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Old 11-08-2008, 07:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
That case of Portland and Oregon, though, is downright troubling, and does show what can happen within a state when popular vote is used.
And this same scenario can play itself out on a national scale for the same reasons I have mentioned.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:48 AM
 
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I think a better way of handling it would be that whatever percentage of voters in a state vote for a candidate, that percentage of the states electoral votes goes to that candidate.

It would still provide a decent protection against bare-faced populism and it would be more representitive of the voting population.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,062,995 times
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Wink Explain please....????

First, please excuse me for wandering in at the end of a nice existing thread, but the topic happened to catch my eye this morning.

Second, as a legal immigrant from Canada to this great country, I am also, typical of immigrants, quite political. Why? Because many of us flee or quietly sneak away from whatever politics bothered us in our original homeland. Oddly, in most of the countries from which immigrants come, socialism is the dominant politik. Either that or some sort of degenerate, chaotic mob rule (Darfur, Mexico?). I just don't see folks pouring across the border from Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc.

My problem is that no-one, not even a native-born American, can actually give me a good detailed description of just how this Electoral College system is set up, why it was originally set up, and how, mathematically, it works. Rather than burden any of you clever informed guys to educate me here, is there somewhere I can go? "Wiki" is useless. Geez! I'd assume there has to be a good unconfusing outline somewhere, no?

Put simply, I'd like to become an Electoral College EXPERT. Unbiased, etc. HOW?

PS: In Canada, their simple popular vote system has, yes, allowed more than two parties, which the two dominant parties down here seem intent of suppressing. "Wastes your vote!" etc. I con't think so! I think we really need another, or a couple, more parties here. Otherwise it's too black and white (blue or red? how about off-green?).

Thanks in advance. Meantime, I'm trying to pick up as much as I can from what you guys are debating.

Last edited by rifleman; 11-08-2008 at 08:48 AM.. Reason: typos, clarity.
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:08 AM
 
3,704 posts, read 4,142,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
First, please excuse me for wandering in at the end of a nice existing thread, but the topic happened to catch my eye this morning.

Second, as a legal immigrant from Canada to this great country, I am also, typical of immigrants, quite political. Why? Because many of us flee or quietly sneak away from whatever politics bothered us in our original homeland. Oddly, in most of the countries from which immigrants come, socialism is the dominant politik. Either that or some sort of degenerate, chaotic mob rule (Darfur, Mexico?). I just don't see folks pouring across the border from Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc.

My problem is that no-one, not even a native-born American, can actually give me a good detailed description of just how this Electoral College system is set up, why it was originally set up, and how, mathematically, it works. Rather than burden any of you clever informed guys to educate me here, is there somewhere I can go? "Wiki" is useless. Geez! I'd assume there has to be a good unconfusing outline somewhere, no?

Put simply, I'd like to become an Electoral College EXPERT. Unbiased, etc. HOW?

PS: In Canada, their simple popular vote system has, yes, allowed more than two parties, which the two dominant parties down here seem intent of suppressing. "Wastes your vote!" etc. I con't think so! I think we really need another, or a couple, more parties here. Otherwise it's too black and white (blue or red? how about off-green?).

Thanks in advance. Meantime, I'm trying to pick up as much as I can from what you guys are debating.
Basically the electoral college is a points system. Every state is made of of a certain amount of electoral votes (the total number is the amount of representitives in Congress the state has: 2 Senators and whatever amount Congressmen). And it is winner take all, if the candidate wins a state, they get all the electoral votes (except in rare occasions when there is a faithless elector who votes for someone different, but almost always all the electors vote for the winning candidate).

The founders chose this system to help balance out the states. The founders didn't want the politicians to run on a purely populist platform nor did they want them to focus on the most populous regions of the country, so the electoral system was put into place to make sure that a number of states would have to be swayed to gain victory (rather than just the most people). Also they knew that some regions would be dominated by one party, so the electoral college would encourage candidates to try to win over more states, rather than just focus on seeing how high of percentage they could get in a specific region.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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With all due respect to Frank Carboni, I must disagree with his description of the origin of the Electoral College.

Political parties weren't part of the original concept of the Electoral College. There certainly were political parties in existence in England at the time (Whigs and Tories), but none existed in the United States in 1780's.

When George Washington was elected president in 1789, he represented no political party; neither did John Adams, the man elected the vice president that year.

When John Adams was elected president in 1797, he represented the Federalist party. That same year, Thomas Jefferson was elected vice president, he was a founder of the Democratic-Republican party. Adams cabinet was almost entirely Federalist; Jefferson didn't have any real political dealings with the Adams administration.

In 1804, the ratification of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution changed the method for electing the Vice President and made highly improbable the occurence of a presidential administration where the President and Vice President were from different political parties.

In response to Rifleman, a good description of the United States Electoral College can be found here Electoral College (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

I would add a further rationale for the Electoral College, as it does not exist in the Wikipedia article.

The problem with allowing a direct presidential election was that in 1789 only George Washington was well known enough and popular enough in the various 13 states to obtain a majority of the popular vote. After Washington, the list of potentially successful presidential candidates thins out. It was entirely possible that a Thomas Jefferson would receive most of the Virginia votes, that a John Adams would receive most of the Massachusetts vote, that a Benjamin Franklin would receive most of the Pennsylvania vote, that an Alexander Hamilton would receive most of the New York vote...but not one of these men would receive a majority of the vote.

So to overcome this problem, an electoral college method of voting was adopted.

The concept of an electoral college wasn't invented by the Constitutional Convention, it was actually part of ancient German law. The Holy Roman Empire from the Middle Ages through the late eighteenth century used an electoral college made up of princes to select their emperors. The Roman Catholic Church still uses the College of Cardinals, a form of electoral college, to select their popes.

The idea for the United States Electoral College was that each state would choose a number of prominent citizens to act as electors at a meeting within each state, in order to elect the next President and Vice President. These meetings were to occur on the same day simultaneously in all states.

Each elector was required to cast two votes and one of these votes must be for a person who did not reside in the elector's state. Therefore, electors were forced to vote at least once for a candidate from another state.

The electors chosen were almost always men of importance and high-standing within their respective states. Most of these men would know each other, either from business dealings, from participating in the Continental Congress, or from serving together in the Army during the Revolution. It would be common for them to hold discorse with each other, either meeting face-to-face or by corresponding via letters. It would also be common for them to discuss various presidential candidates and attempt to sway each other to vote for a particular candidate. In this way, an elector in Virginia might be able to influence an elector in Pennsylvania.

In the event that such political wrangling might not produce an outright majority for a presidential candidate, then the President and Vice President would be selected by the U.S. House of Representatives in a Contingent Presidential Election. Each state would get one vote and they could only vote for one of the top three candidates from the electoral vote.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
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Here's what I think is fair. It's logistically challenging and about as likely as elimination of the BCS, but it's what I think makes sense. I only took one poli-sci class in college so please let me know if you disagree or have any suggestions.

1) US House of Representatives:

districts are eliminated and regions instated. Each state has the same amount of regions (let's say ten for sake of argument). Regional boundaries are not arbitrary and are dictated by dividing the state, as evenly as is practical, into ten areas of equal land mass. How many representatives are allocated to each region is a function of the region's population in proportion to the total population of the state (obviously, there must be a minimum number of reps. to each region, TBD). At election time, the regional votes are counted. If the votes break down 80% Republican, 15% Democrat, 5% Green - 80% of the regional seats will be filled with Republican candidates, 15% democratic candidates, etc. etc. Obviously, this presents problems in regions where, say, there are three seats available and there is no way to literally allocate representation. In such cases, statistical analysis will be necessary to determine the "allocation threshold." While this is certain to create a lot of whining, I think that mathematical elections are inherently more fair and representative of the Public's wishes than the current system.

2) Senate

Each state is represented by 3 senators and senatorial elections will be synchronized by state, I.E. all the senate seats from one state are up for grabs at the same time. Seats are filled in proportion to the percentage of the state-wide vote each party receives. Any party contesting a seat must run a team of three candidates. Any party that receives 1/3 of the vote is guaranteed to fill a seat with the most senior man or woman on the ticket (seniority is arbitrary in this case, position on the ballot has nothing to do with annuity).

3) Presidential Election

Running Mates are eliminated. The candidate who secures a simple majority of the popular vote is president. The runner-up is vice-president. If there is a third party, he or she can choose between compulsory service as the White House groundskeeper and custodian until the next election or four years of exile on Malta. If the president is incapacitated or dies, the vice-president becomes acting president but must be confirmed by the Supreme Court, otherwise the most senior Cabinet Member fills the position.
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Maryland about 20 miles NW of DC
6,111 posts, read 4,863,662 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
But the system doesn't actually protect against it, it makes it worse. It's a winner take all system, not proportional, so what that city decides for president is who the state's electoral votes go to. Multiply that by all the states that have a big city skewing the results and a significant number of voters' votes don't count. Even in a basic national popular vote the rest of the state's residents' votes would actually count towards the final results of the national election. In a proportional system of representation everyone would be represented to at least some degree, an improvement over no representation.

That case of Portland and Oregon, though, is downright troubling, and does show what can happen within a state when popular vote is used.

The politics seen in Oregon are repeated in most of the blue states where one or more dominant metropolitan areas can out vote the rest of the state. This is true in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York too.
However, 75% of us live in these metropolitan and feel our needs need to take priority. This is democracy in action.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:06 AM
 
39,020 posts, read 23,146,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
But the system doesn't actually protect against it, it makes it worse. It's a winner take all system, not proportional, so what that city decides for president is who the state's electoral votes go to. Multiply that by all the states that have a big city skewing the results and a significant number of voters' votes don't count. Even in a basic national popular vote the rest of the state's residents' votes would actually count towards the final results of the national election. In a proportional system of representation everyone would be represented to at least some degree, an improvement over no representation.

That case of Portland and Oregon, though, is downright troubling, and does show what can happen within a state when popular vote is used.
The states decide if it's a winner take all system. There is not anything in the Constitution that says states can't make the electoral college proportional, or select their electors any way they want to. Nebraska and Maine do not have a winner take all system, they go by districts.

And it's a heck of a lot easier to change the system on the state level, rather than passing a Constitutional Amendment that eliminates a device that has many positive benefits to the process.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:23 AM
 
39,020 posts, read 23,146,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimboburnsy View Post
Here's what I think is fair. It's logistically challenging and about as likely as elimination of the BCS, but it's what I think makes sense. I only took one poli-sci class in college so please let me know if you disagree or have any suggestions.

1) US House of Representatives:

districts are eliminated and regions instated. Each state has the same amount of regions (let's say ten for sake of argument). Regional boundaries are not arbitrary and are dictated by dividing the state, as evenly as is practical, into ten areas of equal land mass. How many representatives are allocated to each region is a function of the region's population in proportion to the total population of the state (obviously, there must be a minimum number of reps. to each region, TBD). At election time, the regional votes are counted. If the votes break down 80% Republican, 15% Democrat, 5% Green - 80% of the regional seats will be filled with Republican candidates, 15% democratic candidates, etc. etc. Obviously, this presents problems in regions where, say, there are three seats available and there is no way to literally allocate representation. In such cases, statistical analysis will be necessary to determine the "allocation threshold." While this is certain to create a lot of whining, I think that mathematical elections are inherently more fair and representative of the Public's wishes than the current system.

2) Senate

Each state is represented by 3 senators and senatorial elections will be synchronized by state, I.E. all the senate seats from one state are up for grabs at the same time. Seats are filled in proportion to the percentage of the state-wide vote each party receives. Any party contesting a seat must run a team of three candidates. Any party that receives 1/3 of the vote is guaranteed to fill a seat with the most senior man or woman on the ticket (seniority is arbitrary in this case, position on the ballot has nothing to do with annuity).

3) Presidential Election

Running Mates are eliminated. The candidate who secures a simple majority of the popular vote is president. The runner-up is vice-president. If there is a third party, he or she can choose between compulsory service as the White House groundskeeper and custodian until the next election or four years of exile on Malta. If the president is incapacitated or dies, the vice-president becomes acting president but must be confirmed by the Supreme Court, otherwise the most senior Cabinet Member fills the position.
What problem are you trying to address with changing the makeup of the House of Representatives? It seems like you are making an extraordinary change to give tremendous influence to rural areas. While the changes in the Senate would effectively strengthen the power of the dominant party.

As for the Presidential Election, the system you are advocating is essentially the one we started with. It ensures that the President and Vice President are political adversaries. That system was changed almost immediately, because it weakens the Presidency considerably, and has virtually no positive effects. Also, if a Cabinet Member fills the position, he or she will assume that position without any popular vote. The leader of the country that promotes democracy around the world, but was not actually voted into office?
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 33,329,150 times
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You're probably taking me a bit too seriously, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
What problem are you trying to address with changing the makeup of the House of Representatives? It seems like you are making an extraordinary change to give tremendous influence to rural areas. While the changes in the Senate would effectively strengthen the power of the dominant party.
As I see it, the concentration of a state's political sway in urban areas is a problem. Agricultural interests are incredibly under-represented and incredibly important. This nation's power is inextricably linked to its capacity for affordable and plentiful produce and livestock so why should a 3rd or 4th tier city in a primarily rural state be the seat of political power? Anyway, I'm not sure you could call the influence granted to rural areas "tremendous" exactly, just increased. My thinking was to make jerrymandering more difficult, diffuse concentrations of power and give a real voice to emerging political platforms.

As for the senate, I have to agree that the current system is well executed but it virtually guarantees the perpetuation of 2-party politics. The Republicans are no longer conservative and the Democrats have become outwardly and ridiculously socialist. I want to see an opportunity for dissenting parties; I'm very tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. While the strengthening of the dominant party is possible, how many of the "I don't want to waste my vote" Democrats and Republicans will cast their votes differently? I think the numbers would be significant nearly across the board.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
As for the Presidential Election, the system you are advocating is essentially the one we started with. It ensures that the President and Vice President are political adversaries. That system was changed almost immediately, because it weakens the Presidency considerably, and has virtually no positive effects. Also, if a Cabinet Member fills the position, he or she will assume that position without any popular vote. The leader of the country that promotes democracy around the world, but was not actually voted into office?
I actually agree about the presidential election. It was more of an afterthought than anything else. I think that the electoral college is a dinosaur that has outlived its necessity and saying "3) Electoral College is Eliminated" just sounded too sparse.
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