[EM] Electoral College (was Re: Voting by selecting a published ordering)
seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Sun Apr 23 16:18:06 PDT 2006
Antonio Oneala wrote:
> The electoral college already allows candidates to withdraw their support and give it
> to other candidates.
That "support" would be non-binding on the Electors.
Also, some states have passed a law requiring their Electors to vote for the state's
winner. I don't believe its constitutionality has been tested in court, but until it's
found unconstitutional or repealed it will act as a deterrent against Electors voting for
the "right" candidate. Uncertainty about this could deter potential candidates from
> Actually, this is probably one of the main reasons the founders
> wanted an electoral college. The main thing that messed up here was the at-large
> allocation of votes that most states chose - therefore, a person with a plurality
> usually gets a landslide in the college, and no redistribution is necessary.
Some people don't consider the Electoral College winner-take-all within most states to be
messed up. Here are 2 reasons to prefer winner-take-all:
1. If states allocate their Electoral College delegates proportionally, then every state
would be a campaign battleground. The cost of campaigning would be much greater.
2. There would be an incentive to ask for recounts in all states.
What I propose the states do is tweak the winner-take-all formula so that instead of a
sharp reversal when a candidate's total goes from 50% - 1 to 50% + 1, there'd be a linear
change within the 49% to 51% region. For instance, if a candidate receives 51% or more,
she'd win all the state's Electoral College votes. If she receives 50%, she'd win half
the state's EC votes. 50.5% would win 3/4 of the state's EC votes, etc. With a formula
like this, recounts within a state wouldn't swing the state's allocation by more than
about 1 EC vote, so there'd rarely be an incentive to ask for a recount.
That's not a general formulation; it assumed only 2 candidates competing. But it can
easily be generalized so that the allocation of EC votes would be linear when the top 2
candidates are close to each other, and otherwise all would be allocated to the top
candidate. (Apologies if I'm still being unclear.)
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