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Electoral College:Necessary?

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posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 02:51 PM
This thread is about the electoral college. For a long time I've believed that the electoral college is no longer necessary, and quite frankly in this day and age a detriment to real citizen political involvement.

What is the electoral college?

The Electoral College, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is not a place, it is a process that began as part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for the electors who then vote for the President.

source: Electoral College

Now this paragraph actually begs the question: When was the last time you voted for an elector? I personally don't recall ever voting for one. And indeed it is misleading for the site to say that the people vote for the electors , as slightly down the page a link takes you to this explanation:

Who Selects the Electors? The process for selecting electors varies throughout the United States. Generally, the political parties nominate electors at their State party conventions or by a vote of the party's central committee in each State. Electors are often selected to recognize their service and dedication to their political party. They may be State-elected officials, party leaders, or persons who have a personal or political affiliation with the Presidential candidate. Then the voters in each State choose the electors on the day of the general election. The electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot below the name of the candidates running for President, depending on the procedure in each State.

source: same as above quotation.

I take this to mean that the parties for each candidate select the electors and then if you vote for that candidate that elector is chosen. And sometimes you aren't even aware of choosing that elector because it's not required their names be shown.

Every presidential election I hear people asking; "Does my vote really count?" It would if the electors were required to vote the same way the majority votes in every state. Is this in fact the reality of elector responsiblity? The answer is: In almost half of the states,no. In another six states they are to vote according to party. The rest are mercifully required to vote as the majority of the state does.
source: Electoral voting requirements

Why is this archaic? Why should we change it?

I think that it isn't indicative anymore of the will of the people. Like Gore or not, he won the popular vote last election. More individuals voted for him than for Bush. Is that not the will of the people? Bush won the electoral vote. As i just provided, almost half the states are not required to vote as the people demand, and six vote according to party. I think it's time we got rid of the electoral votes and moved to a truly democratic voting system where every vote counts, every voice is heard.

It's a sad fact that at least half of americans never vote. I believe it's largely due to that one question "Does my vote really count?" If we moved to using solely the popular vote to elect our leader, i believe that more people would vote. Our president would then be a true representation of the people's will.

what are your thoughts? Is the electoral college necessary in this day and age? Does it in fact limit our democratic political system? If we get rid of it will we finally see a more active population in politics? And finally, will our political leaders be more inclined to follow the will of the people if instead of a select few, all americans votes count in selecting our president?

posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 12:15 AM
I believe the reason for an electoral college was to keep the voting process from "bottle necking". I believe they count votes until a majority is determined in precincts then th electorate can go ahead and cast the proper vote, now if they counted every single vote ( imagine the florida fiasco tomes fifty) the whole election process would more than likely take atleast a month to conclude.

so, in essence, I believe that there is a neccessity for an electoral college but that it needs to be heavily reformed from the way in which it currently exists

posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 12:46 PM
Thanks for your reply!

I can agree that at the very least it needs serious reformation. Although I'd be willing to deal with a month or two-long vote, if it meant that every person's vote counted.

No one else has any opinions on the electoral college?

posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 01:18 PM
reply to post by optimus primal

With the population growing in many Western States, the Electoral College loses a lot of its argument. Smaller states like the system because they become important in close races such as the one now. New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado will see a lot of attention paid to them they would not necessarily see because of the tightness of the race in them. Sen. Obama needs one or two of those states if he wants to win, and Sen. McCain also needs to hang on to New Mexico if he wishes to win.

The electoral vote will help Republicans more as the country grows more diverse. The popular vote will likely be one by the Democratic candidate, but the electoral vote could swing the Republican way.

posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 01:45 PM
I actually like the Electoral College, but It could probably stand some reform. I think the electoral college is necessary because I am a strong supporter of states' rights. Each state has its own government and in some ways, operates as its own unit. When these states choose a person to preside over us all, I believe each state should have a voice.

I like this article: Electoral College

Shouldn't a presidential election be determined by a popular vote in a democracy?

Yes. But we don't live in a democracy. We live in a federation/republic. The best example of this is the U.S. Congress. The Congress is divided into two houses. The House of Representatives was created as a representation of the will of the people, giving each equally populated block of citizens a single representation with equal power. The Senate, on the other hand, which is more powerful, is not a representation of the people, but a representation of the states (state governments, if you will). In the Senate, each state has exactly two representatives, giving EVERY state equal power. The Senate was created to encourage those very small states to enter the Union. Otherwise, it would not be logical for states with tiny populations (relative to the U.S. population) to enter into a true representative Union as they would be relinquishing their own sovereign power over themselves by doing so.

I would support splitting a state's electoral votes to more closely represent the state's choice.

Electoral College Reform

Proportional Allocation of Electoral Votes :

This system has been proposed with a number of variations, most recently in Colorado. As a popular alternative, it splits each state’s electoral votes in accordance with their popular vote percentages. This way, a candidate who come in second place in a state with 45% of the popular vote would receive 45% of the electoral votes from that state, instead of 0%.

This system would greatly increase voter turnout and the representation of all parties in a state. It would also encourage candidates to campaign in all states rather than just those that are competitive. Though the majority, as always, would come out on top in each state, the minority's supporters would not be effectively contributing to their candidate's defeat when the whole of their state's electoral votes go a candidate they do not support.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 01:18 AM
very good points benevolent. And i wholeheartedly agree with the last part about reform to more accurately represent the state demographics votewise. That's the least that should be done.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 12:12 PM
reply to post by optimus primal

The problem is if a large state like California splits up its electoral votes, will Texas and Florida do the same? All the states would have to do it in order for it to be fair.
I think it may be time to end the electoral vote. The media, and all other information sites have grown considerably. In close elections, the small states will be heavily campaigned at to get their votes. It worked in the 18th thru the 20th Centuries, but it is the 21st Century.

The problem is most of the small states Senators would be against any amendment to change the voting system (required). I don't think they could muster the 67 votes needed to pass it in the Senate.

[edit on 8/27/2008 by kidflash2008]

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