Ballot initiatives are tricky business. Believe me- I live in California. In the runup to every election year it never fails that I'm asked to sign a
petition that will call for a certain percentage or dollar amount to be earmarked for spending on this or that cause. Initiatives like those have
really made a mess of the state budget. Then there was the lotto fiasco. That was before my time, but my dad still isn't done complaining about it.
They told us the money would go to schools, so he voted for it. Well the money technically did go to schools, but then they cut some of the other
funding that previously went to the schools to use for god knows what else.
I've come up with rules for when I'm asked to sign a petition.
I'll sign for things that the legislature would never do, no matter who wins the election- changing campaign finance rules, changing election laws,
recalling people who triple the price of my vehicle registration, making it illegal for engineers to use math in political discussions, etc.
I won't sign for spending, I won't sign for any issue that the average citizen isn't qualified to vote on, I won't sign for something I don't
understand, and I won't sign for something the petitioner can't answer simple questions about.
As for the original question- I'm not entirely sure how I feel yet, because each option has flaws. The Drop-2 idea favors populous states decisively
and would essentially destroy any illusion of choice in this country- the Republican party would be dead (I for one would not attend the funeral, nor
send flowers- but I'd still lament that there was nobody left to oppose the Democrats)
A simple majority vote would work semi-OK, except that it takes all limitation off of the reach of voter fraud. The electoral system localizes the
effects of fraud. It also opens up a considerable vulnerability for the less populous states.
The current system is remarkably fickle. The size of congress can be a determining variable in election results, even if population, distribution, and
vote totals remain the same. There is a small window of sizes for the house of representatives between the small size which would strengthen
small-state advantage and the large size that would strengthen large-state advantage, wherein the results of the 2000 election would have been
For house sizes between 491 and 598 (exclusive)
of the 105 house sizes between those numbers, there is a 269/269 tie 23 times, Bush wins 53 times and Gore wins 29 times
Frankly it would matter a heck of a lot less to me if the Federal Government would just stop violating the constitutional scope of its powers as
implied by the preamble to the constitution and article 1, section 8. Since that's never going to happen though, it seems to me like it would be a
good idea to figure out how to make the system work better.
If I had any appreciable tollerance for math, I might attempt to figure out what would happen if the counties within a state worked on an
all-or-nothing electoral basis and divided the states electoral votes according to counties carried, but that sounds like it would take several days
and a couple of idiot-savants to figure out.
It would certainly further localize fraud to an almost negligible level unless it was carried out on an incredible scale, it would probably reduce the
"disenfranchisement factor", but on the other hand I'm pretty sure that it would dramatically increase the "rounding error" factor.
[edit on 25-9-2005 by The Vagabond]