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Is electoral college the best system?

Published 11:00pm Friday, October 26, 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was in Alabama today, raising $1 million in his stop in Huntsville.

And while he was quick to praise the state – and even offer a “Roll Tide” to Bama fans – Ryan also was honest enough to acknowledge that the funds raised here won’t be used to promote Republican candidates in Alabama.

That’s because the money raised these days will help fund campaign ads in key battleground states – like Ohio or Florida – instead of “red” or “blue” states.

And while Alabama is most likely to vote overwhelming in support of the GOP presidential ticket on Nov. 6, the election will be decided by a handful of battleground states with significant numbers of electoral college votes – enough votes to swing the decision.

That’s the flaw with our system. One candidate can win the majority of the popular vote but, because electoral college votes vary from state to state, another candidate can win the election simply by winning a “big” state like Ohio.

And that is frustrating for folks in states like Alabama or Mississippi.

Some cried for change after the 2000 presidential election, where a handful of votes determined who won Florida and, in turn, the presidency. And, depending on how the Nov. 6 vote is cast, we may face a similar issue based on votes cast in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

At some point, our nation needs to consider if the electoral college is the best, and most fair, system for protecting our democracy and electing our president.

  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    We live in a REPUBLIC, not a DEMOCRACY. If you want to “protect a democracy,” then by all means make it a popular vote. But be careful what you ask for.

    The electoral college was put in place to prevent just what you are advocating in this article, a popular election.

    A state’s electors are chosen based on the total number of congressmen that state has. Alabama, for example, has 7 U.S. Representatives and 2 U.S. Senators, for a total of 9. As a result, Alabama has 9 electors in the electoral college.

    I’m sure that you already know that each state has 2 senators and the number of representatives are based on the population of each state.

    You see, democracy as a form of government is only a temporary way to rule, There are really only two ways to govern on a long term basis, those ways are, republics, and oligarchies.

    If you look back on history, most nations gravitate toward one or the other eventually.

    If we elected presidents by means of a popular vote, in a day and age where at least half of the country depends on government hand out, then we would just keep electing the same type of candidate over and over again. That is an invitation for tyranny, and a direct path to an oligarchy.

    This nation has not been taught most of the things that our founders knew about human governance. The Constitution is an instrument that prevents tyranny, and tyranny is what threatens liberty. The electoral college system works!

    Google the election of 1800 and the 12th amendment for more reading. This has been a settled argument for more that 200 years now.

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  • oldgulph

    Presidential elections don’t have to be this way.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The candidate with the most votes would win, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

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  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    oldgulp, “battleground states” are simply states that are still considered a toss up in the polls. They change every election based on polling. Polling will not go away with a popular vote, and there will be permanent battle grounds areas based on population. If you removed the electoral college, you weaken states power even further. Even with a popular vote, you will still have candidates for president campaigning more in a few areas and less in others based on population and their predicted party leanings.

    The founding fathers very much endorsed the electoral college. Even when they passed the 12th amendment, they still kept the system in place.

    The problem with our electoral system is the two parties that we must choose from, one full of wackos and the other full of wimps.

    When Obamacare gets into full effect, and we have a country where most Americans are dependent on the federal government for healthcare and/or other necessities, elections won’t matter anyway. There won’t be enough people to vote against the free stuff to make a difference.

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