Senate Electoral College Reform

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Obi-Zahn Kenobi, Sep 4, 2012.


What sort of electoral college reform should we implement?

No reform 5 vote(s) 31.3%
National popular vote (plurality required) 2 vote(s) 12.5%
National popular vote (majority required - need for runoff) 3 vote(s) 18.8%
Congressional district method 2 vote(s) 12.5%
State proportional vote method 3 vote(s) 18.8%
State Legislature Appointment 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Other 1 vote(s) 6.3%
  1. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    So, I just saw a thing on Facebook saying, "Obama and Romney are going to spend two months and billions of dollars to become President of Ohio."

    There are a few options:

    No reform - keep it the way it is.
    Popular vote - strict national popular vote.
    Congressional district method - each district elects its own elector. The statewide popular vote determines two electoral votes for the senators. Maine and
    Return to appointment by state legislature - the legislature chooses electors like they used to.
    Proportional vote - the electoral votes are proportioned by the percentage of popular vote in the state.

    Obviously, there are benefits and negatives to each. I favor congressional district, even though it's prone to gerrymandering - at least states are incapable of being gerrymandered - but I think sucks that both blue states and red states can't let half their citizens' voices be heard.

    I feel like we should try to maintain some of the intent of the electoral college - such as the vote from the Senate give small-population states a little more say. Although we've lost a lot of the intent of the college.
  2. Koohii Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    No reform--if the politicians are allowed to alter the rules, they'll just make a huge mess so that in 5 years they'll have to do it again, with even more riders and 'dubious' clauses. job security.
  3. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 7
    I voted for proportional method. Keeps the EC while getting rid of the winner takes all that keeps candidates from campaigning more widely.
  4. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    I think majority popular vote is the way to go. Sure, that may make candidates campaign in large cities, but so? The Electoral College doesn't give that much larger a voice to small states. If California, Texas, and New York were "swing states," they'd be getting more attention than everyone else.
    Last edited by Darth_Guy, Sep 4, 2012
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  5. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Personally, I support keeping the Electoral College. Although, I also don't have any issue with states that want to do things like what Nebraska and Maine do, and decide a different way to allocate the votes. Or some states discussing going to proportional voting.
    Last edited by Lowbacca_1977, Sep 4, 2012
  6. LtNOWIS Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Yeah, even if I thought we needed reform on this, I wouldn't trust our current crop of politicians to seriously alter the US Constitution.
  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 7
    National Popular Vote - Majority.

    I would also like "Election Day" to become 24/7 "Election Week."

    Well, it would require a constitutional amendment for some of these options, so...
    Last edited by Darth-Ghost, Sep 4, 2012
  8. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    I agree with Ghost on this.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  9. MrZAP Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    I voted for proportional voting, though I MEANT to vote for voting by district. That said, proportional voting would be my second choice.

    I think that it's a shame that while everyone's vote counts, some votes don't count as much. Barring a huge upset California and Texas will certainly go to Obama and Romney respectively, but that doesn't mean there aren't Republicans in California or Democrats in Texas. The way the current system works these people have no voice in the national elections at all, and that's not right. In the end though I'm unwilling to do away with the electoral college because like the Founders I don't completely trust the voters at large to make the best decisions, and so there needs to be something to temper that. And I'm certainly against majority popular vote because of that and because of the "tyranny of the majority" idea.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 7
    Sorry, but this doesn't make sense.

    With a couple, very rare, exceptions, the popular vote winner has also won the Electoral College.

    And you put more faith in the delegates to make the best decision, or the swing states, but not the people?

    Besides, with a President, it's still a representative democracy. The decision is simply who will make the decisions, and even that's within a system of checks and balances, separation of powers. A national popular vote for President isn't direct democracy.
    Last edited by Darth-Ghost, Sep 6, 2012
  11. MrZAP Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    I do have faith that the delegates chosen were chosen for a decent reason instead of just being anyone, yes. I wouldn't have a problem at all with a direct popular vote if everyone was well-informed and shared the same sense of social responsibility. But we don't have that. I don't think the average voter is competent enough to be trusted to make such an important decision. Voting should be a privilege earned after mental ability is demonstrated, and not an innate right. And so I don't want a direct popular vote.

    I'm quite frankly very anti-democracy-in-practice. I love it in theory (though frankly every major political and economic system is great in theory, but human always nature gets in the way), but only if it can be demonstrated as workable. I would much prefer a Hobbesian sovereign(s) with some modifications (must rule with the consent of the governed, must be subject to all laws that they create even though they have absolute authority in making them, etc) until a time comes where the vast majority of people are up to the task of governing for themselves.

    And that's where the conflict lies because while I distrust the competence of the people now and so don't want them to make decisions, I really want them to become competent enough where I can, because democracy without the incompetence is the best form of government.

    In the meantime while I can't get my sovereign I perhaps contradictorily want to make the democracy in presidential elections more potent by getting rid of winner-take-all states. I don't care about swing states being more focused on in campaigns. That honestly doesn't matter to me. I do care that large percentages of voters in each state are effectively silenced on election day. If we have to have the popular vote be a determining factor either as a direct election or as what decides the electoral vote, then we might as well make the system as fair as possible.

    Even then I'm not a fan of the popular vote deciding the election in any way, though. While it's certainly true that the electoral delegates usually go the way of the voters, I think that's at least partially because they usually feel that they should. I think the popular vote should be taken into account, certainly, but only as a (very important) tool for the delegate to think carefully on whether or not the people were right or wrong in their decision, and perhaps sway their own if they disagree. I see nothing wrong with the president being ultimately elected by a few hundred people who are certainly well informed about the issues. I don't even care if they have other agendas of self-interest or whatever as long as they're also well-informed and feel a sense of responsibility.

    And on your last point, a national popular vote for the president would be a direct democratic election, even if the system as a whole isn't directly democratic. Yes, it's "only" choosing who makes the decisions, but that decision is still a very important one (possibly the most important) and shouldn't be taken lightly.

    I realize this post is all over the place. I apologize for that. I just have a lot of ideas about it that fit together in weird ways.

    ... Maybe I should have checked "Other".
    Last edited by MrZAP, Sep 6, 2012