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How Not to Get Rid of the Electoral College
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I've written before about how stupid and undemocratic I think the Electoral College is. Via Andrew Sullivan, here's a Pew Research Center report on how several states are doing an end-around on the EC:


Maryland last year became the first state to approve a "national popular vote" compact that would allocate all of its 10 electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes nationwide, rather than to the candidate who garners the most votes in the state, as is the case under the Electoral College.

New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois have since followed suit and passed laws that would allot their collective 40 electoral votes the same way. Identical bills are moving in Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island, which have a total of 62 electoral votes.

These bills do nothing on their own and would take effect only when states that collectively have at least 270 electoral votes pass identical measures, since a candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.


No, no, no, no, no.

It's a little bit closer to the actual ideal of one person, one vote, but it's still an all-or-nothing allocation of the electoral votes for a particular state.

What's wrong with it? Imagine an extreme example where you live in California, a state with 55 out of the 538 available nationwide electoral votes. Let's say the California popular vote was 5,000,000 for McCain and 6,000,000 for Obama, but the nationwide popular vote was 60,000,001 for McCain and 60,000,000 for Obama.

In such a case, all 55 of California's electoral votes would go for McCain. A fifth grader can see why this is dumb.

What exactly the hell is wrong with a state law that allocates EC votes based on the proportion of the popular vote in that state?

As a voter, I want to make sure, as much as possible, that my vote is being allocated to the person I cast my vote for. Under and all-or-nothing allocation system, the chance of that is drastically reduced. In 2004, Kerry still got about 38% of the popular vote in Texas, but all those votes were essentially nullified by the EC system. In a fair system, Bush would have gotten 21 electoral votes from Texas, and Kerry would have gotten the remaining 13.

Why are people so wedded to these ridiculous all-or-nothing systems?



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