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Adam Graham

It's archaic. It fuels the "battleground" mentality where a dozen or so states get all the attention. It fails to reflect regional differences within states...

It also doesn't give insentive for party bosses to turn out the vote of the deadin big cities like New York and San Francisco. And that's a good thing.

Joel Monka

I fail to see any way in which the proposed compact would improve anything. If my state votes 75% Republican (which Indiana has done before), but is forced to cast it's EC vote Democratic because the rest of the country did, then didn't you just "essentially negate the votes" of all those Hoosiers? If there's a "battleground mentality" now, what would it be like if "extra votes" counted? What I mean is this: if you win New York by 75%, you get no more electoral votes than if you win by 51%... but if you go by total count, then you could lose the other 49 states 51% to 49% and win the presidency, just because of all those NY votes. If we had no electoral college, the campaigns would spend all their time in NY and California, because the rest of us would be meaningless by comparison. The EC forces them to spend SOME attention to the rest of the country.

David Erin Anthony

I am by no means a fan of the EC but elmininating it will remove what little voice we have in the election process. Think about it.....If the election was based on purely the popular vote who would campaign in a state with less than 2 million people across such a large geographic area? The focus would be on the metropolitian areas (NYC, Wash/Baltimore/Philadelphia, LA, Chicago, Houston, DALLAS/FT Worth, San Fran/Oakland/San Jose, and a few others).
What I would like to see is a rotation in the primary fields. Each election the first four primaries would represent a region. For example, in 08 the first four states would be Maryland, Rhode Island, Kansas and Oregon. In '12 the first four would be Maine, Georgia, Oklahoma and Idaho. This way each area would be given equal opportunity to recieve the attention and have an influence on the process.


The odds of getting 38 state legislatures to vote for eliminating the the Electoral College is just about zero, since you'd need several of the smaller states to voluntarily give up their proportionally greater influence. Personally, I kind of like having the recounts limited to one or two states. Can you imagine what a nightmare a nationwide recount would be?

Also, it does tend to make the candidates play more towards to middle rather than just trying to get better turnout of their bases, which the moderate in me likes.


Ban it! Kill it! Dump it on the ash heap of History! The Electoral College is an archaic hold over from the 18th Century folks. If the popular vote was good enough for the Iraqis and thier PURPLE THUMBS then it should be good enough for us. For those that say we won't see any candidates in person, what planet are you living in. Do you not have access to a tv? How about a computer? How about a newspaper? Newsmagazines? Are you incapable of finding information about a particular candidate and their views? Get a grip. Every other democratic country in the world uses DIRECT elections. It is time for the FIRST one to do the same. Thanks, and have a great day.

sharon fisher

I'm with David and Joel. The electoral college helps reduce a little bit 'the tyranny of the majority' and ensures that at least some of the smaller states get attention.

Julie Fanselow

I'm with Mtnbkrid, actually ... I like the idea of outright slaying the EC much more than any other solution (including the one I touted above). These days, "the tubes" give everyone as much direct access to the candidates as he or she desires.

DEA, as a Democat in Idaho - which hasn't voted for a Democrat for prez in 43 years - do you really feel you have any hope of a voice under the current system? I guess that feeling of disenfranchisement is what makes this plan attractive to me. But I do like the idea of rotating regional primaries you outline.

Joel, the point you made bothered me some, too ... the idea that a state could vote overwhelmingly for a candidate but still have to give its EVs to the other candidate if he/she won the PV.

Sharon, say a Dem candidate knows that Boise, for example, has turned blue. Rather than skipping us because Idaho is utterly hopeless in the EC status quo, he or she might come here under a popular vote scenario.

Yes, let's just trash the EC altogether. Maybe this is one of those issues our children will have to take up, because I can't see a constitutional amendment happening within the next few decades.


"Tyranny of the Majority". Isn't that what the constitution is for? To protect the rights of the minority? That is why we have the bill of rights. Truly, it is time to get rid of the EC. Sometimes you have to change to make progress and the status quo just doesn't cut it anymore. That is why the we are allowed to amend the constitution, because times change. Look at Slavery for one issue. Prohibition for another, seemed like a good idea at the time, but eventually it was repealed when sober minds realized what a mistake it was. ;-) The electoral college is long overdue for removal. One more thing, can you say Election 2000?

The Nickel-Plated JA

I hate to say this, but it isn't broken! There are problems with questionable election officials/processes in a couple of very large, politically competetive states (Ohio and Florida), but the system itself does what it was designed to do: Increase the influence of less-populous states over the process. It's good for Idaho -- we get counted as nearly three times the votes we would otherwise -- and the Republicans here are balanced by the "weighted-up" Democratic electors in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware. On the other hand, huge states get ratcheted down slightly, so that California, with 13% of the country's people, only gets 10% of the electoral votes. A direct popular vote would result in a process only Nick Denton could love: Candidate sightings all over NYC and LA, and a whole-lotta media buys in between!

If you want to "tweak" the system, look at its underlying basis: the House hasn't grown beyond 435 members while the population of the Country has nearly tripled! Increasing the number of seats in the House would fix A LOT of the technical political problems we've been having lately, from Congress being too impersonal with its constituents to the over-desensitization of the Electoral College flywheel to the ease by which national money can influence Congressional races.

Irwin Horowitz

How about modifying the EC to reflect how it is done in Nebraska and Maine? In these two states, the candidate that wins the popular vote gets 2 EVs for the state, and the candidate that wins in each congressional district gets the EV for that district. Thus it is possible for the EVs in these states to be split between the two candidates (assuming only two viable choices are running).

I also agree with the need to expand the current size of the HoR. It hasn't been increased in nearly a century and the average CD represents almost 700,000 people now.

This would then entail a threefold strategy:

1) increase the size of the US HoR from 435 to ~600-700, so that each CD represents between 450,000 and 500,000 people;

2) have states modify their own constitutions to apportion their EVs like Maine and Nebraska (doesn't require amending the US Constitution);

3) get control of the legislative bodies in those states to control the gerrymandering of those districts :-)


I support Irwin's idea, but I really don't see California Dems in their legislature turning their state from 50+ electoral votes for the Dems to something like 32-23. As good as that might be for the country, we'd have to overcome many people's partisanship to make it happen.
And remember -- with the switch of about 70K votes in Ohio in '04, we would have had Kerry winning the EC while President Bush won the popular vote.
And the last thing we need is more Congress-critters -- I think you'd end up with more Bill Salis and Dennis Kucinichs than Larry Grants. Gerrymandering, while bad for a lot of things, does likely result in more minority representatives than we'd otherwise have.

The Nickel-Plated JA

You could make it an automatic process... a Constitutional amendment that fixes the minimum number of House seats (remember, there is a maximum of one per 30,000 people) at one per n people, where n is the population of the least populous state -- in this case, Wyoming's 493,782 from the 2000 Census.


""Tyranny of the Majority". Isn't that what the constitution is for? To protect the rights of the minority? That is why we have the bill of rights." Isn't the Electoral College part of the constitution? Isn't the Electoral College a part of the Constitution that protects the rights of the minority?

The founding fathers were very smart people. We shouldn't even attempt to discard bits and pieces of the constitution just cause we didn't like the way an election went.

Julie in Boise

I fail to see how the EC is good for Idaho (or any small state) when it negates the votes of all the people who vote for the losing candidate.

Sorry. The founders had their reasons for establishing the EC 219 years ago, but we are a far different, far more connected country.

The Maine model is interesting, but it's still unfair. If Candidate A gets 51% in one congressional district and Candidate B gets 49%, why should A get all the electoral votes? It just seems to defy the notion of small-d democracy.

One item missing from this discussion so far: What do you think going to a popular vote would do for voter turnout? I believe it would increase it. Look at the voting rates in other nations that use direct elections, all far higher than ours. The EC makes people feel unduly removed from the process (especially in lopsided states like ours), and that leads to apathy and low participation.

sharon fisher

Julie, I wouldn't at all assume that the reason other countries have higher voting rates than we do is because of the electoral college. After all, we have plenty of elections that are direct, and those all have dismal rates as well.

I'd be ok with proportional distribution of electoral college votes, but I'd be very nervous about getting rid of it altogether.

David Erin Anthony

The idea of emulating the Nebraska and Maine concept of split by vote. In a state like Idaho that voted about 43% democrat would get one electoral vote. Thats better than none and would open up the field more.


Actually, in NE and ME, the winner of each congressional district gets a vote, and the overall winner gets the two bonus "senatorial" votes ( http://www.fairvote.org/?page=968 ). Therefore, Idaho would still likely give all four EVs to the Republican if we adopted that model.


It is the basis of our federal republic and reinforces the idea behind the tenth amendment that all powers not specifically dealt with are reserved to the states or to the people. I think its a good thing for people to be reminded of the nature of our federal government and if a specific election sparks a debate puzzling over the rationale behind the EC we all will be the richer for studying the shear beauty of design that went into the Constitution.

The compact is a ridiculous time wasting idea. When a signator to the Compact reneges (and they will)the case will go to Court and the SCOTUS will assuredly strike it as unconstitutional. The states have always elected our President based upon a majority of its residents. If voter turnout is the concern then address it by direct mailing and a national election day holiday. I beleive the EC encourages participation because it forces people to act on a state level not a national level where people will feel their vote is insignificant.

The Nickel-Plated JA

Agreed. On both counts.

First, the Constitution is designed to guarantee that states never become just convenient (!?) lines on a map. Moving away from federalism is an entirely broader proposition that requires a much broader contest than half-a-dozen questionable Presidential elections in over two centuries.

Second, if turnout is the factor, then things like (1) expanded early voting (a la Texas), (2) Saturday elections rather than Tuesday (3) moving the election date up into mid-October where the weather is generally still OK in Northern states (not always the case by early November), (4) expanding the bar-closure laws to limit other Election Day counterprogramming (like that forum at NNU last year!), and (5) the voter tax credit.

Gary Michael Coutin

The Electoral College is an unconstitutional part of the Constitution that can't be amended out of the constitution by the means set forth in the Constitution. So observed the author of the "one voter, one vote" doctrine in 1958. Equality in the filling of a single office is a right, an inalienable right.

The existence of the Electoral College rests upon the legal fiction that the people of the United States "alienated" their inalienable right to equality.

The Electoral College system of "virtual represenation" was "necessary" because "actual representation" would force the emancipation of the slaves who made up nearly half of the population of the states South of the Mason-Dixon line who could not legally vote because slaves, by law, have no will of their own.

Gary Michael Coutin

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