How to fix the electoral college / presidential voting system

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  • Reply 21 of 47
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    How are ridings distributed in the USA ?



    Perhaps the only real problem with the electoral college is that the individual states hold much too much weight and their ridings should be counted rather than given over whole hog to the majority winner in the state.



    Since the seats in the House of Representatives are doled out proportionally, having each seat cast one vote would reduce the homogenizing influence of the college over each state. And since ridings tend to be more ethnoculturally cohesive than entire states, it would probably represent a pretty fair approximation of who voted for whom, and how.



    What it would do for the initial elecoral college pre-occupation with urban vs rural influence, I'm sorry, I don't know.



    I would imagine that since congress holds the real power, it might be better to balance rural/urban concerns there?



    hmmm... tricky



    simple perhaps, but not easy.
  • Reply 22 of 47
    billybobskybillybobsky Posts: 1,914member
    Bad idea... gerrymandering is a real issue and can move representative seats easily from one party to the other, either by diluting or concentrating the effect of urban areas.



    Direct election is the only fix...
  • Reply 23 of 47
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Moogs, what you have just said is frightening in it's cluelessness. (Not meant to be a personal attack, honest!).



    We are citizens of states.

    The states are united.

    A union of separate states.

    Federated.

    It is not one big state.



    What you want and what is are two different things.



    This system was set up wisely by some very smart people long ago and changing it because "your guy" lost is contemptible.



    I want to start a poll to see if those that want Electoral College reform or abolishment also lost in 2000. I bet it's all Gore-ites. (And I voted for him BTW so you needn't go there)



    Honestly - ask yourself - if Bush/Republicans lose in 2004 due to a close race will you still want electoral college to be abolished/tampered with? Even if Bush/Republicans are the ones championing the change?



    Rrrriiiight.



    1. Win your state. End of story.

    2. 3rd parties: Suck less next time

    3. Changing rules because you lose is scurrilous

    4. If your guy loses the national tally but won your state, the system isn't broken - your candidate just sucked more and should have tried to win more states.
  • Reply 24 of 47
    All good ideas and thoughts here. But too late. Our current administration (congressmen, senators and corporate assholes also) have "solved" this problem...it's called Electric Voting (or Balck Box Voting) machines.



    Vanity Fair's got a great article on this that I'm reading right now and Google google brought up some links.



    Of course...one of the companies wooed into this was Diebold...Diebold's CEO and Chairman Walden O'Dell is a Bush "pioneer" raising at least $100,00 for Bush AND in 2001-2002, Diebold Inc. gave nearly $100,000 in soft money to the RNC...and $0.00 to the Democrats...pick up the issue...read it...find other sources about this HUGE scandal.



    You can even view Diebold memos and documents...



    http://why-war.com/features/2003/10/diebold.html



    All I got for now...the bullshit from these administrations/corporations is up to my nose...



  • Reply 25 of 47
    beige_g3beige_g3 Posts: 203member
    I understand the reason for th ecurrent system and I appreciate that we are not a true democracy, but I also don't like the idea that my Democratic vote will mean not a thing here in the heart of texas
  • Reply 26 of 47
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Beige_G3

    I understand the reason for th ecurrent system and I appreciate that we are not a true democracy, but I also don't like the idea that my Democratic vote will mean not a thing here in the heart of texas



    But the goal of voting isn't to make your guy win. It's to voice your opinion - as a citizen of your state as to whom you think should be president.



    It's being a spoilsport if your guy loses either your state or electorally/("nationally" if you must) and you complain.



    I'm very, very sorry that the two dominant parties at the moment are both so mediocre that we end up having close votes, but the only thing that needs improving is the CANDIDATES.



    The lying, flip-flopping, satisfying opinion polls is rampant in both of the big parties. If the two didn't ape each other's stances so much they might be discernibly different enough to matter to more than ~50%
  • Reply 27 of 47
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Artman @_@

    All good ideas and thoughts here. But too late. Our current administration (congressmen, senators and corporate assholes also) have "solved" this problem...it's called Electric Voting (or Balck Box Voting) machines.



    Vanity Fair's got a great article on this that I'm reading right now and Google google brought up some links.



    Of course...one of the companies wooed into this was Diebold...Diebold's CEO and Chairman Walden O'Dell is a Bush "pioneer" raising at least $100,00 for Bush AND in 2001-2002, Diebold Inc. gave nearly $100,000 in soft money to the RNC...and $0.00 to the Democrats...pick up the issue...read it...find other sources about this HUGE scandal.



    You can even view Diebold memos and documents...



    http://why-war.com/features/2003/10/diebold.html



    All I got for now...the bullshit from these administrations/corporations is up to my nose...







    OMFG he knows Bush? He must be evil hell spawn.
  • Reply 28 of 47
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    John Q: I don't give a crap about Gore. I'm not a Democrat.



    I want a reliable, simple voting system that does not require anything more than seeing which candidate won the most votes (nation-wide). As long as a system is hard to abuse (from a tallying standpoint), you shouldn't need an extra level of administration and analysis to determine who won.



    The real problem is people's confidence in voting mechanisms and those tallying the votes. Math is math. If a system is relatively fraud-proof, all you should need to determine who wins (any election) is basic addition and subtraction skills. A calculator even.



    I'm not saying I want the US to be one state, I'm saying it should be viewed that way when debating these things. Why on earth should the concerns of voters in California be more or less relevant than those of Vermont let's say? Because there are more people in California, their views are suddenly more important and thus the net effect is their vote should count more via the electoral college?



    Not in my book.
  • Reply 29 of 47
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by midwinter



    Two votes? And how does that help independent parties?





    The way I am seeing it, and perhaps I am wrong, is that 3rd parties currently stand no chance simply because people see no chance of them winning. I don't feel that a 3rd candidate has a chance at winning even if the majority of the voting public feels the candidate are the best person for the job, because of (1) fear of wasting a vote (2) 3rd party marginilization by the major parties, media, etc (i hate to cry media, but i feel there is some credibility in the notion that the media, through polling and selective reporting is very much able to write off candidates early on.



    so, with two votes, people could vote for both their ideal candidate and their "major party i most align with" candidate. currently, it is very clear that if a particular ideology aligns both with a major party and a minor party candidate, the vote for people subscribing to that ideology is split, allowing a single vote with the opposing ideology to skate by with the plurality of votes. i believe that with a two-vote system, the presidential election becomes a lot more of a belief-structure/ideology vote and much less of a favorite candidate vote. clearly it was frustrating for '92 bush supporters and '00 gore supporters to lose the election despite an apparent majority of americans mostly alligning with their beliefs. with our current system, it is possible for a candidate whom the majority of americans strongly oppose being in office to enter office. with the two vote system, this cannot happen.



    hopefully i have expanded somewhat on my original ideas and not merely rehashed my first post. i have been thinking about flaws in my system and am seeing them as such (1) the whole system is set up through two-party system goggles. there is an underlying assumption that one of the two votes will be for a major party candidate. (2) going along with the first, there is an assumption that 3rd-party voters have some preference among the major parties, but have a stronger preference for their party.



    i dont't see these as major flaws, but certainly mentionable
  • Reply 30 of 47
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    Okay. Then this suggestion for those who still want the electoral college AND deals with the flaws of the two vote system.



    1: No winner takes it all in any state. Periode.



    2: Electors (are the called that?) isn´t bound to one party. Instead you vote for them directly based on how they say they will vote in certain circumstances. A green party elector could say as second choice I vote dem while another would vote rep. (and a third Nadar).



    (2.5: make the ballot so you chose in which order you want to place your votes and make the electors bound to that)



    3) Gather them all and let the voting begin. Least votes are out and another round begins until one candidate has 50%



    That would more or less be the parliarmentary system without the parliarment after the president has been elected.
  • Reply 31 of 47
    x xx x Posts: 189member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Beige_G3

    I understand the reason for th ecurrent system and I appreciate that we are not a true democracy, but I also don't like the idea that my Democratic vote will mean not a thing here in the heart of texas



    At one point it was laughable that a Republican could win anything in the state of Texas. Bush, I believe, was the first Republican governor to win consecutive terms, or something like that.



    So, do what the guy below you said, "voice your opinion." Someday it may change back to being a Democratic state.



    Wasn't California a pretty strong Republican state at one time? One thing I like about California, it seems to offset Texas' strength.
  • Reply 32 of 47
    faust9faust9 Posts: 1,335member
    The argument for the popular votes seems to be rooted in some sense of fairness or equality. It seems that people want the view of a majority to be accepted as the correct view. This is flawed for a couple of reasons.



    First, voters in this country a generally stupid. Why!?! you ask. about 60% of the voters don't even bother to vote. A small fraction of the 60% are abstaining as a protest, but the vast majority of the 60% are simply trusting that a minority of the population will do the right thing for them. That is stupid.



    Second, Americans in a lot of cases are uneducated. American voters don't take the time to understand the deeper issues; rather, they buy sound bites as the whole story. What was the last bill any pro-reform drum beater read? When was the last time anyone demanding change contacted their elected officials?



    Third, there are many instances where the will of the majority was wrong. The majority of the nation thought separate but equal was a good, sound, amicable policy. It wasn't. It took a minority of the population to see that and enact change.



    Fourth, our constitution was not written to give voice to the majority per say. The constitution was written as a framework of checks and balances to prevent any one group from gaining control of the US political process. The electoral college is a check enacted by the founders to prevent the will of the majority from overriding the needs of all members of our society. Voters in Maine, and Alaska have a RIGHT to be heard at a national level. The popular vote system removes that voice as I've said above.



    My fifth and final point, The Senate was the branch of the government reserved for the wealthy class (this changed when we actually started electing senators). Senators hold their seats for six year and are supposed to act as buffers to prevent the whims of the populous from enacting laws because at the writing of the constitution demagoguery was a real issue as it is today. The House was the branch of government relegated to common citizens. This was done to prevent the wealth class from having undue sway in political affairs. The President is the representative of States not people thus giving all states (we are a united federation of states) a voice in politics. For a bill to become law all three: the middle class house, the upper class senate, and the states representative El Presidente' ALL have to agree that the bill warrants passage. This is tough to come by in many instances so many bills never see the presidential signature. There's one more hurdle to jump through--Court review. The Supreme Court has the task of arbitrating a select few things such as state-to-state conflicts, presidential/congressional conflicts... The SC can exercise review of laws passed to ensure they do indeed meet the requirements of the constitution. So its a tough road to change by design. All these wickets are road blocks to prevent a single part, affiliation, or individual from gaining too much power.



    So, the House limits the power of the wealthy class by giving the middle class a vote, the Senate limits the power of the middle class (sorry poor your protections come from vocal outrage and court edicts) by giving the upper class a separate and and distinct voice, and the president represents the interests of the states as independent bodies.



    We ARE NOT a nation of majority rule. We never have been and hopefully never will be.
  • Reply 33 of 47
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    But it DOESN`T ensure that every state is heard. It ensures that SWINGSTATES are heard. And it adds to the strategic dimesion that destroys the open and truthful conversation democracy also should be when voters can be treated as blocks and not individuals



    But lets assume for just one moment I buy your argument:



    Okay. So why do it divide people by state then? If the idea is everybody should have a voice, no matter if they are from Florida or Alaska, why isn´t it ensured that every socioeconomic group is heard? Every sexual prefernce group is heard? Cat as well as dog owners? Today peoples identities are increasingly not determined by what state they inhabite but a lot of other factors. With the electoral system you determine in what forms peoples identity in advance. Students in America haven´t got one voice in the presidential election even if their identity are more in common than that of Floridans. The only way to get over this grouping is to let the voters form their own blocks based on their own interests and NOT form blocks on the beforehand.
  • Reply 34 of 47
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    so a plan designed by 'tards on message boards or founding fathers.



    i'll go founding fathers.
  • Reply 35 of 47
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Ah the "voters are stupid / uneducated and therefore we must concoct an artificial weighting system so that one vote doesn't equal one vote" theory. Majority rule must always be bad in your view I guess....



    But I have a better idea for "fixing" the problem of stupid voters. It's called qualified democracy. Before you get your ballot you get a random selection of 15 multiple choice questions about our system of government and current affairs that any 7th grader should be able to answer. If you get less than eight correct, you don't get a ballot.



    Problem solved. Majority rule is made to work, snow is reported in hell.
  • Reply 36 of 47
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by alcimedes

    so a plan designed by 'tards on message boards or founding fathers.



    i'll go founding fathers.




    I´ll go with arguments for the case.



    The founding fathers didn´t live in a highly complex communicational, educational and material society. The idea of commonly shared and frequently communicated identity across large distances must have been very alien to them.
  • Reply 37 of 47
    faust9faust9 Posts: 1,335member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    But it DOESN`T ensure that every state is heard. It ensures that SWINGSTATES are heard. And it adds to the strategic dimesion that destroys the open and truthful conversation democracy also should be when voters can be treated as blocks and not individuals



    But lets assume for just one moment I buy your argument:



    Okay. So why do it divide people by state then? If the idea is everybody should have a voice, no matter if they are from Florida or Alaska, why isn´t it ensured that every socioeconomic group is heard? Every sexual prefernce group is heard? Cat as well as dog owners? Today peoples identities are increasingly not determined by what state they inhabite but a lot of other factors. With the electoral system you determine in what forms peoples identity in advance. Students in America haven´t got one voice in the presidential election even if their identity are more in common than that of Floridans. The only way to get over this grouping is to let the voters form their own blocks based on their own interests and NOT form blocks on the beforehand.






    Every state is heard. The state of California voices its opinion as does the state of Alaska in presidential election. The problem as you see it though is that certain states can take a more prominant role in elections. That's not a bad thing because A) eventually, every state finds itself in that prominent position and B) as shown above all states, small and large, are given voice on a national level. That was the purpose of the system.



    As for the second part, I'm sorry but we are a federation of states. Michigan has its own governmental system with some federal regulations lumped on top as does Ohio, Utah, Idaho... We don't group people buy socioeconomic catagories and say "Here govern yourselves as you see fit." We instead divided a parcel of land into 48 chunks with two seperate chunk out in the blue younder, and said "here guys you as a cross section of socioecnomic barriers--you guys govern yourselves."



    This complex sometimes "unfair" system was put into place to again limit powers. Degagogues are all around use using emotion for political advantage rather than issues. Also, sometimes governments have to make hard painful decisions that probably wouldn't be made by the population. This is what our system puts into place. The House and the Senate represent individuals, and the president represents states--this is more in the sense of individual state governments rather than just physical borders.



    Additionally, if voters were allowed to form their own block based of their views we run into a system of majority rule again. Whoever can garner the majority vote would win thus elliminating the protections granted (as ways to limit power) smaller states.



    Its hard to accept that when you vote for the president your not casting a ballot for his/her direct representation.
  • Reply 38 of 47
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by faust9

    In the electoral system, small states have the opportunity to become swing states. I guarantee under a popular vote system, the cares and concerns of Maine residents wouldn't mean squat.



    You are really misunderstanding the concept. In a popular vote system, everyone's vote counts the same. So even though maine's population is lower than Texas's, a Maine resident and a Texas resident have the same impact on the overall election. Right now, in Jersey, my vote is worth NOTHING. That's pitiful. I have no reason to vote at all.



    No taxation without representation.



    THe guy who said "Democracies fear popular vote" is an knuclehead. Part of the criteria for a democracy to exist is a popular vote. The US is a republic, though I'd rather see it come closer to a democracy than stay back in the 18th century.
  • Reply 39 of 47
    faust9faust9 Posts: 1,335member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Moogs

    Ah the "voters are stupid / uneducated and therefore we must concoct an artificial weighting system so that one vote doesn't equal one vote" theory. Majority rule must always be bad in your view I guess....



    But I have a better idea for "fixing" the problem of stupid voters. It's called qualified democracy. Before you get your ballot you get a random selection of 15 multiple choice questions about our system of government and current affairs that any 7th grader should be able to answer. If you get less than eight correct, you don't get a ballot.



    Problem solved. Majority rule is made to work, snow is reported in hell.




    This was tried once. It was called Jim Crow and was endorsed by the majority. Jim Crow is/was a prime example of why one-vote is not as good as one might think. My one-vote goes for my congressmen both state and federal.



    My presidental vote goes into the pool and hopefully my guy wins in the end.
  • Reply 40 of 47
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by alcimedes

    so a plan designed by 'tards on message boards or founding fathers.



    i'll go founding fathers.




    I'd argue that the founding fathers were no better equipped than many of us are. Anyway, the point of the electoral college system was to ensure political stability during a time where that wasn't guaranteed at all. That is, when England still wanted America back.



    I don't think that problem exists anymore.
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