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#235209 - 27/09/2004 18:44 Electoral College
mschrag
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/09/2000
Posts: 2303
Loc: Richmond, VA
I'm not taking a stance one way or the other at the moment, but this link (which is against it) has some really interesting facts that I didn't know about the electoral college system.

http://www.presidentelect.org/art_depangher_unaccept.html

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#235210 - 27/09/2004 18:45 Re: Electoral College [Re: mschrag]
jmwking
old hand

Registered: 27/02/2003
Posts: 716
Loc: Washington, DC metro
Um... Link?

edit: oh, that link...


Edited by jmwking (27/09/2004 18:45)

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#235211 - 27/09/2004 19:16 Re: Electoral College [Re: mschrag]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Hmm. I knew all of those facts, but somehow I didn't quite put it together into the notion that it makes some states' citizens' votes more powerful than others. (He raises a number of silly notions, too, like the idea that a massive number of electors would do something other than vote for who a statewide popular vote selected.)

But the fact that there are two electors per state that are not based on population means that the states with lower populations have citizens whose votes count more is a compelling argument against the Electoral College.
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Bitt Faulk

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#235212 - 27/09/2004 20:00 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
But it's also an arguement for the electoral college because some states would simply be ignored by someone running for and in seat as president because those states have so few voters. I think it's a good balance and the only fair way to include states that are low in population due to either their size or population density. I know the root of this is because Bush lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote (or at least it spurred the discussion) but I can't think of any other system that would allow for equal influence for all states.
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Brad B.

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#235213 - 27/09/2004 20:07 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31355
Loc: Seattle, WA
So it's OK for Colorado residents to have three times as much voting power as Californians?
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Tony Fabris

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#235214 - 27/09/2004 20:21 Re: Electoral College [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
It's not perfect, but do you think it's okay for someone to be elected President if they only campaign in California, New York and a handful of other states because they have bigger populations?
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Brad B.

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#235215 - 27/09/2004 20:35 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
mschrag
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/09/2000
Posts: 2303
Loc: Richmond, VA
You reminded me that I had another article that was pro electoral college:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5781897/site/newsweek/

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#235216 - 27/09/2004 20:37 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
It's no more fair now that they don't campaign in New York and Massachusetts as it is.

Also the notion that if I were the only person to show up to vote in NC, Kerry would get 15 electoral votes but if ten million people voted, whoever won would still only get 15 votes is compelling.

And, for the record, I had definitely been opposed to "reforming" the electoral system until I read that. There were a lot of things I hadn't considered.

Also, do people really find it compelling that a candidate shows up in their state? I don't. And having him show up in Charlotte would definitely not be impressive, as I'm not driving three and a half hours each way to see him. (Note that Raleigh and Charlotte aren't even at extremes in NC. I could easily ramp that up to 8 hours each way and remain within NC -- Elizabeth City to Murphy.)
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Bitt Faulk

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#235217 - 27/09/2004 20:37 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
mschrag
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/09/2000
Posts: 2303
Loc: Richmond, VA
I thought the thing about the vice president being a separate election within the electoral college was interesting -- I never knew that ...

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#235218 - 27/09/2004 20:46 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
By campaigning, I meant more than just showing up for speaches. Often, they promise to do certain things for certain states (or certain aspects of the economy that effect a state). I remember learning about the electoral college in elementary school and always complaining about how unfair it seemed but the fact is that there can't be a perfect system without redrawing state lines.

I'm open to other systems, but getting rid of it all together would be "more unfair" IMHO.

PS - Tony, count your blessings. If it were upto the rest of us, nobody in California would be allowed to vote anymore!
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Brad B.

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#235219 - 27/09/2004 20:48 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31355
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
It's not perfect, but do you think it's okay for someone to be elected President if they only campaign in California, New York and a handful of other states because they have bigger populations?


Hm. Seems to me that if the electoral college weren't part of the equation, they wouldn't be campaigning to specific states at all any more. They'd campaign to population centers, i.e., major cities.

Which means large swaths of the midwest would be largely left to their own devices to decide who to vote for. Okay, so they'd have to find out for themselves what the candidates stood for. Not sure that's a hugely bad thing. Not necessarily any worse than being swayed by empty campaign promises...
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Tony Fabris

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#235220 - 27/09/2004 20:50 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31355
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
If it were upto the rest of us, nobody in California would be allowed to vote anymore!




Funny thing is, after that last fiasco with the govenor, I'm probably inclined to agree with you all.
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Tony Fabris

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#235221 - 27/09/2004 20:55 Re: Electoral College [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Quote:
Not necessarily any worse than being swayed by empty campaign promises...


Yeah, you've got a strong point here. Yet, I find it hard to change a foundation of our country based on a point that is so cynical regardless of how accurate it is. (I live near Detroit, so all the politicians come here and promise to be easy on the auto industry, but then I hear them go to California and talk about how they are going to increase auto emissions standards. Sigh.) But some politicians only seem to stand for what's popular in the polls on that particular date, so voting on a person's character might not always work either.

Also, because of the power of mass media, local stops by politicians don't serve the purpose of "getting to know" the candidate like they used to. They tend to be speaches tailored for that particular voter block. For example, you probably get more speaches about Hispanic issues and we get more about manufacturing jobs.
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Brad B.

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#235222 - 27/09/2004 21:02 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
But it's also an arguement for the electoral college because some states would simply be ignored by someone running for and in seat as president because those states have so few voters.

I can't think of a single time in my life a presidential candidate has come to Colorado to speak to us. Well, ok, beyond the non campaign visits the presidents typicially do to the military installations here. So how is the electoral college making this any different then if we used the popular vote? And Colorado has typically been a very evenly split state on who it wants, so campaigning here could easially sway the 9 votes we gave.

I don't buy the "electoral college prevents the candidates from only campaigning in certain spots" argument, since they campaign in specific spots anyhow. They also spend more money on ensuring advertisements are seen in the bigger markets. Looking at either the Bush or Kerry website, I have to say I've only seen about 6 total commercials from their massive libraries.

One thing on the ballot this year in Colorado is how to divide up our electoral votes. Option 1 is to keep the winner takes all, the second option is to change to give the same percentage electoral votes as what the voters decided in the popular vote. Had we done this in 2000, Gore would have been elected. I think option 2 is at least a step in the right direction.
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Tom

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#235223 - 27/09/2004 21:06 Re: Electoral College [Re: drakino]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
That'd be intersting... we'd still have the same electoral points, but those points would more accurately represent the intentions of the voters in percentage if not number.
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Brad B.

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#235224 - 27/09/2004 21:51 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
But, as the author points out, doing that is left up to the states. And the states are controlled by their legislatures. And their legislatures have a majority with the party that's likely to be the presidential choice of the state. So making that change would mean that legislators would want to reduce the state's presidential vote for their party. Which isn't going to happen.

Of course, the federal government could dictate to the states how their elections will proceed, but states' rights are still an important, if perhaps outdated, element of the US Constitution. In other words, it'd require a Constitutional amendment to make it happen, and that's not going to happen because US legislators are (probably) not going to sell out their states. (I could go on a rant here about Jesse Helms and selling out states, but I won't.) It'd be just as easy, if not easier, to change the entire voting scheme, and that's not going to happen, either.

What could happen is that states could change their election processes to more mathmatically accurate voting schemes. I'm sure Mr. Wallach could fill us in on that score. Suffice it to say that our "one person, one vote" scheme is largely what sustains our terrible two-party system. If we had a more modern voting method, we could easily do away with the kinds of compromises we have to make now, like voting for Kerry despite liking Nader because you know your vote will be lost.
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Bitt Faulk

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#235225 - 27/09/2004 22:33 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Quote:
but states' rights are still an important, if perhaps outdated, element of the US Constitution.


Not taking sides here, but this is one issue that liberals and conservatives tend to disagree on. Conservatives are more in favor of state's rights and having the electoral system is a way to give states a say in elections.

Good point on how the legislative body that would be in a possition to alter the law would also have the most to lose by doing so.

Perhaps, instead of having the legislature change the law, it could be a vote of the people within each state. But if I'm not mistaken, don't most state constitutional changes require the legislature to pass the bill before it's passed onto a popular vote of the people?
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Brad B.

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#235226 - 27/09/2004 23:05 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
True, but I'm not making a judgement on states' rights being positive or negative -- only pointing out that the Constitution holds it in high regard.

I don't know how referenda work.
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Bitt Faulk

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#235227 - 27/09/2004 23:48 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
But, as the author points out, doing that is left up to the states. And the states are controlled by their legislatures. And their legislatures have a majority with the party that's likely to be the presidential choice of the state. So making that change would mean that legislators would want to reduce the state's presidential vote for their party.
Not only that, but if a state decides to do this then they've effectively taken themselves off the map as far as presidential consideration goes. If only a few states split their votes this means candidates can only hope to swing the state a couple of votes one way or the other. But the states under the current system will still mean big wins or losses.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#235228 - 28/09/2004 05:09 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Quote:
It's not perfect, but do you think it's okay for someone to be elected President if they only campaign in California, New York and a handful of other states because they have bigger populations?

Yes, that is exactly what I believe. I had a recent discussion about this with a politically minded (republican) friend of mine and I have yet to hear him or anyone else come up with a compelling argument why someone in a smaller state's vote should count for more than mine just because I live in California (and no I didn't vote for Arnold so you can't hold that against me ). We have television, radio, the Internet, newspapers, talk shows, friends, relatives, local politicians and even this BBS to insure that any US citizen who cares can get just as much biased info about the candidates as they could if they met them face to face. The vast majority of us wouldn't set foot near a political rally anyway.

Regardless of whether or not you like Californians, New Yorkers, etc they are just as much US citizens as the people of all those little square states in the middle of the country and their votes should count equally without all the useless, middlemen, electoral college, junk that muddies what should be a simple process.

-Mike
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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#235229 - 28/09/2004 05:16 Re: Electoral College [Re: mcomb]
webroach
old hand

Registered: 23/07/2003
Posts: 869
Loc: Colorado
Did I miss the part of history where we found the problem with "everybody say who you want and we'll see who wins"?

I mean really, there is no reason that it shouldn't be 1 vote per person, each vote of equal weight, the candidate with (otherGuysVotes+1) wins.

Anyone saying otherwise is simply feeding the weasels.
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Dave

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#235230 - 28/09/2004 12:50 Re: Electoral College [Re: webroach]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
When the United States was founded, one of the big issues discussed was how states would relate to each other and to the federal government. As far as states relating to each other, it was noted that the northern states had higher populations but smaller areas and products. There was a compromise decided upon where there would be two houses of legislature, one that represented each state equally (the Senate) and one that represented the population equally (the House of Representatives). That concept flowed over into the states' control over the Administrative branch, too, by having the same number of electors per state as congressmen.

Remember that the world was much bigger back then. Mass transportation hadn't really been invented yet. Before the current Constitution was written, the states largely functioned as separate countries, imposing tariffs on interstate commerce, etc. The founders didn't want that to happen, but the states were still interested in being independent from each other, and that made a lot of sense then. Despite the fact that the US is physically much larger now, and has a tremendously greater population, there's much more interstate commerce and communication and the country now works much more as a unified whole than it did when it was established. State's rights may be a slightly outdated concept. After all, Europe is conglomerating in a very similar way to the way the United States are, and they're much more different there than here.
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Bitt Faulk

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#235231 - 28/09/2004 13:31 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4155
Loc: Cambridge, England
Quote:
After all, Europe is conglomerating in a very similar way to the way the United States are, and they're much more different there than here.

And with a very similar setup, midway between one-person-one-vote and one-country-per-vote, to the one being discussed here -- insisted on by the less-populous countries (Denmark, Belgium) to stop their voting power being swamped by the more-populous ones (Germany, UK, France).

Peter

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#235232 - 28/09/2004 14:08 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Quote:
State's rights may be a slightly outdated concept. After all, Europe is conglomerating in a very similar way to the way the United States are, and they're much more different there than here.



That's twice now that you've suggested that State's rights might be outdated while saying you are not taking sides as to whether State's rights are good or bad. If they are good, I don't see how that could be an outdated concept. Again, it comes down to the intention of the founders of this country wanting to keep the size of Federal government as small as possible.

However, my main concern is that I don't personally care, nor do I think the country as a whole should care, how Europe is structuring itself. It seems to me that one of the main forces behind the formation of the EU is the fall of the Soviet empire and the gap it left in the number of "Super Powers". I think Madeline Albright would tend to agree here. Honestly though, I don't see any reason to model ourselves after the EU. I know there is a tendency to romanticize anything from Europe, "Oh that's a nice house! It looks so European!" but I don't buy it.
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Brad B.

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#235233 - 28/09/2004 16:45 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
The reason that I say it may be outdated while not taking sides is that it was obviously more relevant 225 years ago than it is now, but I don't know that it's no longer relevant at all. I have very little knowledge about interstate matters.

And I was just drawing a parallel. If anything, Europe is modelling themselves after us. I was just pointing out that someone else thinks it's a good idea, too. The US when it was conceived was a lot like Europe is now, and I think that most people would agree that it's a reasonable compromise in their case. Maybe in a couple hundred years the concept of individual countries' rights within the EU will seem an outdated notion, too. But it certainly makes sense now.
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Bitt Faulk

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#235234 - 28/09/2004 18:43 Re: Electoral College [Re: wfaulk]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
Europe is conglomerating in a very similar way to the way the United States are, and they're much more different there than here.

And of corse these days it's easier for an American citizen on a rented motorcycle to pass between the German/Swiss border then it is the Nevada/California border...
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Tom

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#235235 - 28/09/2004 19:24 Re: Electoral College [Re: mschrag]
mschrag
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/09/2000
Posts: 2303
Loc: Richmond, VA

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#235236 - 29/09/2004 02:37 Re: Electoral College [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
jimhogan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 06/10/1999
Posts: 2591
Loc: Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
Quote:
If they are good, I don't see how that could be an outdated concept. Again, it comes down to the intention of the founders of this country wanting to keep the size of Federal government as small as possible.


I would guess that the Founders were dealing with Carolinians, Virginians, New Yorkers and such who had fewer reasons to believe that a US/Federal government was a Good Idea (TM) and the notion of Federalism probably only got over that "good idea" hump, and only grudgingly, around 1865.

While I remain wary of the potential of abuse inherent in our government and sickened by much of the corruption (anybody watching the corporate-sponsored travel corruption coverage of Breax and many other senators/reps?) I would still have to say that I am, in ideal terms, a Federalist. Somehow, states' rights don't seem to eliminate corruption.

Anyhow, what I seem to be missing in recent times is -- given the changed circumstances since 1789 -- what is the affirmative case for states' rights? Never mind the "it keeps Federal Government small". What is the affirmative case in it's own right?

And I can only be glad that it wasn't just Wisconsin that landed in Normandy on D-Day.
_________________________
Jim


'Tis the exceptional fellow who lies awake at night thinking of his successes.

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#235237 - 29/09/2004 09:49 Re: Electoral College [Re: jimhogan]
petteri
addict

Registered: 02/08/2004
Posts: 432
Loc: Miami, FL USA
This site has an Electoral College map that is updated daily with the latest poll numbers. He also has some info on how the Electoral college works, and info on the polls themselves.

take a look at:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/

Peter
Miami, FL USA


Edited by petteri (29/09/2004 09:51)

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#235238 - 29/09/2004 11:32 Re: Electoral College [Re: jimhogan]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Quote:
Never mind the "it keeps Federal Government small". What is the affirmative case in it's own right?

And I can only be glad that it wasn't just Wisconsin that landed in Normandy on D-Day


I'll have to read up some more on this, but I think that keeping the Federal government small is the main reason and shouldn't be dismissed. The main roll of Federal government is to offer national security and I think you're comment on Normandy supports that.
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Brad B.

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