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Subject: Electoral College System - Ripe for Influencing rss

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Andre
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http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/20/electoral-...

Interesting article, offering the opinion that the electoral college system was offered up by the founders, as a means to prevent foreign interference in the election, but that the Founding Fathers could not anticipate our current technological state. Suggesting now the electoral college system makes it easier to target key swing states for election influencing. The article does give a good summary of some of the flaws of the electoral college system. I tend to agree with the author, that the electoral college system should be abolished (for more than security reasons), and a move should be made toward a one vote, one voice system, i.e. popular vote should somehow at minimum be factored in to the equation for victory.
 
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I come to the opposite conclusion based on the author's arguments. It seems to me that popular vote would be more risky than using the electoral college.

If a particular state's laws or election equipment made them easier to hack then the electoral college limits the damage that can be done. Imagine if an exploit were found in California's voting machines. Currently the damage is limited to their electoral votes. But if total votes for a candidate mattered then the damage could be much greater. Imagine switching 90% of California's votes to one candidate. And we know from recent discussions that under the electoral college that the votes of people in California are worth less per vote than in other areas. So without the EC that would sway the outcome even more.

Also I think broad misinformation campaigns would sway voters more easily than under the EC system where a foreign power has to sway enough people in a specific geographic area to have any effect.

I am not trying to argue that the EC system is better than popular vote. I just disagree with the author's logic and conclusions.
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Styro wrote:
I come to the opposite conclusion based on the author's arguments. It seems to me that popular vote would be more risky than using the electoral college.

If a particular state's laws or election equipment made them easier to hack then the electoral college limits the damage that can be done. Imagine if an exploit were found in California's voting machines. Currently the damage is limited to their electoral votes. But if total votes for a candidate mattered then the damage could be much greater. Imagine switching 90% of California's votes to one candidate. And we know from recent discussions that under the electoral college that the votes of people in California are worth less per vote than in other areas. So without the EC that would sway the outcome even more.

Also I think broad misinformation campaigns would sway voters more easily than under the EC system where a foreign power has to sway enough people in a specific geographic area to have any effect.

I am not trying to argue that the EC system is better than popular vote. I just disagree with the author's logic and conclusions.


I suppose the influence has to be more clearly defined. I think you might be speaking more to actual vote tampering, by physically or electronically altering a vote? That should be a valid concern when using the popular voting methodology, to be sure, or the electoral one for that matter. But I think national campaigns of influence can be more easily identified, as to author and authenticity, more readily than a campaign focused on a particular state or populace within that state.
 
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If voting machines are breached then that's an entirely different issue.

We need to get away from trusting electronic voting machines. They are inherently untrustworthy. Our voting should be electro mechanical. It should not have anything to do with programming until the vote reaches a central tallying office.

The parent post is talking about the risk of socially hacking our elections. And I agree, it's larger than ever. We have the known, proven case where the popular vote has been ignored (fairly dramatically last time). It needs to be addressed or it will affect the stability of the nation long term.
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The main thing I disagree with about the electoral college is the winner-take-all mentaility.

California has 55 votes. If one candidate beats the other 51%-49%, he shouldn't get 55 votes. They should split the votes 28 to 27.

I know, it would make it harder to make board games about elections because it would be more laborsome to calculate the final score...
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Mac Mcleod
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emptyset wrote:
The main thing I disagree with about the electoral college is the winner-take-all mentaility.

California has 55 votes. If a candidate beats the other 51%-49%, he shouldn't get 55 votes. They should split the votes 28 to 27.

I know, it would make it harder to make board games about elections because it would be more laborsome to calculate the final score...


I agree. Votes should be proportional imho.
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Bill Cook
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Remember, each state chooses how to divvy up their EC votes. 48 of them choose to be winner take all, but they could split them proportional if they wanted.

Side note - There is no feasible way to get rid of the EC system. The inter-state compacs that are out there won't work. You need to amend the constitution. Which requires approval of 3/4 of states. And since many states benefit from the EC, how do you ever get that?
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EMBison wrote:
Remember, each state chooses how to divvy up their EC votes. 48 of them choose to be winner take all, but they could split them proportional if they wanted.

Side note - There is no feasible way to get rid of the EC system. The inter-state compacs that are out there won't work. You need to amend the constitution. Which requires approval of 3/4 of states. And since many states benefit from the EC, how do you ever get that?


Actually, I don't see why the interstate compact wouldn't work. All agree that constitutionally, states are free to allocate their electoral votes (EVs) however they want. (A state legislature could get together and decide to give them all to Candidate X if they wanted, regardless of how the vote went.) If a bunch of states individually agree to give all of their EV to the winner of the national popular vote but only if states with at least 270 combined EV agree to do so - well, that's their choice.
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While nowadays Republicans will, for the foreseeable future, only win presidential elections while losing the popular vote, there's way worse, easier to fix problems in the US electoral system. Today, not only is congress incredibly unrepresentative, but politicians elect their voters, instead of the other way around. This guarantees a very low quality political class.
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wifwendell wrote:
EMBison wrote:
Remember, each state chooses how to divvy up their EC votes. 48 of them choose to be winner take all, but they could split them proportional if they wanted.

Side note - There is no feasible way to get rid of the EC system. The inter-state compacs that are out there won't work. You need to amend the constitution. Which requires approval of 3/4 of states. And since many states benefit from the EC, how do you ever get that?


Actually, I don't see why the interstate compact wouldn't work. All agree that constitutionally, states are free to allocate their electoral votes (EVs) however they want. (A state legislature could get together and decide to give them all to Candidate X if they wanted, regardless of how the vote went.) If a bunch of states individually agree to give all of their EV to the winner of the national popular vote but only if states with at least 270 combined EV agree to do so - well, that's their choice.

It is likely that some states will change their minds if it looks like the Rupuds will not benefit. Maybe this is what he meant.

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Steve1501 wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
EMBison wrote:
Remember, each state chooses how to divvy up their EC votes. 48 of them choose to be winner take all, but they could split them proportional if they wanted.

Side note - There is no feasible way to get rid of the EC system. The inter-state compacs that are out there won't work. You need to amend the constitution. Which requires approval of 3/4 of states. And since many states benefit from the EC, how do you ever get that?


Actually, I don't see why the interstate compact wouldn't work. All agree that constitutionally, states are free to allocate their electoral votes (EVs) however they want. (A state legislature could get together and decide to give them all to Candidate X if they wanted, regardless of how the vote went.) If a bunch of states individually agree to give all of their EV to the winner of the national popular vote but only if states with at least 270 combined EV agree to do so - well, that's their choice.

It is likely that some states will change their minds if it looks like the Rupuds will not benefit. Maybe this is what he meant.



Sure - political opposition or the simple fact of not getting to 270 would stop it.
 
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J.D. Hall
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I am no fan of the Electoral College, but I do have a concern if it is abolished. In the center of the country and to the west and southeast, there are not nearly as many voters as there are in California, Texas, New York, and Ohio. Toss in Florida, and all you have to do is grab the majority of votes there, and it doesn't matter what happens in Idaho or New Hampshire. Basically it would disfranchise voters in 45 states plus the various territories. The US is not some European-sized country -- the differences in what voters in California want as opposed to what voters in West Virginia want are as vast as the continent between them. To be more representative of those of us who do not live in one of the five states mentioned above, the EC should be replaced, not abolished.
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remorseless1 wrote:
I am no fan of the Electoral College, but I do have a concern if it is abolished. In the center of the country and to the west and southeast, there are not nearly as many voters as there are in California, Texas, New York, and Ohio. Toss in Florida, and all you have to do is grab the majority of votes there, and it doesn't matter what happens in Idaho or New Hampshire. Basically it would disfranchise voters in 45 states plus the various territories. The US is not some European-sized country -- the differences in what voters in California want as opposed to what voters in West Virginia want are as vast as the continent between them. To be more representative of those of us who do not live in one of the five states mentioned above, the EC should be replaced, not abolished.


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?

The advantage of popular vote method is that everyone has one vote, regardless of location within the country. If largest popular vote tally wins the presidency, how or why would you feel unrepresented?

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abadolato01 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
I am no fan of the Electoral College, but I do have a concern if it is abolished. In the center of the country and to the west and southeast, there are not nearly as many voters as there are in California, Texas, New York, and Ohio. Toss in Florida, and all you have to do is grab the majority of votes there, and it doesn't matter what happens in Idaho or New Hampshire. Basically it would disfranchise voters in 45 states plus the various territories. The US is not some European-sized country -- the differences in what voters in California want as opposed to what voters in West Virginia want are as vast as the continent between them. To be more representative of those of us who do not live in one of the five states mentioned above, the EC should be replaced, not abolished.


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?

The advantage of popular vote method is that everyone has one vote, regardless of location within the country. If largest popular vote tally wins the presidency, how or why would you feel unrepresented?


Because there would be no reason for presidential candidates to give speeches in those states, or even to listen to what those people's concerns are. Look, if you live in New York City, you don't give a shit about regulations concerning animal husbandry. You just go down to the deli and buy a nice pickleloaf. But if you live in Kansas or Nebraska, animal husbandry is one of the main economic drivers of your state. You might have concerns, but no one gives a shit.

Extend that to the numerous proposals in RSP to expand the national legislature. If the Senate is proportional, then states like Iowa and Nebraska are doubly screwed.
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remorseless1 wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
I am no fan of the Electoral College, but I do have a concern if it is abolished. In the center of the country and to the west and southeast, there are not nearly as many voters as there are in California, Texas, New York, and Ohio. Toss in Florida, and all you have to do is grab the majority of votes there, and it doesn't matter what happens in Idaho or New Hampshire. Basically it would disfranchise voters in 45 states plus the various territories. The US is not some European-sized country -- the differences in what voters in California want as opposed to what voters in West Virginia want are as vast as the continent between them. To be more representative of those of us who do not live in one of the five states mentioned above, the EC should be replaced, not abolished.


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?



The advantage of popular vote method is that everyone has one vote, regardless of location within the country. If largest popular vote tally wins the presidency, how or why would you feel unrepresented?


Because there would be no reason for presidential candidates to give speeches in those states, or even to listen to what those people's concerns are. Look, if you live in New York City, you don't give a shit about regulations concerning animal husbandry. You just go down to the deli and buy a nice pickleloaf. But if you live in Kansas or Nebraska, animal husbandry is one of the main economic drivers of your state. You might have concerns, but no one gives a shit.

Extend that to the numerous proposals in RSP to expand the national legislature. If the Senate is proportional, then states like Iowa and Nebraska are doubly screwed.


What you are describing now is the CURRENT electoral college system. A Presidential candidate RARELY visits my state (other than for a fundraising campaign). Why? Because my state has very few electoral college votes, and always swings one way in an election. Under the current electoral college system, there is very little motivation for a candidate to care about states that are locked, either in favor of them, or against them. Hence the election hinges around just a half dozen swing states, that can determine the outcome of the entire election. I feel more unrepresented NOW, in the current electoral college system, than I would in a popular vote method, where my vote would count, regardless of how Red or Blue my state actually is. This is ESPECIALLY true, for voters that may wish to vote contrary to the "lock" of their State, in other words, for example, voting Democrat in Wyoming.
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remorseless1 wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
I am no fan of the Electoral College, but I do have a concern if it is abolished. In the center of the country and to the west and southeast, there are not nearly as many voters as there are in California, Texas, New York, and Ohio. Toss in Florida, and all you have to do is grab the majority of votes there, and it doesn't matter what happens in Idaho or New Hampshire. Basically it would disfranchise voters in 45 states plus the various territories. The US is not some European-sized country -- the differences in what voters in California want as opposed to what voters in West Virginia want are as vast as the continent between them. To be more representative of those of us who do not live in one of the five states mentioned above, the EC should be replaced, not abolished.


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?

The advantage of popular vote method is that everyone has one vote, regardless of location within the country. If largest popular vote tally wins the presidency, how or why would you feel unrepresented?


Because there would be no reason for presidential candidates to give speeches in those states, or even to listen to what those people's concerns are. Look, if you live in New York City, you don't give a shit about regulations concerning animal husbandry. You just go down to the deli and buy a nice pickleloaf. But if you live in Kansas or Nebraska, animal husbandry is one of the main economic drivers of your state. You might have concerns, but no one gives a shit.

Extend that to the numerous proposals in RSP to expand the national legislature. If the Senate is proportional, then states like Iowa and Nebraska are doubly screwed.


And it is a good point, but it is also a good point that the majority of voters get little to no presidential visits to their state:
http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/campaign-events-2016

It doesn't seem like any better of an idea to decide that the majority of voters don't matter either.
 
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EMBison wrote:
The inter-state compacs that are out there won't work.


They'll work just as advertised and are a more, if still unlikely, eventuality than a constitutional amendment.
 
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remorseless1 wrote:

Because there would be no reason for presidential candidates to give speeches in those states, or even to listen to what those people's concerns are.


So the states that now get ignored because they aren't swing states aren't a problem?

I see no difference. No matter what the system the system will be gamed. May as well make each vote count equally.
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abadolato01 wrote:


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?




I wouldn't replace it. I would first tackle gerrymandering and so forth. Most states are purplish -- not blue and red.
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SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?




I wouldn't replace it. I would first tackle gerrymandering and so forth. Most states are purplish -- not blue and red.

Agree. Re-districting after every Census should not be limited to the political party in power. It affects politics and outcomes far more than the Electoral College, which is only used for one election every four years, unlike the Congressional districts, which come into play 435 times every two years.

Also, the political culture right now is coming up to being as poisoned as it was in the 1960s. Certainly, our legislators (see above) have totally succumbed to the politics of division, and until we replace both the pols and the districting, tinkering with the EC is about as useful and certainly less satisfying than masturbation.
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?




I wouldn't replace it. I would first tackle gerrymandering and so forth. Most states are purplish -- not blue and red.


I would disagree with that statement, given the EC maps of the past 6 or 7 elections. Most states are stauchly Red or Blue, including the ones with the most electoral votes;

https://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

Including some of the bigger states with larger number of electoral votes;

California - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 55 votes
Texas - voted Red in the last 10 elections - 36 votes
New York - voted Blue in the last 8 elections - 29 votes
Pennsylvania - voted Blue in 6 of the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Illinois - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Florida - voted Red 7 of the last 10 election, so a "swing state", although favoring Red - 29 votes

These states comprise (approximately) 189 of the 270 EC votes required to win. But it is clear from the above, that you won't get Republican visiting California any time soon, or Democrats visiting Texas. This is what I mean by disenfrancised or unrepresented. If I am a Republican in California, or a Democrat in Texas, my vote is not swaying the election in any manner, shape, or form. It's almost like a throw away vote. In the popular vote methodology, I wouldn't care what color my state voted in the past elections, one vote = one voice.
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abadolato01 wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?




I wouldn't replace it. I would first tackle gerrymandering and so forth. Most states are purplish -- not blue and red.


I would disagree with that statement, given the EC maps of the past 6 or 7 elections. Most states are stauchly Red or Blue, including the ones with the most electoral votes;

https://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

Including some of the bigger states with larger number of electoral votes;

California - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 55 votes
Texas - voted Red in the last 10 elections - 36 votes
New York - voted Blue in the last 8 elections - 29 votes
Pennsylvania - voted Blue in 6 of the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Illinois - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Florida - voted Red 7 of the last 10 election, so a "swing state", although favoring Red - 29 votes

These states comprise (approximately) 189 of the 270 EC votes required to win. But it is clear from the above, that you won't get Republican visiting California any time soon, or Democrats visiting Texas. This is what I mean by disenfrancised or unrepresented. If I am a Republican in California, or a Democrat in Texas, my vote is not swaying the election in any manner, shape, or form. It's almost like a throw away vote.


Look at it at the county level

http://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/

Quote:
In the popular vote methodology, I wouldn't care what color my state voted in the past elections, one vote = one voice.


Of course you would if you didn't live in a populous state. Your vote would be meaningless -- just as now, if not moreso.


 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


I am confused. Your vote would not count any less than any others in another state, including the ones you mentioned. So what would you replace the EC system with, if not a popular vote method, that would make you feel properly represented?




I wouldn't replace it. I would first tackle gerrymandering and so forth. Most states are purplish -- not blue and red.


I would disagree with that statement, given the EC maps of the past 6 or 7 elections. Most states are stauchly Red or Blue, including the ones with the most electoral votes;

https://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

Including some of the bigger states with larger number of electoral votes;

California - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 55 votes
Texas - voted Red in the last 10 elections - 36 votes
New York - voted Blue in the last 8 elections - 29 votes
Pennsylvania - voted Blue in 6 of the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Illinois - voted Blue in the last 7 elections - 20 votes
Florida - voted Red 7 of the last 10 election, so a "swing state", although favoring Red - 29 votes

These states comprise (approximately) 189 of the 270 EC votes required to win. But it is clear from the above, that you won't get Republican visiting California any time soon, or Democrats visiting Texas. This is what I mean by disenfrancised or unrepresented. If I am a Republican in California, or a Democrat in Texas, my vote is not swaying the election in any manner, shape, or form. It's almost like a throw away vote.


Look at it at the county level

http://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/

Quote:
In the popular vote methodology, I wouldn't care what color my state voted in the past elections, one vote = one voice.


Of course you would if you didn't live in a populous state. Your vote would be meaningless -- just as now, if not moreso.




Why do you ask me to look at it at the county level, those ultimately add up to the state tally, which I have demonstrated goes one way, 9 times out of 10. The result, regardless of at what level I look at it is the same, California swings Dem every time. so a Republican vote there is a throw away vote.

And what does the population of the state have to to with the fact that my vote is counted once, in a popular vote methodology. Explain to me how my vote is meaningless in that scenario?
 
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abadolato01 wrote:


Why do you ask me to look at it at the county level, those ultimately add up to the state tally, which I have demonstrated goes one way, 9 times out of 10. The result, regardless of at what level I look at it is the same, California swings Dem every time. so a Republican vote there is a throw away vote.

And what does the population of the state have to to with the fact that my vote is counted once, in a popular vote methodology. Explain to me how my vote is meaningless in that scenario?


County level ties back into the fact that if we got rid of gerrymandering than districts would be more heterogeneous, which would help with Congressional voting (although not have any effect on the Presidential election -- but it would be nice if it was proportional allocation of EVs, which would be my preferred method).

Basically, popular voting methodology just swap out the current swing states with the states/regions that are most populous. At least winning the current swing states has to focus on trying to convince the "middle". Their swing states because they could either vote red or blue. In practice, it should moderate the candidates.
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SpaceGhost wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


Why do you ask me to look at it at the county level, those ultimately add up to the state tally, which I have demonstrated goes one way, 9 times out of 10. The result, regardless of at what level I look at it is the same, California swings Dem every time. so a Republican vote there is a throw away vote.

And what does the population of the state have to to with the fact that my vote is counted once, in a popular vote methodology. Explain to me how my vote is meaningless in that scenario?


County level ties back into the fact that if we got rid of gerrymandering than districts would be more heterogeneous, which would help with Congressional voting (although not have any effect on the Presidential election -- but it would be nice if it was proportional allocation of EVs, which would be my preferred method).

Basically, popular voting methodology just swap out the current swing states with the states/regions that are most populous. At least winning the current swing states has to focus on trying to convince the "middle". Their swing states because they could either vote red or blue. In practice, it should moderate the candidates.


I would agre that your arguments is valid and holds merits at the local level, but the title of the thread pertains to the electoral college, and specifically, the Presidential election which is determined via victory in said electoral college. I don't doubt that toying with gerrymandering will assist in your efforts to make elections more fair (and the Supreme Court will take this up this session), but I doubt that will tend to change the current color of most states in the Union (if any), so my comments are still quite valid for the presidential election. And I stand by my recommendation of one vote = one voice, that will allow ALL Americans to have a voice in the election.
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