[EM] direct democracy / proxy system proposal - comment

Paul Kislanko kislanko at airmail.net
Sun Aug 8 14:10:03 PDT 2004

In response to my:

> "Electors" are our proxies for the selection of President and Vice
> President, and we elect Representatives to Congress as proxies for for
> having all of us get together and vote on every issue.

Bryan Ford wrote:

US presidential electors are in no way similar to the proxies James is 
proposing.  For starters, the people (which includes me, one of the millions

stuck under this godawful electoral system) do not actually vote for 
electors: they vote for a party or presidential candidate, who _appoints_
electors for a particular state, and the electors for that state in turn
for their candidate in the electoral college if the candidate wins the 
popular vote in that state.  

----end quote---

A minor correction: http://www.fec.gov/pages/ecworks.htm points out that
it's really the other way around. We do NOT vote for candidates, we vote for
a "slate of electors". In Nebraska and Maine we vote for 2 "at large"
electors and 1 elector for our district (I think if every state did it this
way we'd have better campaigns even in this godawful system, and a
democratic district in a mostly-republican state or vice-versa wouldn't be
quite as dis-enfranchised as they are now).

Curiously, there is no legal obligation whatsoever for any elector to vote
the for the candidate under whose name (s)he was elected. I believe it is
even still possible in most states to vote for electors for vice president
who are different from electors for president. 

I for one would like to see the VP be from a different party than the
president's. Originally the VP was the one who got the second-most votes for
president, and it made life very interesting for Jefferson, Adams, etc. But
I think if we went back to that and returned to the original constitutional
role of the VP's main duty being to serve as president of the Senate, a lot
more representative democracy would be visible than there is now.

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