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Should America Modify or Abolish the Electoral College?

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posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:24 AM
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Let me pose the American political “problem” as I see it. In 2000, the presidential election hinged on the outcome in Florida. The final tally gave the winner a plurality of 537 votes. Nationwide, the loser polled 50.9 million votes. The winner polled 50.4 million votes. OTOH, in the Electoral College the count was 273 to 264. Florida, the determinative state, had 25 votes in the Electoral College.

My issue is that the person elected to be president did not have an absolute majority of the popular vote, but won Florida (and the election) with what is called a plurality. The largest number. This also was the case in 1960. The notation that the election was decided by less than 1 vote per precinct emphasized the importance of every person’s vote.

Perhaps the most glaring example of a minority president is found in the 1912 election. A former president ran against the incumbent and divided the vote so that the outsider carried the electoral college vote to win. The most recent example of this outcome was the 1992 election when a well financed third party candidate split the vote enough to allow the outsider to defeat the incumbent with barely 43% of the popular vote.

The watershed 1860 election was a 4 way race. The winner polled 39.9% of the popular vote. The runner up polled 29.5%. By the time of the 1864 election, the incumbent polled a healthy 55% of the popular vote, defeating one of his own generals who left the Army to run for president. Keeping in mind that the 11 states of the Confederacy did not vote. The 1876 election is called the “displumed” election, where the person polling a distinct majority of the popular vote lost in the Electoral College. This circumstance repeated in 1888.

George Washington polled the most electoral votes in the nation’s first election, 1789, run late, and carried all 10 states that participated. Unanimously chosen. New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island were too late in adopting the Constitution to vote. In 1820, the incumbent was re-elected without opposition. The only time in American history for this to happen. James Monroe. The last of the Founding Fathers to hold the office of president.

Runoff elections. Louisiana provides in state and local elections, there must be a second election if any candidate fails to achieve a 50% + 1 majority vote. This is now going on in the New Orleans mayoral election. The top two candidates are running in the second election, held 21 days after the first. This formula assures the winner is approved by the majority. Runoffs are primarily found in the Old South.

Although runoff's are a good policy which I endorse, it was not adopted in the Old South out of a desire for electoral perfection. After the end of Reconstruction in the Old South, post Civil War, the Democrats drove away any Republicans. The Old South became a one-party region. It was therefore necessary to have a second primary in order to choose the Democrat who would hold office until the next one-party election. This was the general and unchallenged practice in the Old South until 1968. The Old South is now a two party region but the runoff primary remains.

A constitutional amendment altering the electoral college and establishing a nationwide runoff would resolve this problem.

“1. Beginning with the first presidential election after the adoption of this amendment, in any state where a candidate does not receive an absolute majority of the votes cast, a second election shall be held promptly between the two candidates receiving the most votes.

2. The electoral vote of each state or the District of Columbia shall be allotted to the respective candidates based on the fractions of the popular vote received by that candidate.

3. Congress shall have power to enforce this Amendment by enactments of law.”


Q1. Should we alter or eliminate the Electoral College?

Q2. What other improvements in elections could we make?


[edit on 5/1/2006 by donwhite]




posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:42 AM
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1. Yes, It should be abolished. It's collective parceled voting is contradictory to the notion of a populous vote.
2. No electronic devices in vote gathering. Go back to a paper ballot and let the count take days. In addition, there should be a national holiday for voters to make voting easier.

Thanks for asking!



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by YIAWETA
1. Yes, It should be abolished. It's collective parceled voting is contradictory to the notion of a populous vote.
2. No electronic devices in vote gathering. Go back to a paper ballot and let the count take days. In addition, there should be a national holiday for voters to make voting easier.


I can only say that you are right and such a concise proposal makes 100% sense. Thanks!



posted on May, 2 2006 @ 05:40 AM
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How does a paper ballot insure that your vote gets counted correctly? There are ways to do it electronically that prevent the possibility of vote corruption. I'll outline one here.

To begin with, each voter would need to understand that their votes will no longer be held private. If you aren't proud enough to stand up and have a voice, then why vote? The whole point to voting is to have a voice. I don't see a point in having a voice if those that have it aren't willing to use it. People need to be proud of how they vote.

As a result of this change, all votes made by every citizen would be public domain. This would completely eliminate the possibility for corruption once the votes have been cast since the voters could check their votes as soon as they've been placed. This would also force those that make the voting machines at the polling stations to make sure that all of their software is working properly. Citizens could also vote by cellphone or by the internet if they so chose.

The sole concept here would be that all of the votes would go to a central website, where they would be sorted according to person and alignment. Their vote would have a tag on it that would tell the program running on the site which way that person voted. The vote is then placed into that specific group, and an update to that person's voting history would be made. At any time, anyone could log onto their own account to place a vote and check on any of their past votes.

This is but an outline for a possible system that I can see working very well. It makes clear sense to me. Maybe I've missed something. If I have, please feel free to let me know. It should be noted that I've outlined a system that is rather broad when it comes to how the website stores the voting histories of every voter. This is because I'm also in favor of a referendum that would allow every US Citizen the right to vote on all legislation that passes through Congress. Again, this would allow for the People to have a TRUE say in what happens in this country. We could make many of the changes that everyone has been bickering about for the past years in mere months, of everyone had a say. If our votes counted as much as the Representatives' and Senator's did, then we'd be equals, as we were supposed to be in the first place.

I think this is a good place to stop for now. If anyone needs any clarification, please feel free to send a reply.

TheBorg



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:01 PM
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Borg,
Any way you involve electronics in this process you invite potential fraud. Granted , there is virtually no way to eliminate the potential, but a pure paper hand count is by far the closest.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by TheBorg

To begin with, each voter would need to understand that their votes will no longer be held private. If you aren't proud enough to stand up and have a voice, then why vote? The whole point to voting is to have a voice. I don't see a point in having a voice if those that have it aren't willing to use it. People need to be proud of how they vote.TheBorg


In a perfect world, the system you suggest is ideal. It would definitely eliminate or, in the very least, diminish the possibility or likelyhood of election fraud. However, you have missed one point. By suggesting that all votes be "public domain" or, rather, that everyone has the ability how each individual has voted, you have ignored the reason for trying to implement a system for secret ballots in the first place.

A secret ballot, by definition, is the right each voter has to cast a vote in a manner that guarantees the voters anonymity. In the former Soviet Union and in many countries around the world today; Cuba, for example, people voted the "party line" and not necessarily their conscience. When the ballot is not secret, voters in some countries fear that the government will use the voting lists to see how people voted and then eliminate, punish or exact revenge upon people who voted against them. It is not that far fetched that people will continue to harbor such fears and rightfully so.

While I agree with you "in principle", I treasure my right to a secret ballot. We need to concentrate our attentions, however, on the vote counting aspect and the mechanism by which people are registered or granted the ability to vote. Under the right to a secret ballot, and the overall voting system as it is in the U.S. and Western countries, these are the two areas where we must remain ever vigilant as these are the two aspects of the electoral system wherein fraud can eminate while still protecting the anonymity of the voter.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by TheBorg

To begin with, each voter would need to understand that their votes will no longer be held private. If you aren't proud enough to stand up and have a voice, then why vote? The whole point to voting is to have a voice. I don't see a point in having a voice if those that have it aren't willing to use it. People need to be proud of how they vote.TheBorg


In a perfect world, the system you suggest is ideal. It would definitely eliminate or, in the very least, diminish the possibility or likely-hood of election fraud. However, you have missed one point. By suggesting that all votes be "public domain" or, rather, that everyone has the ability how each individual has voted, you have ignored the reason for trying to implement a system for secret ballots in the first place.

A secret ballot, by definition, is the right each voter has to cast a vote in a manner that guarantees the voters anonymity. In the former Soviet Union and in many countries around the world today; Cuba, for example, people voted the "party line" and not necessarily their conscience. When the ballot is not secret, voters in some countries fear that the government will use the voting lists to see how people voted and then eliminate, punish or exact revenge upon people who voted against them. It is not that far fetched that people will continue to harbor such fears and rightfully so.

While I agree with you "in principle", I treasure my right to a secret ballot. We need to concentrate our attentions, however, on the vote counting aspect and the mechanism by which people are registered or granted the ability to vote. Under the right to a secret ballot, and the overall voting system as it is in the U.S. and Western countries, these are the two areas where we must remain ever vigilant as these are the two aspects of the electoral system wherein fraud can eminate while still protecting the anonymity of the voter.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:58 PM
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TheBorg: “ . . because I'm in favor of a referendum that would allow every US Citizen the right to vote on all legislation that passed through Congress. Again, this would allow for the People to have a TRUE say in what happens in this country. We could make the changes that everyone has been bickering about for the past years in mere months, if everyone had a say. If our votes counted as much as the Representatives' and Senator's did, then we'd be equals, as we were supposed to be in the first place. I think this is a good place to stop for now. If anyone needs any clarification, please feel free to send a reply. [Edited by Don W]


Pure democracy. No improvement over today. Only a small number of people would care enough to know what they were voting on. Even fewer would understand the consequences. Why have a Congress at all? Do like several states do. Have voter initiation of legislation. It’s here in florida. It’s very poor. Almost always taken over by extremist groups. Fortunately the Supreme Court can overrule those initiatives.


posted by YIAWETA: “Borg, any way you involve electronics in this process you invite potential fraud. Granted , there is virtually no way to eliminate the potential, but a pure paper hand count is by far the closest.


About 20 years ago, my former state adopted the semi-optical system of vote counting. With a pencil we blacked in a circle indicating who or what you were voting for. The long but narrow heavy paper ballot was then inserted into a machine that read the vote optically and deposited the ballot in the bin at the bottom of the locked machine. At the end of the day, another lock opened the counters. The ballots were preserved until the election was certified. It would have been simple to have a recount.

I lived in Louisville, the largest city in the sate and it could have 300,000 votes cast in an important election. The voting ended at 6 PM. We always had the complete count from the city’s 275 precincts by 7 PM. The entire state reported by 7:30 or 8 PM.

A quick vote count is also a good deterrent to vote count fraud.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 07:42 PM
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Originally posted by YIAWETA
Borg,
Any way you involve electronics in this process you invite potential fraud. Granted , there is virtually no way to eliminate the potential, but a pure paper hand count is by far the closest.


Remember the Election of 2000. There were lost ballots everywhere. None of those were electronic in nature. They were all paper ballots. Using the system I propose will not completely stop the possibility for corruption, no. However, it will give the people the chance to at least TRY and make a few key changes before those that currently have power can take it all back again.

Plus, in my system, there would be a tag on all transmissions, linking each vote to the voter, so that the voter and anyone else interested, could take a look at the vote casting. I never understood why people should fear voting a certain way. People are persecuted no matter what happens. In the aforementioned system, the people are all able to have a say for certain. Not to mention, paper ballots take FAR too long to count, with all the hanging chads and all,
.

Well, that's my opinion on that. Lemme know what you think. Thanks for the opine. I welcome anymore you may have.

TheBorg



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 07:49 PM
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Originally posted by benevolent tyrant

Originally posted by TheBorg

To begin with, each voter would need to understand that their votes will no longer be held private. If you aren't proud enough to stand up and have a voice, then why vote? The whole point to voting is to have a voice. I don't see a point in having a voice if those that have it aren't willing to use it. People need to be proud of how they vote.TheBorg


In a perfect world, the system you suggest is ideal. It would definitely eliminate or, in the very least, diminish the possibility or likelyhood of election fraud. However, you have missed one point. By suggesting that all votes be "public domain" or, rather, that everyone has the ability how each individual has voted, you have ignored the reason for trying to implement a system for secret ballots in the first place.

A secret ballot, by definition, is the right each voter has to cast a vote in a manner that guarantees the voters anonymity. In the former Soviet Union and in many countries around the world today; Cuba, for example, people voted the "party line" and not necessarily their conscience. When the ballot is not secret, voters in some countries fear that the government will use the voting lists to see how people voted and then eliminate, punish or exact revenge upon people who voted against them. It is not that far fetched that people will continue to harbor such fears and rightfully so.

While I agree with you "in principle", I treasure my right to a secret ballot. We need to concentrate our attentions, however, on the vote counting aspect and the mechanism by which people are registered or granted the ability to vote. Under the right to a secret ballot, and the overall voting system as it is in the U.S. and Western countries, these are the two areas where we must remain ever vigilant as these are the two aspects of the electoral system wherein fraud can eminate while still protecting the anonymity of the voter.


So you're saying that you'd support the plan so long as you maintain your anonymity? I understand the fear that you're talking about, but I don't understand why Americans should fear that. Sure, someone could enact revenge against me for voting a certain way, but should they do that, there are already laws in place that prohibit such actions. Should any of those actions be attempted, they would be held accountable under our current legal system.

Again, I like the fact that at least some understand what it is that I'm trying to accomplish, and I'm sure there will be some key compromises. But, I also want to reiterate that my sole purpose for this is to allow the people to have the say that they seem to have lost of late. If anyone has a better system, or additions to my system that would make it better, I'm willing to listen. A lot of the concepts that make this plan up are flexible in nature, meaning that they can be altered to a minor degree, and still maintain stability.

I look forward to your next post.

Keep thinking,

TheBorg



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:06 PM
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donwhite:

I'm afraid that I don't see what you see. The reasons that people don't vote now are too numerous to list here, but suffice it to say that a large number of the people don't vote because they know that the current system doesn't work. Ask any young person why they don't vote. Most will tell you that they're just disenfranchised with the system. They just plain don't believe that it works.

I don't think that my idea is unique, nor do I think it's perfect, but at the same time, I don't see how it's any worse than what we've got now. If everyone is as opinionated as I believe them to be, then if they were given the freedom to vote on all legislation that passes through Congress, there would be fast and decisive votes. It would also allow the people that do vote to make changes to the current system, as well as encourage others that don't currently vote to become politically active.

You mentioned briefly the number of nonsensical bills being sent through Congress, and you also questioned the reasons for continuing to have a Congress. Both can be answered easily. The reason we keep Congress as it is, is so that the "representatives" and "senators" will be our mouthpieces by which we can make change. They would simply debate the issues for us, and then pass their own votes. We would be allowed to vote anytime after voting has started. The fact that they have an equal vote with everyone else would keep them honest while on the floor, and prevent them from taking bribes from wealthy members of society. It would do them no good whatsoever to take a bribe, since their vote wouldn't be as powerful anymore. As it is right now, we have to take it on trust that they vote on behalf of us, but there's no proof to show that to be the case in the House.

I'm truly enjoying this debate, and hope that progress can be made, but I'm also working on an article that I'm going to start passing to the media here soon. We'll see how that goes. For now though, farewell.

TheBorg

P.S. Mods, sorry for so many posts, as well as length. I just wanted to keep the separate ideas separated and concise. If you all have any ideas, I'd be interested as well. Just because you're mods doesn't mean that you can't share with us your opinions. Oh, and thanks for letting me flesh out my ideas here.



posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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TheBorg, I like your idea, I would support it in a heartbeat.
I agree that it isn't perfect, but I think that it beats the current system by a looooong way.

I missed the vote yesterday here in Ohio. it happened because it just isn't very important to me knowing that it can so easily be manipulated.
I want to make a difference, but I just feel that I can't while the current system is in place.

I also like the idea of "voting day" being a national holiday. I think it would get many more people out to vote.



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 12:13 AM
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Well thank you. I just wish I could get some of the media to think that it's a good idea. I've emailed a few, but have yet to hear from them. So we'll see what happens in the next week while I keep barraging them with emails. I'll keep everyone posted.

TheBorg



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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With the two party duopoly, the electoral college is being gamed.
The framers had no idea how politcal parties would come to dominate.
The "winner takes all" system is broken.
It ensures 3rd parties and independant candidates get no traction.

Considering it would take an amendment to abolish it, and by abolishing it,
the two major parties would lose their strangle hold grip, I doubt it will ever change.


[edit on 5-5-2006 by Schaden]



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 04:04 AM
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Schaden,

If the majority of the US population stands up in support of such an amendment, then there isn't much that the lawmakers can do BUT to sign it into law, now is there? They will have to worry about fixing the loss of power later to appease the people momentarilly. That's all the people really need though is an impetus to get more involved in their own government. If people were involved like the politicians are, then this never would have happened in the first place. Corruption doesn't happen overnight; it's a gradual thing that happens over years.

I just hope the people can salvage what little is left of this political system before it's too late.

TheBorg



posted on May, 7 2006 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by Beer_Guy
TheBorg, I like your idea, I would support it in a heartbeat.
I agree that it isn't perfect, but I think that it beats the current system by a looooong way.

I missed the vote yesterday here in Ohio. it happened because it just isn't very important to me knowing that it can so easily be manipulated.
I want to make a difference, but I just feel that I can't while the current system is in place.

I also like the idea of "voting day" being a national holiday. I think it would get many more people out to vote.



I voted, but I won't bore ya'll with the details. I'm not really into political parties. I'm a Constitutionalist/Liberitarian by political beliefs, so that's how I tend to vote when it matters. Otherwise, it's by candidate and from what I know about them in the papers and the net.

Borg, and DW, I LOVE your ideas, why don't you e-mail them to a Senator or something in your states, or post them here, so people can e-mail them, and we can get a holiday EVERY NATIONAL ELECTION DAY!!!!!!


Here's some good websites:
www.house.gov,www.senate.gov,www.firstgov.com,
www.whitehouse.gov, and for more info on your state, local, and federal law and cases!-www.findlaw.com!!

The FIRST STEP TO CHANGING THE WORLD, IS GETTING INVOLVED, TAKING A STAND, AND TAKING RESPOSIBLITY FOR YOUR IDEAS! C'mon, DO IT! I'll do it too!


[edit on 7/5/2006 by cranefly]



posted on May, 7 2006 @ 01:33 PM
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Because of the number of chairs in the electoral college, when elections are close, this can have a huge impact on who wins (like above). I personally believe that the electoral college should be abolished and take up the policy of having everyone's vote counted, in that case, the true winner does indeed win.

Just my .02.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 02:08 AM
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The same should be done with the whole voting system. I think it's necessary for "We the People" to have a group of individuals that debate the pertinent issues for us, and then let us decide the fate of our own nation. I heard a comment earlier today on CNN that applies well here: Direct Democracy. That's the kind of system that I've outlined, and it CAN work, but the people need to be willing to listen. Otherwise, it's useless.

I don't vote right now because my vote doesn't change anything of value. True, it can change what name goes to represent us, but do they REALLY represent their constituents? I doubt it. I truly doubt it. The evidence, in the form of the bills they pass, bears witness to that. If the system I outlined were instituted, then I'd vote on everything, as then it would truly matter. If anyone could help me get this message out, please do.

TheBorg



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