The Electoral College: Necessary?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by ktwsolo, Dec 19, 2001.

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  1. ktwsolo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2001
    star 4
    That is one of the most ridiculous defenses I have ever heard. I'm not saying what you claim about the past election is false or whatever, but to suggest that somehow it protects against 'fraud' is silly. How on earth does it do that?
  2. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Here is something no one has Discussed in this thread. Imagine the fiasco in 2000 if there were no electoral college. A nationwide recount could perhaps still be going on.
  3. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Um, please, think about it for a second. If the election went exactly the same, and there was no outdated EC, then AL GORE would have been declared the winner on election day, plain and simple.

    We wouldn't have had this whole election bumble.
  4. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I am not the one that needs to think about it. Apparently you are. Do you think that a politician, any politician, regardless of party would let a race that hinged on a few tens of thousands of votes go unchallenged?

  5. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I'd accept the wait as necessary. This isn't "Prom King" we're electing - the position is serious enough to warrant an extended time to recount.
  6. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Personally, I think the system should be retained. However, I do believe there is need for modification to it. As indicated in Article II of the Constitution, the electors to the Electoral College will be chosen in the manner in which the state legislatures mandate. All but two (Maine and Nebraska) use a winner take all system in which whoever wins the plurality of the vote in a state wins all of the electoral votes. This does pose a problem for some states as a previous poster pointed out in Texas, there was no way Gore would win.

    The reform method I think has the most viability is dividing up the EC votes by congressional districts. So in California, where you have 52 districts and 2 Senators, each district would get one vote which would go to the candidate who won that district. The votes represented by the Senate seats would go to the candidate who won the plurality of the state's votes.

    The best thing about this system is that it does not require a constitutional amendment, which we all know would not pass (27 in the last 212 years is proof of that). All the states would have to do is pass legislation that would bring this plan into fruition.
  7. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    But then there is the same problem of abnegating votes, just on a smaller scale. It's still all or nothing, just divided into districts. It still means that the votes of all but one political party will be essentially null and void.
  8. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    That may be, but unless we are willing to adopt a plurality based system (votes of your opponent +1) we will only have 2 parties anyway. Of course parties like the Greens would have had more success on the West Coast and would have made the big two pay them more attention.

    I agree with your point about the smaller districts, but a recount will occur in any close election, be it the current system or one based on popular votes. It is far easier to conduct a recount of a district of 550,000 than a state the size of Florida.
  9. Emperor_Dan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 1999
    star 4
    What's the difference if a recount happens or not? If all the votes are counted correctly, then the true winner will win. What does this have to do with the EC?

    Divided the EC up into the districts doesn't fully solve the problem. Let's say, in my district there are 10 Republicans to every Democrat. Why should the Democrats bother voting at all? That's the problem here.
  10. ktwsolo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2001
    star 4
    It would be better to have the electoral votes like here in Maine, but when you think about it, the only reason that is better is because it brings it closer to true popular vote.
  11. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Emperor Dan,
    In the last election, 100 million people voted. Is it possible for them all to be counted correctly? I think not.

    EDIT: You are also presupposing that those Republicans will vote Republican and the Democrats, Democrat. That is not the case and even if it was, current polling shows that more people are independent than either of the two. If you need proof, grab a Gore for President or a Bush for President button from the last election. Nowhere are parties listed.


    Also, the electoral college has nothing to do with political parties. An elector can vote any way they choose, but history has shown us that the so called "faithless electors" are fairly few indeed.
  12. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "Isn't this a DEMOCRACY?"

    No, it's not. It's something called a Representative Constitutional Republic. Heck, any third-world two-star general who overthrows his government via a military coup calls their government a democracy. They tried that in Greece and it failed. Passions ruled,not reason,and it degenerated into mob rule. The founders knew this when they drafted the Constitution,and they put as many barriers,roadblocks,and antiquations as they could find. As for people being smarter today:generally yes, people are smarter overall. However,the founders put in stop-measures to ensure that reasoned,thoughtful choices were being made, not emotional,passionate ones. I say keep the electoral college. It's very "ridiculous","outdated",outrageous",and "antiquated",which is precisely why we need it. :D
  13. ktwsolo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2001
    star 4
    How does the electoral college provide rational decisions, as opposed to what people really vote?
  14. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Because we elect people to serve as electors of the president. They have the decision as to who should be the president. Not the citizens of the US. We elect people that are more informed than the average citizen and therefore more capable of making important decisions.


    Unless they are Democrats, then they just follow party line. :) j/k
  15. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Um, but the electors don't actually do anything, its just ceremonial, they vote how the state votes...
  16. FutureEmperor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 1998
    star 3
    Maveric, a case could be made that the Republic has fallen into deep decay since electoral procedures for Senators were changed. It used to be the State Legislature would pick them, now the "people" vote.

    Problem is, most people have about as much grasp of the history of the Constitution, principles of liberty, English common law, rights of man, etc. as they do of quantum mechanics. One of the biggest contributors to this ignorance is the government in the form of its indoctrination centers, er, public schools.

    From essentially the time of the first democracy until the 1800s, it was UNDERSTOOD by most that pure democracy leads to mob rule. There are some things that were supposed to be beyond the power of the electorate (ie. voting yourself someone else's property, wealth, freedom) Since our politicians have chosen to go the way of demagoguery and willfully undermine the Constitution, we have a National Socialist state in the making.
  17. Emperor_Dan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 1999
    star 4
    In the last election, 100 million people voted. Is it possible for them all to be counted correctly? I think not.

    No. But that is no excuse for not trying our best to do so.

    You are also presupposing that those Republicans will vote Republican and the Democrats, Democrat. That is not the case and even if it was, current polling shows that more people are independent than either of the two. If you need proof, grab a Gore for President or a Bush for President button from the last election. Nowhere are parties listed.

    The Democratic Party's candidate was Al Gore. The Republican candidate was George Bush. This was decided beforehand anyway. So what? My scenario holds up. Explain to me why anyone in Texas who wanted to vote for Gore or Nader or anyone else actually would have made a difference by voting.

    Because we elect people to serve as electors of the president. They have the decision as to who should be the president. Not the citizens of the US. We elect people that are more informed than the average citizen and therefore more capable of making important decisions.

    Funny. So, if we're electing these electors who are "more informed than the average citizen"... explain to me why we do that if we not "capable of making important decisions"? I thought that electing a president is an important decision! And really if they have the decision as to whom should be elected president, why do we bother voting at all?

    Sorry... try again. Your points don't make any sense IMHO. The problem here is that ONE candidate takes all of the electoral votes for the state. That's just not fair at all. We have DIRECT ELECTION FOR SENATORS, why not the president? Isn't he more or just as important?
  18. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Okay, I have three people to debate. Please note the names for my rebuttals:

    (This is fun, I wish I got my students to discuss as well as you three).

    OWM- Have you ever been to a meeting of the Electoral College? I went in 1996 and they do indeed vote. No matter what you say or believe the rule of law is the Constitution. There is no law higher in our nation. The Constitution states in Article II that each state shall have the right to choose their electors in any format they feel necessary and the day of choosing shall be set by Congress and the same throughout the nation. Currently, that date is the third Monday in December. Once the votes are tallied, the results are sent to Congress in a special session and the votes are ratified on January 6. I see where you are going with your train of thought, but no matter what the news media thinks or tries to get you to believe, the president is not elected until the Electoral College has met and a candidate has gotten a majority, not plurality of the vote. Until an amendment is ratified declaring otherwise, that is the method of electing a president.


    FE-I agree with your point about the govt. falling into decay. However, I think that choosing the 17th Amendment as the foci of this decay is incorrect. A case could be made for the decay beginning in the Civil War. The South tried to leave the Union when it became apparent that the North (who controlled the govt at the time) was willing to overstep their boundaries and end slavery. Don't get me wrong, just because I consider myself conservative and a Southerner, I do not think that slavery should have been legal, I most definitely do not. However, I do believe it should have been left to the States to make this decision. In what area of Article I sec 8, clause 1-17 does the Federal Govt get the right to interfere in the economic makeup of their states. Now, I can see someone saying "Well, the South did not have the right to secede from the Union,' and that is so, but it did not stop the North from considering the idea in the Hartford Convention during the War of 1812. Technically, only one state had that right, and it was Texas, but I digress.

    As for the indoctrination centers, I completely agree! I teach American History as well as Federal & State Govts, and I am amazed at how little our students know about their heritage and govt. It seems like the majority of individuals had teachers in high school named Coach who were more concerned with winning games than producing informed citizens.

    As for your Pure democracy statement, we were never meant to have one. The Constitution creates a representative democracy. We elect people to make decisions for us, be it on the school board level, county, city, state, or federal level. We are lucky to get 60% of the REGISTERED voters to vote for president once ever four years. If we had a pure democracy, we would be voting so much no one would have time to work.

    ED- Your first issue is about trying to count that many votes. I agree that it is a worthy goal to try and count every vote, but until we have a system in which no human is involved with the administration of a polling booth and their exists no intermediary between the citizen and their tabulation their will be fraud. Be it Republican, Democrat, whatever, fraud will occur. Humans are imperfect and fraud, whether intentional or not will occur.

    As for your second issue. I have already addressed that, I do not agree with the current winner take all system, I prefer the system I aforementioned. The point I was making about the candidates and their parties was that for the first time in a presidential election, there were no party labels on any candidate campaign material. Yes, I know that they were both nominated, but what the candidates realized is that the election is not won on the fringes of the political spectrum, but in the middle. By dropping party labels, they tried to distance themselves from the trappings of their party's ideology.


    Your third point involves the actual
  19. ktwsolo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2001
    star 4
    The point still stands that the electors vote the way that the people in their state voted, so its redundant.

    And small states still have little say in the election. I live in Maine. I don't think the candidates from last election even stopped here. Most time was spend in the big states. The electoral votes are based on population, as I said before, so the states with the most people still get the larger say.

    And the answer "because its in the Constitution" doesn't matter and you should know that. What we are arguing is whether or not it should be.
  20. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    ktw,
    The electoral college gives them some say. If it were not for that, they would have none.

    As I stated, it is necessary, and the only modification should come from the states, not the federal government.
  21. JediProphet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2002
    star 2
    For my high school government final project, we each had to address a problem in one of the three levels of government and propose a solution. Me and my partner went for the big one, the electoral college.

    Our idea was to have the electoral votes be proportionate to the popular vote. So if a state has 16 electoral votes, and a candidate has 75% majority in that state, they get 12 electoral votes for that state. I know that it wouldn't always be an even or whole number, so their would be fractions of an electoral vote, but it was the most democratic method we had, without changing the number of electors.

    Also, this required that all electors would have to vote for who they represent, because there are states that still haven't passed a law requiring this. Another note about this method is that it would give third party candidates a bigger chance.
  22. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5


    "Until an amendment is ratified declaring otherwise, that is the method of electing a president." Basically, you outlined our whole argument and set up a refutation for everything that you said. We should amend the constitution to do away with the EC.

    Listen, it's all just ceremony. The electors have no real power and no special voice. They don't have any say like the constitution intended. And you can't really use the constitution and the founders to defend this system of EC, because it's not what they wanted either.
  23. Emperor_Dan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 1999
    star 4
    Your first issue is about trying to count that many votes. I agree that it is a worthy goal to try and count every vote, but until we have a system in which no human is involved with the administration of a polling booth and their exists no intermediary between the citizen and their tabulation their will be fraud. Be it Republican, Democrat, whatever, fraud will occur. Humans are imperfect and fraud, whether intentional or not will occur.

    I don't remember posting any arugment about frauding. This is REALLY REALLY insignificant. My point was that all the votes that are cast should COUNT in the election.

    As for your second issue. I have already addressed that, I do not agree with the current winner take all system, I prefer the system I aforementioned. The point I was making about the candidates and their parties was that for the first time in a presidential election, there were no party labels on any candidate campaign material. Yes, I know that they were both nominated, but what the candidates realized is that the election is not won on the fringes of the political spectrum, but in the middle. By dropping party labels, they tried to distance themselves from the trappings of their party's ideology.

    Your "solution" solves the problem a little, but the problem still exists as Quixotic said, but on a smaller scale. There might be a high concentration of Bush-lovers in a certain district which negates any votes for Gore. Party labels don't really make a difference. The point is that for the same reason Gore could never win Texas or any of the Deep South states holds true for districts. Why should one representative represent 550,000 people? Those people didn't decided on ONE person to vote, right? So why does only ONE vote get counted?


    If you answered no to any one of these questions, when the Constitution was crafted, you were never intended to vote. The reason you are allowed to is because the Constitution has been amended to allow more of the populace to vote. You vote because people died to give you that right. If you don't respect it, stay home.


    Whoa, you took my question out of context. My "Why bother voting at all" had to do with a Gore-voter in Texas. Why she he vote when Gore has no chance of winning Texas, no matter if he does vote or not? But anyway, it doesn't matter if I wasn't intended to vote when the Constitution was created. It's 225 years later, we can change things.

    Another reason for the EC is that it allows the lesser populated states a say in the election. No before someone says "Who cares, majority rules!" The electoral votes, being based on the number of members a state has in Congress provides a fair way for each state to be represented. Now, someone will say that there is nothing fair about it, but 435 of the votes are each based on an area of 550,000 citizens. The final 100 is divided 2 per state. This way, candidates must at least pay attention to the smaller states so that they can get their vote as well.

    Without the EC, statelines make no difference. One state doesn't count any more than the other. What matters is if the majority of the American public votes for you. So, without the EC, the candidate would go to the heavily populated areas, because there's more people there, and it's quicker and easier to advertise. So what? What's the difference if a candidate comes to your town or not? You should educate YOURSELF about each candidate before voting. If you don't, you shouldn't vote because you don't know what the hell you're doing.

    but it is what the Constitution says, and it is the rule of law, until it is changed

    Well, the whole point of this discussion is to debate whether or not it is changed. I know what the status quo is, and I don't like it.

    So, prove to me why me, just having moved into Texas, in the middle of Bush Country, where there's no chance of any other candidate winning, wanting to vote for a different candidate, shouldn't stay at home and not vote in 2004 under the current system of the Electoral College.
  24. Emperor_Dan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 1999
    star 4
  25. Gonzonaut Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 3
    No. I've been opposed to the electoral systemd since I was in first grade. I'm not exaggerating.
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