[EM] Re: Electoral College

Jurij Toplak jure.toplak at uni-mb.si
Sun Jan 27 11:48:03 PST 2002

It seems strange to many people that the smallest states have 3 votes in
Electoral college although they should not have them according to the "one
person - one vote" rule. However, all the federal countries tend to give
small states some more power than they should have. There is a good reason
for that.
Consider federal country of Yugoslavia (the new one, FRY). It is a
federation of only two parts - one is large (about 90% of the population -
Serbia) and one is small (less than 10% of the population - Montenegro). Do
you think that there should be one-person one-vote rule when they are
selecting president? Then the Montenegro will never get their man in the
office. Also in the parliament Serbs will always outvote them. To give both
parts equal power is unfair, too. Then serbs would be unhappy. So something
in the middle is needed. And this is what Electoral college is doing, too.

----- Original Message -----
From: Alexander Small <asmall at physics.ucsb.edu>
To: <election-methods-list at eskimo.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2002 8:29 PM
Subject: [EM] Re: Electoral College

> Forest's example of 3 states with 48, 49, and 3 votes was good, but I
> the 51-49 case isn't quite as good, because it's just a case of majority
> rule.  Probably a better case of a state with zero power would be this:
> 3 states have 4 votes, 1 state has 3 votes, total of 15 votes.  The state
> with 3 votes has NO power, since 8 votes are needed for a majority and
> 2 states with 4 votes can raise a majority.
> The Electoral College isn't a worthwhile target for election reform.
> states will not agree to abolish it, because intuitively it SEEMS like
> have more power per person than California and Texas.  Proportional
> allocation won't likely catch on, nor will the Nebraska/Maine system.
> Swing states lose their power if they can only swing a few votes, and
> states" aren't about to give a few of their votes to the other side.
> I see only 2 ways to get rid of the EC:  The first is for a strong third
> party to win some electoral votes, so nobody has an electoral vote
> majority.  The House of Representatives would vote among the top 3, each
> state delegation casting a single vote, until one got a majority of the
> states.  That would prompt cries for reform.
> (Of course, a strong third party won't emerge on the national scene until
> we get rid of plurality voting in local, state, and Congressional races.
> Perot was a flash in the pan.  I assume that most people here want to get
> rid of plurality voting to bring in additional parties.  If I were
> satisfied with only 2 feasible choices I'd shrug off spoilers, saying that
> those voters chose not to participate, as is their right.)
> The second way is for a Republican to win a popular _majority_, and a
> Democrat to win the electoral vote with undisputed _majorities_ in each of
> his states (not by a few hundred dangling chads or whatever).  I specify
> majorities so that nobody can blame spoilers for the outcome.  There is
> perception that the EC favors the GOP, and that shapes many people's
> opinions.  The split decision that I describe would disabuse the GOP of
> that illusion.  Of course, then the Dems might oppose popular elections.
> Oh, well, who knows?
> Alex Small

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list