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[P]
What Colorado's Amendment 36 means for America...

By Psycho Dave in Op-Ed
Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:04:45 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

During the nineties, our state saw an increase in population, due to "The Californians" (who we like to bitch about) migrating to our low tax/low smog state.

Though most of us natives like to bitch about their supposedly shallow, urban sprawl, rude soccer mom, cell phone, and shopping mall ways, they have done something useful and actually turned us backwards hillbilly, gun toting, Republican loving rednecks into a swing state. Now we have to deal with traffic on I-25 being snarled for hours whenever Dick Cheney decides to send his motorcade through rush hour.

The most important issue on the ballot in our state is Amendment 36, which would change our electoral voting from "winner takes all" to a proportional voting system.


But I haven't told you the best part yet. If it were passed, Amendment 36 would go into effect IMMEDIATELY. Like ON THIS ELECTION. See, we get nine electoral votes. If George Bush got 51% of the vote (and despite how close the polls are, this is the most likely scenario for our traditionally red state) and Amendment 36 passes, he would only get five electoral votes instead of the whole kielbasa.

The major funders of this bill are, obviously, Democrats out looking for an extra four votes for Kerry. If Amendment 36 passes, look for the lawsuits to roll in, the constitutionality of the amendment to be challenged, and Colorado to go from being right wing ski-bum bumpkins to 2000 Florida-style assholes.

And personally, I welcome that. That's why I'm voting for it November 2nd.

The reasons not to are typical. No matter what the amendment's effect on this election, our state will most certainly NOT be in play in any future elections, as no candidate is going to spend that much money or time for a paltry five votes (how many times as either candidate spent in Wyoming or Alaska people.)

Also, as our Republican Governor Bill Owens (who is trying to suck up to the party while he goes through a divorce) cautions, we will not have as much clout when it comes to allocation of federal funds. Federal funds are important to our state, since we are heavily invested in military installations like the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain, Rocky Flats Arsenal etc. Not to mention that our highways are under almost constant construction, and we've been thumbing our nose at that nationally mandated .08 BAC limit for DUIs until just recently.

But most people don't say that Amendment 36 is an intrinsically bad idea, just that if we are going to change to a proportional voting system, that it should be done on a national level. The pros and cons of that system (giving too much power to highly populated areas vs. giving too much power to hicks in the boondocks) can be debated, but in our age of 24 hour cable news, the internet, and propaganda flying at us like shit in a tornado, the advantages of proportional voting look good to everyone except third parties.

And they never had a chance anyway.

Just to show that I'm not a total Kerry partisan, let's examine what would happen if Amendment 36 were to pass and fuck the nation Florida style. You can be sure that the conservatives would begin to back similar bills in reliable Democratic strongholds like California, New York, Illinois, etc. Our little Amendment 36 could possibly be the thing that sets off a trend in future election cycles.

Too bad that it is unlikely to pass. Just over half of Coloradoans disapprove of it, while only about thirty percent support it, meaning the swing is likely to go to the "nays". Then again, it might not.

If Amendment 36 does pass, let me say, from my state to yours, sincerely, fuck you.

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What Colorado's Amendment 36 means for America... | 244 comments (230 topical, 14 editorial, 1 hidden)
State's rights (2.00 / 5) (#2)
by DanK on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 07:51:41 AM EST

But most people don't say that Amendment 36 is an intrinsically bad idea, just that if we are going to change to a proportional voting system, that it should be done on a national level.

Such an argument is ill-informed of the US Constitution, which leaves the scheme of electoral vote distribution up to the individual states.




--
"If your mother says no jihad, then no jihad." - Abdul Nacer Benbrika
State's have no inherent rights (1.33 / 3) (#4)
by MfA on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 08:42:56 AM EST

Constitutions can be changed.

[ Parent ]
Hrm. (none / 0) (#8)
by Kal on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:20:54 AM EST

Are you at all familair with how the US government is set up?

[ Parent ]
Um (none / 0) (#14)
by mcc on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:51:44 AM EST

But what the parent is talking about is not what a state "can" do, but what a state "should" do. They may not have the right to do what they like with their EVs in an absolute, inalienable sense, but they certainly have the right to do so at the moment.

[ Parent ]
but it won't be (none / 0) (#33)
by khallow on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:41:16 PM EST

There's no way that the US Constitution will be changed that dramatically.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

No change needed (none / 0) (#105)
by davidduncanscott on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:15:42 PM EST

The Constitution sez:
Clause 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
That's about it. The twelth amendment changes to a system in which the elctors vote for the VP as such, rather than giving the office to the runner-up, but it still doesn't specify winner-take-all.

In fact, looking at the Federal Election Commission site I find this paragraph:

Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State's Electors-so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. [The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district].
Where Maine and Nebraska have led, surely Colorado can follow.

[ Parent ]
Which is why we need an amendment (none / 1) (#23)
by DoorFrame on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 03:13:15 PM EST

Over the last four years I've come firmly to believe that the US needs a Constitutional Amendment to place all election powers in the hands of the Federal government.  There's no other way to ensure that every election is done in the same way with the same procedures.  I don't want different states making different wacky decisions about who can vote and on what equipment.  It needs to be standardized across the country and we need an amendment to do it.

Probably won't happen though.

[ Parent ]

states should keep the power (none / 1) (#32)
by khallow on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:39:43 PM EST

Over the last four years I've come firmly to believe that the US needs a Constitutional Amendment to place all election powers in the hands of the Federal government. There's no other way to ensure that every election is done in the same way with the same procedures. I don't want different states making different wacky decisions about who can vote and on what equipment. It needs to be standardized across the country and we need an amendment to do it.

Why? I didn't see any reason for the Federal government to be involved in Florida's problem.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

It wasn't Florida's problem (none / 0) (#192)
by DoorFrame on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:24:42 PM EST

Did it seem like Florida's problem to you?  Or did it seem like a problem for the whole country?

[ Parent ]
You'd prefer (2.33 / 3) (#38)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:58:48 AM EST

So you think it'd be better to have one, centralized set of wacky decisions, instead of many different sets of wacky decisions?


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Huh? (2.91 / 12) (#5)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 08:56:13 AM EST

the advantages of proportional voting look good to everyone except third parties.

How do you figure this? Third party candidates could start to win a few electoral votes here and there, something that hasn't happened since the 60s. That's a good thing, not a bad, as it means they are closer to winning the presidency.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

Closer to winning the presidency? (2.50 / 4) (#10)
by b1t r0t on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:11:25 AM EST

Yeah, like taking an elevator to the top floor of a building makes me closer to walking on the moon.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]
No... (2.80 / 5) (#15)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:52:09 AM EST

Like winning a modest fraction of electoral votes would wake up the major news outlets and force them to cover third parties, which would only increase how many they might win.

A Nader today might spoil an election with 1% of the popular vote. The next Perot with 10 or 20 electoral votes would always spoil any election save a Reagan-Mondale, which is a rare election indeed. Spoiling elections via electoral votes is a real, though minor power that if used correctly could broker deals to say, get rid of debate lockouts.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Which, incidentally, is dumb. (none / 1) (#28)
by ubernostrum on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:13:18 PM EST

Third-party people tend to be even more foaming-at-the-mouth loony than the average political folks, and you're telling me it'd be good to give them the power to break ties and deadlocks?




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
If there is one thing worse than lunacy... (3.00 / 4) (#31)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:14:00 PM EST

It's the weaselly, polished, self-serving, lie-mongering, sacks of human filth we already have for politicians. I'll gladly take the psychotic in a straightjacket over them any day. You know, the kind that has almost no ability to communicate in meaningful ways, and is a danger to himself, and a menace to others? Oh wait, I just described 3/4ths of congress, 3 supreme court justices and our president. Oops.

But seriously. I've always heard that the beauty of our system was that no one could do much damage in the time they have, at least I used to hear that in less hostile political climates. But as soon as someone wants to apply it to a party not on the approved list of two...

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

think about it (2.50 / 2) (#18)
by khallow on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 12:06:35 PM EST

Yeah, like taking an elevator to the top floor of a building makes me closer to walking on the moon.

But what happens when your ride to the Moon stops 500 feet too short and you need to beg for those few extra stories from a third party candidate? Suddenly that third party has some power since they can redirect their electoral votes to one of the candidates.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#151)
by kurioszyn on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:47:05 PM EST

And suddenly the whole thing turns into Italy with a new goverment every 6 months ...


[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#161)
by khallow on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:44:02 AM EST

After all, the president doesn't just go away because people don't like him anymore. He'll always get a run of four years.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

ever heard of that berlusconi guy? (none / 0) (#199)
by usr on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 02:21:46 PM EST

If only it was still like that in italy... :(

[ Parent ]
Every 4 years, at most. (none / 0) (#218)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:40:36 PM EST

They still have to abide presidential election laws. Even congress can't be more than what, a third changed, every 2 years? And no electorals to trade in half of those elections...

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Doubtful (none / 1) (#60)
by fluxrad on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:21:46 AM EST

You'd think third parties would gather electoral votes here and there but it's unlikely.

If you assume that your vote has more influence in picking a single electoral vote, then you're more likely to back a winning horse than let even that single electoral vote go to the guy you don't want in.

Assuming the votes can be split, if it's a three way choice between Kerry, Bush, and my ideal candidate then I still vote for Kerry because I know my guy's probably got no shot of winning overall. Best to get my second favorite a vote if I know he can win than risk the possibility of giving it up to Bush.

At least with the way things stand now, you know you're ok with voting for Nader in (for example) Kansas.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
That depends (3.00 / 3) (#85)
by roystgnr on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:32:30 AM EST

Add one more change: "Third party electors are bound to vote for whomever the third party candidate tells them to" and you'd see even the Republicrats paying attention to third party platforms.  Imagine if Badnarik and Nader each got two or three electors this election, with the rest of the electors divvied up proportionally - there would be good odds that neither major party would have a majority of electoral votes, and so any third party candidate who got an elector could wield a lot of influence by offering to give that elector to the leading candidate who best represented the third party platform.

If these offers were finalized well in advance, it would let people vote for an unpopular third party without worrying about "splitting the vote".

[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 1) (#153)
by kmcrober on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 11:47:35 PM EST

That's a good approach to introducing coalition government into the American system.  One of those ideas that makes me kick myself for not thinking of before.

[ Parent ]
I see this being struck down quickly (2.84 / 13) (#6)
by BadDoggie on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 09:10:32 AM EST

Ex post facto. People are voting in an election under a known set of rules. The results of Amendment 36 can't be known until the election is already over.

Ex post facto laws are explicitly prohibited by Article I, Section 9 (which applies to federal law) and Section 10(which applies to state law).

Specifically:

Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
In short, fuhgeddabowdit.

woof.

"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."

I agree, 8 of the Supremes might not (2.85 / 7) (#7)
by bobpence on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:11:10 AM EST

As clearly as you and I read it to, for instance, prevent the Clinton retroactive tax increases (and Bush retroactive tax cuts), the ex post facto prohibition has been limited to criminal cases since 1798.

Of course an equal protection argument could be made because, since Bush v. Gore, the EP clause means whatever the hell you want it to.

Pennsylvania: Putting the Florida back in elections.


"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

IAWTP (none / 0) (#22)
by godix on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 03:11:36 PM EST

This is the single reason I would oppose this if I lived in Colorado. When people walk in the election booth on Nov 2nd they're doing it under the 'first past the post' system. You don't change the rules AFTER the votes are cast, that can easily lead to a mess even larger than Flordia was and much more legitimently be called stealing an election.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
But if they vote to change the rules? (none / 0) (#84)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:24:57 AM EST

The people will walk into the election booth on Nov. 2nd and vote for President and an Ammendment that changes the selection of electors.  I don't see the issue -- either the people want to stick with the same rules, and their vote will be counted under such, or they want to change the rules, and their vote will be counted under the new rules.  If you were going to vote to use new rules, wouldn't you want your vote to be counted under them, or would you want to wait four years?  Since really the vote counting isn't changing at all, only the distribution of electors based on votes, I'm not seeing the connection to Florida-style fiascos either.

[ Parent ]
But if they vote to change the rules? (none / 1) (#169)
by Mark Shewmaker on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:21:56 AM EST

If you were going to vote to use new rules, wouldn't you want your vote to be counted under them, or would you want to wait four years?
Neither. I don't want to have to guess what rules would win, because the rules affect my candidate selection. I'd want to know in advance the rule that would be used for voting during that election, and vote accordingly.

Note that I might even vote for a change in the rules, expect the change to not win, and vote for a candidate based on an understanding/guess that the change would not occur.

Here's an idea: What if the rule being proposed was that your selection of a candidate at the ballot was to be taken to mean that you disapproved of that selected candidate more than all the others, and that the candidate who got the least amount of disapprovals won?

If that were the rule being proposed, and there was a strong possibility of the rule passing, would you have any objections to the rule possibly taking effect this election?

More to the point, how would you vote?

If you voted for Bush and the rule change failed, then your vote would cause Bush to be more likely to win. But if you voted for Bush and the rule change passed, then your vote would cause Bush to be less likely to win.

So let's say a voter wanted this rule change, but you didn't expect it to win, and also favored Bush.

What would you say a voter should do in that situation?

Should he still vote for the rule change, and then cast your ballot for the candidate he disliked most, even though that would intentionally cause his favored candidate to be less likely to win?

There are only two ways to make this fair:

  1. Have two ballot items for the offices the rule change would effect: One would be used if the rulechanging measure passes, and other would be used if the rulechanging measure fails.
  2. A court could invalidate the vote for the affected offices, requiring a second vote for just those offices once the rules were known.


[ Parent ]
This wouldn't be a law. (none / 1) (#26)
by debacle on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 09:09:02 PM EST

It would be an amendment.

What this means, naturally, is that like the post-civil war amendments, they are ex post facto.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

No. (none / 1) (#171)
by The Real Lord Kano on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:53:57 AM EST

What this means, naturally, is that like the post-civil war amendments, they are ex post facto.

Those were not ex post facto. Was anyone punished for transgressions that took place before?

No.

LK

[ Parent ]

I agree, but for a different reason (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by curien on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:01:50 AM EST

This isn't an ex post facto law. People do not vote for the President; the electors do. Changing the way the electors are chosen has no bearing on the popular vote.

The reason I see this being struck down (at least for the current election) is more simple: "The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States."

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

I don't think so either (none / 0) (#164)
by onemorechip on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:55:08 AM EST

This isn't an ex post facto law.

I don't think so either. However, the following statement doesn't support your conclusion:

People do not vote for the President; the electors do. Changing the way the electors are chosen has no bearing on the popular vote.

because people do not vote for the President, they vote for the electors. 36 changes the way the electors are chosen.

It's not ex post facto because that means "after the fact". The two issues are being voted on at the same time, not one after the other. If the vote on 36 came one day after the national election it could certainly be construed as ex post facto. As another point, consider the case that outlines which categories of ex post facto laws are unconstitutional in the eyes of the courts. 36 doesn't fall into any of the four categories, although of course there is some controversy about the Calder decision (i.e., the decision could be overturned by the Supreme Court, especially if it turns out that 36 helps Kerry).

Also, the other point you had is not applicable to this issue; the clause you cited refers only to the time of choosing, not the manner of choosing.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

Ît *is* ex post facto (none / 0) (#220)
by BadDoggie on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 07:01:40 PM EST

It is happening after the fact. I'll essplain for the non-law students.

Polls close at 19:00:00 in Colorado. If I cast my vote in Colorado at 18:59:56, I'm voting for an elector based on a system which is, at that moment a winner-take-all state. the earliest the results of this proposition can be known is at 19:00:00, four seconds later. However, the outcome of that later decision affects the vote that I cast previously, one which was under a prescribed system.

That's ex post facto and it's unconstitutional, as I essplained in my original post.

woof.

"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."
[ Parent ]

Not so (none / 0) (#241)
by onemorechip on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 04:01:18 AM EST

The amendment (had it passed) would only have applied to how the certified vote is used in selecting the EC delegates; it doesn't affect your right to vote nor would it affect a rational voter's strategy. The vote certification won't happen until after the election. Anyway see the link I posted about Calder. Ex post facto only applies in criminal cases, as it stands today. Mind you, that could change if SCOTUS saw fit.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

It would be political suicide for Colorado (2.40 / 5) (#9)
by b1t r0t on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:07:08 AM EST

Because then they would cease to become a "swing" state. The candidates would completely ignore them after that.

Why? Well, when with a little effort you can win a close state and get nine electoral votes, it's worth spending some time to tilt the balance in your direction. But when it's the difference between 5-4 and 4-5, the same effort only gets you one vote.

If this passes, Colorado will no longer matter in presidential elections.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.

whats wrong with being ignored (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by phred on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:25:29 AM EST

is it all that difficult to determine a candidates position without a personal visit? Are you saying that states not visitted by candidates are somehow hurt by their absense? I'm in a solidly Bush state and I'm glad Bush stinks this state up less than others that are more of a contest. In Bush's case, the more you believe what Bush says, the less you are informed of his true position on issues.

[ Parent ]
Uh ? (none / 0) (#150)
by kurioszyn on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:45:28 PM EST

" In Bush's case, the more you believe what Bush says, the less you are informed of his true position on issues."

I think you meant Kerry ...
Bush has been pretty consistent (at least compared to Kerry)

[ Parent ]

Wrong. (none / 1) (#12)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:26:41 AM EST

---Because then they would cease to become a "swing" state. The candidates would completely ignore them after that.

They would turn into a swing state for all reasons totally different. It would give a foothold for 3'rd parties to gnaw at the Repub/Demo 2 party chokehold. From then on, it'd probably spread through the western coastline then slowly creep to other interested states.

---Why? Well, when with a little effort you can win a close state and get nine electoral votes, it's worth spending some time to tilt the balance in your direction. But when it's the difference between 5-4 and 4-5, the same effort only gets you one vote.

Well, what if every state was like this?? Then all states would matter... Better have a good candidate.

---If this passes, Colorado will no longer matter in presidential elections.

Like I said, far from it.

[ Parent ]

that's one more than nothing (none / 1) (#19)
by khallow on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 12:09:41 PM EST

Why? Under current circumstances, Colorado is still a pretty reliable Republican state. One electoral vote of swing difference is a lot more than zero.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

-1, "should" appears in the story (1.00 / 12) (#13)
by Esspets on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:48:08 AM EST




Desperation.
for th non USians among us (1.33 / 3) (#16)
by the sixth replicant on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 11:57:18 AM EST

can you tell me the difference between "first past the post" and the "proportional system" which somehow means that 51% of the vote makes you a winner.

Ciao

How's this? (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by mcc on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 12:21:55 PM EST

"First past the post" is a vague term which refers to any voting system where the person who gets the plurality of votes takes everything. Here it is being used to refer to an electoral vote distribution where whoever gets the most votes in a state gets all of that states' electoral votes.

"Proportional system" refers to something where you get a benefit from the election proportional to the number of votes you get. Here it is being used to refer to an electoral vote distribution where each candidate gets the percentage of that state's electoral votes that they received in the state's popular vote.

If you don't understand the whole popular/electoral vote thing, here's something I posted on another website:

The idea is that in the presidential election, each state gets a certain number of "electoral votes". The more people a state has in it, the more electoral votes it gets.

The presidential election is decided based entirely on these electoral votes. Whichever candidate gets the most wins.

The state legislature of a state can do whatever they want with the electoral votes. However, every single state in the union casts the electoral vote based on some sort of popular election.

In most of the states, after the election is held, whoever got the most votes for president gets all of that state's electoral votes.

In two or three states they split the state's votes down the middle of the state, so perhaps whichever candidate gets the majority of the vote in the north half of the state gets 1 electoral votes and whoever gets the majority in the south gets 1.

Colorado is trying to do something where they give away the same percentage of electoral votes as that candidate got in the Colorado popular vote, so if Bush and Kerry each got 50% of the vote in Colorado they'd each get 50% of Colorado's popular votes.



[ Parent ]
i like this story (1.25 / 4) (#17)
by auraslip on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 12:04:28 PM EST

it must be because it's rugged

like a rugged coloradian
124

What I would say (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by mcc on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 01:14:23 PM EST

Is that if, as your governor claims, a large and "swingy" quantity of electoral votes are essential in order to get federal money funneled to your state, then this isn't this one of the best arguments that could possibly be made that the electoral vote system is having negative effects and should be replaced with popular voting as soon as possible on a wide scale?

- - - - -

Personally I have trouble thinking of the presidential election in terms of "what will X president do for my state"? I might conceivably move to a different state. I want to know what X president will do for my country. From this viewpoint, state "influence" doesn't really seem that important. Yeah, the "state" loses political clout under the Colorado distribution. I don't care whether the state has political clout. What matters to me are the people who live there.

And from the perspective of the people who live there, well, what the winner-takes-all electoral vote distribution does is increase the political clout of a slight majority of the people who live there in exchange for completely removing the political clout of a slight minority of people who live there. From an ideological perspective, I do not know whether this is a good thing or not. But as a voter, I would definitely prefer the idea of something like the Colorado distribution. Since I cannot know whether in any one election I will find myself in the slight majority that wins the electoral votes or the slight minority that loses, I would simply prefer not to gamble. I would rather know my vote is counted than take the chance that my vote will effectively count twice.

amendment 36 is the best thing ever (1.92 / 14) (#24)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 04:55:05 PM EST

it removes the nasty effect of the electoral college

our founding fathers got so much right, god bless them, but they screwed the pooch on this aristocratic hangover distrust of the average joe with the stupid fucking electoral college

the ideal would be to remove the electoral college completely, and rely upon direct voting: gore would be our president in 2000 if so, for example

but this amendment 36 is a nice halfway measure, an improvement upon the bullshit status quo, a step in the right direction

and lo and behold, what we have is partisan fucks defending the status quo: in iowa screaming "hell no! you liberal coast fucks will not pollute our disproportionate influence!"

and now apparently, we have partisan fucks in california screaming "hell no! you conservative fucks will not pollute our disproportionate influence!"

fuck you, partisan fucks, either liberal or conservative, fuck you all, none of you speak for the average joe

the will of the people is the will of the people, end of story, and no schemeing assholes like you need apply to warp it

that's why bush is our president today, rather than gore: because of partisan assholes on the right... of which the left has just as many

the truth is the common man decides, and we don't fucking need any artificial filters on the will of the common man by you aristocratic fucks saying "i know what is better for the usa than the average joe does, so i need to filter their will and sometimes decide against it"

no you don't, you partisan fucks

god bless this amendment in colorado, please let it pass, and please let it spread like wildfire acros the usa

fuck the fucking electoral college, it warps the democratic process, it gives us illegitimate presidents, and undermines people's faith in their government

if the last 4 years doesn't convince you of the need to trash the electoral college, what does?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Kerry might lose popularly but win electorally (none / 0) (#25)
by jongleur on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 06:57:18 PM EST

this time. Just saying.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
if that is true (1.00 / 4) (#30)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:26:16 PM EST

then i can honestly tell you despite the fact i think bush is a fucking moron, then i would rather bush be president

for real, 100% honest

because, unlike a lot of people here, i actually respect the will of the people

a lot of assholes here actually think their opinion is superior to the will of the people

stupid arrogant antidemocratic fucks

they call it "the tyranny of the majority"

what the fuck is that?!

i suppose the tyranny of the minorty is superior!?

jesus christ some people have their heads up their asses about what it's all really about:

if it's not a government for the people, by the people, it is an illegitimate government, no matter how you fucking slice it!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

A mob is democracy. -nt- (none / 0) (#34)
by The Amazing Idiot on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:12:17 AM EST



[ Parent ]
this allegory makes sense (2.00 / 4) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:30:10 AM EST

if you view the common man as a bloody thirsty ignorant peasant out for blood a la the frankenstein story

i view the average joe as decent, hard working, well meaning

apparently, i'm a wack job for believing that

but i sincerely believe that it is better that i err on the side of faith in my fellow average citizen, than to cast my lot with arrogant elitist holier than thou pricks


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

whack job? I dont think so. (2.00 / 2) (#52)
by The Amazing Idiot on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:23:59 AM EST

---if you view the common man as a bloody thirsty ignorant peasant out for blood a la the frankenstein story

Nahh, not quite. I view man as capable of anything if they feel they arent being watched. Once that point gets to a critical mass, then they fail to care about even that. Example are mobs that form after sporting events. It's not a 'hangin' mob, it's celebration/defeat. If the people arent being watched, windows are broken, and insides looted, streetpoles are taken down, and other crazy stuff comes out when accountability goes down the drain.

---i view the average joe as decent, hard working, well meaning

Under normal circumstances, I do. Whether it be a mob or a disaster of somesort, I'd not trust em further than the barrel of my shotgun.

---apparently, i'm a wack job for believing that

Nope, just too trusting. Just think (and view) what people are willing to do to you when being watched. Now magnify that by 100 to show what they'd do to you if they had little repercussion to their actions.

---but i sincerely believe that it is better that i err on the side of faith in my fellow average citizen, than to cast my lot with arrogant elitist holier than thou pricks

Like I said, under normal circumstances, this is normal. Have you actually seen a mob up close? Ive personally seen a sports riot, kkk clan rally vs anti-kkk mob, general douchebag-ism (Cinncinnatti black-shooting riots), and other types of 'hillbilly justice'. Lets just say you had better be packing SOMETHING, lest you be their next target.

[ Parent ]

No, a Mob is not democracy (2.20 / 5) (#41)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:37:42 AM EST

People in a mob behave differently than they do in democracy. In a mob, they all reflect the same will. In fact the Electoral College more resembles a mob than democracy does, because of its homogenized will.

[ Parent ]
amen! YOU LISTENING ELITIST MOTHERFUCKERS??? nt (1.00 / 6) (#50)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:20:31 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
The will of the people? (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by dougmc on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:17:13 AM EST

i would rather bush be president ... because ... i actually respect the will of the people
[Sorry if I've edited your post too much ... I did try to not distort your point here.]

To be fair, if the popular vote had been what mattered in 2000, it would be President Gore up against somebody else this year. Perhaps McCain?

I think the Electoral College needs to go away -- it should be replaced with some sort of instant-runoff setup where you rank your top canidates -- let's get rid of the `voting for the lesser of two evils' stuff. Of course, I also know it won't happen -- since to remove the Electoral College will require passing a Constitutional Ammendment, which will require the agreement of the small states too, whom the Electoral College benefits. Oh well.

Still, I see this Colorado proposal as a good thing. It would be nice if the whole country would do it. [And again, I know it's not gonna happen.]

[ Parent ]

Approval Voting! (none / 0) (#62)
by Shajenko on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:44:29 AM EST

Approval voting is the best compromise between giving the people a choice and simplicity of the vote. If they had to rank their choices for every single candidate they had to vote for, we'd have a lot more scandals like Florida 2000.

[ Parent ]
I'd never heard of Approval Voting before ... (none / 0) (#244)
by dougmc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 04:53:51 PM EST

... but after reading up on it, it certainly works for me.

[ Parent ]
Most people are ignorant morons. (3.00 / 4) (#36)
by eeg3 on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:17:44 AM EST

I don't want the majority picking who should rule over me. Especially when tons of people can't even tell me one single issue either of the candidates support.

I only support democracy with a requirement of passing an intelligence test to become registered.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
you are an arrogant elitist fuck (1.00 / 3) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:26:31 AM EST

people who are "morons" to you are average decent folk

that you have no faith in your common man is very telling

i really am such a wack job: i support the average joe, over the likes of ivory tower you

you apparently believe you know what is right for your average joe, better than the average joe

how antidemocratic you fucking asshole, your attitude is pure acid

go back to middle ages where your aristocratic holier-than-thou attitude belongs you ivory tower arrogant asshole

dear kuro5hin:

beware anyone who says "i am better than the average person"

there is no greater signifier that they are extensively worse


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Morons vs Ill Informed (2.20 / 5) (#44)
by Mason on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:55:56 AM EST

From here, a list of things that Bush supporters believe.

# 75% believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.

# 74% believe Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade.

# 72% believe Iraq had WMD or a program to develop them.

# 72% believe Bush supports the treaty banning landmines.

# 69% believe Bush supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

# 61% believe if Bush knew there were no WMD he would not have gone to war.

# 60% believe most experts believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.

# 58% believe the Duelfer report concluded that Iraq had either WMD or a major program to develop them.

# 57% believe that the majority of people in the world would prefer to see Bush reelected.

# 56% believe most experts think Iraq had WMD.

# 55% believe the 9/11 report concluded Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.

# 51% believe Bush supports the Kyoto treaty.

# 20% believe Iraq was directly involved in 9/11.

So while they likely aren't morons in any technical sense, they're certainly misinformed.  While there certainly aren't laws against voting in ignorance, I'd like to think that we'd all value a nation of voters who are educated about the world around them.

[ Parent ]

how about this (1.33 / 3) (#49)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:19:10 AM EST

if the masses believe something to be false, i will suffer that failure of the masses

because, believe me, an arrogant committee of the few who think they know "better" often gets the facts way, way worse

how many examples from history do you need?

where a government fails because the people are wrong, so be it: suffering, but suffering by the people onto themselves- that's an honest price to pay

better to fail as a legitimate honest government representing the will of the people, right?

because you can bet your elitist ass that when a government fails because an arrogant few who believe they know better, there WILL be lots more chaos and suffering, and often it will be sustained beyond legitimacy into outright menace, often out of the exact same arrogant hubris that tells people like you that they are "right" while the masses are "wrong"

that's the very essence of arrogance

believe that jack

in your rationale lies the very seed of tyranny

democracy has weaknesses, you know that, i know that, you've identified them well: the masses can be wrong

but guess what?

every other alternative has weaknesses a lot worse, that you don't recognize

so before you criticize the weakness of the masses, you better have a better system in mind

you don't

you just have arrogant aristocracy in mind: "the few" know better than the masses

move to china, they love your rationale: rule by technocratic oligarchy, and when the masses disagree with the central committee of self-anointed superior judgment, well then just machine gun their ignorant asses... right?

there's your rationale at work, you arrogant asshole: tiananmen square

that's the outcome of attitudes like yours

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Our Founding Fathers loved his rationale (2.50 / 2) (#65)
by jongleur on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:48:30 AM EST

actually; keep that in mind.

You of course know that I'm referring to all the levels of indirection between people voting and actual decisions that they designed in; the electoral college and even the division between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Even, to some extent, representative democracy itself were because the FFs didn't trust the masses.

Ben Franklin said upon receiving the newly written constitution,

"I recommend we accept this immediately, with all its errors, it'll give us good govt for a number of years, and then it will collapse due to the corruption of the people for whom only despotism is a possible govt."

It's not a popular quote, I haven't been able to find it on the web. Gore Vidal mentions it in connection with his book on the founding fathers.
I really love what he has to say, from his long view (1/2 hour interview linked from that page).
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

and your point? you don't seem to have one (nt) (none / 1) (#132)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:08:43 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
People not interested in politics (none / 0) (#168)
by jongleur on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:17:13 AM EST

Usually people are cowed by appeal to the authority of the Founding Fathers. Since that doesn't work with you, wouldn't you say that the FFs were right?

I'm all for respecting people but this was an eye-opener for me: as mentioned elsewhere, of, say, 45% of people ~70% think, despite being told otherwise a few times that

  • There were WMD
  • Saddam was connected to 911
and poorly informed enough to guess that (which is less bad admittedly):
  • Bush is pro-Kyoto and
  • pro banning landmines
Admittedly it's the media's fault for propagating Bush junk, but, those statistics reveal an ugly underbelly. If what they believe is so much a function of the one or two channels they watch and what they want to believe, so gullible to loud voices, just how much can you trust their curiosity and truth-seeking and ability to bend their minds away from their wishful-patriotism cocoons toward reality? If it's that little, well hey, they may be worthwhile people who have other things to do than follow politics, but by the same token they should not be making the decision about who runs this most powerful country in the world.

If you've covered this in another branch of the thread just point me to it.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

i'm about to open your mind (none / 0) (#172)
by circletimessquare on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 04:41:37 AM EST

the masses are vulnerable to absolutely every influence you allude to

i agree with you wholeheartedly

throw in some more scenarios

and top it off with some fanciful accusation sof the masses

blindness, fear, gullbility, not caring, caring too much, hysteria, herd instinct, etc... throw it all in

and oyu know what?

I AGREE WITH YOU 100%

but this is where you haven't seem to have been able to think through your pov:

any SUBSET of the masses- the elite, the technocrats, the oligarchs, the aristocrats, the "well informed" (read: "the well propagandized") the "well educated" (read: "the well indoctrinated")...

THEY ARE ALL CAPABLE OF THE SAME FALLIBILITIES THE MASSES ARE

when the masses screw up, the masses pay for their mistakes

when the elites srew up, THE MASSES MAY FOR THEIR MISTAKES

do you see the fucking difference???!!!

get it?

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MAGICAL SUBSET OF THE POPULATION THAT KNOWS BETTER THAN THE POPULATION ABOUT WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE POPULATION!

in the 1950s, mao dreamt of a "great leap forward"

he was going to launch china into the industrial age by putting, get this, an iron smelter in every peasants hut

bad idea

thousands starved

WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS

WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES

FROM MAO ON DOWN TO THE INCOHERENT ILLETERATE PEASANT

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MORE INTELLIGENT, BETTER EDUCATED, MORE WELL INTENTIONED GROU OF SUPERTRUSTWORTHY HUMAN BEINGS!

so how do we solve the problem of ruling the masses?

THE MASSES DECIDE

it's called legitimacy: if the masses screw up, they throw the bum out they elected

but if the elites screw up and THE MASSES PAY FOR THE MISTAKE, what do the elites do?

"so sorry, but we know better than you do, so we're ghoing to keep on going right on down this destructive road that hurts you because we simply know better, you stupid simpleton"

not!

and the masses have no way of removing these elitist assholes- the govt doesn't work that way anymore, it's not a democracy!

you're attitude WORKS AGAINST DEMOCRACY ITSELF

you don't see how all your pov leads to is a situation society has been in before, like france, shortly before the french revolution

you simply don't understand human history, and place your trust in places you shouldn't place your trust: the magical, illusionary "trustworthy leader" as if there exists someone, somewhere deserving of that trust

there isn't such a person!

so you trust to the masses, becuase every single issue you have brought up IS ABOUT WHO LEADS THE MASSES

you can't phrase a questino to me concerning the issue at hand about somebody knowing better than the masses, because the subject matter at hand concerns who leads the masses!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Why does it have to be all or nothing? (none / 0) (#209)
by jongleur on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:53:39 PM EST

smarter, better informed, more thoughtful people will see a little further ahead and instead of turning America into a fascist country (fascism has been done, no need to repeat it) we'll have a smaller mess and trundle on our way and hopefully eventually get back to normal?

If everybody is as stupid as you say, what difference does even 'legitimacy' make?

To me democracy is the ultimate 'checks and balances' system - the leaders are accountable to everyone. But if they can eliminate some large fraction as independent thinkers then it's not even democracy anymore. And if we have agreed that people are cows, well, why not bring them up ignorant of democracy, then they won't be miss democracy when we take it away from them.

After having re-read your post to be sure I'm addressing it, I'm really confused.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

An interesting, related article (none / 0) (#213)
by jongleur on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 02:37:41 AM EST

about the behavior of crowds. Actually it's a review of a book about the same but, it's quite interesting & high-level. It gets good a few paragraphs in.

Teaser bit:

In the pop era there is a simple dynamic - any thing is duplicable on almost unlimited scale, but, the danger is that only that which can be sustainably scaled can be allowed to happen. Crowds aren't smart, crowds are simply there, and a society that allows crowds to run amok falls in short order. World Wars I & II are monuments to this on the positive feedback side, and the collapse of totalitarianism on the negative side. The positive side feedback is that stupid things that crowds want -national expansion - are allowed to run loose, until they result in armed conflict. The negative feedback side is when people decide they are wrong most of the time, and retreat into a small shell. In a localized sense, this is what a depression or recession is, and governments then take steps to shock people out of this belief. In otherwords, as Jerry Pournelle might say "think of it as evolution in action." Crowds being right isn't natural, it's required.

Stirling Newberry on Bopnews

--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

the masses (none / 0) (#238)
by advocatus diabolus on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:55:07 AM EST

the masses, the masses the lords and the lasses the masses du masses dumb asses!

[ Parent ]
The masses are asses... (none / 0) (#47)
by Psycho Dave on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:03:27 AM EST

The "Average Joe" gets representation in the US. Too bad "Average Joe" and "Average Decent Joe" are often different things.

The common man you prop up is just as likely to be a hateful, self-centered prick as the guy with a law degree from Harvard and vice versa.

I make no distinction between the two, except that the relative power of the latter makes them a more forceful opposition. But you can usually counter their arguments intellectually. The masses are more likely to be thugs; they attack their problems en-masse, and cannot be persuaded by even the sharpest arguments.

Like I've said before, I can take solace in the fact that those who shouldn't vote typically don't.

[ Parent ]

let me ask you something honestly (1.60 / 5) (#48)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:10:19 AM EST

did some greater power come from some magical realm and touch your temple and give you absolute authority to decide the difference between average joe and average decent joe?

you will excuse me, but i think that someone who thinks they can determine that immediately makes them the biggest prick in the bunch

how about this: i will trust the wisdom of the masses, and you go about determining who is deserving and who isn't ok santa claus?

look in the mirror: you are, honeslty, an arrogant elitist prick if you believe somewhere exists a magical committee of people who has amonopoly on determining who amongst us is decent and who amongst us isn't

that mode of thinking of yours is the very essence of an antidemocratic, snobbish instinct

in you beats the heart of the type of person who supports tyrannies as "trustworthy" because the masses "can't be trusted"

you really are a 100% complete and royal asshole


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Wisdom of the masses? Heh... (2.33 / 3) (#56)
by Psycho Dave on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:00:49 AM EST

The masses are just as likely to be corrupt and immoral as the elite. Are you really going to make me invoke Godwin's Law this early in the thread?

Did I ever say that I'm one of the elite? I'm not. I'm curious why you assume that I am. The "magic finger" that has touched me is being one of them, and seeing that so-called normal people are just as driven by fear and petty desires as anyone else.

The elite are reviled because so much power is concentrated in their hands, but the masses have a power that overwhelms all. There's just MORE OF THEM. It's guns vs. numbers.

I just really don't like people going eeny-meeny-miney-moe when they get to the ballot box. If you don't know the issues (and this isn't a class problem...the information is there if you want it) if you don't feel you have a stake in the system, then DON'T VOTE AND FUCK IT UP FOR THE REST OF US.

[ Parent ]

you just don't get it do you (2.00 / 2) (#131)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:07:19 PM EST

everything you say about how the masses can fuck it up, absoultely everything you allude to, and some mroe things: blindness, malice, panic, fear, not caring, caring too much, whatever it is you can attribute to the masses, i agree with 100% as a possible source of failure

ok?

now, if you take any subset of the population, and anoint them with the some magic powder: "better voters" "better decision makers" whatever:

THEY ARE LIABLE TO COMMIT THE SAME FUCKUPS

do you see?

the difference is, when the masses fuck up, the masses are responsible

but when some magic aristocratic class of "better" people fuck up IT IS THE MASSES WHO PAY FOR THEIR MISTAKE

do you understand the fucking difference?

humans are fallible, no one is "better" to make decisions about how a given group of people should be ruled THAN THOSE PEOPLE THEMSELVES

do you fucking get the concept?

or is arrogant elitism so inbred ionto your midn you can't even conceive of the notion that there is no special person who should be given speicla powers to make decisions for the people, UNLESS THE PEOPLE DO IT THEMSELVES

how's that?

VIA DEMOCRACY YOU BLIND DUMB FUCK


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'm worried (none / 0) (#86)
by phred on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:41:38 AM EST

I agree with you on this. The US has a terribly uninformed voting populace. Maybe the solution wouldn't exactly be an IQ test, but a test on civic awareness. That way Joe Sixpack can contribute his average IQ if at least he is aware of the issues.

[ Parent ]
A test you *SHOULD* fail. (none / 0) (#232)
by BuddasEvilTwin on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 05:06:10 PM EST

  I only support democracy with a requirement of passing an intelligence test to become registered.

  If you're not intelligent enough to recognize how allowing required intelligence tests is inherently exploitable by the majority party who designs and administers the tests, then it's my elitist opinion that you're not worthy to vote by my standard.

  The part of your suggestion I find the most deplorable is how it frees people like yourself from feeling obligated to engage in discourse with your inferiors (God forbid!) so as to educate and influencing them.

  Lastly, I find that people who tend to say things like "Most people are ignorant morons" live in very small insular worlds.  I seriously doubt you have an adequate concept of "most people" beyond your environment, which is apparently inhabited by morons.

[ Parent ]

Respect of will: (none / 1) (#46)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:01:57 AM EST

i actually respect the will of the people
You say that as if the people have a unified will.
A fuller respect for the will of the people, pushes for Bush being the president for people who voted for him, Kerry being the president for people who voted for him, and third party candidates for people who voted for them.
Given that there is a fuller respect for the will of the people, consider what else you respect that competes with your will of the people. My theory is that it is willpower. The willpower of the majority outweighs the willpower of the minority. However, no two people possess the same amount of willpower.

[ Parent ]
that's nice (1.33 / 3) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:22:03 AM EST

why don't we go with one person one vote, ok professor?

i don't want my vote adjusted upwards or downwards based on some fucking willpower iq test, ok?

jesus


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

No one say anything about not going with... (none / 0) (#58)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:06:09 AM EST

one person, one vote. Willpower is its own test. All a person with the necessary willpower needs to do is influence someone with lesser willpower.

[ Parent ]
you are 100% correct (1.33 / 3) (#67)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:28:55 AM EST

and that observation bears absolutely no relevance to the issue at hand

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Which is, in your opinion? (none / 0) (#69)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:56:17 AM EST



[ Parent ]
voting structure? ;-P nt (none / 1) (#71)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:16:42 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
The issue at hand is better expressed as (none / 1) (#73)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:35:48 AM EST

What is the best way to decide who is appointed the President of the United States.

Should the will of individuals be manifested, or should will be manifested as a function of the state. With winner of the popular vote take all electoral votes, will is purely a manifestation of the state. Breaking up the electoral votes allows more of the will of individuals to be expressed, popular vote even more so.

[ Parent ]
i agree 100fucking%! well said! (nt) (none / 1) (#75)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:38:52 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Weighted Counsel (none / 0) (#135)
by Ogygus on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:35:14 PM EST

Elect them all. Assign each the requisite amount of voting tokens. Game out each decision. The alliances, the deals, the politics of the whole thing.

Some might argue that nothing would get done. And this would be a bad thing how??

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Seems like more would get done than does now. (none / 0) (#212)
by hackwrench on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:00:38 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ironic justice isn't so bad (none / 0) (#43)
by Mason on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:50:26 AM EST

It wouldn't be ideal, but it sure would be...just.

[ Parent ]
Why direct voting is bad: (none / 1) (#27)
by ubernostrum on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:09:47 PM EST

TV Announcer: Well, folks, it's 7PM Central time and the polls have just closed in Midwestern states. With the East and Midwest having voted, the election is now statistically over, so all you people in the other half of the country can just stay home.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
hey retard (1.00 / 7) (#29)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 24, 2004 at 10:23:01 PM EST

maybe you just gave us an example of the media not respecting the voter is bad

come on, retard


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You know it would happen. (none / 0) (#55)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:50:35 AM EST

Direct voting encourages defeatist thinking -- your vote is only a drop in the bucket, and the election's probably already been decided by the time you go to the polls. The Electoral College means that your vote counts in a smaller pool and thus has a potentially greater impact. Statistically, you as a voter have more power under the Electoral College; look up the work of Alan Natapoff sometime.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
jesus christ you are a stupid fuck! (1.16 / 6) (#74)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:36:40 AM EST

if everyone's vote counts the same, why is my vote worth any more or less than somebody else's?

if someone thinks their vote doesn't count IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE A SELF-DEFEATING STUPID FUCK WHO DISCOUNTS THEIR OWN VALUE

THAT'S SIMPLE HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY

IT GOES ON NO MATTER WHAT THE FUCKING VOTING STRUCTURE

BECAUSE SOME MORONS THINK LITTLE OF THEMSELVES NO MATTER WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON

some assholes are always self-disenfrachising... that's just life! "my vote doesn't matter, i don't matter, my life doesn't matter, boohoo, i'll go kill myself, it makes so much more sense"

this thinking has nothing to do with vothing systems, it has to do with brain chemistry and a need for medication!

jesus you're retarded!

you HONESTLY believe some fuck is sitting somewhere going:

"i didn't think my vote counted, but the electoral college artificially inflates the value of my vote over someone else in another state! this is a good thing! (?) yay! let's go vote!"

seriously, you are like low iq


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Hi, this is math calling. (2.00 / 2) (#114)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:07:24 PM EST

The Electoral College does amplify the power of your vote. Seriously. Read up on Natapoff sometime.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
I KNOW YOU STUPID FUCK! (1.00 / 6) (#128)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:44:22 PM EST

I AM SAYING THAT's A BAD THING YOU STUPID FUCK

ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE

EVERYTHING ELSE IS UNJUST!

jesus, you people are retarded: defend the status quo, defend the status quo, justify it, rationalize how things are, when THEY CAN BE BETTER


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You have a weird definition of "better". (none / 0) (#142)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:01:21 PM EST

All I'm saying is that under the Electoral College, the average vote has more power than it does in a direct system. More power to everybody is not incompatible with "one person one vote", you know...




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
XD (none / 0) (#140)
by Aero Leviathan on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:16:51 PM EST

seriously, you are like low iq

You're so funny.

~ Aero
[ Parent ]

For HI and AK, maybe (none / 0) (#107)
by Hillgiant on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:17:33 PM EST

As long as California is in PST, I do not think this will be an issue. Hawaii and Alaska have been so solid blue and red respectively, I do not think they will notice the difference.

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Why the Electoral College is good. (2.33 / 6) (#45)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:01:37 AM EST

The World Series is going on right now, and it's going to be decided in a woefully undemocratic fashion: the first team to get to four wins will be the champion. Now obviously this subverts the true goal of baseball, because the team which scores the most runs over the course of the Series should be the one that wins. Otherwise, why are they keeping score, right?

Wrong. By requiring the champion to win the majority of games, the World Series requires an element of consistency. You can't win one game 10-0 and lose the rest 2-1, 1-0, and so on, and everybody understands that. And the Electoral College is the same way: you could win the "popular vote" without the support of the entire country, and without having to appeal to voters in many areas. The Electoral College helps to alleviate that flaw in direct voting by making candidates win a number of separate contests in order to get the big prize, thus requiring a broader campaign which takes into account the needs and opinions of more of the country.

In other words, it's a good thing.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
holy shit (1.20 / 5) (#53)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:27:08 AM EST

"The Electoral College helps to alleviate that flaw in direct voting by making candidates win a number of separate contests in order to get the big prize, thus requiring a broader campaign which takes into account the needs and opinions of more of the country."

i'm so silly, i thought one person one vote made sense

exactly where does "needs and opinions of more the country" come in by warping one person one vote einstein?

please, give me some of your drugs, i want things to make sense like that for me to, it would be so much easier for me in life to make up fucking laughable rationalizations for a bullshit status quo


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Nice catchphrase. (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:47:09 AM EST

Repeat it enough and maybe it'll mean something. Now, think about this:

The President of the United States needs to represent everybody in the United States, obviously, or at least a sizable fraction. Now, under a regime of "one person one vote" as you keep maniacally chanting, that doesn't happen. You get a President of New York, California and Florida, because that's where the population is. As a result, a candidate can toss off a big "fuck you" to various areas of the county which will never matter in a direct vote.

This is the sort of thing the founders of the country wanted to avoid; they knew that there were and would always be both large and small states, and that without a careful system of checks and balances the bigger states could run roughshod over the smaller ones. Which is why, for example, they apportioned Senators the way the did. Two Senators per state gives smaller states a dispropotionate amount of representation, violating your sacred notion of equality (if ii were going to be fair, it'd be one Senator per some number of people, just like the House). But that's a necessary balancing measure to protect their interests, and so the system is set up that way.

And the Electoral College is no different; it enforces a measure of balance in the election of a President, by requiring the successful candidate to appeal to a broader base than just a handful of large states. It makes sure that more people's votes count for something. This is a good thing.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
do you know what federalism is? (2.00 / 4) (#64)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:48:16 AM EST

i'm not much a federalist, as you can imagine

now, dorothy, answer me an astounding question:

which is more important to your identity- that you are a minnesotan? (or whatever state you are from) or that you are an american?

suffice it to say, it is pretty obvious what most would consider a more relevant part of their identity

considering that most people consider their american identity to be ever so more important than their state identity, by orders of magnitude, then gee, i dunno, just maybe the voting structure should refect that?

why break the voting down into artificial subsets?

the will of the people is the will of the people, who gives a FUCK about some artificial construct- the will of the states!

i am an american WAY more than i am a new yorker, as i think about, gee, i dunno, 99% of americans think so to?

i mean, you are so moronic, you don't even see how it cuts both ways: if you are iowan, you might consider your electoral block to be some sort of amplifier of the will of iowa, drowning out the kerry supporters in iowa should the majority in iowa vote for bush

what you don't realize is that by dissolving the electoral block of california, the bush voters there would probably mean about 10x the vote of iowans, even if all iowans voted for bush

now, if you ask me, i think those kerry supporters in iowa want their vote to count, and those bush supporters in california want their vote to count

exactly what bullshit reason are you denying them again?

because of statehood?

oh geez, that's ever so much more important... not


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

My God, yes. (none / 0) (#115)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:08:34 PM EST

The Will of The People is One and Unbroken. There's just no such thing as differing opinions in differing parts of the country, and I'm sure we never fought a civil war because of it...




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
OBVIOUSLY YOU STUPID FUCK (1.00 / 6) (#129)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:46:00 PM EST

but there is no better way to get at the majority opinion than one person one vote, everything else is a travesty of the will of the people, get it?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Oh, I see. (none / 0) (#143)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:02:08 PM EST

So by "democracy" you really mean "majority running roughshod over everybody else." You should have admitted that up front...




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
But isn't that what happens now? (none / 0) (#163)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:52:02 AM EST

At least, at the state level where the electoral college votes aren‘t proportionally assigned?

Example: California. Assume for argument‘s sake that 30% of the vote is Republican. Now we know that California is going to return 55 Democrat votes; what happens to those 30% of voters? Where has their vote gone?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Again, you miss the point. (none / 0) (#167)
by ubernostrum on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:09:02 AM EST

Their votes don't count in any national sense, yes, but that's because there's no national election in which they could count. Those 30% are voting in the California electoral race.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
I think I get the point exquisitely. (none / 0) (#173)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:02:47 AM EST

To wit: If you're a California Republican, give up now.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Ah, apathy. (none / 0) (#206)
by ubernostrum on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 04:22:36 PM EST

"My candidate didn't win" does not equal "my vote doesn't count." Also, last I checked California had a pretty staicnh, party-line-following Republican governor.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Ooh, you're an angry man. (none / 1) (#176)
by pwhysall on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:15:30 AM EST

Grr! Grr!

I see your block capitals and I fear them.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Why SHOULD Wyoming matter? (3.00 / 2) (#77)
by pwhysall on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 07:23:22 AM EST

It's not a zero-sum game, where you either get electoral college votes or everything your state requires or cares about is nixed.

Why shouldn't massive population centres have a proportionately massive influence? By, for and of, remember? And most of those live in massive population centres. It's actually unfair to deny those people their voice.

And as the example of the UK shows, it's not necessarily a given that sparsely populated (relatively speaking) rural areas are denied their voice; consider the disproportionately loud political voice that the "countryside" has.

The electoral college is hideously reminiscent of senior civil servants in the UK, where on being told that "Politics is boring", reply "Oh yes, it is, isn't it? Why don't WE look after all that tedious political stuff for you? (muahahaha, etc.)"

One man, one vote. Anything else IS fiddling the numbers.

Mind you, I think there is some mileage in the notion that until a credible third party (or an actual left wing) emerges in American politics, then it's all a bit moot.

As I saw in someone's sig the other day, "The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats use lube." Ugh, but you get the idea.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Why? (2.00 / 2) (#80)
by Kal on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:38:02 AM EST

Why shouldn't massive population centres have a proportionately massive influence?

Tyranny of the majority is a good reason for smaller areas to have disproportionate representation.

[ Parent ]
And the electoral college fixes this how? (none / 1) (#87)
by pwhysall on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:51:35 AM EST

With FPTP for each state's electoral college votes, all that happens is that you have a tyranny of the majority in each state.

What was it that the electoral college helps again?

--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

And... (none / 0) (#96)
by Kal on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:26:08 PM EST

It's completely up to the States to decide how to assign their electoral votes. If the people of that State don't like it they can vote new people into office that will change the way the State assigns it's votes.

[ Parent ]
That may well be true. (none / 0) (#98)
by pwhysall on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:59:53 PM EST

But it doesn't answer my point, to wit: the electoral college, far from eliminating the tyranny of the majority, perpetuates it in multiplicity.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
No, it doesn't. (none / 0) (#103)
by Kal on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:02:23 PM EST

The tyranny I was talking about, and the only one the Electoral College is concerned with, is the more populous States walking all over the less populous States. It's there for the same reason that the Senate is there.

[ Parent ]
Damn limey. (none / 0) (#145)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:11:45 PM EST

Regardless of how it may look to outsiders, the U.S. was originally a plural entity. As such, we don't vote in a single Presidential election; the people of the fifty states vote in fifty local elections, and the results of those elections are combined by the mechanism of the College to produce the final result. And it's not first past the post for these state elections; there's not a magic number of votes you get in a state that wins it for you. Instead, the person who got the most votes in that state wins that state's electoral votes (in most states; some states do not bind their electors to the results of the state election, and proportional splitting is not unheard-of).




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
I know the imagery implies it but... (none / 0) (#177)
by Elohite on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:16:45 AM EST

first past the post just means whoever has the most votes wins. The "magic number" system is the run off election system with or without order of preference rankings (order of preference rankings just means you can do it with a single election as opposed to multiple ones).

[ Parent ]
Electoral college is tyranny of the majority. (none / 1) (#92)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:55:48 AM EST

The majority, no matter how slim, is the only one who matters.

If every state did this, Nader would have shown up on the electoral vote count in 2000.  Perot would have shown up big time in 1992, and would have gotten something like 1/5th the electoral votes.  If that had happened, would we even be having discussions today about the viability of 3rd parties when it was so self-evident?  Or are you saying that getting 20% of the popular vote but not one single electoral vote isn't a case of the majority squashing the minority?

[ Parent ]

As I was saying last night (none / 0) (#116)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:09:36 PM EST

The College forces candidates to pay attention to a broader cross-section of the country in their campaigning. This, along with various other reasons I've enumerated, is why I'm fond of it.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Why should NY matter more than it does? (none / 1) (#156)
by Another Scott on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:27:20 AM EST

Hey Trev,

Why shouldn't massive population centres have a proportionately massive influence? By, for and of, remember? And most of those live in massive population centres. It's actually unfair to deny those people their voice.

Large population centers already have a proportionately massive influence in the House of Representatives. Small states have large influence in the Senate. There's a sort-of balance of power in the legislature between the large and small states.

A large state already has more Electors than a small state. So their votes do count. It's just that in aggregate the small states must also be considered in the EC.

The US is a Federal Republic. The states have a long history of being important political actors in their own right. Even today, state governments are different from each other. Texas is very different from California. Massachusetts is very different from New Hampshire.

Going to a strictly direct election for President would give even more power to the large cities and large metropolitan population areas. It would tip the balance of power toward the large population centers and damage the federal system. So what? Well our system was designed from the beginning as a melding of the importance of one-man-one-vote with protection-against-the-tyrrany-of-the-majority. Doing away with the EC could damage the balance of power between large and small states that has served us pretty well for 213 or so years.

An advantage of the Electoral College is that it often magnifies the winning margin and gives the winner more of a mandate. E.g. In 1992 Clinton won the popular vote 45 M to 39 M but won the EC by 370 to 168.

In closing, your question "Why SHOULD Wyoming matter?" - in practice it almost never does because they only have 3 Electors. I haven't seen any news stories about Bush or Kerry visiting Wyoming this year. ;-)

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#202)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:18:49 PM EST

The electoral college is hideously reminiscent of senior civil servants in the UK, where on being told that "Politics is boring", reply "Oh yes, it is, isn't it? Why don't WE look after all that tedious political stuff for you? (muahahaha, etc.)"

It's far more reminiscent of your system of selecting a Prime Minister. In fact, it was intended to be an improvement upon just such an electoral process adapted to needs of a federalist republic.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Why the Electoral College is Bad (none / 1) (#68)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:54:36 AM EST

In football each of the teams have different features that come into play when interacting with the other teams. A run against one team does not hold the same value as a run against another team.

In the presidential election as it now stands there are only two effective teams. The only relavant difference are the fields. Now in direct democracy, every voter represents a different contest on a different field. The number of contests equals the number of voters. The electoral college reduces, not increases the number of contests to the number of electoral votes, a huge reduction.

[ Parent ]
Well at least you're back to being a troll again. (none / 1) (#61)
by sudog on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:36:04 AM EST

... instead of pretending like you were actually in control of your raging hebephrenia.


[ Parent ]
my stalker! 8-) (none / 1) (#63)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:36:25 AM EST

hey stalker!

xoxoxoxoxoxox

make sure you sweep my shrine twice a day, i mean if you are going to hold a candle for me as long as you have, you might as well keep your obsession squeaky clean, no?

as always, thanks for all the ego boosts, i never knew someone to care as much about me here as much as you do

you warm my heart, you really do

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

K5's biggest egotist! (none / 1) (#112)
by sudog on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:47:21 PM EST

Ya, you go on thinking that, "CTS." You've been posting under the same account for so long, I don't think I have to point out the stupid things you've said anymore, just that they're all over the place for anyone who's wondering why you continue hurling insults at them long after a thread is over and dead.


[ Parent ]
or (none / 1) (#130)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:46:37 PM EST

why you keep coming back for more, lol

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Just doing my duty to inform the public about you. (none / 0) (#215)
by sudog on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:02:26 AM EST

[n/t]


[ Parent ]
Who cares? (2.33 / 6) (#37)
by Magnetic North on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:55:50 AM EST

This will just shift a few electoral votes around. Your voting system is broken beyond belief (really, it's straightforward insane). Why don't you concentrate on fixing that?

--
<33333
What do you think is wrong with it? (nt) (none / 0) (#79)
by Kal on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:32:34 AM EST



[ Parent ]
To start with... (none / 0) (#175)
by ectoraige on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:11:38 AM EST

Huge swathes of your population do not have any representation at the electoral college. In most of the states, roughly 30% of the population have NO representation. In the battleground states, up to 50% will have NO representation. For so much of the population to have NO representation at the executive level is an insult to the electorate.

For the sake of you Americans, I hope Bush and Kerry tie at 269 votes and you then have to sit and watch your Congress elect the President. Maybe then you will reflect seriously on what democracy means, and adopt a system such as instant-runoff voting used here in Ireland. (Okay, while casting stones, I'd better admit we didn't have a presidential election in Ireland this year, with all the parties either endorsing the encumbent, or choosing not to run a candidate. Our president however is a constitutional office, not an executive one, and as such is mostly ceremonial)

For the amusement of the rest of the world, I hope also that the Democrats somehow retake the Senate, so you end up with President Bush, and Vice-President Edwards.

[ Parent ]

As has been mentioned before... (none / 0) (#184)
by Kal on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:38:08 AM EST

It's entirely up to the States how to decide to appoint electors. There's nothing stoping them from having no election at all and simply having the State legislature appoint the electors as it sees fit. The people are not electing the President, at best they are choosing electors that may or may not vote the way they said they would.

Maybe then you will reflect seriously on what democracy means, and adopt a system such as instant-runoff voting used here in Ireland.

If the US was a democracy I might agree with you that disenfrachising large numbers of voters is a bad thing. However it's not and in the case of it's current system the electoral college works just the way it was intended to.

[ Parent ]
Proportional Allocation of Electoral Votes = Bad (none / 1) (#42)
by RaveX on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:48:18 AM EST

If one thinks that proportional allocation of electoral votes nationwide is a good solution to the problems with the electoral college, that person is wrong.  Why, you ask?

It's simple.

  1.  We would still have the electoral college, which disproportionately weights votes towards smaller (population) states.
  2.  Smaller states, on average, tend mightily to vote for Republican party candidates.  Which party it is doesn't really matter, but it happens to be Republicans.
  3.  The votes of larger states would thus be split more than the votes of the smaller states, which happen to have a disproportionate share of power relative to the number of people.
  4.  As a result, the electoral vote count would be even less representative of the popular vote, and you'd never see a Democratic president ever again.
That means less equity, not more.  Either keep the electoral college the way it is, or scrap it altogether.
---
The Reconstruction
If (2.66 / 3) (#93)
by mcc on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 11:10:06 AM EST

You forgot

5. If used on a nationwide scale it would have essentially the effect of rounding each states votes to the nearest couple of tens of thousands. It introduces the possibility that a candidate could win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote not due to vote weighting, but due to rounding errors.

But this isn't a concern. If a significant number of states ever move to proportional allocation, which I don't find terribly likely, a constitutional amendment to scrap the EC altogether will probably be floated at that time.

However, I don't really see something like this happening if things stay the way they are. Reform is not going to become possible on a national level until the people make it clear that they aren't happy with the current system. This can't happen at the national political level. It can happen at the state level, and can be done very easily, since the states are free to do what they like with their votes. We can't change everything at once, we have to take baby steps right now, or something. And I think if prop. 36 passes it will get a lot of other states thinking about this sort of thing and possibly lead to more states trying things like this in the next election, which is why I find it interesting.

Meanwhile I still personally feel some sort of geographic vote splits, Maine-style, might be a better solution, but I don't really feel like constructing a coherent argument on that subject right now.

[ Parent ]

But the vote weighting will have a greater effect (none / 0) (#141)
by RaveX on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:21:02 PM EST

I doubt that the rounding would be a concern even if all states moved to proportional allocation.  That would require both a close election (which wouldn't occur due to the vote weighting issue), and a consistent distribution of rounding favoring a certain candidate (statistically unlikely).

I disagree that moving individual states to a proportional system would move things in the right direction.  Maybe it would, but it has a few problems:

  1.  Proportional states would have diminished electoral clout, turning those that remained non-proportional (and were somewhat swingy) into "kingmakers," which would be to their significant benefit, leading them to both want to keep the electoral college and their non-proportional system.
  2.  Moving to proportional (or geographic, which is just a hybrid) vote distribution is absurd because it not only reduces the clout of a possible swing state, it begins to shift power to the side of the political spectrum that favors smaller-population states in general, as I described before.
  3.  There's likely no equilibrium in which a constitutional amendment to toss out the electoral college could pass, other than one in which very few states use proportional voting.  As I mentioned above, as more states move to proportional voting, they diminsh their power and enhance the power of their non-proportional neighbors.  Their neighbors will resist both a constitutional amendment (making it impossible for one to pass) and moving to proportional voting.  Even if all states moved to proportional voting, one party's power would be greatly enhanced, again killing a potential amendment.  Thus, not using proportional voting at all is probably closest to getting rid of the electoral college altogether.  Counter-intuitive, but probably true.

---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 1) (#194)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:43:46 PM EST

Amazing how the democrats didn't think that the electoral college was evil when Clinton won 43% of the vote in 1992.

Once Madam Hillary takes the White House in 2008 by a narrow the electoral vote, the electoral college will be credited with giving a voice to the voiceless.

The only reason why you are hearing ANYTHING about the electoral college is that the "anyone but Bush" cheerleaders dominate national attention right now.


[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#196)
by mcc on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:32:04 PM EST

Telling other people what their opinions are in debate is generally considered uncouth.

[ Parent ]
#4 (none / 0) (#104)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:13:51 PM EST

you'd never see a Democratic president ever again.
Go, Amendment 36! :)
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Whew (2.55 / 9) (#59)
by fluxrad on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:12:40 AM EST

Thank god this amendment is going to tank without your help.

1. 36 Basically fucks us over for any and all future elections. The candidates know Colorado will forever be a 1 vote state, so our priorities mean fuck-all to any presidential candidate. You can argue they mean little now, but they'll mean even less if this POS amendment passes.

2. With the consistent immigration of Californians, New Yorkers, and Mexicans (who become 2nd generation Coloradans) this state does have the potential to become a democratic stronghold. Anyone dumb enough to vote for this just to get Kerry 4 electoral votes is basically fucking every other democratic candidate down the line out of at least 4 electoral votes. Then again, any republican that votes for this is doing the same.

3. The notion of 1 person 1 vote is nice. Maybe some day we'll be able to claim success and act elated when the candidates begin stumping exclusively in California, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Florida.

4. A true federal election should be an all or nothing deal. Wait 'till the electorate gets split up like this in enough states and the president gets chosen by the US House of Representatives. You going to be happy when some asshole who didn't win a majority of electoral votes gets hand picked by the asshats in the lower-house?

A true "democratic" election (if you want to call it that) should be mandated by by the US Constitution. This split it and forget it bullshit is just going to screw Coloradans. Perhaps that's why every single newspaper and candidate in the state have come out against it...hmm?

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
Your logic is seriously flawed (2.66 / 3) (#72)
by hackwrench on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 06:23:51 AM EST

There is no "our priorities", especially regarding gographic regions. People right next door to each other, people who work together in the shop, married, single, with children, have different priorities. I don't understand what you mean by the term "1 vote state".

Perhaps in the age before telecommunication, where a president stumped meant something, but it doesn't now.

Voting for this just to get Kerry 4 more votes is dumb, but there are other reasons to vote for this. The electoral college acts as a degrader of the resolution of the American Vote. Anything that increases the resolution of the will of people is a good thing.

Unless more than one candidate can become president at the same time it is an all or nothing deal, but that does not appear to be what you mean, so please clarify.

[ Parent ]
one vote (none / 1) (#78)
by tyrithe on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:03:53 AM EST

Assume (not too difficult at this point) all the bitter partisan stuff in elections will continue until the destruction of either the Democratic or Republican party. Then, for the most part, the vote will split either 5-4 or (maybe if one side is lucky/good) 6-3.

So the net votes gained are 1 or maybe 3. If it were just a 'whoever got the majority of electoral votes' situation, you could just replace it with 1 or 3 and be done with it.

[ Parent ]

Oh come off it (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by fluxrad on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:06:21 PM EST

There is no "our priorities", especially regarding gographic regions

It's absurd you even say that. Why do you think, then that "flyover country" always goes to the republicans?

Because their priorities are best served by republican values. Usually it's the three G's (Guns, God, and Gays) that do the trick. But it's pretty difficult to think a guy from Manhattan, New York is going to fight just as hard for farm subsidies as a guy from Manhattan, KS. If you don't grasp that there is a serious difference in priorities (beyond neighbor-to-neighbor differences) in places like Topeka, Seattle, Miami, and Knoxville, then my argument is pretty much wasted.

Perhaps in the age before telecommunication, where a president stumped meant something, but it doesn't now.

If it means nothing, then why do the candidates do it? That's a pretty ill-conceived photo op, dont you think?

I don't understand what you mean by the term "1 vote state".

Tradiditionally, Colorado has gone republican. While most consider this state a conservative stronghold, the democrat usually gets at least 40% of the vote. With the margin of victory for either candidate being so close, it is essentially guaranteed that both candidates will be awarded 4 electoral votes from Colorado with only the fifth and final vote being put up for grabs. Basicaly, this means no candidate ever has to come back to Colorado or actually even pretend like they give a flying turd about our opinions because they know we've only got a single electoral vote to offer.

Unless more than one candidate can become president at the same time it is an all or nothing deal, but that does not appear to be what you mean, so please clarify.

My apologies, that was worded poorly. By an all or nothing deal, I mean that if we want to change the electoral college (and by change, I mean scrap it) then we need to do it at the top, via the constitution. The notion that we can somehow create a landslide by changing Colorado to a proportional vote state is just absurd. 10 or 20 years to get every other state to do the same, and in the end we would still wind up with a broken electoral system where candidates are simply vying for 50-or-so votes instead of 270.

Unfortunately, this whole fiasco in Colorado is a pathetic pathetic partisan attempt to eek another 4 electoral votes for the democrats.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
flyover country (none / 0) (#165)
by onemorechip on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 02:08:13 AM EST

Why do you think, then that "flyover country" always goes to the republicans?

I just finished a long drive through "flyover country". You'd be surprised at the number of Kerry signs we saw. This doesn't mean that these states will go to Kerry but it will probably be closer than in many previous elections, and it's possible one or two "red" states like Arizona, Colorado or Arkansas could go for Kerry. I wouldn't count on it, but I wouldn't be surprised at all. Remember, Colorado went for the Democrat in two of the last three presidential elections.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

There is no "our priorities", (none / 0) (#211)
by hackwrench on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:52:07 PM EST

There are many and varied priorities served by a Republican being in office. A Republican being in office occasionally serves my priorities. Furthermore, a Republican being in office doesn't have to serve all of a person's priorities, just more priorities than any other candidate can. Sometimes that priority can be as simple as "Don't let candidate X win".
It's pretty difficult to think one guy from Manhattan, KS is going to fight just as hard for farm subsidies as another guy from Manhattan, KS. No wait, for you that would be easy. Let's try this again. It's pretty difficult for someone applying a logic with valid axioms to think one guy from Manhattan, KS is going to fight just as hard for farm subsidies as another guy from Manhattan, KS.
Clarification, where a president stumps means nothing to the state, or to people seeking information about the candidates. It only means something to the stupid idiots who can't make up their minds but have just enough votes to swing the Electoral College. The candidates don't give a care about any of the opinions of the states they stump in, They merely want to assure the uncommitted voters of that state that the candidate's conclusions that have been foregone long before they entered politics syncs with the voters'.
Big things have been accomplished in small steps.

[ Parent ]
It is what both rep. and dem. want (none / 1) (#76)
by lukme on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 07:20:03 AM EST

Neither of them is sure which way Co will go, so they are hedging their bets.


-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
A good topic choice.. (none / 1) (#82)
by ignatiusst on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:05:57 AM EST

It deserves a more serious treatment by the author.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Disenfranchised by the electoral college. (2.88 / 9) (#94)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 11:30:39 AM EST

It is the fault of the electoral college that my vote for President doesn't mean a god-damned thing whatsoever.  The only difference between me and some alleged ex-con in Florida is that they let me go through the formality of going to the poll and pulling a lever.  No Diebold machine back door is necessary to erradicate my vote.  No need to "lose" the box containing my vote en route to make sure I'm not counted.

I live in Texas.  Our votes are going to Bush.  All of them.  End of story.

Where do you live?  Are you lucky enough to live in a state where the vote is split so yours has a chance of mattering?  Lucky enough to live in a country with a less screwed up voting system, that doesn't by design disenfranchise massive minorities of people?

Go Colorado.  I hope this passes.  I hope in state after state the vote is close, and the people on both sides think not of what they have to gain with a winner-take-all system, but what they have to lose -- namely their own voice -- if the vote should turn against them by a fraction of a percent.

The sad part is that the states with a solid majority on one side are the ones least likely to change, since the majority has greater risk moving to a proportional system from the low-risk winner-take-all system.

I'll be voting for whatever 3rd party was able to make it onto my ballot (rough order of preference: Nader, Badnarik, Cobb) as a way of saying "Fuck the two party system", not that it will matter, bringing me to the statement I won't have the ability to express in this coming election:

Fuck the electoral college.

still doesn't mean anything (none / 1) (#97)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 12:49:20 PM EST

No Presidential election in the history of the United States has been decided by a difference of one popular vote, and none is likely to be. Without the electoral college, it is even less likely to be. No matter who you vote for, your vote will not mean a god-damned thing whatsoever.

[ Parent ]
Like a raindrop.. (none / 1) (#102)
by Kwil on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:55:03 PM EST

..one doesn't mean god-damned thing whatsoever.

It's in the accumulation that things get interesting.

If enough votes accumulate for the third parties, they become harder to ignore. If they cross the magical 5% line or something like that, it becomes even harder to disenfranchise them. (Or at least, to do so in a way that doesn't threaten the power-structure)

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Fine, me and the 37% of the state of Texas like me (none / 1) (#108)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:24:10 PM EST

Has an election ever been turned by that amount of voters?  I think so.  Geeze, I find it hard to believe you thought I was talking solely about the election-turning potential of my one vote.  Personally I think that is the stupidest possible metric by which to evaluate an election system, and it is the only one by which the electoral college looks good at all.

[ Parent ]
my point (none / 0) (#117)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:22:41 PM EST

My point was that if you personally moved from Texas to Ohio, your vote would not "mean more" as most people seem to assume. If you convinced 10,000 people to move with you, then perhaps it would, but that seems infeasible.

[ Parent ]
Of course it would. (none / 1) (#118)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 03:41:23 PM EST

If I moved to Ohio, I could vote for Kerry and try to help him win the election.  Contrast with Texas, where voting for Kerry can not help him win the presidency.

Your point is that one vote is insignificant.  This is true, but doesn't lessen the truth of my point at all, only the magnitude.  If 10,000 Kerry voters moved from Texas to Ohio that might make a difference in Ohio.  The point is that those 10,000 Kerry voters make exactly the same difference in Texas as me, the lone Kerry voter:  ZERO.

You're only arguing about the scale, not the point which is that my vote is rendered meaningless by the college.

[ Parent ]

I don't really see that argument (none / 1) (#120)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:03:34 PM EST

If you moved to ohio, your vote still can not help him win the presidency. If Kerry would have won Ohio without you, you moving obviously won't be necessary. If he would have lost Ohio with you, he will still lost Ohio even if you move there.

The only difference is in fact one of scale. In Texas, you'd have to convince about 2 million people to switch their votes for Kerry to win. In Ohio, you could do it with more on the order of 5,000. So your lone vote is more significant, but still pretty much negligible.

[ Parent ]

Okay, fine. (none / 1) (#121)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:24:21 PM EST

Again, you're just arguing the "one vote is statistically insignificant" angle which is orthogonal to the "votes toward candidates who do not carry the entire state do not count" angle.

However, I'm willing to compromise, since it really isn't important.

Replace all instances of "me" or "I" in my posts with "37% of the voting population of Texas" and now are you happy?  "37% of the voting population of Texas has been disenfranchised by the electoral college."  Yeah, that sounds much better.

If all those people moved to Ohio, you can be damn well sure they'd have an impact.  Or, say, if we had a proportional voting system or a direct popular vote system.  Any system but what we have now, where their vote means nothing.

Are we clear now?

[ Parent ]

but that's true in a direct vote system too (none / 0) (#122)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:32:21 PM EST

In a proportional vote system, a bloc of 3m people would be guaranteed some representation. However, there is no such guarantee in a direct popular vote system. You're arguing that since only 37% of the people in Texas support Kerry, he has no chance of winning Texas, and so therefore those 37% of people are disenfranchised. By but that argument, if it was a landslide election and Bush was leading 60-40 nationwide, 40% of the entire country would be disenfranchised. I don't think that's a reasonable conclusion.

IMO, the election in Texas is just a microcosm of the general election. In happens that in this particular set the election is a landslide victory for Bush.

[ Parent ]

Ah, there's the rub. (3.00 / 2) (#124)
by cburke on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:53:21 PM EST

By but that argument, if it was a landslide election and Bush was leading 60-40 nationwide, 40% of the entire country would be disenfranchised. I don't think that's a reasonable conclusion.

First, Presidential elections are necessarily winner-take-all because we only elect one President.

In a direct vote, everyone's vote is counted, and the person with the most votes is President.  While none of the ones voting for the losing candidates changed the outcome, they in fact had their vote counted.  Every vote cast in favor of one candidate versus another changes the percentage of the vote that goes to the candidates.  This is the very definition of your vote having an effect -- when you vote, the race changes in favor of your candidate in proportion to your vote versus the number of votes.

In an electoral college system the only vote that matters is the electoral vote.  With winner-take-all elector selection, my vote -- I'm sorry, the vote of 37% of the population of the state of Texas -- is not counted in the Presidential election.  37% of the population doesn't get to vote for President.  Their votes do not effect the percentage of electoral votes that go toward one candidate or another.

That is why the former is not disenfranchisement, and the latter is.  It's not about losing, it's about counting.

IMO, the election in Texas is just a microcosm of the general election.

Exactly.  Why should we have a 'microcosm of the general election' which results in 40% of the votes in some states being thrown out before we then go on to the real general election?  The Presidential election now has vastly less resolution than it would without the college, and large swaths of the population have their opinion heard in that general election not at all.  The result is that the general election in which electoral votes are all that matter is not representative of the state elections where individual votes are counted.  

Take your 60/40 example -- in that case, Bush should win.  But with the electoral college, if that 60% is spread out such that he has 80% support in low-electoral-vote states, and 40% in high electoral-vote-states, Bush loses.  The will of the people has been lost.

[ Parent ]

I don't think that's a reasonable interpretation (none / 1) (#125)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:05:55 PM EST

The vote in Texas can be explained exactly the same way you explained the national vote. We hold a vote in Texas to see who, as a state, we would like to support. Everyone's votes are counted, but if you happen to be supporting the minority candidate, the state doesn't go your way.

[ Parent ]
Exactly -- the State votes for President. (none / 0) (#226)
by cburke on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 09:34:21 PM EST

I don't, the State's Electors do.  If the State's Electors don't represent my will, then I'm not represented in the election for President.  You're saying the same thing as me.  You point out how my vote isn't counted in the Presidential election, and then claim it's unreasonable to say my vote isn't counted in the Presidential election.  

My vote is counted in an election, the vote for Electors, which is not the vote for President.  This is a two-step process, and it is between steps that my vote is eliminated, and it is unreasonable to ignore that.

"We hold a vote in Texas to see who, as a state, we would like to support"

Why should it be that way?  Why should a State support only a single candidate, rather than the candidates in proportion to what its populace supports?  Why should the views of 40% of the population be eliminated, ignored, obviated just so that we can say that everyone within the region called "Texas" supports one person, which they don't?

[ Parent ]

Move. (none / 1) (#127)
by fluxrad on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 05:21:46 PM EST

nt.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
problem is ... (none / 0) (#138)
by jbuck on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:12:18 PM EST

... if every state uses Colorado's system, then the smallest states get triple votes (Wyoming gets three votes, even though their population would barely justify one). Swing states would be tempted to keep their winner-take-all system to keep their influence and keep money from the feds pouring in.

[ Parent ]
Yes but... (none / 0) (#204)
by sab39 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:37:54 PM EST

You'd have to win 84% of the vote to get more than two of them, and conversely, *lose* more than 84% of the vote not to get at least one. So in practice *every* state has pretty much one vote up for grabs. I could have *sworn* that the original article pointed this out. Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
riiight (2.33 / 3) (#139)
by mattw on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:13:01 PM EST

I live in Texas too, and I'm none too happy that Bush will almost assuredly win. That said: that's how the people of Texas want it to be. Because, surprise, Texas decides how Texas votes. In fact, if Texas had a law that said that the governor got to pick the electors at whim, that's how it would be.

You're not being disenfranchised because you do not have a right to vote for a President. The Constitution doesn't give you one, and this is not a democracy, it's a Republic. Why not complain you're being disenfranchised because you don't get to vote directly on Bills in the House and Senate? Then we can really have mob rule.

The Electoral College was better before it was being chosen by popular vote.


[Scrapbooking Supplies]
[ Parent ]

If state legislatures still voted for EC reps... (3.00 / 2) (#174)
by Elohite on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:05:39 AM EST

...people might still pay attention to who they vote for on the state level. What's the turnout for state level elections in the US? Local government elections here in the UK average about 25-38%, a rather depressing statistic.

[ Parent ]
Turnout (none / 1) (#186)
by Kal on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:44:27 AM EST

Is pretty low where I live. Everyone seems to focus on the Presidential election, so every four years they start thinking about voting and completely neglect to think about who they're putting in Congress or the State legislature. I always find it amazing that people worry so much about who is President but have no idea who is representing them at a State and Federal level.

[ Parent ]
Unhealthy mix of mob rule and elitism arguments (none / 0) (#228)
by cburke on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:52:41 PM EST

I live in Texas too, and I'm none too happy that Bush will almost assuredly win. That said: that's how the people of Texas want it to be.

Clearly not, since 37% of the state feels differently.  Of course the 63% in the majority sure as hell aren't going to let that 37% have any say, are they?  Mob rule indeed.

The Constitution doesn't give you one, and this is not a democracy, it's a Republic.

A Republic just means we elect representatives who form the government.  We directly elect every other representative in government, why not the President?

And I know the Constitution doesn't give the right -- that's what I'm complaining about!  For fuck's sake.

Why not complain you're being disenfranchised because you don't get to vote directly on Bills in the House and Senate? Then we can really have mob rule.

I vote for the Congressmen who pass the bills.  You'll notice I'm not complaining that I can't decide what our military does?  I want to vote for President, the man who is going to run that military for me.

And how could you even bring up 'mob rule' when you're willing to let the majority in your own state become "[what] the people of Texas want".

The Electoral College was better before it was being chosen by popular vote.

Ah, an elitist.  Are you also upset that state governments are by popular vote, or that federal representatives are by popular vote?  Which group of elitist fucks do you think would do a better job?

[ Parent ]

ok, right (none / 0) (#230)
by mattw on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 10:18:06 AM EST

Clearly not, since 37% of the state feels differently.  Of course the 63% in the majority sure as hell aren't going to let that 37% have any say, are they?  Mob rule indeed.

How is it different when 50.1% of people vote for one candidate and 49.9% are stuck with him? That's how this works.

A Republic just means we elect representatives who form the government.  We directly elect every other representative in government, why not the President?

We don't elect the Supreme Court, the President's cabinet, Federal Judges, or any officials in the always-growing executive branch (people who have enormous sway like Michael Powell or Alan Greenspan). Why not all of them?

The short answer is: because it's nearly impossible to know these people. Kerry and Bush campaign on 1 or 2 concepts ("Stay the course!", "He lied about Iraq!"), soundbites, and rigged debates. You can really know a candidate who is closer to you, who is accountable to less people who pay them more scrutiny.

I vote for the Congressmen who pass the bills.  You'll notice I'm not complaining that I can't decide what our military does?  I want to vote for President, the man who is going to run that military for me.

But micromanaging your government is a shitty way to get a government. We now have mob rule - ignorant masses voting solely on hot-button issues (abortion, for example), largely swayed by political advertising, polls, pundits, and anything but a deep understanding of the issues. This is why Bush can say things like, "Hey, the Patriot Act doesn't restrict your rights!" and not be laughed at. If Bush and Kerry had to simply convince a few hundred electors instead of the whole country, there would be a lot less bullshit.

And how could you even bring up 'mob rule' when you're willing to let the majority in your own state become "[what] the people of Texas want".

Texas needs to send electors. The people of Texas want to send Republican electors. I don't see a problem here, other than I'd like to actually vote for electors who can think and decide rather than electors who are simply vote-messengers.

Ah, an elitist.  Are you also upset that state governments are by popular vote, or that federal representatives are by popular vote?  Which group of elitist fucks do you think would do a better job?

I'd basically like to elect high-integrity people who are open-minded and ready and willing to consider all angles to go and represent us during the presidential election. I'd like to send them to ask good questions and get good answers. I'd like to send people who could realistically threaten to try to lead a coalition to elect a Green or Libertarian if the Republicans and Democrats couldn't come up with good answers.

With a popular vote, we're governed by polls. With real Electors, we could have a real debate, real third parties, and be guaranteed a vote on the issues; yet people are still voting, and they can choose local people they know have integrity.

"Mob rule" is when people are voting based on how they are swayed by demagoguery; we basically have it now, and the bigger the election, the more that's true. This is why the 2-party system manages to remain entrenched.

I want Bush gone bad. I'm voting for Kerry on the wing-and-a-prayer that all the Republicans decide to stay home. But I also recognize the dangers inherent in "direct democracy". Have you ever read the Federalist Papers? Good stuff.


[Scrapbooking Supplies]
[ Parent ]

Question. (none / 1) (#148)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:16:34 PM EST

If we had a direct national election and the polls were strongly in favor of Bush going in to Election Day, would you be still be bitching about how your vote didn't count for anything?




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Goes in to effect on the election it's ratified? (2.50 / 4) (#99)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 01:04:28 PM EST

Is that at all Constitutional? I thought we had this ex posto facto thing going on that makes this whole farce illegal? I'm ponfused.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

hm... (none / 1) (#110)
by zenofchai on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:37:23 PM EST

Question 1: should Colorado split electoral votes for president?
Question 2: what is your vote for president?

As long as they count the results for question 1 before the results for question 2, is it ex post facto?

Perhaps they could write the ballots like this:
Question 1: should Colorado split electoral votes for president?
Question 2: what is your vote for president, if Question 1 is decided no?
Question 3: what is your vote for president, if Question 1 is decided yes?

But at this point, it's already far too complicated for the average voter. I would guess that the only people who would be changing their vote based on the outcome of Question 1 would be those who were voting 3rd party, and at this point, I'm not even sure how many of them would change their vote anyway
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

I can only see the second option (none / 0) (#111)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:44:09 PM EST

as legal, and as you said, confusing for the average voter.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
reminds me of the California recall (none / 0) (#113)
by zenofchai on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:54:55 PM EST

Where Question 1 was something like: Should Governor Davis be recalled?

And Question 2 was something like: Should Governor Davis be recalled, who would you like to be governor?

I wonder how many people voted no for #1 and didn't vote at all for #2?
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Recall vs New Candidate (none / 0) (#158)
by mcrbids on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:05:40 AM EST

I wonder how many people voted no for #1 and didn't vote at all for #2?

Actually, I voted AGAINST the recall - I thought it was stupid. Once I'd voted against the recall, I'd done my fair duty, and was then free to vote for whomever with a clear conscience.

I didn't vote for "The Govornator".

In retrospect, I should have. Arnyold may be sexist and a terrible actor, who must carefully pick his rolls in movies for the wooden, uncompassionate. (cyborgs, etc)

But, as a govorner, he has done a wonderful job of mixing conservatism and liberalism to extract the nuggets of each that is right, to result in real solutions that really work.

He's a smart man, that Arnold. I'd vote for him again in a heartbeat. If he tried to get the US constitution changed so that he could be "the prez", I'd vote for that too, so long as the ammendment was reasonable.
I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse
[ Parent ]

You're right... (none / 1) (#159)
by onemorechip on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:15:19 AM EST

And the problem was, your opinion on question #1 could be influenced by the outcome of question #2. What if you voted for the recall but thought Bustamante was worse than Davis, and Bustamante won question 2? You'd likely change your vote on question 1. And this would seem more likely than a voter changing his/her vote from Kerry to Bush based on Amendment 36's outcome (though I agree it might affect some 3rd party voters, though not many).

As I recall there was some kind of challenge to the Davis recall on similar grounds but the courts wouldn't hear it. My recollection is a bit fuzzy so it may not have been an "ex post facto" complaint.

I voted against the recall pretty much because of the above problem and the way any joker (Gary Coleman or Gallagher, anybody?) with a few dozen signatures and a small sum of money could get on the ballot -- not a good process.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

ror (1.00 / 7) (#106)
by Black Belt Jones on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:16:51 PM EST

u said kielbasa.

Proportional elections stupid & divisive (2.00 / 12) (#109)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 02:33:53 PM EST

This country is called the United States of America for a reason. It is a federation of states. For a country as large and diverse as the USA to function, regional and state interests must have a voice.

Changing to a proportional voting system shifts the "swing" from states to demographic groups.

When a presidential candidate campaigns for a swing state, he needs to appeal to the voting population of the state. That means farmers, factory workers, urban dwellers and soccer moms alike.

For a proportional election, candidates merely need to target block voting groups. Instead of appealing to a broad state audience, campaigns will zero in on the ethnic and special interest blocs and ignore the rest of us.

That's a big change that would eventually lead to the destruction of American democracy and open the door to tyrants and coups.

Are you a Virginian or an American? (3.00 / 2) (#133)
by nurikochan on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:19:39 PM EST

I believe it was Jefferson who famously stated that he was a Virginian.

Are you a Virginian? Are you a Michigander? Are you New Yorkian?

I don't know anybody who defines themselves based on  the state they live in. Everyone instead claims to be American. With increases in power to the Federal government and the power to give out funding to the states, the era of states is over.

I'd think proportional elections would be net better: Instead of targetting (and only targetting) states with high number of electoral votes, the canidates would have to talk about issues that effect Americans.

[ Parent ]

Funny. (none / 1) (#146)
by ubernostrum on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:13:55 PM EST

You talk about candidates targetting states with high numbers of electoral votes, but the big candidates seem to be courting Wisconsin and Iowa at the moment... you can bet your ass that'd never happen in a direct vote.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Okay... (none / 0) (#149)
by nurikochan on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:25:35 PM EST

I forgot about places like Texas (overwhelmingly Bush) or Michigan or New York.

I'm dumb. :p

[ Parent ]

I'm not a VIrginian (3.00 / 2) (#170)
by The Real Lord Kano on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:43:42 AM EST

Are you a Virginian? Are you a Michigander? Are you New Yorkian?

I'm a Pittsburgher. I'm a Pennsylvanian. I'm also an American.

With increases in power to the Federal government and the power to give out funding to the states, the era of states is over.

The constitution is still the same.

LK

[ Parent ]

No (none / 1) (#185)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:38:37 AM EST

Candidates would appeal to demographic bands that would deliver bloc votes. The result would be a balkanization of the electorate.

Today, political dynamics and regional interests determine what states are "swing" states. They change frequently. In 1992 election New York was a swing state, for example.

The US is a huge country, and certain issues tend to affect some states and regions more than others. The electoral college, helps spread out political power and has been a positive force throughout our history. There would have been no Lincoln, Johnson, Clinton or Kennedy were it not for the electoral college.

[ Parent ]

Oh gee (none / 0) (#197)
by mcc on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:39:55 PM EST

Candidates would appeal to demographic bands that would deliver bloc votes. The result would be a balkanization of the electorate.

You just perfectly described the presidency of George W. Bush.

[ Parent ]

oh, please (none / 1) (#137)
by jbuck on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:09:45 PM EST

Under the current system, the states of California, New York, and Texas are completely ignored, and they are the three most populous states in the country. Residents of liberal Austin, TX, or conservative Orange County, CA, have no say.

[ Parent ]
.Vote (none / 1) (#157)
by debillitatus on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:28:19 AM EST

But then again, if you live in Texas, say, your vote is essentially cancelled no matter how you vote. The state is going to go to W no matter what, so what difference does your vote make?

Another way of looking at it is to say that whenever you've voted for a losing candidate, you've wasted your vote. Do you think that's true?

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

What? (2.50 / 2) (#183)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:29:20 AM EST

New York, Texas and California are hardly ignored. Those three states are among the top recipients of federal dollars. The electoral college helps to blunt the overwhelming power that the big states wield in the congress.

With proportional voting for the presidency, states like California, New York and Texas would essentially be all that mattered. The electoral college gives small states and regions a voice in national policy.

[ Parent ]

Federal dollars (none / 0) (#208)
by jmc on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:40:12 PM EST

Actually, federal dollars are distributed just as you would expect under our current system: taxpayers in large states subsidize people and businesses in smaller states. This is a natural result of people in the large states getting proportionally less representation per voter.

Thus, the "rugged individualists" of Wyoming and Idaho are actually being fiscally subsidized by the "commies" in NY and CA.

[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#210)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 06:52:27 PM EST

Not really... since the New Deal era, the Southern and Western legislators allied and have taken a disproportionate portion of federal dollars.

While sparsely populated states have benefited, Texas and California have been transformed into industrial juggernauts as a direct result of federal spending since 1932.

[ Parent ]

Taxes in vs taxes out. (none / 0) (#219)
by jmc on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:28:18 PM EST

TX and CA get more spending per capita, but not as much as the federal income taxes their voters pay. The inequity is in:

((federal money spent) - (federal taxes paid)) / (population).

A lot of this depends on the percentage of people living in the state that are urban vs rural, as urban people tend to make more money (and thus pay more taxes) but get fewer benefits.

My source is the book "Perfectly Legal;" I'd have to have a copy in front of me to find the original source for the stats. I think your info may be out of date since the feds stopped spending so much on CA military contractors.

[ Parent ]

Oh, please... (none / 1) (#144)
by Pingveno on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:08:27 PM EST

Divisive? Have you seen any of the recent campaign ads?

We already do have swing demographics. You don't see Bush making an appeal to liberals ("Kerry and his liberal friends in Congress") or Kerry trying to appeal to members of the Constitution party. Proportional elections would just make it so candidates couldn't ignore swing populations in non-swing states.

That's a big change that would eventually lead to the destruction of American democracy and open the door to tyrants and coups.

Now that's appocraphal. We're not going to turn into a dictatorship because of a switch to a proportional voting system.


------
In other news, more than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
[ Parent ]
Tinfoil hat. (2.50 / 2) (#155)
by debillitatus on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:26:29 AM EST

Ok, I was totally with you until the last sentence. Then woah.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

I don't wear hats (none / 0) (#187)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:46:05 AM EST

You lack imagination.

The military community is a huge population that tends to vote in a bloc. Charismatic military leaders could, in certain circumstances use that political will to attain power and decide to stay.

Preventing that sort of thing is one reason why the framers chose the system that we use today.

[ Parent ]

yeah (none / 0) (#229)
by C Montgomery Burns on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:51:00 AM EST

your head won't fit into your ass with a hat on it.
--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Problem with scraping the electoral college (none / 1) (#119)
by cronian on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 04:03:13 PM EST

Do you people realize the potential for fraud? People vote locally, and then all then numbers would added up. If you can rig the vote in one state, you could dramtically alter the election. Suppose, the Republicans manage to add 3 million votes down in Texas and Florida. Not only do they get those state's electoral votes, but they those votes could sway the whole nation.

The only solution to this would be to nationalize the voting system. However, that provides a central agency with the capability of rigging the election. Both of these are terrible ideas.

The solution I see, would be to give each elector, who gets over say 2% in their respective state, the power to cast that percentage of their state's electoral votes in the electoral college.

Under that system, third party electors could cast the deciding votes in the presidential election. Coalitions would have to be formed, and deals made to select the president. However, if they couldn't agree the house would decide. So, you could probably get the added benefit of the president usually being from a different party, than controls congress.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
oh, come on (3.00 / 2) (#136)
by jbuck on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 09:08:07 PM EST

Cheating is possible, but not adding 3 million electoral votes. Both parties have observers at every polling station; any vote-shaving needs to be at the margins, at least after we insist that electronic voter machines produce paper records that can be checked.

In any case, we need to abolish the concept that the state official in charge of elections is an active member of one of the political parties. That's absurd; other countries have election judges who stay out of politics completely. No partisan Republican and no partisan Democrat should be in a position to run a state election.

[ Parent ]

rigging elections (none / 0) (#154)
by cronian on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 11:50:14 PM EST

There are lots of ways to rig elections. When Kennedy was running for president, Mayor Daley insisted they release the resuls from downstate Illinois, first. That way he knew how many votes Kennedy had to lead by, so he could make sure Illinois was fixed.

You can put all sorts of safeguards in place, but there will still be corrupt officials, who cheat in elections. We really don't want to make it easier for one group to rig the elections for the whole entire country. If we do that, I'm damn sure someone will do exactly that.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
Potential for fraud (3.00 / 3) (#182)
by thejeff on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:52:47 AM EST

So you're worried that fraud changing several million votes could sway the results for the whole nation, but not about the current situation, where you might only have to change a few thousand votes to change the outcome for the state, throwing all of its electoral votes to the other candidate.

I think the potential for fraud is less with a direct vote, since there are no breakpoints where large numbers of electoral votes can be swung by a few votes.


[ Parent ]

Gee... (3.00 / 2) (#134)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 08:25:37 PM EST

I would think third parties might like the idea, as it gives them a better shot; they're never going to have a majority in a state if they're still really "third" parties, after all, but if they were to pick up significant electoral votes, even as losers, it would mean they'd be a lot harder to ignore the next time.

As for Colorado, I'm sorry to hear that your once beautiful state is now a haven for Californian assholes. Frankly, I think Californians should be banned from most states. They're trying to fuck up Montana too.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

A story that mentions white flight from CA... (2.00 / 2) (#147)
by waxmop on Mon Oct 25, 2004 at 10:15:09 PM EST

And not a Baldrson comment anywhere? What gives?
--
Limberger is the angeldust of cheese.
I get my vote back. (3.00 / 6) (#160)
by mcrbids on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:18:40 AM EST

The electoral college system has taken away from me the right to vote for the president of the United States.

See, I live in California. California will vote in a Democratic president. It's a foregone conclusion. Thus, my power to influence 1/50,000,000 of the vote for the president is effectively taken away from me by the "Electoral College" system. It doesn't matter which way I vote, since my vote doesn't provide any effective benefit to either party. I can't even vote for a Democratic president and make a difference!

Remember, this system was originally created because counting votes was too expensive and it was therefore easier to send a single guy on horseback to Washington...

So, I figure, it sucks. I'd like to see it done away with. Whosoever winneth the popular vote should winneth the election. Period.

That way, every, single vote counts. Then, I can feel loved, as though "the prez" cares about me, because, as 1/50,000,000 of the voting US population, my vote should count for that much.

Colorado's Prop 36 effectively almost does that, without requiring the big, national hoopla that would come from dropping the arcane and destructive electoral college system.

I would *love* to see the 2-party system lose sway to a much richer system of diverse parties and free thought/association. The current oligarchy stemming from just two parties I find frightening.

The other change I'd like to see is to allow voters to vote for "none of the above". The rules behind this would be that 'None of the above" would be considered a candidate, and if "None of the above" won the election, then a new election is done to fill the office.

A candidate voted "None of the above" can't run for public office again for at least 8 years. This is key - this gives the power to the voters to ruin careers, and hold candidates accountable.


I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse

Umm no. (none / 0) (#181)
by Arker on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:31:24 AM EST

The electoral college system has taken away from me the right to vote for the president of the United States.

Umm no. You never had any right to vote for the President. People do not, and never have, voted for the President. It's not just your fault here for being misinformed - the media and the politicians do their share and promote a view of how they would like it to work, instead of how it does work, but nonetheless you are horribly misinformed here.

The States select agents called Electors, and it is the Electors who vote for the President, not the people. Always been that way. If you want to change that, you need a Constitutional Amendment.

The States can select their Electors anyway they want. They don't have to vote at all. They can have the governor appoint them, they can have the legislature appoint them (this was very common in earlier years) they could even let the dog catcher decide, it's completely up to them.

See, I live in California. California will vote in a Democratic president. It's a foregone conclusion. Thus, my power to influence 1/50,000,000 of the vote for the president is effectively taken away from me by the "Electoral College" system. It doesn't matter which way I vote, since my vote doesn't provide any effective benefit to either party. I can't even vote for a Democratic president and make a difference!

It's not the electoral college system per se that causes this - it's the decision made by the legislature of the State of California. That is the body that gets to determine how that States electors are chosen. That body has chosen to select them in a winner-takes-all vote, where rather than listing the actual Electors you are voting for, the ballot lists the Presidential candidate run by the party those Elector-candidates were nominated by. The California legislature could allocate them proportionately instead, solving your complaint. They could also put the names of the actual electoral candidates on the ballot (some states do this) which might help with the confusion over what you're actually voting for as well. Why don't you suggest this to them?

So, I figure, it sucks. I'd like to see it done away with. Whosoever winneth the popular vote should winneth the election. Period.

The question of whether or not this is a good idea can definately be debated, but understand, if you think it's a good idea, you need to be working on a Constitutional Amendment.



[ Parent ]
Amendment 14? (none / 0) (#223)
by TheLaser on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 03:05:22 PM EST

The States select agents called Electors, and it is the Electors who vote for the President, not the people. Always been that way. If you want to change that, you need a Constitutional Amendment.

The States can select their Electors anyway they want. They don't have to vote at all. They can have the governor appoint them, they can have the legislature appoint them (this was very common in earlier years) they could even let the dog catcher decide, it's completely up to them.

But what about Amendment 14?  Specifically:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers.... But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States... is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States... the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Untangling the run-on sentance is a bit difficult, but I think that says if a state legislature did decide to deny its citizens (I'm assuming amendments 19 and 26 change "male inhabitants being twenty-one years of age" to "citizens") the right to vote for electors, they would lose their entire representation in the House (or maybe the electoral college directly, I'm not sure just what "therein" refers to).  And then, since they no longer have such representation, the state is suddenly down to two electoral votes.

Sure, you're still only voting for electors, not for president/vice president, but the legislature can't just pick electors at whim.



[ Parent ]
Electors and popular vote, Amendment 14 (none / 0) (#225)
by Arker on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 08:42:55 PM EST

You're correct, and I spoke slightly too broadly. Amendment 14 does, very slightly, limit the power of the state to allocate their votes as they wish. However, it does not mandate an election - merely that if there is an election, and the state disqalifies certain people, it loses votes proportionately. There is still no requirement that there is a vote, however. State legislatures often simply appointed their electors in the early days, and even now many have provisions allowing for the legislature or governer to appoint them in certain situations.

The 'controlling authority' is Article II: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."

Here's an article on the history of the electoral college you might find interesting.



[ Parent ]
How I'd want to do it. (3.00 / 6) (#162)
by parliboy on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:45:41 AM EST

If we're going to do electoral votes, then let's make each one mean something, individually.

We know that a state's electoral count equals the total number of Representatives (varies) plus the number of Senators (2) each state has.

So I say let each representative's district count toward one electoral vote.  You win a district, you win a vote.  Then apply the two senate-based votes to whoever wins the total popular vote in a state.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.

If you thought Gerrymandering was bad now... (none / 0) (#179)
by malraux on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:08:50 AM EST

Your suggestion would make Gerrymandering one of the most important political tools of our time. One has only to look at the debacle in Texas to realize this.

Regards,
-scott

Administrator of zIWETHEY forums
[ Parent ]
you could do it another way (none / 0) (#190)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 11:33:27 AM EST

look at the popular vote of the state and divide the electors by the percentage of each candidates piece of the popular vote.

then congressional districts do not matter since you are looking at the aggregate to divide the votes.

[ Parent ]

Preventable (none / 0) (#231)
by Dyolf Knip on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 02:24:24 PM EST

It's fairly easy to regulate district line drawing to prevent gerrymandering.  You can specify limits to the perimeter:area ratio.  You can require that a district layout be geometrically convex (a line drawn from any part of it to any other will always lie entirely within the figure), or very nearly so.  You can draw the smallest circle that will completely enclose the district and limit the ratio of district area to circle area (this is called the rubber band method).

I'm sure there's more.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but the whole Mandelbrot fractal thing needs to stop.  With the 'rubber band' scoring, something like 13% of all districts in the country score less than 0.1; i.e., they use less than one-tenth of the area needed to circumscribe them.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

Maine (none / 0) (#188)
by DaChesserCat on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:09:54 AM EST

Maine is looking at doing just that. They have four electoral votes (2 reps, 2 senators). Their state election laws provide one electoral vote per rep district (whoever wins in that district gets the electoral vote) and the 2 senate votes go to whoever wins the popular vote in the state.

There is a considerable amount of effort going into getting one of the two to go for Bush, seeing as how the state is considered strong Kerry territory.

Consequently, this might get Colorado more attention than they expect.

Trains stop at train stations Busses stop at bus stations A windows workstation . . .
[ Parent ]
Demographic vs geographic voting (2.50 / 4) (#178)
by gidds on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:05:25 AM EST

I'm not a US resident, and I probably know very little of the US political system. But I did spot something on a web site somewhere which made the electoral college system seem a lot more sensible.

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority; the problem is that that majority isn't evenly-distributed. If every voter had an equal say in the election, then the fact that the majority of the electorate live in urban areas would mean that urban interests would outweigh rural ones, and the country would get governed largely in the interests of the big cities.

The electoral college system, AIUI, is designed to prevent that. It means that a candidate cannot win simply by getting all the support from the big cities; he (or she) would need broad support across the whole country, in urban and rural areas. Both interests would be represented in the government.

In essence, it changes the system from counting votes purely by the number of people, to counting them by land area as well. Geographic as well as demographic voting.

At least, that's the theory. I've no idea how well this works out in practice. But a lot of the posts here seem just as uninformed as I am. To argue intelligently about the electoral college system, you need first to understand its aims! Then we can discuss whether it's implemented well, whether geographical counting is a good idea, whether it shifts the balance far enough (or too far) towards that, &c.

Andy/

it works well (none / 0) (#189)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 11:15:24 AM EST

for a system that elects its chief officer by the people and not by the congress. the problems of popular vote verses electoral numbers only rears its head when the difference is votes between the two candidates is less than a percent.

I mean, when most of the world's democracies are run parliamentary style where the chief officer is elected by a lower house of legislation, I would say out system is very fair and very democratic.

to bad Hillary decided she ought to mess with the public by introducing the idea of popular vote.

[ Parent ]

Not actually true (none / 0) (#234)
by hobbified on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 05:40:34 PM EST

Actually, it's possible for the electoral college to come up with a result contrary to popular will any time the difference is less than 56%. It's just that the more skewed numbers only show up when there are great disparities between the states, and we don't get that here. Our two parties are so similar and so deadlocked that 60%-40% is about as extreme a result as you'd ever see. If you were to suppose current conditions, but re-distribute the voting preferences of states so that Set A (consisting of 33 states that I selected) votes 60% for Party A and 40% for Party B, while Set B (the remaining states) vote 60% for party B and 40% for party A, then Party A would capture the presidency with 270 electoral votes (50.19%), with only 48.7% of the popular vote. Okay, so not that big. But 2.5% difference between the candidates is more than 1% ;) If you consider the worst-case distribution given only two candidates, then the minimum portion of the popular vote required to capture the presidency goes down to slightly under 22%, as I posted before. If you factor "third parties" into the mix, then it goes down as .44/nCandidates to get 270 Electoral Votes, but also opens up the possibility that nobody does, in which case a special vote among the states takes place in the House, which can be even messier :)

[ Parent ]
you are basing that on a state by state percentage (none / 0) (#235)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 12:25:11 AM EST

your math could end up with 30% of the country voting one way and the rest voting another way.

anyway. on the basic point. a nation wide popular voting system would not be representative of the US population. it would be representative of New england, the west coast, and one or two large cities in between since that is all a candidate will need in order to win the popular vote election.

for the minority of times that it is plausible for a candidate to get the popular vote (a number which can not exceed 51% of the US population in this instance) and loose the electoral vote, the benefits of a president requiring broad based support as well as needing the support of states like Rhode Island or Kansas greatly exceeds the negatives stated before.

[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#237)
by hobbified on Mon Nov 01, 2004 at 04:28:34 PM EST

Oh, so you're saying that in order to win the popular vote, all you need is... the support... of most... of the people? Wow! Anyway, I'm not saying that popular vote is the perfect system, only that the electoral college system does a horrifically bad job of representing the will of the people, and it would be nice if people stopped believing otherwise.

[ Parent ]
most of the people do not represent (none / 0) (#240)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:11:11 PM EST

a cross section of the intrests in this country.

if you only needed to pander to 50% of the people in this country to win, then you could go to the population centers, however, you need to pander to far far more people than that to win 50% +1 Electoral college votes.

do you see how that is a good thing? I voted for Kerry and I am pissed that Kerry lost, but those two men had to go and talk to many more people in many more places for much more time than they would have had to if tehy had been only looking to win 50.0000001% of the people in this country.

states have diffrent intrests and each states needs to be in the mind of the president, not just New York, Chicago, and LA.

[ Parent ]

Except (none / 0) (#243)
by hobbified on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:04:04 PM EST

That in theory, you don't have to "pander" to even as many people given the electoral college system. EC is highly sensitive to the distribution of the different parties among the states; given the same total population of each state, but a different distribution of representation of the different parties, and you get a minimum voting bloc of states representing less than 44% of the population -- worse than popular vote. When states are fairly equally divided (like most of them today), voters are fairly strongly represented, but when a state swings hard to one side, its voters get ripped off. We already know this.

[ Parent ]
Bingo. (none / 0) (#193)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:26:50 PM EST

That's exactly why they did it and, if you think about it, it means the results are actually similar to a parlimentary system where the party with the majority of seats in the legislature gets to pick the PM.

The reason this has become an issue is that things have gotten a bit more distorted since the capped the number of seats in Congress. First, there are the same # of electors as there are seats in Congress. Originally, there was one House member for each 30,000 people (IIRC) - but by the 20th century that created the prospect of a truly huge House - there would be something like 1,000 members, today.

To prevent that from happening, they froze the size of the House at 430 something and now they just move the seats around to match the results of the most recent census. This has turned out to have tremendous problems as well - but there you go; the options are either have less-than-even representation in the House or else we re-build the Congress to accomodate 1,000 members.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

There's more to it than that though (none / 0) (#198)
by DaMacGuy on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 02:13:49 PM EST

The commong defense for the Electorial College is that it helps give a voice to the smaller (by population) States, and that's a valid arguement.

But it doesn't hold up in this dual-party, highly polarized day and age. Look at how much attention has been given to the state of Rhode Island (our smallest by size) or to Alaska (our largest by size, but with a small population).

The candidates have focused allmost all of their efforts on a few key undecided states where they can win a huge number of electorial college votes.

If we were to uphold the previously stated ideal - equal voice with out regard for size - then we should do away with using the number of representative to the House which is based on population.

But size was only part of the issue behind the Electorial College. In the late 1700's, and indeed for many decades afterwards, most citizens knew few people outside of a 50 mile radius of where they were born, and even fewer people ever moved outside of 50 miles of where they were born. And the literacy rate of the average 21 year old white male landowner (the only eligable voter in the day) was abysmal.

The members of the Electorial College were suppose to be the creme de la creme of the citizenry each state. They would be more likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the name and deeds of the candidates running for office.

And don't forget that it was nearly 200 before the average voter considered themself a United States citizen first rather than a State citizen first.

Basically, the Founding Fathers knew that leaving the election of a national leader to the masses was a receipe for disaster. The voters would be unlikely to have ever heard of the candidates, would not have heard the candidates platform, and would most likely vote for the person who lived closest to their state.

The Electorial College was meant to be above all of those problems, and originally to give some balance between large and small states.

[ Parent ]

another possible motivation... (none / 0) (#200)
by nerpzilla2 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 02:49:25 PM EST

An important consideration in choosing the electoral college i would think was the makeup of the states at the time of the constitution.  the number of electors is not chosen by population (as we think of it today) - rather by the number of representatives plus the number of senators.  obviously, there are two senators for each state.  the number of representatives, by the constitution, is "according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons"  us const. art I sec 2, cl 3.  

This gave the slave states a higher number of representatives than actual citizens, and gave them higher clout in the electoral college, because their weight was based on the 3/5ths rule.  The slave owners had good reason (in their minds, not mine) to try and limit the power of any abolitionist northern states from too greatly outweighing them in the electoral college.  While I have never researched the federalist papers or the constitutional convention records on the electoral college, i gotta think that - considering all the deal making being made between the north and the south - this was at least a consideration in not using a direct vote.

[ Parent ]

Nice theory, but... (none / 0) (#216)
by nairobiny on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:50:26 AM EST

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority; the problem is that that majority isn't evenly-distributed. If every voter had an equal say in the election, then the fact that the majority of the electorate live in urban areas would mean that urban interests would outweigh rural ones, and the country would get governed largely in the interests of the big cities.

That's exactly why we elect representatives to act on our behalf. They are (in the main) smarter and better-briefed than us and can spend much more of their time thinking about these issues than we can. Also, they are charged by the system with balancing the competing interests of different parties.

Which is why, despite overwhelming support for bringing back the death penalty in the UK, enacting legislation doesn't even get as far as first reading here. Democracy is not a referendum on every issue. We elect politicians to act in our best interest and, if we don't like the way they do it, we can vote them out next time around. They're not puppets on strings.

The sad bit about the American election is that GWB is rather like a puppet on a string. Buffeted this way by lobbyists, another string being yanked by the religious right, yet another being controlled by the neo-cons. Yet without any backbone of his own to resist. He's failing democracy by not taking account of the wider consequences of his actions and only doing what his supporters want him to do. The rest can go hang.

[ Parent ]
But who do they represent? (none / 0) (#221)
by gidds on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 07:24:41 PM EST

Yes, the UK is indeed a representative democracy, as (it would appear) is the US. But I don't think that invalidates my point: that in the US at least, that representation isn't even. It gives some people (those in small and/or sparsely-populated states) a little more of a voice (via their representatives) than others.

(I can't find any figures for constituency or ward sizes or populations here in the UK; I suspect things aren't entirely even, but that they're a little more so than the US.)

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Not quite. (none / 0) (#222)
by Kal on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 11:29:45 PM EST

It gives some people (those in small and/or sparsely-populated states) a little more of a voice (via their representatives) than others.

It gives some States more of a voice, not the people. The people, represented at the Federal level by Congressmen, are represented proportionally. That is to say New York will have more Congressmen that North Dakota due to a vastly large population. The States, represented by Senators, are represented equally with two Senators each. The States are the ones electing the President, how they go about assigning their electors is their own business.

[ Parent ]
We should elect two sets. (none / 0) (#180)
by kuro5hinatportkardotnet on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:29:37 AM EST

One President/Vice PResident team by popular vote, and another by the current Electoral system. The teams are paired off and forced to fight to the death on TV and the winners become the new President/Vice President.

 

Libertarian is the label used by embarrassed Republicans that long to be open about their greed, drug use and porn collections.
Solid Blue State perspective (3.00 / 4) (#191)
by jolly st nick on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:20:48 PM EST

I live in Massachusetts ; the Democrats could run a syphyllitic monkey here and win 12 electoral votes, solid.

Speaking as a Democrat, we really need the Republicans to be competitive here. Competition improves the breed, and its very bad for us in a number of ways to be a one party state.

For one thing, Massachusetts is ignored by the Republicans because they can't win, and by the Democrats becasue they can't lose. I have a liberal Republican state senator, whom I'd like to run for US Rep. Not that there's anything wrong with my Democratic US Rep, I just think it would be more healthy for there to be competition, both for my state and for the national parties.

This is one reason I get pissed when GWB shits on Mass. It sends the message that the Republicans hate us (which may be true of the crowd in Washington these days). But Republicans can win here when they run a moderate candidate; our last several governors have been moderate Republicans. The national party is not doing the local party any favors. The Republican party has a long history in our state going back to the civil war.

If we had a system like that contemplated in Colorado, it might swing the election to Bush, which I wouldn't like. However, it would mean that a Republican candidate could hope to win four or five electoral votes and might even consider putting the marginal effort in to try to win the state. Which would bring Republican attention ot the state and strengthen the local Republican party. Which would make the Democrats have to work harder to keep their position. Which would be good for everyone here.

What happens in that case (none / 0) (#227)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:45:37 PM EST

is that you still have liberals and conservatives - they just all call themselves "Democrats". Pennsylvania used to be that way. My dad was a local official and he was somewhere to the political right of Reagan. Similarly, ex-Governor Casey was famous for trying to do a pro-life speech during the DNC and getting snubbed for it.

Now, we're a swing state and basically a microcosm of the whole country - the cities are hard-core left wing, and everyone else votes Republican just to annoy the cities.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Small states and electoral power (2.50 / 2) (#195)
by The Rizz on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:09:53 PM EST

In several other comments so far, I have seen complaints that going to a proportional system might lead to the small states with disproportionately large armounrs of electoral votes (i.e. most of the plains states that get 3 EC votes) having an even larger (disproportionate) impact than they currently do.

The main problem with this argument is that it assumes that while most states will be split with only 1 or 2 electoral votes in difference, the small states will still go solidly to one candidate.

In a state with 3 electoral votes, it would require winning over 80% of the popular vote for this to happen (84% if only 2 candidates are on the ballot, with the % dropping as 3rd parties split the remaining votes).

This means that in almost every case, the small states will end up with only 1 electoral vote (net), rather than the 3 they have now - which seems to me would balance the system out more than misbalance it.

Very weak grounds (none / 0) (#201)
by DaMacGuy on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:09:25 PM EST

The only grounds that someone could argue against this amendment would be if it was poorly written.

Under Article II of the US Constitution each State is permitted to determine how its Electorial College representation is determined.

Of interest, no where does the US Constitution state that the Presidential election has to be by inviduals. A state could, legally, decide that its Legislature would decide for whom their Electorial College delegation should vote for (of course the individuals delegates can do what they want later).

Not only could.. (none / 0) (#207)
by Arker on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 04:48:54 PM EST

Not only could they, in many cases they have in the past.

[ Parent ]
Other legal issues... (none / 0) (#205)
by curril on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 04:02:46 PM EST

As a fellow Coloradoan, I sympathize with your desire to move Colorado into the Federal backwaters come election season--It seems like Bush has visited Colorado more than Texas the last few months.

You neglected to mention, however, a few major legal points about the amendment that will affect this election.

1) The amendment takes affect only once it is certified, regardless of being backdated to Nov. 3. With irregularities in the voter rolls, lawsuits about ID requirements, etc., recounts and such could prevent the amendment from being certified before the electors are sent to Washington if the state secretary certifies the presidential vote before the amendment vote. The lawsuit pending over the ruling that provisional ballots only count towards the presidential race could easily bring about this circumstance. I think the Governor has to put his stamp on it at some point as well, and it would be unfortunate if he happened to be at a conference in Zimbabwe at an inconvenient time.

2) The constitution says that the state legislature will chose the electors. This is a citizen initiative, not a legislative initiative. Plenty of fodder there to send this to the US Supreme court for fun and mayhem.

In other words, if amendment 36 passes and affects the national election, Colorado will make the bickering in Florida in 2000 look like a tiff over tea and biscuits. Personally, I would derive considerable amusement from this, but others might be less sanguine about it.

Sorry kid (none / 0) (#214)
by The Real Lord Kano on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 03:16:33 AM EST

After taking some time to think about your idea, I strongly disagree.

If this does pass in Colorado. You'll just fuck yourselves over. In states that are Democrat dominated, they will be smarter than to split their votes. The rest of the Republican dominated states will look to your bad example and do the opposite.

You will be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Then again, be my guest. My state could use the attention.

LK

Minor point of confusion... (none / 0) (#217)
by marcmengel on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 11:34:01 AM EST

We should remember that this change would only affect presedential elections. It doesn't change your number of seats in House of Representatives, nor the Senate, nor does it change how those seats are determined.

So it would give your state a welcome respite from the "battleground state" falderal, but it would not weaken your state's clout when it comes to getting bills passed in Congress.

I personally think all 50 states should do this, and get it over with, as Maine and Nebraska already have .

Otherwise we have the continued problem that a candidate who can get 51% of the vote in the biggest 11 states:

  • California - 55
  • Texas - 34
  • New York - 31
  • Florida - 27
  • Illinois - 21
  • Pennsylvania - 21
  • Ohio - 20
  • Michigan - 17
  • Georgia - 15
  • New Jersey - 15
  • North Carolina - 15
gets the 271 votes needed to win in the electoral college, but (asuming an extreme case) if they got zero votes in the other states would have only about 1/3 of the popular vote.

Now of course, this doesn't happen in practice very often -- Texas rarely goes the same way in an election as California, for example. But the system already leads to issues that are important only in a few of the above states becoming major campaign issues for the Presidency.

That's only a quick approximation (none / 0) (#233)
by hobbified on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 04:14:18 PM EST

In fact, it's possible to get the majority of the electoral vote through winning 33 of mostly the smaller states. Doesn't seem special, right? But if you assume the same "extreme" (candidate X barely wins in the states where he wins, and doesn't get any votes in the states where he loses), this win with 50.18% of the electoral vote represents only about 22% of the popular vote.

[ Parent ]
Maximizing personal voting power (none / 0) (#224)
by dw1w on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 04:40:12 PM EST

A few years ago a prof. at MIT came up with a theorem that described how the electoral college actually gives every voter more personal political influence than without.

I couldn't find the original article but here's a recent one covering the same subject: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2004/elections.html . It also explains why an electoral college system would help stabilize Iraq. (Or how without it, America might be as unstable as Iraq.)

To get the benefits, though, you need to be a winner-take-all state.

So regardless of how you feel about Californians in Colorado, you don't want to split your electoral votes. I'd go against Amendment 36 if I were you.

Low Smog? No! (none / 0) (#236)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon Nov 01, 2004 at 10:34:20 AM EST

A little off-topic, but you mentioned it first.

I lived in Denver from 1996-1999.  It definitely wasn't smog free.  In fact it was down right nasty at times.  Everybody has heard of the inversion layer over Denver which is very very obvious and disturbing to see.

I experienced the smog in other ways though.  I didn't own a car when I lived there and so cycled everywhere.  Trust me, there were a lot of days when people were told not to burn fires and advised not to go outside.  On many occasions I would end up with a sore throat from my five mile/20 minute cycle to work from Hampden & Havana to the Tech Center.  You Coloradans are addicted to your polluting SUVs (urban assault vehicles as I prefer to call them ;)).

I now live in Toronto.  Everybody thinks it's smoggy.  Canadians refer to it as the Big Smoke, although I don't know if that's for the same reason.  Even on the worse days cycling amongst the tall buildings that trap the air downtown, I've never experienced anything like the phsyical discomfort I felt from Denver's smog.

Fuck you (none / 0) (#239)
by John F Kerry on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 02:14:45 PM EST

you dumb canadian.

Did you vote for me?

[ Parent ]
Ahhh, an intellect! (none / 0) (#242)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 01:31:39 AM EST

But not so bright... I'm not Canadian you see.

[ Parent ]
What Colorado's Amendment 36 means for America... | 244 comments (230 topical, 14 editorial, 1 hidden)
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