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

Blake Cretney bcretney at postmark.net
Mon Jan 28 17:29:09 PST 2002

Donald Davison wrote:

>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.
It isn't really clear that the below average population states have more 
power because of the existing system.  This is the point of the 
discussion.  The fact that states vote as a block tends to favour the 
larger states.

It seems to me likely that in the present political climate, voters in 
smaller states do have more power as a result of the electoral college. 
 But, this could change if different states started supporting different 
parties.  It may well be that at some point the voters of smaller states 
will end up with disproportionately little power as a result of the 
electoral college.  If this is surprising to you, I suggest you read the 
previous discussion.

>     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
But the winner take all system appears to help the voters of larger 
states.  Why would they want to change it?  Out of a sense of fairness? 
 But you totally reject that as a motivating factor for smaller states, 
so why should it hold for the larger ones.

Moreover, it is always beneficial for the majority in a state to select 
100% of the electors.  If there is a reasonably consistent 60% that 
support party X, why would they they only choose electors representing 
that 60%, when they can choose electors on behalf of the other 40% as 
well?  Particularly if other states (who support other parties) aren't 
doing the same.

BTW, please don't needlessly change the subject heading.

Blake Cretney

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