View Poll Results: Should the U.S. get rid of the Electoral College? Yes- The people can decide on their own 24 70.59% No- We need the electoral college 7 20.59% Maybe/Undecided/Neither 3 8.82% Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

# Poll: Should the U.S. get rid of the Electoral College?

Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 4,842
If you want the east and west coasts of the country to decide elections, then go ahead and get rid of the electoral college and go with popular vote. Since most liberals live on the coasts, including me, I'd be all for it.

I do think the electoral college makes it impossible for any third party candidates to ever get a fair chance, but I have no clue how to fix it. Apparently no one else does either.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves

I wonder if there could be a way to balance electoral votes with popular votes--maybe have a point system where the total popular vote counts for 50% of the total "points" needed to win and the state electoral college totals account for the other 50%?

I agree with Amanda that the VP should receive votes too. I know some states have governor and Lt. governor elected separately--how well does that system work in reality?
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 344
If you want the east and west coasts of the country to decide elections, then go ahead and get rid of the electoral college and go with popular vote. Since most liberals live on the coasts, including me, I'd be all for it.

I do think the electoral college makes it impossible for any third party candidates to ever get a fair chance, but I have no clue how to fix it. Apparently no one else does either.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves

I wonder if there could be a way to balance electoral votes with popular votes--maybe have a point system where the total popular vote counts for 50% of the total "points" and the state electoral college totals account for the other 50?

I agree with Amanda that the VP should receive votes too. I know some states have governor and Lt. governor elected separately--how well does that system work in reality?
Originally Posted by gemini
electoral votes are based on the popular vote. You would have to change allocation from winner-take-all to something else. The VP idea is just not practical. That rule existed in the old days before they really even had political parties.

Everyone is welcome to read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 68. on why we need the Electoral College.
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fed_68.html
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,980
Another argument against abolishing the Electoral College.

Popular vote only elections can lead to more contested elections and drag out the election process. I do however thing the process can be much more refined at a state level. I live in Maine and I like our system. We have 4 electoral votes. Whoever wins the state gets two of them. The other two are divided between our congressional districts. So these could be split. It gives a voice to our much more rural northern district and makes sure candidates give our small state some attention.

It is a voting system that reflects our governmental system. We are a republic of states. It makes sense that those states choose who governs them. In a sense we choose how our state votes, the state then casts it's votes for president.
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 4,842
If you want the east and west coasts of the country to decide elections, then go ahead and get rid of the electoral college and go with popular vote. Since most liberals live on the coasts, including me, I'd be all for it.

I do think the electoral college makes it impossible for any third party candidates to ever get a fair chance, but I have no clue how to fix it. Apparently no one else does either.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves

I wonder if there could be a way to balance electoral votes with popular votes--maybe have a point system where the total popular vote counts for 50% of the total "points" and the state electoral college totals account for the other 50?

I agree with Amanda that the VP should receive votes too. I know some states have governor and Lt. governor elected separately--how well does that system work in reality?
Originally Posted by gemini
electoral votes are based on the popular vote. You would have to change allocation from winner-take-all to something else. The VP idea is just not practical. That rule existed in the old days before they really even had political parties.

Everyone is welcome to read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 68. on why we need the Electoral College.
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fed_68.html
Originally Posted by CottonCandyCurls

No kidding?

I meant the points/delegates gained from the electoral college (by state) count towards the election as well as the overall national total of votes for each candidate. That way you have state delegate counts weighing in as well as the total (population's) overall votes on a national level.

I really like the idea of dividing the delegates by percentage vs. winner take all. That makes more sense as well.
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 14,034
I voted no. The electoral college is a good federalist instrument, it ensures that whoever is elected has wide popular support that is distributed across the country in rural and urban areas. It also empowers the minority vote to not get swallowed up by the majority. There is a reason no one has been able to come up with a suitable alternative for two centuries. Give the founders some credit. Either way whether I think it should be preserved, the electoral college is not going anywhere. Constitutional amendments are rare and Congress has little incentive to actually pass it. Though legislation to abolish the electoral college has come up over 700 times.
Originally Posted by CottonCandyCurls
this is one arguement i've never understood in regards to the electoral college. Maybe it's just never been explained correctly to me, but how does the fact that the majority vote of a state gives a certain number of 'points' to a candidate ensuring that the minority vote isn't swallowed?
Originally Posted by MimsTX
Okay well take this particular election. Blacks account for about ~13% of the population. One of Obama's strategies for turning some red states blue is to increase turnout of the black vote in Southern states like North Carolina, Virginia etc. Here a small minority can help edge out the opposition. If successful he would win all the electoral votes for that state. Which gives their vote more clout. In a direct election they would only account for 13%.

Some people see this as unfair. I see it as making sure smaller groups are courted. Same strategy works for rural people. If it was a direct election, a candidate could ignore the small towns and states and solely campaign in big urban areas. That would be unfair, and would definitely favor democrats who are much more likely to live in high density areas.
Originally Posted by CottonCandyCurls
I do agree with that, and I touched upon it in an earlier post. While I live in PA, I have a military affiliation and still maintain my votership in WV. Candidates rarely come to WV as it is, but they would never show up if we didn't have the Electoral College.
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,858
I voted yes. If the vote were a true popular vote and candidates didn't win states and such, everyone would be equally represented. Everyone's vote would count just as much as anyone elses. But I also think we should do away with the candidates picking their own VP's. I'm more of a fan of the way old school way they did it where 2 (or however many) people ran for president and whoever got the most votes was president, and second highest was VP. Then competing interests are all represented and politicians would be forced to work together.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
I'm for that.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls
I voted for the electoral college - it's a part of the whole checks and balances system. Remember your high school government classes? However, I think I'd be for the second highest vote getter being VP - seems to me that'd be yet another check and balance.
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
Yes, it should be abolished, so that each person's vote carries equal weight.
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
I voted for the electoral college - it's a part of the whole checks and balances system.
Why do you think the electoral college contributes to checks & balances?

I always saw it as a way of making some people's votes count more than others. If you live in a swing state, your vote makes a difference. If you live in a red or blue state, your vote is not likely to make a difference at all.
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
Popular vote only elections can lead to more contested elections and drag out the election process.
Originally Posted by KookyCurl
Sorry, I'm confused. Are you saying that the electoral college makes it easier for states to count their votes? And it would somehow be more difficult for states to count their votes if we didn't have the electoral college?

We already count each individual vote before adding up the electoral college votes. The electoral college (or at least the modern version of it that we use) is just a different way of adding up the total once you have the individual votes counted. Elections without the electoral college would not be any more difficult or drawn-out or more contested than they already are.

Last edited by tmmy_cat; 10-28-2008 at 05:29 PM.
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
Everyone is welcome to read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 68. on why we need the Electoral College.
Oh, and that Federalist paper was written at a time when information and candidates travelled extremely slowly. So it was just not practical for the average person to have enough information to make a decision about who to elect. That's why they elected people to choose for them. Now, we have instantaneous transfer of information and air travel that allows candidates to visit the American people in person. The original need for the electoral college no longer exists.

Sigh, I might as well stop now. It seems like those in favor of the electoral college are just not making sense or haven't thought it through completely.
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
If you want the east and west coasts of the country to decide elections, then go ahead and get rid of the electoral college and go with popular vote.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Sorry, I have to respond to this one too. The vast majority of the population lives near the coasts. If each person's vote counts equally then of course some "regions" would count more than others - not because there are more liberals there but because there are more humans there, and thus, more votes.

Which would you rather have - your vote counting the same as someone else's? Or would you rather have your vote count less than someone else's so that your "regions" can count the same and you have the bad luck to live in a region with more people in it?

Personally, I am in favor of one vote per person and each person's vote counting exactly the same as everyone else's. I haven't heard any legitimate or sensible arguments in favor of using the electoral college in modern times.

I will stop for real now or this thread is going to drive me nuts.
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,584
Thanks for responding ladies (& gentlemen if there were any but I don't think there were!), you all brought up a lot of good points but I'm still leaning towards getting rid of it.

I dunno I just feel like we the people should have the final say in who is getting elected, and I don't think the electoral college gives us that. I guess we could remodel it but I don't even know where to begin with fixing it.

Amandacurls that was a very interesting point you brought up with the VP. I think we should have a say as well in the VP selecting process, they are just as important as the President (especially in times like these!)
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,975
I voted that we should get rid of it. I think we should go to a straight popular vote. And yes, I understand the reasoning behind the founding fathers making the electoral college, but times (and communication) has changed.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2...toral-college/

<H2 class=entry-title>Math Whizzes Scrutinize Electoral College

By Leslie Wayne“To Keep or Not Keep the Electoral College.”
With a Shakespearean flourish, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plans to apply its engineering and systems know-how to that question at a conference tomorrow that brings together Constitutional scholars and mathematics experts.

“Since its creation in 1787, the Electoral College has remained the most mysterious mechanism for electing a president of a country,’’ said Alexander S. Belenky, head of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals at M.I.T. “There is no consensus among mathematicians, systems scientists and political scientists studying the Electoral College on whether it can satisfactorily serve the United States in the 21st century, especially after two close elections in 2000 and 2004.”
The conference will look at whether the Electoral College should be retained, eliminated or modified. Arnold I. Barnett, a management science professor at M.I.T. and the conference’s chair, said that as Election Day draws near and “as people start working the numbers, then there might be much more hunger to think, ‘Can we really do something differently?”
While the Electoral College is often studied from a political angle, M.I.T. feels that mathematical models are relevant.
Mr. Belenky, author of several books including “How America Chooses Its Presidents” and “Extreme Outcomes of U.S. Presidential Elections,” said that it is mathematically possible for two candidates to each win 49 percent of the popular vote, yet one candidate could end up with zero electoral votes and the other with 538 –- or any combination in between.
The conference website also contains an “Electoral College Quiz.”
You can test your knowledge with such questions as: “Does an appointed elector violate the U.S. Constitution by abstaining the course of voting in the Electoral College?
The answer is yes. The Constitution requires that all electors must vote. But, an elector can, in effect, abstain by casting a blank ballot, which actually did happen in the 2000 election.
</H2>
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1,802
“Extreme Outcomes of U.S. Presidential Elections,” said that it is mathematically possible for two candidates to each win 49 percent of the popular vote, yet one candidate could end up with zero electoral votes and the other with 538 –- or any combination in between.

Really? good to know.

Times have changed since the founding fathers.
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,980
Popular vote only elections can lead to more contested elections and drag out the election process.
Originally Posted by KookyCurl
Sorry, I'm confused. Are you saying that the electoral college makes it easier for states to count their votes? And it would somehow be more difficult for states to count their votes if we didn't have the electoral college?

We already count each individual vote before adding up the electoral college votes. The electoral college (or at least the modern version of it that we use) is just a different way of adding up the total once you have the individual votes counted. Elections without the electoral college would not be any more difficult or drawn-out or more contested than they already are.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat

I disagree. I believe they would be much more difficult and drawn out.

Say a candidate wins the popular election by a very thin margin. A recount may be demanded. Instead of isolating which state(s) the recount would have an effect in we would have to recount EVERY vote. This takes time and money. Often things small municipalities are in short supply of already, even some large ones. Say this changes the vote. The original winner would then demand another recount. Where would the madness end?
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,980
Everyone is welcome to read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 68. on why we need the Electoral College.
Oh, and that Federalist paper was written at a time when information and candidates travelled extremely slowly. So it was just not practical for the average person to have enough information to make a decision about who to elect. That's why they elected people to choose for them. Now, we have instantaneous transfer of information and air travel that allows candidates to visit the American people in person. The original need for the electoral college no longer exists.

Sigh, I might as well stop now. It seems like those in favor of the electoral college are just not making sense or haven't thought it through completely.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat

Just because I disagree does NOT mean I haven't thought it through completely.
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,781
If getting rid of rhe EC means that the dems are benefited more, than I'm all for it. Not because I think the Dems can do no wrong, but maybe it will mean the parties stop focusing on issues that are important to the extremes and start focusing on issues that matter to the people. Maybe the repiblican party can stop focusing voters concerned with religious issues and stay out of my house/uterus/decisions and go back to their founding principles (less gov't involvement) than I think their base would grow considerably.

So if the end result is 2 parties that have to fight for what people care about most, get rid of it.
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,980
Everyone is welcome to read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 68. on why we need the Electoral College.
Oh, and that Federalist paper was written at a time when information and candidates travelled extremely slowly. So it was just not practical for the average person to have enough information to make a decision about who to elect. That's why they elected people to choose for them. Now, we have instantaneous transfer of information and air travel that allows candidates to visit the American people in person. The original need for the electoral college no longer exists.

Sigh, I might as well stop now. It seems like those in favor of the electoral college are just not making sense or haven't thought it through completely.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat

Just because I disagree does NOT mean I haven't thought it through completely.
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 984
Popular vote only elections can lead to more contested elections and drag out the election process.
Originally Posted by KookyCurl
Sorry, I'm confused. Are you saying that the electoral college makes it easier for states to count their votes? And it would somehow be more difficult for states to count their votes if we didn't have the electoral college?

We already count each individual vote before adding up the electoral college votes. The electoral college (or at least the modern version of it that we use) is just a different way of adding up the total once you have the individual votes counted. Elections without the electoral college would not be any more difficult or drawn-out or more contested than they already are.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat

I disagree. I believe they would be much more difficult and drawn out.

Say a candidate wins the popular election by a very thin margin. A recount may be demanded. Instead of isolating which state(s) the recount would have an effect in we would have to recount EVERY vote. This takes time and money. Often things small municipalities are in short supply of already, even some large ones. Say this changes the vote. The original winner would then demand another recount. Where would the madness end?
Originally Posted by KookyCurl
A) Only states that were very close would need to be recounted (which is very similar to the way it is now)

B) Even if it is more difficult, it's worth it because the election would be more fair! Which would you rather have - an easy election where some people's votes count more than others? Or a difficult, thorough election where everyone's vote counts equally? I am in favor of making elections fair at any cost.

If you thought this through, then by all means, share that reasoning with us! I haven't seen any of it yet.

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