I may be a bit naive on this topic, but I believe that my vote should count. I understand the history and all, but I still think one's vote should count, and the candidate who receives the most votes should win. What are your thoughts. Please help me to understand why the Electoral College is a good thing, if it is a good thing. It just "feels" like my vote doesn't count with the Electoral College. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and providing clarification on this issue.
Don't let electoral college discourage you from voting! Majority vote is how politicians get their electoral votes. It is not as if electoral votes are predetermined.
Oh, I am never discoraged from voting, and I always vote, but am wondering if it even matters. That's good to know too! Thank you, Ryan!
Votes are much more important at the state level, for Congress seats, etc.
Unfortunately not so much for the Presidency, I don't think we've had an honest/clear from controversy, lack of fraud (it was FL one year OH the next) in a long while when it comes to the Presidency.
Today with computer voting machines which can be hacked being used in so many states, and all these stories about non-citizens voting three, four times because no one can check for accuracy of ID in half our states... its not something to get yourself worked up over, half the states it is already decided where their share of electoral votes are going regardless of what the actual voters vote for.
Well, that's all discoraging ...voter fraud, hacking ...that's exactly what doesn't make sense, is that the electoral vote is already decided in some states. Just doesn't seem right.
At least my state does require photo ID to vote.
To be frank until today (Just now) I did not understand the electoral college Faith. But, I read Does my vote count? Understanding the electoral college. At that article it offers how/why it came to us and a tad of history to explain. BTW . . . a medium sized article.
A quote offered gave me food for thought, "it's useful sometimes to think of the Constitution as an experiment — as a work in progress". An emphasis made is when the constitution was framed it was part of the "Great Experiment" of democracy, thus also the Electoral College. Early in the article they clear up how the common voters were viewed at that time, which apparently was important. However, as seen with the OP and in its discussion that may have changed with the evolution / transition of the common voter to today. Perhaps food to ponder.
What cleared it up for me is your vote does count, however its value is not on a national scale. In essence when you vote you are voting within a state election. That is where the majority is of importance. Again, they offer history for explanation. A point they shared importance is with 3rd parties where confusion may arise from. That is when plurality arrives. It points out the elections of Clinton winning without the national majority - '92 & '96 contrast a plurality. Again, the value of the individual vote is at the plane of the state, not national as that article points out. That is what I got from the article and hope it helps.
Thank you so much, tsmog, as that helps a great deal. If this were a question, I would choose your response as best. Good to know I'm not the only one who needs further clarification as to the electoral vote. I appreciate the research you've done.
I understand why the electoral college was initially set up but I suppose our country has moved into a direction where one person, one vote should be put into effect. The electoral college is antiquated.
Yes, it seems that way to me too. It makes more sense in my mind that the candidate who has more actually votes should win. Each individual vote should count.
Each individual vote does count - even if there are instances like Kathleen Cochran's example, (which is similar to mine in Maryland), when it does not seem so. In essence rule by popular vote is really rule by mob vote, (albeit a very large mob - 51%).
If you consider the quality of consideration many voters use to make their choice - do you think popular/mob vote is the best way to choose our leaders? Do you think it is equitable that a half dozen, (or so), states would determine the direction of our nation?
So, GA, what have you got against the idea of popular sovereignty? What would you replace it with?
The Electoral College.
Popular sovereignty? Think back to the many times we have discussed the motivations and considerations of the average American voter... Like putty balls to be stacked until they reach the bar of Popular sovereignty. Or scale it down - five drunks in a limousine party of nine... The Electoral College at least adds the possibility of a designated driver.
I generally support the status quo with the electoral college serving to give voice to the less populated regions and their concerns, but generally not to overrule the popular vote. It generally hasn't, so I haven't complained much. This has happened in the past in such rare occasions, I don't think that the idea of one man, one vote has suffered a great deal. But I do insist that the electors vote in line with the outcome of the popular vote in their respective states. They have, and as long as they continue to do so, no problem.
I would never want to go down the elitist road that believes citizens are not the best deciders for who should lead them. My view of the average voter is not so pessimistic. That designated driver is fine as long as he ends up taking the 5 of the 9 to their shared desired destination as the other 4 will lose out.
Yes, GA ...so, you're saying the average American shouldn't vote, but only a select few?
No Faith Reaper, I did not say that at all. I said every vote does count.
It is true that our Electoral College set-up does make a lot of minority party votes seem completely meaningless - relative to directly adding to a tally for your candidate, (as you think should be how it is done), but I think there are other valid reasons that a Republic view, one that recognizes that the United States is a republic of states, not one mass of citizens, is as necessary, and needed, now as it was at the start.
Are you one of those guys that is a proponent of undoing popular election of Senators in favor of returning to appointment of Senators by state legislatures, as was the case prior to 1913?
Nope I am not one of those guys at all. I think the popular vote - on the state level, (and local level also) - is the right choice for electing representative leaders. I consider a state as a society, and our nation as a collection of societies. Majority rule for a society, representative rule for a collection of societies.
From the "popular vote" perspective I can understand the frustration and sense of unfairness attached to the reality that a minority party vote doesn't count - in that election. As a non-Democrat voter in Maryland, I knew my vote would not make a difference in that election.
But... I knew my vote still counted. It may be the one that keeps my minority party from sinking further, or the one that sparks an expansion. It could also be the vote that draws attention to my minority - increasing our influence. Consider Maryland now - my Blue state elected a Red governor.
So I know the messages of my earlier votes did count - they contributed to the increased influence, (votes), of my former minority.
Unfortunately those votes, local level and state level, become more and more irrelevant as the lawmakers keep re-writing the laws to benefit the mega-corporations, the international global powers, at the expense of the American taxpayer.
There used to be more than 50 corporations that controlled the various media outlets 35 years ago, now there are only 5.
There used to be 5 different power companies fighting within a state to provide people power, now there is only one, and that company provides for 5 states.
There used to be local, county, and state level communities and programs that were independent and funded by the local taxpayers... now every local, county, and state community does back flips and licks bootstraps to receive 'matching dollars' from the Feds.
There is 'common core' there is 'obamacare' there is the invasive federal government at every level, in every facet of your life now... where it never was 25, 35 years ago.
And unfortunately, that Federal government itself has turned over its 'authority' to the very powers we had hoped it would protect us against, mega-corporations and foreign nations.
Kathryn and ahorseback provided a couple good responses - after your post, that I think validate that the Electoral College is still needed.
I think its original intent amounted to a distribution of National vote power as a safeguard against a mob rule by the few most populace states.
Don't you think that bit of protection is still needed? Do you think those states, (or the general scenario), in ahorseback's example should determine the fate of the nation? What do you think is antiquated?
I always thought it was necessary, back then, in order to get the support of the smaller states during the process of setting up our government. So that their votes counted a bit more, so that they wouldn't feel that their voices weren't heard.
Anyway, I disagree with you when you say one person, one vote, would equate to little more than mob rule. I have more respect for individual voters than that.
Don't you think those reasons are still important? I would think small states like Delaware do.
And to you last point... ever play the card game BS? I'm calling BS. Does that respect and confidence cover Hillary supporters too?
We ceased to be a nation of pockets of unique communities many moons ago. We are all interconnected in a manner similar to how the residents of the individual states were. Probably more so. I, personally, don't believe one state should hold greater sway than another. It's become like a chess game. Candidates ignore one area because the electoral votes won't make a difference in the grand scheme of the game.
And, yes. Hillary voters have my respect. I may disagree with their choice but we are all seeking the best for the country. We simply disagree on what that best entails.
I certainly disagree that " pockets of unique communities" has ceased to be the construction of our nation, or that states should no longer be unique individuals. But I do understand those thoughts would be behind a popular sovereignty perspective.
I do see your point and appreciate the discussion, and that is why I asked for clarification from those in the know. So, the individual vote does count as it determines the electoral ...so it is designed to give those in less populated areas more say? But the country as a whole should be considered and not broken down ...well, I guess I'm still not there yet understanding the whole process.
The country should not be "broken down." Our nation is a Republic of states, not a single nation-state.
Regarding national elections, marbles might help. You think of America as a big bowl of marbles, (you know the marbles are us of course), but a Republic perspective sees America as a big bowl of different sized bags of marbles.
"The reason that the Constitution calls for this extra layer, rather than just providing for the direct election of the president, is that most of the nation’s founders were actually rather afraid of democracy. James Madison worried about what he called "factions," which he defined as groups of citizens who have a common interest in some proposal that would either violate the rights of other citizens or would harm the nation as a whole. Madison’s fear – which Alexis de Tocqueville later dubbed "the tyranny of the majority" – was that a faction could grow to encompass more than 50 percent of the population, at which point it could "sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens." Madison has a solution for tyranny of the majority: "A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking."
As Alexander Hamilton writes in "The Federalist Papers," the Constitution is designed to ensure "that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications." The point of the Electoral College is to preserve "the sense of the people," while at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen "by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice."
http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-re … l-college/
Wow, Kathryn, Thank you for sharing these facts here about the electoral vote. Understanding all of that and then it always having been stressed to go out and vote as It is a great privilege...being our votes make a differnce, but do they, as relates to the real person who won is the one who has the most actual votes of the people.
"Hamilton argues that the 'sense of the people', through the election of the electors to the college, should have a part of the process. The final say, however, lies with the electors, who Hamilton notes are 'Men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.'
Therefore, the direct election of the president is left up to those who have been
* selected by the voters to become the electors.*
The indirect election is justified by Hamilton because while a republic is still served, the system allows for only a certain type of person to be elected president, preventing individuals who are unfit for a variety of reasons to be in the position of chief executive of the country.
I appreciate the history that has been shared here. But I can't help but wonder what a different world we would live in today if the winner of the popular vote in 2000 had taken office instead of the winner of the electoral college? Has it outlived its era? If it saves us this year from an unqualified candidate, I will be its biggest proponent.
I am a progressive in a solid red state. My vote never counts except in the popular count. But I keep on voting because at least those numbers are made known, and hopefully that tells people that there is a loyal opposition out there with another point of view. Here in metro Atlanta, Republicans just assume everyone agrees with them. I like to remind them from time to time, that there actually are other opinions in their world.
Are any of you aware that WITHOUT the electoral college ;That high population centers alone can influence presidential politics completely every single election ? It is my understanding that .....,for instance , California , New York City , Chicago , and some combination of higher populations including these , by votes CAN win the election almost every time ?
Would that be fair ?
No, I am not aware and that is why I asked the question to obtain further clarification. Thanks for weighing in.
I will chime in here to say that, on this issue, I agree with a horseback (a rare occurrence!). The electoral college serves to give rural areas a greater voice in the election. As a progressive, I sometimes wish that were not so, but my rational mind views the electoral college as a way to protect minority voices.
So those who reside in rural area's are all minorities ?
See? We can still disagree , it's in our nature ............:.<}
The problem though is the apparent crookedness of the electorals , As in how the left cheated Sen. Sanders from and since the New Hampshire primaries ?
The rural vote is sometimes a minority vote in the sense that urban areas are more densely populated.
I do believe that rural voters have a much better understanding on how smaller government would be better government and how bigger government is simply more expensive government . perhaps city dwellers simply demand more government by nature and virtue of their surroundings ?
Are you mixing-up the Electoral College electors with the party primary delegates?
ahorseback: You are someone who I can trust to explain this to me. If we don't want our elections decided by large population centers, obliterating the value of the small town vote, how is the electoral college any different when the states with a lot of electors (based on population) have more influence on the outcome of the election than states with fewer? I'm missing a step here.
In my small and humble understanding ; Electoral coverage still has to be population based as to representation , voters per square mile ? But to divide regionally alone would be then influenced by ideology , For instance New York States populace , primarily NYC ,almost always votes majority democrat , as does the higher population based California as in , L.A., or S.F.?
Perhaps because the higher population areas of a state dictate one ideology over another , Why they mostly go democrat in some states over another , or why rural area's and states always go conservative I'm not sure . But I do know that if there were no electoral divide the presidential election would always be decided by California and New York ,
I Hope this helps , I hope it's accurate .......:-]
It might be intersting to expound on your points, WHY does California and New York vote Democrat?
Why should the political desires of the least populated state like Wyoming be considered on the same plane as that of California? I compromise because the founders in their wisdom recognized the need to bring everybody aboard on a single plan. But superior numbers translates to greater voting power to choose the legislators and the nation's executive of our choosing. Do you have a problem with the concept?
Yes you are right. Smaller one are always smashed. They actually need more political support to make their state better in every aspects
If all the states were the same size and population, would we need electoral college votes??
Perhaps we should rearrange the boundaries? Its instinctual to trust one man one vote more. But, in a republic/nation of individual states, (which is democratic,) each state needs to be represented equally. Its a dilemma. Nothing is perfect in life. We just solve the problems as they come up ...
and live with it.
The electoral college should remove the ability to misrepresent its populace vote , What happened .In the DNC New Hampshire primaries exactly ?
"The electoral college should remove the ability to misrepresent its populace vote ,"
The representative voters are to answer to the will of their constituents.
Q. But, what guarantees that the representatives will vote according to the decisions (IF THEY ARE GOOD ONES) of their state?
A. Honest delegates.
(The voters themselves have the power to PREVENT misrepresentation by voting for morally upright honest people.)
"A party official pointed out that New Hampshire superdelegates do not always support the candidate who won the primary." (from link below) I really thought the delegates were (mostly) beholden to the will of the people. I guess I am wrong. I don't get it.
This article doesn't help much. (well, maybe it does it you print it up and study it. Otherwise, its hard on the eyes.)
http://www.wmur.com/politics/sanders-wo … t/37952046
Because of a law passed for the 2008 ? elections , DNC super delegates were formed . That is what I say- swayed the rest of the primaries into Hilary's favor this election primary . Unfair ? Crooked ?
You should check out why super delegates were formed .
At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the superdelegates made up approximately one-fifth of the total number of delegates. The closeness of the race between the leading contenders, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, led to speculation that the superdelegates would play a decisive role in selecting the nominee, a prospect that caused unease among some Democratic Party leaders. Obama, however, won a majority of the pledged delegates and of the superdelegates, and thus clinched the Democratic presidential nomination by June.
At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, superdelegates cast approximately 823.5 votes, with fractions arising because superdelegates from Michigan, Florida, and Democrats Abroad are entitled to half a vote each. Of the superdelegates' votes, 745 were from unpledged PLEO delegates and 78.5 were from unpledged add-on delegates.
There was no fixed number of unpledged PLEO delegates. The number was allowed to change during the campaign as particular individuals gained or lost qualification under a particular category. The unpledged PLEO delegates were: all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, "[a]ll former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee."
There was an exception, however, for otherwise qualified individuals who endorse another party’s candidate for President; under Rule 9.A, they lose their superdelegate status. (In 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut endorsed Republican John McCain, which, according to the chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, resulted in his disqualification as a superdelegate. Lieberman's status had, however, previously been questioned because, although he was a registered Democratic voter and caucused with the Democrats, he won re-election as the candidate of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party and was listed as an "Independent Democrat". The count for Connecticut's delegates in the state party's delegate selection plan, issued before his endorsement of McCain, reportedly excluded Lieberman,[unreliable source?] and he was not included on at least one list of PLEO delegates prepared before his endorsement.) In the end he was not a superdelegate and did not attend the Democratic Convention; he was instead a speaker at the Republican Convention.
Superdelegate REFORM Package
"On July 23, 2016, ahead of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the 2016 DNC Rules Committee voted overwhelmingly (158–6) to adopt a superdelegate reform package.
The new rules were the result of a compromise between the Clinton and the Sanders campaigns; in the past, Sanders had pressed for the complete elimination of superdelegates.
Under the reform package, in future Democratic Conventions, about two-thirds of superdelegates would be bound to the results of state primaries and caucuses. The remaining one-third – Members of Congress, Governors, and distinguished party leaders – would remain unpledged and free to support the candidate of their choice.
Under the reform package, a 21-member unity commission, chaired by Clinton supporter Jennifer O'Malley Dillon and vice-chaired by Sanders supporter Larry Cohen, is to be appointed "no later than 60 days" after the 2016 general election.
The commission would report by January 1, 2018, and its recommendations would be voted on at the next Democratic National Committee meeting, well before the beginning of the 2020 Democratic primaries.
The commission was to consider "a mix of Clinton and Sanders ideas, including expanding 'eligible voters' ability to participate in the caucuses in caucus states, a gripe of Clinton's campaign, and encouraging 'the involvement in all elections of unaffiliated or new voters who seek to join the Democratic Party through same-day registration and re-registration'", which is one of Sanders' demands.
The commission drew comparisons to the McGovern–Fraser Commission, which established party primary reforms before the 1972 Democratic National Convention."
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdele … on_of_2008
I hope I don't get flagged for this, but if you really want an alternative to the electoral college, write your state legislators: http://hubpages.com/politics/What-is-th … e-movement
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