Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 8th Nov 2012 20:12 UTC
Editorial In the United States, state and local authorities are in charge of voting and the country uses more than a half dozen different voting technologies. As a result, the country can't guarantee that it accurately counts national votes in a timely fashion. This article discusses the problem and potential solutions to the U.S. voting dilemma.
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Electoral College FTW! [/sarcasm]
by saso on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:18 UTC
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

The electoral college actually does much worse than simply sometimes getting it wrong from a democratic perspective (although 4 out of 57, or about 7%, is a pretty horrific failure rate for elections to such an important office). The problem is in the winner-takes all principle that takes place in nearly all states. This mechanism results in candidates largely ignoring states that have a clear-cut preference of one party, and instead favors the undecided ones significantly. In effect it means that the most loyal supporters (at a state level) of a candidate are the ones most frequently ignored, while the ones that are just about on the knife's edge get all of their wishes granted. So ultimately, the campaigns, the rallies and the pushes for policy don't really take place across all of the country, but rather in only about 7 or 8 "swing states" that decide the national outcome. Switch to a direct-election system (or at least the proportional electoral college mechanism as in Maine and Nebraska) and all of these problems are gone - candidates will have to pay attention to what ALL Americans want, not just a select few who happen to live in a particular state of interest.
Oh and also lower the minimum number of electoral votes per state to 1. That way the vote of a citizen of Wyoming won't count for three votes of people from e.g. New York - call it "Vote Equality" if you will.

Reply Score: 5

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Maine is proportional (better) and Nebraska is Congressional District based (horrid).

In the former, each EC is awarded based on percentage of the vote int eh state and that represents people much better than Winner take all.....in the later, gerrymandering will affect the outcome of the presidential elections and will map 1-1 with who controls the house.

Reply Parent Score: 3

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Thanks for the info on Maine. I was under the impression that Maine was like Nebraska, in that their electoral college was based on congressional district, which is indeed horrible for the reasons you state. Glad I was mistaken on Maine. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Switch to a direct-election system (or at least the proportional electoral college mechanism as in Maine and Nebraska) and all of these problems are gone - candidates will have to pay attention to what ALL Americans want


No they wouldn't and that is why the electoral college exists.

If the system was a popular vote or perfectly proportionate to population then the candidates would focus their time in Metropolitan areas.

It's not a perfect system and no one has ever claimed it to be. But a direct vote would lead to a Metropolitan coast focus with the exception of Texas.

I would rather not have LA and NYC have heavy influence in choosing a candidate for the rest of the country. I would much prefer it coming down to swing states where there is more diversity of opinion and a better reflection of the entire county.

Reply Parent Score: 2