[EM] 01/29/02 - Re: Electoral College Debate:

Donald Davison donald at mich.com
Mon Jan 28 10:33:46 PST 2002

01/29/02 - Re: Electoral College Debate:

Greetings List Members,

No one should hold their breath while waiting for the Electoral College to
go away.

No one should be so foolish as to join any movement to eliminate the
Electoral College.

At least do the math before you join.

Consider the following math:
  1) The president is not elected on only the basis of `one man one vote',
the states also have votes, two Electoral votes each, that was the deal.
  2) Most states, 37 of 50, have less than the average population of the
fifty states.
  3) Very few of the 37 below average population states are going to give
up their side of the deal. The two Electoral votes give each of these
states an extra edge in the election of the president.
  4) These 37 states have 168 members in the House of Congress.  While it
would take 137 of these 168 members to stop an amendment in the House, it
could be done.  If the amendment is not stopped in the House, the below
average population states will have an easier time of stopping it in the
  5) Only 17 states are needed to stop an amendment in the U.S. Senate.
     (that too was part of the deal)
  6) Only 13 states are needed to stop an amendment from being passed by
the states.
     (also part of the deal)
     That's the math. (Read it and weep)

* * * * * * * *

     If you really want to improve the US presidential election, then your
first step should be to change this policy of `Winner take All' that most
state have.  We would not have had the problems with the last election if
no state had the policy of `winner take all'.  I'm not saying Gore would
have won.  There were a number of states that Gore won by a questionable
number of votes.  Had Bush received his fair share of those states plus his
fair share of Florida's Electoral votes, he most likely would have still

     I also contend that a major part of the gap between population and
Electoral votes is caused by the policy of `Winner Take All' in the states
that have it. We cannot count on randomness to balance Electoral votes to
     Consider two states with the same number of Electoral votes.
Candidate(A) wins one state by 62 percent while candidate(B) wins the other
state by 51 percent. If we divide the Electoral votes according to popular
vote in each state and then add them together, the Electoral vote count for
these two states will be in the same percentages as the sums of the popular
votes of the two states. But, not so if these states have the `Winner Take
All' policy.
     The percentage gap between population and Electoral votes will be
smaller if we divide the Electoral votes in each state. Besides, the second
candidate in each state is entitled to his share of the electoral votes, so
that he may compete on the national level.

* * * * * * *

Your next step is to support some good plan inside a state that will treat
all the voters, candidates, and parties equally, like the following plan:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Instant Runoff Voting and the Electoral College: by Donald Davison -
January 15 2001 Draft:

     It is possible to use Instant Runoff Voting aka IRVing in one or more
or all the states without the elimination of the Electoral College.

     Each state would use IRVing to reduce their field of candidates down
to two. The electoral votes would then be divided between these two
candidates according to each state's IRVing vote count at the point in the
calculations after the votes of the other candidates have been transferred
to the final two candidates.  The division should go out to a number of
decimal points.
     IRVing is the only method that can do this job.  The other
`single-winner' election methods cannot be used because they cannot be
reduced down to two candidates and still represent all the voters in the
state.  Two candidates are necessary so that the last stage of the election
method can be conducted on the national level.

     We must keep the last two candidates as contenders and we must divide
the votes between them because this is the only way in which all the voters
in a state can have a say when the final decision is made in the next part
of the election, that is, when the Electoral vote sums of one state are
combined with the Electoral vote sums of the other states. This is IRVing's
policy - everyone's vote is to have a voice when the final decision is

     The electoral votes for the top two candidates from all the states
would now be combined to give us the unofficial results. Yes, I said
unofficial, because there is one more step needed before a state can submit
its results as being official.
     Each state must compare its final two candidates with the national
final two candidates. If the two are the same then there is nothing more to
do, the state can submit its results as official. But, if the candidates
are not the same, then the state must do the runoff cycles over again with
an added rule. That rule is that the top two national candidates are not to
be eliminated this time around. This is a necessary and acceptable step
because if we had a national runoff election, it would do the same, it
would eliminate a nationally lower candidate even if that candidate was a
leading candidate in a few states.
     This rule is not to be used during the first round of IRVing.
     When the state submits its official results, it is necessary for it to
have the same two candidates as the top two national candidates. To do
otherwise would deny the people of the state from having a voice in the
election when the final decision is being made between the last two
candidates, which are the top two national candidates.
     In an earlier presidential election, George Wallace carried
Mississippi and Alabama, but the people of those two states were still
entitled to have a voice in the decision between the last two national
candidates. As it turned out, they had no voice in that final decision.
     Besides, it is important that all the Electoral College votes of all
the states be there between the final top two national candidates when the
final decision is made between the two, otherwise there is the possibility
that no candidate will receive a majority of the total electoral votes and
that would cause the election to be determined by the House instead of by
the states.

     This is a plan which one state can start to follow without waiting for
the other states. Of course, the influence of IRVing will be low with only
one state, but as other states come on board, the influence of this plan
will increase.
     My plan is something a single state can do to improve the presidential
election for the citizens of its state, and my plan will do that very well,
while others will still be waiting endlessly for a national amendment to
eliminate the Electoral College.

     Under existing conditions, this plan offers the best way in which
Instant Runoff Voting can be used in our presidential elections. This is
also the best plan for all the political parties, large and small.

Regards, Donald Davison,                      http://www.mich.com/~donald

   |                        Q U O T A T I O N                          |
   |  "Democracy is a beautiful thing,                                 |
   |        except that part about letting just any old yokel vote."   |
   |                           - Age 10 -                              |
    APV   Approval Voting
    ATV   Alternative Vote  aka  IRV Instant Runoff Voting
    FPTP  First Past The Post  aka  Plurality
    NOTA  None of the Above  aka  RON Re-Open Nominations
    STV   Single Transferable Vote  aka  Choice Voting  aka  Full Choice
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