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Do you support the electoral college?

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posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 12:35 AM
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Ok, well I was in my government class today, and the teacher got side tracked from teaching us about congressional commitees/sub-commitees, and started talking about our voting process.

Now I never thought about the electoral college before simply because the first time I will vote is in the 2008 elections.

As the teacher told us how it all worked, I started to realise that it's not a very democratic system, and can easily be corrupted.


So, do you support the electoral college presidential voting process or not, and explain why for either.



I myself don't support it, I think they should count every persons votes, not just a handfull of politicians from each state.




posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 01:15 AM
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No, the electoral college is a remnant of days when those in power believed that the illiterate masses were unable to chose the "right" candidate for president. See how well it worked in 2000?
The 'winner take all" aspect of the college is undemocratic and it's well past time that it take it's place on the trash heap of history.



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 02:26 AM
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No. Because I also agree that electoral college is corruptable. This is why.

This is taken from Article II, section one of the Constitution regarding the election of a President:


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.


How do we know that the electors "hold an office of trust or profit"? What constitutes an office of "trust or profit"? Going to the NARA Federal Register, it says that electors are often chosen by political parties who have a "personal affiliation with the Presidential candidate". What exactly does that mean? I'm not even sure that they have a list of electors. But the candidates know. And if the electors have this "personal affiliation" with the politicians in the race, how do you know that their decision in counting the votes is fair? How do you know if the electors belong more to one party than the other? Does this work for Third Party votes?

You can read it for yourself at the NARA website.It would also be helpful to readthe restrictions of the electoral college.

Then, it goes on to say what would most likely happen with the electors involved:


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 we don't know who the electors are (except for people within the political conventions of the respective parties), can we trust them to use those "two votes" wisely? A lot of controversy happened during the 2000 elections--especially when they violated the above section to choose the POTUS. Al Gore had more votes than George Bush in the 2000 elections.

You can also read these articles that demonstrate this notion:

Electoral College Explainer from CNN
Exploring Constitutional Conflicts
President Elect.Org.

It goes beyond the fact that the electoral college is an antiquated system. I think it would change: 1) if everyday people found out who the electors were after their appointment; 2) if we were allowed to witness the electors cast their vote on CSPAN or any other channel; or 3)if the people were allowed to vote for the electors instead of the political parties to get rid of the corruptive influence.

Just my .02 imho.

[edit on 23-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
No. Because I also agree that electoral college is corruptable. This is why.

This is taken from Article II, section one of the Constitution regarding the election of a President:


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.[/quote

How do we know that the electors "hold an office of trust or profit"? What constitutes an office of "trust or profit"?

That is fairly easy to determine. Are they gov't employees, or do they make their living from gov't contracts, etc.? If so, they cannot be an elector.


If we don't know who the electors are (except for people within the political conventions of the respective parties), can we trust them to use those "two votes" wisely? A lot of controversy happened during the 2000 elections--especially when they violated the above section to choose the POTUS. Al Gore had more votes than George Bush in the 2000 elections.

But we do know who the electors are. The are listed on the same site you cited above:
www.archives.gov...

As far as Gore winning the popular vote, well, that's one of the knocks against the current system. Maybe it can be solved by going to a proportional electoral system.



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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Yes, otherwise we'd have the President of California.



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 05:55 PM
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Okay jsobecky, you got me. I didn't look far enough on the NARA website.


I must've irked you here, didn't I?


But, of course, I still think that the electoral college is a corruptible system. But even if we do know who the electors are--still how do we know they stlll don't have connections to the candidate other than party afiliation? Of course, the restrictions say that they cannot be federal employees. But...it didn't rule out corporate interests did it?

BTW, thanks for the information. It further changed my concept of the electoral college.

[edit on 23-3-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 06:55 PM
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Yes, otherwise we'd have the President of California.


Would you care to illiterate on this?

Why do you think California would become a sovereign state?
(As in nation, not district within a country).



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 07:17 PM
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So, do you support the electoral college presidential voting process or not, and explain why for either.

No, I don't. I just feel that in a democracy the president should be elected by the popular vote and nothing else.
The current system is too easy to screw with.
I won't even go into the voting machine fiasco,,,, another whole topic.



posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
Okay jsobecky, you got me. I didn't look far enough on the NARA website.


I must've irked you here, didn't I?

Absolutely not. That would be the pot calling the kettle black; I screw up quite often myself.

I really enjoy your posts, ceci.



But, of course, I still think that the electoral college is a corruptible system. But even if we do know who the electors are--still how do we know they stlll don't have connections to the candidate other than party afiliation? Of course, the restrictions say that they cannot be federal employees. But...it didn't rule out corporate interests did it?

No it doesn't. Which brings up another hot button for me - lobbyists.
Too influential for their own good, imo.



posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:30 AM
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The electoral college system is important, the fact that its actual people that cast 'their' votes according to the system is less important. But, its also not so dangerous, as, and someone correct me if I am wrong, only one elector has ever voted other than he was supposed to.

Also, think of it this way. What if some dangerous nutter gets massive popular support, but is clearly a dictator in waiting who's managed to delude the people, likesay Hitler? The college could not vote for him. But I don't know the legality of that, and there's no reason to think that the college members would be less deluded than the public. Maybe in the 1700's that was more of a reasonable expectation though.

As far as the electoral college system itself, its very important. Assigning those votes to the states makes it so that politics isn't determined by mass politics, and that smaller states are protected from being overrun by populous ones. If we abandon the electoral college system, we might as well abolish the states and state governments.



posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by QuietRenegade
No, the electoral college is a remnant of days when those in power believed that the illiterate masses were unable to chose the "right" candidate for president.

I've never seen anything actually suggesting that that was the intent.

beer guy
I just feel that in a democracy the president should be elected by the popular vote and nothing else.

That is precisely what the founders ensured would not happen, they recognized that, in a federal system, there are citizens, and states. The president is just the executive of the federal government, which is a union of independent states, like a bank president is the executive of the bank, etc. They were very careful in choosing these things. They especially did not want a 'direct democracy', where simple majority determines these things, because that is not a system that protects the rights of the state and minorities, and thus not the public at large. They weren't looking to create a government along a democratic ideology, they were looking to create a government that could hold the various forces of tyranny, whether from overpowerul politicians or massive mobs of the people, in check.



posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
That is precisely what the founders ensured would not happen, they recognized that, in a federal system, there are citizens, and states. The president is just the executive of the federal government, which is a union of independent states, like a bank president is the executive of the bank, etc. They were very careful in choosing these things. They especially did not want a 'direct democracy', where simple majority determines these things, because that is not a system that protects the rights of the state and minorities, and thus not the public at large. They weren't looking to create a government along a democratic ideology, they were looking to create a government that could hold the various forces of tyranny, whether from overpowerul politicians or massive mobs of the people, in check.



I never thought about it like that...hmm too bad I don't have any more votes, otherwise I would have voted for you.

In every history/government class I have that talks about the electoral college, they have always said that it was bad, yet they never talk about it in a light of a buffer against tyranny. Which, after rereading the Constitution a bit, I see this, and it changes my mind a little.

I was against the college, but now I just think it needs modification. I don't like that politicians pick and choose the states that have the most votes.

Of course when those states are the states thave have the most swing between the parties, they spend 80% of their time there to get them on their side...



posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 04:29 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
I really enjoy your posts, ceci.


That is really a kind thing to say. Thank you very much. I like reading your posts as well. They are, might I say, rather "spirited".



I would also like to state that Nygdan's analysis of the electoral college is a just and fair appraisal of the process. In fact, she hit the nail on the head with her excellent expository approach on the subject.

I just tend to disagree when an "all too perfect" system in its intent can be toyed with by all too human desires. I still feel that the electoral college is a corruptible system. It is not bad. It is not wrong. My problem is with who is being chosen for such an important act. That is why I would like to see the choosing of the members in a public setting (such as CSPAN). If we know what interests lie behind the electors, then we can understand their choices. Of course, naturally they vote on the basis of the popular outcome of the election. But how can we check their decisions when the "vote count" gets perverted in some way, shape or form? And when it does, does the voices of the "minority" states matter?

With this being known, how secure can we feel about the decisions of the electoral college? Despite their choices in both the 2000 and 2004 elections (where questionable voting practices are still being investigated--but that is another matter), did their endeavors really hold "powerful forces" at bay? No. With all respect to Mr. Bush, America is still in a quandry in which the "power of the few" outweigh the needs of the many. The problems occurring in the United States today prove that the work of the electoral college needs re-tooling either by provisions made by Amendments or a separate bill. I believe that if there is a case in which the people "question" the decisions of the electoral college, they should have the right to do so.

Do we really know how they make their decisions? What if members of the electoral college are bribed to make their votes swing in one way or the other? What if they are mentally unstable? What if some members of the electoral college belong to defense contracts? The problem is--despite the list of names--we don't know despite their political affiliations. In light of this there should be a way the people can work with the members of the electoral college.

That is why I still think that the electoral process is not beyond reproach. On the surface, it may hold an entire election process in check. But, behind the scenes it can be tainted.



posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 01:30 PM
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No I do not support the Electoral College. It undermines Democracy and our election process. How can you consider a system that allows a person to win the election without getting the highest number of votes to be a good or fair system. While it served it's purpose in 18th Century America it has outlived it's usefulness.



posted on Mar, 26 2006 @ 08:19 PM
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Another question: Does anyone know whether if the people can sue the electoral college? I know at the forefront it sounds silly. But, what if there was a case in which the people were not satisfied with the actions of the electoral college. Is there any provisions that would allow a citizen of the United States to bring suit against a member for a "redress of grievances?"

I would believe that if there was such a case, it would be unprecedented. It would not only have to do with states rights, but also the rights of the citizen, wouldn't it?



posted on Mar, 26 2006 @ 10:42 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
Is there any provisions that would allow a citizen of the United States to bring suit against a member for a "redress of grievances?"

I'd think that there must be and that perhaps the laws would vary state by state? Because I think that the laws about how electors get selected in the first place vary state by state.

Then again, seems like its also a Federal issue to.

And then again, might it not be something of a consitutional crisis, if the people and the electors are clashing??


I would believe that if there was such a case, it would be unprecedented.

I am pretty sure that there have been instances in the past of "Bad Faith" electors, but i don't know how it was resolved.



posted on Mar, 28 2006 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by iori_komei


Yes, otherwise we'd have the President of California.


Would you care to illiterate on this?

Why do you think California would become a sovereign state?
(As in nation, not district within a country).


"illiterate "?

I'll assume you meant elucidate.

Were the EC done away with, Presidential candidates would only campaign in large, populous states like California. Our founders understood this, which is partly why they created the EC. The EC forces candidates to have a national appeal.



posted on Mar, 28 2006 @ 03:08 PM
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The electoral college's importance lay in the foundation of this Union. It is the Union of States; not a single nation.

Someone said but did not ellaborate well: "Otherwise we'd have the President of California".

This is because California has about 20 million voters. Nevada which is right next door; for instance; has about half a million voters.

Now in a Presidential election who do you think decides the President? California or Nevada?

With the Electoral College; the correct answer is Nevada. Because the number of voters vs. the number of Electoral votes in Nevada is a lower ratio (that is there are fewer voters per electoral votes) than in California.

But not by much...it is not intended that a smaller State's citizenry have more say in who is elected; it simply is that the electoral votes do not perfectly match the population distribution.

However; continuing with this; this means that California, New York, and Pennsylvania do not dominate the Election.

This was the intent of the Founding Fathers and the Anti-Federalists who both feared a Union where the largest cities determined the President and the rural people had nothing.

So in short: The Electoral College is perfect.

It is what Rome lacked.

It is what the Soviet Union lacked.

It is why the US has been so fairly governed for 200 years compared to the prior examples.



posted on Mar, 28 2006 @ 03:13 PM
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More specifically the Electoral College was an safe-guard against the usurpation of power by a tyrant.

The Founding Fathers were classically educated; they could teach you about Rome and Greece and their histories from begining to end in Latin and ancient Greek.

They knew very well that the Emperors of Rome were popularly elected (elected by a Popular vote) rather than siezing power through force of arms.

The result of this was a civil war: between the elitist Senate and the popular Dictators Marc Antony and Octavian Caesar.

With the defeat of the Senate Octavian (the more popular of the two) waged war upon Marc Antony and after Marc Antony was defeated; Octavian became Augustus Caesar Prefex Imperatus Romanus. The first Emperor of Rome.

The Founding Fathers never wanted a popular tyrant to ever be able to easily take control. The Electoral system allows people who should be acting for the greater good control the election entirely. If a popular tyrant should be elected...it is quite the right of the Electoral College to elect someone they feel would best protect the US Constitution.

And that would be solely Constitutional.



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