The Trouble With The Electoral College

Submitted by: kitteh9lives 5 years ago in

Is it time to abolish the Electoral College? Is this antiquated system still fair in a modern world?
There are 82 comments:
Male 14
@Imnok1

Is a 97% success rate to low to be considered working.

Only 2 times has a president lost the popular vote and wont the electoral.

Cleveland lost his reelection bid and though he won the popular vote (the south) he lost the the electoral. only carried 18 states.

Gore had the popular vote by carrying the West coast, northeast and upper midwest. While bush carried the rest of the country.

The only improvement I could see would be to eliminate the actual electors and have the States popular vote count as a win and then just have a majority of the states. So it`s a 1 state 1 vote thing, and say you have to carry 26 of the 50.

Just remember 97% of the time the electoral college votes with the popular vote.. I can`t even think of anything that has that success rate.
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Male 5
@donax i fail to see how some individuals` votes aren`t as important as others. please explain. and while you`re at it, why it would matter that "population centers" have more say? places with larger populations are still made up of individuals. it`s not like just because someone lives in florida, they`re going to vote republican. it sounds as if you`ve been looking at too many "red vs blue" maps and ignoring the gradient.
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Male 14
@MeGrendel

instead of just reading the first sentence and then spouting off the same stuff why do you try to understand what people are saying.

I think the electoral college makes sense. I was stating that Gore won the popular vote, but the popular vote wasn`t really representative of the entire country, which is why the founding fathers had the electoral college because they knew that population centers would have more say that rural states and that rural states needed a way to have a say in elections.

And actually Gore won the popular vote has EVERYTHING to do with how presidents are elected. Get off your high horse and stop assuming everyone to be ignorant
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Male 8,560
donax-"Gore won the popular vote correct?"

He also invented the internet.

And what do these two statements have in common?

NEITHER one has anything to do with the way the United States elects the President.

Please see Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2, 3, & 4 and the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This will instruct you on how the President is electted.

If you don`t like that, then you can attempt to get the process changed as outlined in Article V of the Constitution of the United States & Title 1, United State Code, Section 106b.

Anything else is just whining and annoying.

The fact that he won the popular vote, invented the internet and thinks the Earth `has....a....fever` means exactly jack. (of course, it pretty much sums up he can`t get ANY thing right.)
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Male 14
This is why

Gore won the popular vote correct?

http://tinyurl.com/7gj8xrj

Is the states he carried more or less representative of the entire country?

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Male 237
yeah spokane!
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Male 555
Found the map I was looking for:

http://tinyurl.com/88yaujk

If you were attempting to get elected with a popular vote, the only places you could afford to ignore are deep red and deep blue. Going by this map most of the country is purple.
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Male 7
"Would anyone tolerate a sport where by some quirk in the rules, there was a 5% chance that the loser would actually win?"

Obviously this man has never heard of the BCS.
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Male 555
Found the map I was looking for:

http://tinyurl.com/88yaujk

If you were attempting to get elected with a popular vote, the only places you could afford to ignore are deep red and deep blue. Going by this map most of the country is purple.
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Male 8,560
Commentator-"As far as the system itself, it needs to be reformed for all the reasons mentioned"

Translation: `Because my guys don`t always win due to some portions of the voting public still retain some intelligence.`

Commentator-"those small states are usually the ones backwards enough to be Red."

Sorry, you`re confusing ignorance with `enlightenment`.
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Male 8,560
MCMXCIII--"the purpose of this video is to inform people of the flawed system"

No, the purpose was for the creator of the video to demonstrate why HE THINKS it`s flawed using cherry-picked and misleadin data. (example: why only count candidate visits `2` months prior?)

MCMXCIII--"the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but it is not infallible. "

Of course it is not infallible, THAT`S why our founding fathers had the foresight to include in it the ability to amend as needed. The amendment process is outlined in Article V of the Constitution of the United States & Title 1, United State Code, Section 106b.

UNTIL it is amended, the election of the President is as defined by Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2, 3, & 4 and the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States , as it IS the law of the land.

Deal with it, or change as allowed for by law. All you whining will accompish nothing.
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Male 270
Here is my take on the election next year,

Worst case for Obama,
http://tinyurl.com/77oknpm

What I think will happen due to my analysis of state to state polls and 30+ years of political analysis:
http://tinyurl.com/7bh2z36

As far as the system itself, it needs to be reformed for all the reasons mentioned, the Rethugs will not allow it to happen because those small states are usually the ones backwards enough to be Red.

Enjoy the show, Obama will win next year, get used to the fact now.
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Male 374
@Muert: By "living breathing document" do you mean one that can be changed or do you mean one that only applies to some of the people some of the time according to the whims of whomever is in power?
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Male 356
All MeGrendel said was that "it is so because the Constitution said so!!!1!!1one!!"; while the purpose of this video is to inform people of the flawed system and bring about change via an amendment to the Constitution.
For your record Grendel, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but it is not infallible.
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Male 555
I think everyone here understands how our government works currently. The debate is whether or not the existing system could be be made better. Instead of explaining how the current system, why don`t you give me your logic for why you think "one Vermonter is worth three Texans"?

The constitution is not sacred. It should be a leaving breathing document, but the older it gets the more fossilized it becomes.
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Male 14
MeGrendel, I don`t think these people know what a Constitutional Republic is.
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Male 17,511
MeGrendelL I said it was possible, NOT preferable, okay ?

Also, We are considered a democratic republic, sure that`s not the strict definition of `democracy`. We do democratically elect our representatives and vote on local issues, as well as our representatives democratically vote on laws and issues both in state and national legislatures. Yes we are a republic, but we also have democratic elections.
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Male 8,560
CrakrJak-" to allow for a more direct democracy."

Helloo!!! REPUBLIC!!! Hellooo!!!

CrakrJak-"be annoyed with voting everyday or even every week. That is why we elect representatives instead."

Yes, because the Founding Father`s didn`t want to have to worry about checking their e-mail every day to catch up on the issues.

Simply put, for the simpletons who can`t quite grasp this fact:

Constitution of the United States, Article. IV, Section 4: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government."

Now, please understand that the Constitution of the United States is the Law of the Land. NO WHERE in the Constiution of the United States, The Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence does the word `Democracy` appear.

Please get that through your thick little heads.
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Male 48
The question is why should we even care about the president anyways? The real governing process takes place in the states. The central government shouldn`t be allowed to do some of the things it does. Such as abortion, healthcare, or same sex marriage. Those powers belong to the states, where, if I`m not mistaken, it is a popular vote. Real political powere to the people comes in the form of states rights. This way more people are represented and more people get to have a choice in how they are governed. Get involved in local elections because that is where you can wield the most political power. The county sherrif has the most authority in this country, in the respective districts. Yet, I never hear anybody giving a hoot about who becomes the sherrif.
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Male 17,511
TommyG: I do believe we have the technology, via the internet, to allow for a more direct democracy. It would be possible for a popular vote on more laws/issues in the USA, and probably other countries as well.

The problem with that is, most people are not informed on the issues and wouldn`t want to be annoyed with voting everyday or even every week. That is why we elect representatives instead.
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Female 6,381
What a screwy system! In Canada, we have 308 "ridings" of approximately equal population (although that`s kinda skewed in lightly populated areas). So big BC has far more than little Prince Edward Island. On election day, you vote for the person you like by party or personality in your riding. That`s it. Whichever party wins, its leader becomes (or stays) Prime Minister. It`s up to each party to make sure its leader runs in a riding s/he`s almost sure to get elected in.
It`s not perfect, and we have a silly appointed senate full of overpaid people who rubber-stamp bills passed by the government, but compared to the cumbersome and unbalanced US system, it`s great!
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Male 260
nice
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Male 756
DEMOCRACY!
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Male 8,560
Muert-" It is time to start bringing the constitution into modern times."

There even a process in place to do just that. It`s called Article V of the Constitution of the United States & Title 1, United State Code, Section 106b.

Look into it and quit your bellyaching.

Until such time as the Constitution of the United States is amended as outlined in Article V of the Constitution of the United States & Title 1, United State Code, Section 106b; Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2, 3, & 4 and the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States defines how the President of the United States is elected.

Please note, due to the large number of people who understand and agree with the logic of the Electoral College, you may as well be tilting at windmills.

But hey, have a go.
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Male 15,271
One Vermonter is worth three Texans? Texas should split itself into two or three so it can get more votes.
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Male 472
@ WeePee
"Not Not"

If you can`t get a simple thing as double negatives correct, how can we trust anything you say?
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Male 612
main problem with this video:
Hoosiers are from Indiana, not Illinois. if they get such a simple thing like that incorrect, what else did they misspeak on?

also, Maine and Nebraska both split their electoral votes. not not all states (as implied in the video) are winner take all.

there have only been 4 presidents to win the election but lose the popular vote, so the systems seems to be working fine.
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Male 472
The fact that there are people smart enough to make a video like this makes me happy.
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Male 555
MeGrendel- The constitution was the best plan available at the time it was written. We no longer count up paper ballets and send the counts via horseback. There is no longer any need to prevent localized ballot box stuffing by limiting the number of votes that can come from a state. It is time to start bringing the constitution into modern times.

Donax- if all the candidates spend all their time in the same locations, the votes will get split between them unless one candidate is vastly superior to the other. Even if the candidate manages to snag all the major population centers (and that is what you would be looking at, state lines would be unimportant), they still only have 20% of the vote. To win they must campaign to the entire country. Or at least to the parts of the country were people are most likely to change their mind.
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Male 14
@Muert

You missed the point entirely It wasnt that they would conspire it was that smaller states in essence don`t have a say.

If all you need is the popular vote then all canidates would do is pander to California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania and ignore the rest of the country but still have the popular vote.. Is that more or less representative of the people?

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Male 314
@simbha:

In Maine and Nebraska (where I live) the electoral votes that come from our Representatives are split according to how their districts vote. The votes from our Senators go to the person who wins a majority in the state.

In 2008 Obama won the second district, McCain the first and third. So Obama got one vote from us and McCain got four.
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Male 8,560
simbha-"Why not just do it based on the popular vote?"

Because that is not how it is defined in Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2, 3, & 4 and the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Muert-"I`ll put my logic in a numbered list: "

Your logic fails. The current system is not broken, it works as designed and defined by Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2, 3, & 4 and the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

It`s called the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.

Look into it.
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Male 555
As far as I can tell, Simbha, some people believe that one vote/person is unfair somehow.
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Male 555
I`ll put my logic in a numbered list:

1) The president represents all of the people of America.
2) Because of that /everyone/ should have an equal voice in his election.
3) Currently everyone doesn`t.
3a) Electoral votes/person isn`t equal.
3b) The minority party in many states doesn`t contribute to their candidate either.
4) Therefore, the current system is broken.
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Male 416
@Wowummwow: I believe this is done in one state - perhaps Nebraska?
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Male 416
All this arguing...

Why not just do it based on the popular vote? Period. No political boundaries, no jurisdictions, nothing.

Everyone who votes, gets one vote. Count up the votes and see who wins. Easy peasy.
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Male 555
As a matter of fact Wildcats, there is something wrong with the way the house works. And that is even without getting into Gerrymandering.

Just because the current system we have come up with is the best so far doesn`t mean we can`t find a better way.
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Male 237
Lets see here,

1. The United States is a republic not a democracy. I wish people would get that through their heads.

2. If he has a problem with the electoral college then he has a problem with the entire US government. The electoral college votes are primarily based on the number of representatives in the House and the two Senators.

Electoral College doesn`t make anyone`s vote worth more or less because the number of House districts are based on the same population. Each person`s vote is equal within their district, only some states have more districts because they have more people.

The House of Representatives has basically the same mechanics when voting on something. Does that make a person`s vote less than equal to everyone else? No, because each man/woman who votes represents a specific number of people, no more no less.
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Male 555
Donax, you make it sound like the states could conspire against each other to elect a certain president. The people who choose the president don`t gain any power over the president by doing so. The equivalent of example would be a candidate saying "You know who I hate? Northerners. Elect me I will impose a 50% tax on everyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I will then give all that money to everyone who lives south of it." I know it is exaggerated, but that is the kind of thing that someone would have to do to gain the support of such a huge geographic area.
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Male 525
It shouldn`t matter who gets what votes: America`s government should be a government of objectively defined laws and not a government of men.
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Male 3,651
I think the video debunked itself.

He proved that 22% of the population could elect the president by themselves. So why don`t the candidates aim for that 22%? For the same reason they don`t go to every single state, and stay within the swing states. It`s time consuming and costs far too much money.

This video basically calls for candidates, and their parties, to spend more on getting elected instead of, if they are actually in office, serving the people; their current job.
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Male 14
@Muert

I have a great example of why the electoral college makes sense

I worked at a diner that was 24hrs. We would have discussions on what promotions and incentive programs to do.(Like employee that sells the most OJ gets a free meal type deals)

So we would have the shift leaders do the voting and come up with ideas. it actually balanced out promotions because there were only 3 over night servers vs 10 morning servers and 6 swing. As you can see the overnight never had a chance but when you had only 4 people deciding it gave the overnight chances to win.

I know this doesn`t truly equate to the electoral college but that is the gist of what the electoral college is supposed to be doing
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Male 8,560
False logic in the very first sentence:

"In a fair democracy"

The US is not a democracy.

The rest is just misleading, cherry-picked and irrelevent facts.

Not to mention he defines `failure` by holding a system designed one way (electoral college) to the rules of another(pure democracy). It`d be like buying a Prius and claiming it fails as a pick-up truck. Well, you didn`t buy a pick-up truck.
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Male 555
The current system disenfranchises the minority in any given state. (assuming the electoral college is all or nothing.) Everyone should have an equal voice in who our next leader should be. Any attempts to "balance" power beyond that are giving the advantage to one group at the expense of another.
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Male 207
That was brilliant. I always thought the electoral college system was poo. It just doesn`t make sense to go by winning states instead of simple majority rule.
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Male 18
America is not meant to be a democracy. It has never been that way. America is a federal, constitutional REPUBLIC
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Male 14
the problem is that in all honesty people are drating stupid and irrational and have no room for comprimise.

Ruffiana made a great example
A person might be fiscally conservative, believe in state`s rights, small government, less social programing and taxes...but still believe in the gay communities rights to marry or protecting a woman`s right to abortion. Which party represents that person?

If you know each parties core policies then listen to their rhetoric you`ll see they don`t add up. Republicans want less government less intrusion on people but dont want gay marriage or abortions. Democrats believe people should live how they want but don`t think you know how to so want more regulations.

Add all this up with the fact that 2 people can witness the same thing and have 2 stories of what happens and you realize that putting that much responsibility in a group of people that can`t even remember what happened last year is why we have an electoral college
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Male 4,242
@AvatarJohn
youre right not all states are "winnner take all"
Colorado was but now its a spit vote state
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Male 506
@motleystew, That`s not a republic. A republic is a representative government where we elect individuals to make laws for all of us. In the current 2 party system, very rarely does a single individual representative from one of the major partie`s polticial ideals line up with every ideal of an individual voter. A person might be fiscally conservative, believe in state`s rights, small government, less social programing and taxes...but still believe in the gay communities rights to marry or protecting a woman`s right to abortion. Which party represents that person?

A true democracy would allow every person to weigh in on every individual issue. We don`t have that right now. We elect people, they make decisions for us, and if we really don`t like those decisions we elect someone else after the fact.
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Male 39,958

@ Cajun247 - you`re missing the point. This discussion is about popular vote vs electoral college. Not about how well Gore did or did not run.

Try to keep up.

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Male 10,855
[quote] and the smaller states dont get more influence than they deserve.[/quote]

That`s the problem their influence would negligible and it turn into a glaring regional battle, where the small states wouldn`t matter
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Male 1,059
Okay, so I may be wrong about some states not being a "winner takes all" state. I think that may be the case in primaries, which was what was confusing me. However, take a look at this case for the electoral college

Most interesting part of this is the bit about discouraging voter fraud. We saw plenty of fraud in Washington State and Minnesota in 2008 and getting rid of the EC would only exacerbate this. I would say that we might want to just amend it. Why not just remove the requirement for at least 3 votes per state? Or increase the total to more equalize out the votes per person in small vs. large states?

Bottom line, here in a consistently Republican state, I know my vote for President really doesn`t matter, but it`s still the best system for our particular situation. Now if we could just stop the med
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Male 10,855
[quote] 2000- George W Bush vs Al Gore[/quote]

How many times do I have to say it?
Al Gore ran a horrible campaign. If he wasn`t so busy running away from the fact that he was Clinton`s VP he would`ve more likely won Tennessee. Giving him the electoral college.
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Male 598
So, what is the flaw with voting directly for the president? It would help Crackr because then the republicans in a big city would still get their vote counted and the smaller states dont get more influence than they deserve. A candidate would have a harder time spending all their time in the few swing states and it could probably streamline the voting process and save some money too.
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Male 10,855
Damn Gerry why you so nasty?
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Male 48
I thought we lived in a republic not a democracy. Which in this allows for minorities to have adequate representation. If we switch to a real democracy, then it will be majority (mob) rule which will leave out all other groups that are not in the majority. Believe it or not we have more political power in a republic than a democracy.
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Male 39,958

Not really on topic, but it is political so . . .


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Male 1,059
Actually, Wowummwow, some of the states do work that way. It`s up to the individual states to decide how they assign their delegates.
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Male 559
"The system was put in place to protect the government, they feared the average man might be too stupid to vote correctly."

Exactly...that`s why the current system is the worst of both worlds. The original system had the intent of choosing the President without the input of the "common man," which, frankly, would be the best option. But the second best option, choosing the President via a direct election, is also not in place. Instead, we have some chimeric silliness that benefits no one while being complex enough to make people think that they are getting a good deal.
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Male 10,855
@Muert

A Republic does not merely allow "rule by majority". A direct election would be dominated with the states I just mentioned.
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Male 265
Simply change it so each state`s contribution is not subject to a "winner takes all" policy. For example if 40% of the people vote for one candidate, they should get 40% of the state`s electoral contribution instead of nothing.
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Male 10,855
Big cities? How about states in general:

Certainly the top 10 cities by population don`t add up to 50% of the American population, but the top 9 states DO:
California-->11.91%
Texas-->8.04%
New York-->6.19%
Florida-->6.01%
Illinois-->4.1%
Pennsylvania-->4.06%
Ohio-->3.69%
Michigan-->3.16%
Georgia-->3.1%

All that adds up to 50.16%
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Male 17,511
LuckyDave: I was using that as an example Dave, but it would spread out the campaigning efforts, make candidates visit states they normally wouldn`t, and make them actually have to listen to those outside the metropolises.

Also I believe you would instantly see large counties, like Cook County, broken up into many more smaller counties to adjust for the disadvantage. There are pros and cons to any system that may be proposed.
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Male 555
Cajun, Every Single Person would have an equal vote. States should not matter when you are voting for the leader of the entire country. States got both proportional and equal representation in the House in and the Senate. They are irrelevant to the Commander in Chief.
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Male 10,855
@2:10-2:30

So it does actually make presidents focus on smaller states? You`ve just defended the electoral college.
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Male 10,855
Again 5% chance of the "loser" winning.
Appeal to probability.

Direct voting would seriously marginalize small states, which would then complain about lack of representation and then would press for secession.
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Male 1,803
Canada`s system is based on ours. Hell, your parliament building even looks fairly similar to ours. I know, I`ve been. (Was a bit boring, some die hard Quebec politicians banging on again about why they should be allowed to split and have their own country).
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Male 10,855
I choose 5% over states would just leave because they feel they`re not being represented at all.
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Male 555
As you say Crakr, going by counties would still unbalance the voting system. I think you are trying to claim that population distribution would give an advantage to democrats because they tend to be more concentrated then republicans. That would mean that they would not need as wide spread coverage with their campaigning. But, your map is too black and white (red and blue whatever.) I suspect (but couldn`t find any maps that showed what I wanted) the the country is a lot more purple then it looks.
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Male 675
CGP Grey also mentioned the problem with the first past the post voting that we use as well, so take a broken voting system and couple it with a broken counting system and you get a system that decides the "Leader of the Free World"...

...Wait, what?

Not to mention that when they campaign in those states they spend a large amount of their time in larger cities anyway. The entire voting system is broken and needs to be fixed, but I doubt that will happen. The politicians were voted in based on said system, why change something that gave them the win?

CrakrJak... you`re not seriously suggesting that each county get one vote are you? I won`t even waste my time pointing out the flawed logic and I sincerely hope I am just misunderstanding.
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Male 3,332
Also, it completely misses the issue of faithless electors. Your electoral vote actually goes to a person, or an elector, who goes to Washington and casts his or her vote for the President. In some states, the elector position is an honorary position, and you are required by law to vote a certain way (with the majority of the votes in your state). Other states, such as New York, have no such law in place. Your elector, in New York, can vote however he or she sees fit. 100% of the people in New York could vote Republican, and the electors all vote Democrat, and it`s a legally binding vote and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
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Female 2,509
"The system was put in place to protect the government, they feared the average man might be too stupid to vote correctly."

the average man is too stupid to vote wisely but it doesn`t seem to keep idiots out of government.
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Male 3,332
He missed some good points. For instance, when Florida was counting it`s hanging chads, and law suits were being filed over the 2000 election, the same thing was going on in Oregon. The same recounts. The same issues. But, the electoral votes in Oregon were not enough to make either candidate the winner, or the loser. So, no one paid any attention to Oregon. If you re-read that sentence, you`ll see that not a single vote in Oregon really mattered. Oregon could have never figured out who should get their electoral votes, and we still would have had a president.
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Male 10,440
Indeed this is a flaw in your system, but it is a minor one if compared with the fact that with only two parties, few American`s opinions are being represented in their candidates. In most cases it`s "who`s less evil" rather than "who do I agree with".
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Male 5,811
"It`s about big city control. Canada is dealing with this problem because they don`t have a similar system. This video is too simplified and biased"

So is this comment. Canada`s political system is much different than yours. We have 4 major parties in federal elections, and those are elected on a first-past-the-post system, which is flawed when there are more than two parties involved. While it is true that the big cities control most of the voting power, your juxtaposition of our two political systems is oversimplified.
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Male 17,511
Muert: Not `more powerful` than the big cities, but fairer than having little to none at all. That`s why the electoral college is the way it is, both major parties believe the system is fair, right now, otherwise one or the other would be trying to change it.

Also did you note the largest cities have an unfair influence over their whole state ?



This the red/blue county map from the 2004 election, please note how the counties with the major blue cities are much fewer than red counties, yet they carry much more political power and influence over their respective states.

I can assure you that if there were 1 electoral vote allowed per county, the blue democrats would be crying unfair at the top of their lungs.
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Male 555
So what you are saying Crackr, is that people in smaller states deserve to have a more powerful vote then larger? Did you notice the part where only a small percentage of people live in cities? How would they have all the power? One person/one vote/all votes are equal. It is still tyranny of the majority, but it would be a hell of a lot better then what we have now.
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Male 1,510
It`s about big city control. Canada is dealing with this problem because they don`t have a similar system. This video is too simplified and biased. I want to hear the other side now.
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Male 39,958

It`s even more screwed up than that. The Electoral College is appointed. Traditionally they cast their vote for whomever got the most votes but they are not required to. If the people vote for the wrong guy, the Electoral College can give the votes to someone else. The system was put in place to protect the government, they feared the average man might be too stupid to vote correctly.

Those 3 dates the video gives...
1876- Rutherford Hayes vs Samuel Tilden
1888- Grover Cleaveland vs Benjamin Harris
2000- George W Bush vs Al Gore
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Male 17,511
Big cities control their states electoral college, and big city politics is controlled by the democrat party machine.

That is why no one campaigns in New York, Chicago, LA, Seattle, DC, etc... it would be a waste of time and resources.

Abandoning the electoral college would rewind the clock back to the days when big cities had all the power and the smaller states had none at all, which isn`t fair.
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Male 555
It is definitely a crappy system, and should have been done away with or altered long ago.
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Female 8,043
Link: The Trouble With The Electoral College [Rate Link] - Is it time to abolish the Electoral College? Is this antiquated system still fair in a modern world?
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