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Analyze criticism of the �Electoral College� system and the alleged advantages and...

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lucky1877 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2010 at 11:18 AM via web

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Analyze criticism of the �Electoral College� system and the alleged advantages and disadvantages of various reform proposals.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM (Answer #1)

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It would be a lot more helpful if you would specify which reform proposals you want analyzed.

A lot of people say that it is unfair to the losing candidate to have a state's electoral votes all go to the winner.  They say that it makes more sense to have the loser get some amount of electoral votes to reflect all the people who voted for that candidate.

One proposed reform is the idea of dividing electoral votes by congressional district.  In my state of Washington, that would end up giving some amount of a voice to those of us on the east side of the state who tend to vote Republican even though the state as a whole goes Democratic because of the huge numbers of people over on the west side.

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mvymvy | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 20, 2010 at 12:07 AM (Answer #2)

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The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states. Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

A candidate has woin the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

The congressional district method of awarding electoral votes (currently used in Maine and Nebraska) would not help make every vote matter.  A smaller fraction of the country's population lives in competitive congressional districts (about 12%) than in the current battleground states (about 30%) that now get overwhelming attention , while two-thirds of the states are ignored  Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

 

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2010 at 1:14 AM (Answer #3)

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States with a small population, such as Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, etc. usually have close to the minimum number of electoral votes, which is 3.  One for the at large Representative from the state, and two because each state has two Senators. 

If you take that as a percentage of electoral votes, 3/538 = .5% roughly, of the total vote.  If you take North Dakota's population, 641,481/304 million total population in 2008, then the percentage is much less, .2% of the vote. 

So by moving to a national popular vote system (which makes much more sense), small states lose what little voting power they have.  Why would any state vote to lessen their own say in the process?  Since we need 3/4th of the states to ratify a new Constitutional amendment, that makes one abolishing the Electoral College very difficult to pass.

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