Should the USA go to popular vote instead of the electoral college?
Yes. It should be the people, not who the people choose to speak for them.
Definitely. The electoral college doesn't accurately represent the needs of the American people, what with the uneven number of reps per state and the "faithless" reps who go back on what they say and vote for a different candidate. Plenty of people don't even know about the electoral college and how it plays a part in elections. I know that a lot of Americans are uneducated about politics and if they voted, it wouldn't necessarily be a good thing, but they deserve to be a bigger part of elections. My solution would be to make sure everyone got 100% true information about the candidates and what they plan to do.
Absolutely. In a presidential election (a couple of electioons ago) someone won the majority but lost the electoral vote and the election. This is not right.
I think anyone should first check out this site before commenting: http://dflorig.com/2000electcollege.htm.
There are a lot of considerations that are not immediately apparent.
The Electoral College is not a perfect solution, but it is better than popular vote for a couple of reasons, including the impact of fraud and favoring population concentrations. Rural America needs a voice also. Because each state is guaranteed at least 3 electoral votes (one for each Senator plus one for each Representative), there is a bias for states with smaller populations that otherwise would not be heard. Do we really want inner cities to dictate life-style in America? Some might, but I don't.
I believe the founding fathers understood this when they designed a system to equalize the weight of votes throughout the original states. Different regions have different needs. Popular vote helps to discriminate against minorites, not very American.
For over 110 years the College has not been an issue in American politics. The 1/10th of 1% of the population difference between Bush's and Gore's votes is statistically insignificant, needing 'chad' counters to help settle the issue in Florida.
Do we need or want a Constitutional amendment? Are we now smarter than the original framers of this land? I think not.
Great question, though. Maybe we should have a popular vote referendum to answer the question.
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).
When every vote counts equally, successful candidates will continue to find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support.
Now political clout comes from being a battleground state.
Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are almost invariably non-competitive. 6 regularly vote Republican, and 6 regularly vote Democrati. 9 state legislative chambers in the lowest population states have passed the bill. It has been enacted by DC and Hawaii.
None of the 10 most rural states is a battleground state.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states.
The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States. Under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states -- a mere 26% of the nation's votes.
With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome. The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. A "big city" only campaign would not win.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state.
The current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.
I don't know that a switch would solve any problems. Either way, the states with the greatest population densities are courted for their attention and those with the least are considered fly-over country. A South Dakota voter will have trouble getting attention from any politician who does not have California and Florida in his court. We could look at a system in which proportional density becomes the deciding factor. For example. Each state equals 10 votes. If you got all the votes in all the states, you would have a total of 500 votes. Now, if as a candidate, you receive 7 million popular votes in Texas against an overall population of 10 million, then you receive 70% of the 10 votes or 7 votes. The proportional relationship only affects the division of votes within that state and no other and no state has more or less that 10 votes. That gives all states equal value regardless of the population distribution throughout the country and it places the responsibility on the candidate to capture the majority proportion of the votes in a majority of the states to control enough votes for the win. On that basis then, the 10 votes in South Dakota are just as important as the 10 votes in Florida. That would be equitable representation in the election process. WB
Not only should it go to popular vote over the Electoral College but it should institute proportional representation over first past the post representation as well. Meaning that if a party gets 49% of the vote and the next gets 51% of the vote than the seats should be split 49% to 51% between the two parties, not the 51% party taking all.
And to danthehandyman: There has yet to be a proven case of actual voter fraud in modern elections. The much more pressing concern is vote suppression, not fraud and suppression will occur whether there is an electoral college or not.
An emphatic and authoritative "No!" I am a doctoral student studying government and public administration. The electoral college was never intended as a replacement for the popular vote. A lot of folks are under the mistaken impression that the Founders would have created the popular election of presidents if it had been feasible in an agrarian horse-and-buggy society. The Electoral College is part of the checks and balances on power in this country. Each of the branches of the federal government is selected in a different way. The Congress is elected by popular vote (actually the Senate used to be appointed by state legislatures before the ill-considered 17th amendment was passed), the President is elected by the electoral college, which is itself elected by the citizens of the individual states, and the Supreme Court is appointed by the President (upon approval of the Senate, of course) , who is elected by the electoral college, which is elected by the citizens of the individual states. Each one has a different path to power, and each has as its root a popular election. Because each branch comes by its power differently, the mob rule of a pure democracy is thwarted and those voters who are in the minority are protected from the tyrrany of the majority. If you do away with the Electoral College, you put two of the three branches essentially under the control of a mob. We live in a republic, not a direct democracy, and I for one am very glad.
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