Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why We Should Abolish the Electoral College

I came across this article from January Why We Should Abolish the Electoral College .

I knew their first two points, that voters in smaller states have more sway than those in larger states and that given safe states it turns the election into a contest among just 10 or so swing states. I also knew that someone could win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, as Bush did when he beat Gore in 2000. I didn't realize it was so skewed:

"A presidential candidate could be elected with as a little as 21.8% of the popular vote by getting just over 50% of the votes in DC and each of 39 small states. This is true even when everyone votes and there are only two candidates. In other words, a candidate could lose with 78.2% of the popular vote by getting just under 50% in small states and 100% in large states."

That's crazy. This is not how we should pick a president. Their last point I didn't know at all, that electors are not bound to vote based on their states vote.

While electors are generally extremely loyal to the party they align with, they don’t have to vote the way the people of their state instructed them to. In other words, just because a candidate won the popular vote in your state does not mean that your electors have to cast a vote for said candidate themselves. Electors that vote against the will of the people are called “faithless electors.”

As explains, “Since the founding of the Electoral College, there have been 157 faithless electors. 71 of these votes were changed because the original candidate died before the day on which the Electoral College cast its votes. Three of the votes were not cast at all as three electors chose to abstain from casting their electoral vote for any candidate. The other 82 electoral votes were changed on the personal initiative of the elector.”

Twenty-nine states have legislation that penalizes faithless electors, though no faithless elector has ever been successfully prosecuted. 21 states do not mandate that an elector must vote for his or her party’s candidate.

While it doesn't come up often, it seems ridiculous that your vote isn't binding.

I found this while thinking about the Senate. I saw some article complain about not enough getting done when Obama had control of the both the House and the Senate and got annoyed because the person didn't realize or had forgotten that there was only a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a couple of months and there was a lot of work to do already. And then I started to think of changing the filibuster rules because needing 60 votes to do anything is ridiculous. I thought that the better place for a conflict to be resolved was between Congress and the President rather than in one house. Perhaps we could tie changing the rules together. Make a filibuster rare (perhaps by returning to needing to actually stand and talk) and get rid of the electoral college and elect a president by popular vote. This way the Senate represents states, the House population by state and the president population nationwide. We still have to solve the gerrymandering problem in the House, but there are ways to do that.

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