cities.

      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:25PM (#53251455) Journal

        How else do you ensure that the POTUS has the interests of small states in mind?

        I would actually say that this is part of the reason why Trump is President Elect. The current POTUS couldn't give a rip and actually was quite dismissive of "Fly Over Country". That dismissiveness really did end up hurting Hillary in the Great Lakes region, because she express similar viewpoints throughout her career and candidacy.

        You can't ignore people, then get upset when they don't vote for you. That's kind of how things actually are supposed to work.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:14PM (#53251299) Homepage Journal

      Rather than NY being dominated by a coalition of smaller states with less total population? That protects individual and minority rights?

      By all means look at a map of red vs. blue. But don't look at a regular map; look at a cartogram where the size of a state is scaled by population rather than physical area. Then let's talk about small dominating big; it's not the square footage you live in that matters, it's the say you have in your own government.

      And getting rid of the electoral college doesn't mean we're not a Republic any more. Even if your defintion of "Republic" is "small states have disproportionate power". Small states have that in the Senate.

      Anyhow, I've read Federalist no 10, and it sound convincing but it's basically hooey. The idea is that the complicated way the Constitution set things up would prevent the emergence of political parties. That didn't work as planned. Although really the plan was to preserve slavery by giving slaveholding interests more political power. Remember there used to be property requirements for voting. So this really wasn't about protecting minorities at all; Federalist no 10 was just a smokescreen for a compromise that divided power between wealthy people in the North and wealthy people in the South. To sweeten the deal further for Southerners slaves counted as 3/5 of a person.

      So it's not really about protecting the little guy; it's about letting the powerful prey upon the less powerful.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:44PM (#53250903) Homepage

    New York and California do not get to dictate who is president of the entire country.

    We are the United States.

    A republic. And as such, the votes need to be weighted to protect the rights of the states and the people in them.

    Mob rule is the worst form of government.

    • when you look at the big picture.

      Last night some 52% of us possible voters, voted. That means just under half of the people who could, didn't. By your logic, a mob decided last night.

      Even more damning is that it is only a handful of states that are deciding things through the EC. If that's not mobbish, what is?

      The point is that our current system isn't handling how fact and much the world is changing. It's likely to start stripping the cogs at any moment. I'd like to have an honest discussion on how we prev

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It isn't a matter of 'rural areas' and 'urban areas.'

        We are a republic made up out of United States. We have State Governments who answer to the population that lives within them.

        The 'Voice of All America' doesn't exist.

        The 'Popular Vote' incidentally, isn't anything official. It's just a tricky number that journalists obtain by clumping together smaller numbers there are irrelevant outside the context of each State.

        • by Calydor ( 739835 )

          Why are your states more important than the whole of the nation?

          I see this mentality a lot and coming from a really small country I just can't wrap my head around it. Why is a given state more important than all of America? Why is the combined voice of the entire country somehow less important than the combined voices of a select few states?

          • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:11PM (#53251263) Homepage Journal

            Why are your states more important than the whole of the nation?

            You need to read up on US civics a bit then.

            The US was set up as a union of individual states...in the US constitutionally, MOST power is supposed to reside in the states. The US constitution does not grant rights, instead, it is there to enumerate a very few rights and power the Federal govt has. Over the years, the fed has grown more powerful than it was intended, many of us want to rein that back in.

            But they way it was set up, you are a citizen of your state first, and THEN a citizen of the United States.

            The closest analogy might be the European Union.....they actually in ways mimic what the US did. Think of the individual states as small countries unto themselves, and the Federal govt is one way to regulate the relationships between them and as a singular front to dealing with the rest of the world.

            Its actually kind of interesting. Back in the day, there was huge rivalry between states....even today, when you meet someone, you will often ask where they are from. If from a different state, that's kind of a big deal, you know they have started life out in a bit different culture than you did.

          • "Why is the combined voice of the entire country"

            Historically, people are citizens of their state first and foremost. We have 330+ million ciitzens, spread across a VAST Continent. People who live in Maine dont know whats best for people in Oregon. I dont think most non-Americans really appreciate how big America really is. You are never going ot get 330 million people to combine into one voice, nor should you try.
        • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:08PM (#53251217) Homepage Journal

          The popular vote is not a mathematical fallacy, it's the simple sum of all of the people who voted. One Person, One Vote is fundamental to democracy and would be best enacted by simply counting the popular vote rather than having a fiction that states, rather than the people, elect the executive.

          Once that is fixed, getting congressional district construction to be the job of a non-partisan body should be next. Gerrymandering has been taken to computer-optimized extremes and the result isn't democracy.

    • We already have a Senate which accomplished essentially that though. I think we could get by changing to a popular vote, but it should be done using instant runoff voting or some similar system that allows for some choice outside of the two big political parties. I would imagine that in the current election, such a system would have allowed a huge number of voters to pick the candidate that they actually want to vote for while allowing for fallback choices if their first choice doesn't win.

      If we're going
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:07PM (#53251205)

      New York and California do not get to dictate who is president of the entire country.

      It's better to have a smaller swing-state dictate the president of the entire country?

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:16PM (#53251335) Journal

      How did this get modded Insightful?

      New York and California do get to dictate who is President of the entire country.

      "The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled.." (from Wikipedia)

      The strategy of focusing on the most populous states still holds true under the Electoral College.

      Doing away with the Electoral College puts every American on equal footing. Americans in California would not receive more attention from the candidates than Americans in Montana.

      One person, one vote. Let the majority elect the President. The House of Representatives is there to represent the States. The Senate is there to provide a 'fair' body that is not influenced by population. The Supreme Court is there to resolve any issues that the other branches cannot sort out on their own.

      The Electoral College is a relic from a time before the telephone, the radio and other modern means of conveying the will of the people to the central seat of government.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:37PM (#53251599)

        The strategy of focusing on the most populous states still holds true under the Electoral College.

        Actually, no. The strategy that holds true under the Electoral College is that of focusing on the most populous SWING states. Neither candidate spend much (if any) time campaigning in California, the most populous state. As a resident of California, I would prefer a system wherein two electoral votes (the number of Senators) are awarded to the statewide winner, and one electoral vote is awarded to the winner of each Congressional district. No Constitutional amendment required, as the method by which a state selects its Electors is determined by the state, not by the Federal government.

  • 1000x Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:45PM (#53250921)

    This is now the second time in 5 cycles where this has happened. National Popular Vote will actually make the two (or more) candidates campaign for every vote instead of trying to strategize about what counties in swing states will matter.

    There are several other structural changes we ought to consider but eliminating the EC is an easy one and would be broadly popular.

  • No, no, no. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:46PM (#53250935)

    It's funny how these conversations always take place after the Democrat loses.

    In 2000, the conventional wisdom was that Bush would win the popular vote and Gore would win the electoral college so there was article after article by liberals in the summer of 2000 on why the electoral college would matter. Google it.

    The electoral college prevents politicians for completely ignoring 90% of the country and focusing only on the few really big cities. It also prevents voter fraud happening in one area affecting the entire election because it limits the damage done by voter fraud.

    The electoral college idea was genius and there is a reason why the country is not a democracy and why we don't elect presidents via popular vote.

    • Re:No, no, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:10PM (#53251247)

      The electoral college ensures that politicians ignore 90% of the country and focus on only the few swing states.

    • It's funny how these conversations always take place after the Democrat loses.

      In what election has the Republican lost the Electoral College but won the popular vote?

    • Re:No, no, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PraiseBob ( 1923958 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:21PM (#53251411)
      It's funny how these conversations always take place after the Democrat loses.

      That's because a republican presidential candidate has only won the popular vote a single time in the past 28 years...
    • You couldn't be much further off base if you tried. a) Why do you think the electoral college only comes up after Democrats lose? Gee, do you think it could be because it artificially favors votes in small, low-population states which tend to go for Republicans, rather than large, high-population states that tend to go for Democrats? b) The electoral college basically guarantees that since votes in areas of large population are worth proportionally far less, politicians will spend most of their time campaig
  • by techvet ( 918701 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:48PM (#53250951)
    If State A has the worst voter fraud in the country, then the effects of said fraud are limited within their borders. If there is no electoral college, then the effects of fraudulent votes in State A for Candidate X is that they will now start cancelling out votes for Candidate Y in other states. LBJ would have loved nothing more than to get rid of the electoral college. Look at Virginia allowing felons to vote. Getting rid of the electoral college is a fool's errand.
    • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:19PM (#53251371)

      The right for convicted criminals to vote should be a fundamental right in a proper democracy.
      Otherwise, evil people in power could just make sure to outlaw, arrest and convict their opponents for whatever felony they could invent.
      It is not as if political opponents have not been classified as outlaws throughout history, and it is happening right now in for instance Turkey and Egypt. Those places may be far away, but remember the McCarty era in the US? Remember how important it was to be "patriotic" in the years following 9/11?

      The demographics in the group of ex-cons that can't vote is already skewed, with people of African-Americans descent being overrepresented.

  • by halfEvilTech ( 1171369 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:50PM (#53251005)

    The Electoral College is due to the fact we live in a republic- the number of electoral votes is equal to the sum of the house and senate.

    A better approach would be to divide the Electoral College votes proportionally to the vote cast in the sate. This would then still give candidates incentive to campaign in smaller or less populated states.

    If we where to go to a straight out popular vote only then people will complain that it is always the big states like California and New York that decide every election and as such Presidential candidates will likely only stop in those larger cities along the costs and be damned to fly over country as they call it.

  • by tacokill ( 531275 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:54PM (#53251055)
    Assemble the circular firing squad! Ready, Fire, Aim!
  • The Constitution (Score:5, Informative)

    by surfdaddy ( 930829 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @06:56PM (#53251071)

    The STATES elect the president, not the populace. In the early days it was the state legislatures that elected the Electors, who went to Washington to vote for president. Along the way the state Electors were changed to being voted on by the people. The president has never been elected by popular vote. If you want to change that then you change the original intent of the Constitution. Not saying that is a bad idea, just that it all makes sense if you understand it.

  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:02PM (#53251139)

    California has approx 574,000 voters per electoral vote. Contrast that to Wyoming with 142,000 voters per electoral vote. (This is because each state gets a minimum number of electoral votes.)

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/11/presidential_election_a_map_showing_the_vote_power_of_all_50_states.html

    How in the world is that fair? Are we not giving voters in some states more power to elect the President than others?

  • The point of the EC is to ensure broad national support for the only elected executive position in the government. Since the very first days of the Republic there were divisions between states with large population densities and states with low population densities. The bicameral Congress is another compromise to address these these concerns of both states.

    Not only does the EC guarantee broad geographical support of POTUS but also ensure that any would-be POTUS has to campaign in areas out side of a few large cities. Additionally, it ensures that any POTUS will be supported by a majority of states or more specifically a majority in states' majority. It isn't about the people, it is about the States. We are a Republic of sovereign States and the only executive office up for election should reflect this fact of our government.

    The point is to give low population states some equal footing in the say of the only executive position up for election. If not, POTUS would be selected by the cities because low population areas interests are overridden by the millions in one city.

    We live in a republic and a republic is a guard against the flaws of democracy. Just like the bicameral congress, the electoral college is a way to ensure that rural America isn't disenfranchised and left behind by the urban city centers. Each State has different needs and their needs should be reflected in the election of the leader of those States. You cannot represent the needs of smaller States in the executive if you elect that office on popular vote.

  • by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:08PM (#53251219)

    Serious question, but what is stopping the electoral college people from voting for Hillary despite what the people in their state voted? From what I've read, even those states that have laws that mandate how the electoral people have to vote, the punishments are so laughable for breaking that law that they might as well not exist.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:09PM (#53251245) Journal

    The current system favors small states because it gives each voter in them more relative power. It was set up that way on purpose by the founders so populous states wouldn't "mob" small ones.

    Such states are not going to give up that advantage easily.

    But an alternative solution is to assign weights to each voter that correspond to what they would be under EC. A citizen in Rhode Island may get say 3.2 units of votes, while somebody in California may get say 0.6 units.

    It's still lopsided, but at least it's better granularity than EC such that states' results are not all-or-nothing. It is lopsidedness done right.

  • by Cutting_Crew ( 708624 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:15PM (#53251313)
    There was roughly 120 Million votes cast this election. Hillary only has trump beat by 207,000 votes... out of 120 million. Thats insane. 0.002% difference. The reason that is even this close are the huge cities for the Democrats on the coasts. I think the current electoral college doesnt allow for every vote to count as well the popular vote because the larger cities would basically always decide the election.

    The best way for every single vote to count is to provide a way for all candidate to take partial electoral votes based on the number of votes you got in each state. So for California, 55 Electoral votes, Hillary: 61%, Trump: 33%. That would give Hillary 33.55 electoral votes and Trump 18.15 votes. I know that leaves up partial percentage points but I'm fine with it. This way every single vote matters in each state.
  • by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:15PM (#53251321)

    More than that, get rid of first past the post voting; It strangles 3rd parties. It's no mystery why the house and senate have 10% approval ratings but a 90+% re-election rate when you only have 2 choices. There should be Proportional Representation [wikipedia.org] for the house, Instant run-off [wikipedia.org] for the senate, presidency, and any other election where it's only practical to have single member districts.

  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:16PM (#53251325)
    I like how the electoral college forces that the President has to appeal to citizens from many places. Not just the most amount of citizens.
  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 @07:23PM (#53251433) Homepage Journal

    This is the United STATES of America, not the United PEOPLE of America. It's not all about you. I know that's hard to take because you think you're so important, but that's the way it is. Lots of people are under the mistaken impression that the Electoral College was put in place to "protect slavery." That's not true at all. It was the exact opposite. When the original 13 colonies decided to band together the southern slave-holding states dominated the landscape both in terms of land area and population. Virginia was HUGE and, in fact, for the first 50 years most every President came from Virginia.

    But it was the NORTHERN states that were small with small populations: Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts. Compared to southern states they are all TINY, so they are the ones who lobbied for a Senate where every state was equally represented, and in matters of voting, was the same size. The House was left to be "The People's House" based solely on population.

    In real-life terms what this means is that the presidential campaign must take into consideration ALL states because any one of them could turn out to be a decisive one in terms of the Electoral College vote. If this were NOT The case the candidates could concentrate on both coasts and ignore most of the country. But as it stands the Electoral College gives a very slight advantage to the less populous and smaller states. Look at the Electoral College Map for this election. It's available nearly everywhere. What you see is a mass of red states all across the country with a smattering of blue on the West Coast plus Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, and the northeast plus Virginia, Minnesota, and Illinois. That's all. 20 states are blue; 30 states are red. And most of the really tiny sates that the Electoral College was designed to help? They're all blue.

    The United States was set up as a Republic ("What have you given us?" "A Republic, madam, if you can keep it."--Benjamin Franklin), not a "Democracy," where you suffer under the illusion that all voters are equal, when half of them are stupid and easily led, as every election shows. "Democracy" is Mob Rule, two wolves and a sheep voting for what is for dinner. God save us from that. The Electoral College was set up to provide for a majority of people AND STATES to elect the President with as broad a mandate as possible from the entire United States--not just the population of a minority of states on both coasts. Trump won the state vote 30 to 20, even though those small states had the advantage of their senatorial electoral college votes.

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