TalkLeft talks about proposed election changes in Colorado:
Election officials have announced that the November ballot will include a proposal to replace the state’s winner-take-all system with one to divvy up its nine electoral votes in proportion to a candidate’s popular vote. The plan would practically guarantee both President Bush and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry at least some of the state’s electoral college votes.
If such a system had been in place during the 2000 election, Al Gore, who lost Colorado with 42 percent of the popular vote, would have received three of the eight electoral votes it then had. That would have given the former vice president — who lost the electoral college, 271 to 266 — one more electoral vote than Bush, 269 to 268.
The motivation isthusclear, and Jeralynn comments:
Since George Bush is favored to win Colorado, it makes sense to vote for the change, so Kerry at least gets some votes. I think it’s a fairer system. If Bush takes all the Colorado votes, it’s like my vote didn’t count. Under the new plan, my vote will morph into permanent Kerry electoral votes and increase his national total. It’s a big difference.
I would have no problem with such a system, if it were implemented in EVERY state. Only doing it in one state diminishes the importance of every voter inthe United States whose state does not have such a system.
So, If California had such a system, Bush would have gotten about 40% of California’s electrol votes. How would this have helped Colorado Dems?
The Electoral College was never meant as a democratic process. Hamilton, I think, wrote about it in the Federalist papers as a buffer between the unwashed masses and the single most powerful elective office in the land. Patrician? Certainly. Pragmatic? More so now than ever given how ill-informed most voters are. But his intent was emasculated long ago. It used to be that state politicians, primarily the governor(directly answerable to the populace), appointed electors. Once it became a prerogative of parties all the stewardship envisioned by the Founders went out the window.
But it really doesn’t matter either way. If the EC stays as it is no great shakes. Same if it doesn’t. The U.S. survived(so far, atleast) the great Progressive changes(indirect/direct taxation and the Senate) so it’ll survive most anything. Even the election of .
One other thing. If electors are apportioned according to the popular vote it’s only more likely given the polarity today and niche third parties that the favorite will only receive a plurality thus throwing it into the House. Should make for some great blogging when it eventually happens as it certainly will.
Not to mention it will create a huge motivefor ballot stuffing- andwe know who has mastered that.
Sadly true. It wouldn’t only increase pressure to fudge the quadrennial presidential elections. Just imagine if the Greens or Libertarians ever garner a significant following and how that would impact gerrymandering fights in each and every congressional district. It would be a mad house to all except trial lawyers. I’m beginning to rethink my initial opinion that this change would be slight compared to the direct election of Senators.
If Bush takes all the Colorado votes, it’s like my vote didn’t count.
Well, I live in NY, and my Republican vote doesn’t count. And my cousin in CA- his Republican vote doesn’t count either.
Lets open THOSE states up to this system, and you have a deal.
I think the electoral college is what also holds back people from voting, it majorly says that if so an so amount of people didn’t vote your way, in your state, your vote is meaningless
it majorly says that if so an so amount of people didn’t vote your way, in your state, your vote is meaningless
Justin, that’s ridiculous. If a majority of those voting for Governor in your state, or US Senator, or State Assemblyman, or city Mayor, ad nauseam, don’t vote your way, then your vote is meaningless, too. (At least, using your logic, it is.) None of those races involve the Electoral College.
Hey I live in New Jersey man. Cry me a river! :)
Oh well. With any luck, and McGreedy screwing up some more, New Jersey might actually become a battleground state.
Though I kinda like this idea applied to NJ.
I recall reading 4 years ago–I’ll dig hard if someone wants me to–of a study done on what the effect in 2000 would have been if all states did what Colorado is contemplating. If they had, Bush would have won by an even bigger margin.
Although, by the way, I should point out that at least one or two other states DO portion their electoral votes out this way, and that it is completely Constitutional. Indeed, the Constitution makes it perfectly clear that the electors shall be chosen as the state legislatures choose, period, end of sentence. Which means that, in theory, they could divvy them up based on how tall the candidates are, or simply directly vote for whatever slate they want and not hold a popular election at all. Or any number of other alternatives.
Perfectly legal, perfectly Constitutional. Fair? Well that’s an interesting thing. Colorado takes a chance on marginalizing itself if it does this, because the candidates can pretty much assume that they’ll get either 5 or 3 electoral votes in every election (because no one would ever win by landslide enough to pick up 6 or 7 of those votes). Which means suddenly, from a strategist’s perspective, Colorado’s only worth fighting over for two electoral votes. In other words, more important than Washington D.C. but less important than any other state in the Union.
So why would any Presidential candidate much care about Colorado’s issues?
If a little or any thought went into this, one would realize that it is just a proxy popular vote. The reason America has a strong two-party system is the Electoral College; the chances are that votes divided this way could just as easily be divided among twenty parties, diffrent ones in each State and no one ever getting the required votes to win. We could conceivably end up when multiple runoffs and not having a new President elected fot years or settle for Presidents elected with 20% of the vote. If the statements made about one’s vote not counting held any water, would they be more meaningful if 80% of the people never voted for the President? This argument revisits us very four years in the hope that public education has done enough damage that no one could remember America is a Republic. Without the College all Presidents would be from LA, and NY metros. I rank this debate up there around the proposition that the federal government set 100,000,000 prices daily.
I believe the two states that already do something like this are Maine and Nebraska. And their method is not exactly the same as the one proposed for Colorado. They award electoral votes by who wins each congressional district, with two more for the statewide winner. That means that Maine, with only two congressional districts, will never split its electoral vote 2-2, no matter how close the election is. Even if a different candidate wins in each district, one will undoubtedly win by a larger margin and get the two bonus EVs. So the Maine electoral vote is always 3-1 or 4-0, and their peculiar method of apportioning them doesn’t make all that much difference.
The Maine-Nebraska method is also a poor proxy for popular voting. In Nebraska, a candidate could theoretically win 4 of 7 EVs while losing the state popular vote. Suppose a condidate lost 4 out of 5 districts by 20,000 votes each, while winning the fifth by 100,000 votes. He would win the popular vote for the state, but get only 3 of the 7 EVs — one for the district he won and two more for winning the state. Is this fairer than the method used in most states? A good question.
I’m talking about what the electoral college is used for, the presidential election, that’s why I’m saying the majority shouldn’t be for the state, but for the whole country as one, not only does it make more sense, it’s more meaningful when you have your vote count as 1 towards the collection of votes from all the states.
David R. Block
The electoral college was developed so that a Presidential Candidate could not win by just winning a large state by a wide margin and lose by a narrow margin in the rest of the country. It was designed to make small states matter.
The thing that sux about this proposal is they amount to changing the rules in the middle of the game.
If this was in place, things may have been done differently.
This is Democrats trying to screw republicans over. Pray the Repubs. can stop this.
You want to change the system? Fine, do it after the election.
Unless all the states do this, this is a real loser for Colorado. In the case of the 2000 vote, this change would mean that the candidates would likely see Colorado as a net-two-vote state. The candidates wouldn’t waste a lot of time trying to woo the voters of a state that would only net them two votes.
And even if ALL the states did this, it would still make the candidates pay more attention to the big states; but if only Colorado does it, then their likely influence becomes smaller than any other state.
Colorado really can do whatever the Colorado voters want to do. As it is a ballot initiative then this is going to be decided by the Colorado voters themselves, not state legislators, Congressmen or Senators. The opinion of the rest of the nation should have no bearing on what Coloradans wish to do to reform their electors.
Overall, I don’t think this model is good for all states. In Illinois, my state, such a system would still place the state in the hands of a single party. With one major city the state already has concentrated power in the urban metropolis. To reform how electors were chosen would be followed by calls to reform how the individual voter is heard in choosing those electors. Redistricting would follow and the end result of more people concentrated in urban areas, where Democrats are dominant, would not only put more electors in the hands of Democrats, but would also place more Democrats in the state assembly.
-keith in mtn. view
I wish something like this would happen here in California. We’re fighting again for an Open Primary, which was dissolved by both sides of the hog-trough legislature – IMO it’s part of the Voter Revolt to stop the gridlock in Sacatomato, this would be good for CA.
I don’t care what Colorado decides to do in the long run. But you don’t change the rules for an election at the same time as the election itself is held.
Most presidential elections are close, in an absolute sense. It is rare for a candidate to get more than 60% (uncommon even to get 55%).
Colorado now has nine votes. This measure would turn it into a net-one vote state.
States with even numbers of votes would be a wash.
Huge states like California would be worth a couple more votes.
The bottom line is that we would transform from the current system to one where most states had only 1 net vote, and the largest states would only have a couple.
The Electoral college has been perverted from its original purpose, and should be transformed into a straight popular vote. Hey, it’s a national office, it should have a national vote.