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What electoral system do you feel is best: First-past-the-post or proportional...

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cindyloo | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:41 AM via web

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What electoral system do you feel is best: First-past-the-post or proportional representation or any others, and why?

I just want to see other people's viewpoints but personally I think the first-past-the-post is simple to understand and it keeps the nutters out. There is a clear winner at the end of it, so when they are in government decisions will be made quicker, as they will not have to group up with other parties to get a majority.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:46 AM (Answer #1)

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I agree with what you say about first past the post keeping out the "nutters" but, on the other hand, proportional representation has its advantages.

To me, the best thing about a PR system is that it allows people to have their vote mean something particular.  In a system like that in the US, each party stands for so many policies that it is impossible to tell which policy people are voting for.  In a PR system, people who feel very strongly about an issue can vote for a single issue party.

In addition, the first-past-the-post system makes it just about impossible for new parties to form.  They will get no representation unless they can get to about 50% of the vote.  It seems unlikely that you would have parties just springing up and getting that kind of vote totals immediately.  But if they don't, they'll die because who wants to vote for a party that only gets 25% of the vote and no representation.

In addition, although we in the US don't have coalition governments like England now has, each party is, in essence, a coalition.  Our Democratic and Republican parties have to negotiate among members with different priorities and that can make it hard for our parties to govern efficiently.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Personally, I'm in favor of doing away with the electoral college altogether for American Presidential elections. I believe a simple count of the popular vote is the fairest test of any election. I've always found it interesting that only in the most important of all American elections do we utilize a format not used in any other. The Presidential election of 2000 is an example of how the electoral college can be faulty. Vice President Al Gore won the national popular vote, but the electoral voting was indecisive because of Florida's scandalous behind-the-scenes maneuvering (by the way, I am a Florida resident and voter). George Bush's eventual election (though certainly not the first to win a Presidential election without winning the popular vote) set off a series of events which led to a new war, renewed terroritst activity and a devastated economy that most likely would not have occurred had the winner of the popular vote--Gore--been inaugurated.

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mvymvy | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 2, 2010 at 12:20 AM (Answer #3)

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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.  Every vote would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

 

Now, policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

 

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.  It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.  Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action, without federal constitutional amendments.

 

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

 

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls.

 

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia  (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7),  and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These six states possess 73 electoral votes -- 27% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

 

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

 

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