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View Diary: Pennsylvania Republicans propose awarding state's electoral votes by congressional district (203 comments)

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  •  To play devil's advocate, (4+ / 0-)

    2000 is often used as the strongest argument against moving to a popular vote system. Recall that Florida's tiny margin gave rise to recounts, fake riots, and wounds that are still open 11 years later. Recall as well that, had we been under a popular vote system and the election had turned out similarly (not a given, but go with it for the sake of example), Gore would have won by a razor-thin 500,000 votes. This would have led to recounts, riots, and open wounds in all 50 states rather than just the one that was too close to count.

    But I hate the swing-state mentality as well, and would love to see how campaigns would change if every vote counted.

    With every goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down / but the search for perfection, your own predilection, goes on and on and on. . .

    by cardinal on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:43:20 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Fear of recounts isn't a good enough reason (7+ / 0-)

      to avoid the truest representation of the will of the American people.  It's a good enough reason to devise more accurate ways of counting the first time.

      •  Go ahead... we are waiting (0+ / 0-)

        And while you are at it, don't forget things like Palm Beach and the butterfly ballot.

        Imagine a nationwide search for things like that with both sides pointing out their examples and demanding do overs, vote adjustments, etc.

        •  Recounts FAR more likely in Current System (0+ / 0-)

          The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes), no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

          Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

          The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

          The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

          A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and recount. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

          Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years under the National Popular Vote approach. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

          The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

          No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

          The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

          •  Not clear to me that a recount is more likely in (0+ / 0-)

            the current system.

            A recount in the current system requires a state with a close enough popular vote to change in a recount and that the electoral vote be close enough that that state flipping could change the vote.

            Obviously, with 51 states (including DC) you are more likely to have a close vote in one of them, but what are the odds that the electoral vote is also close enough for that state to flip the result?

            With popular vote, all you need is a close enough national popular vote.

    •  why should my vote (6+ / 0-)

      for president count less than someone who lives in say, alaska?

    •  500,000 votes isn't razor thin (7+ / 0-)

      Basic statistics illustrates that the larger the sample size, the smaller the error rate. Had Florida's margin not been an issue, Gore would have won by over 500,000 votes - there is no statistical probability that number would have been overturned by a nationwide recount. In fact, there isn't a single American election in the last 100 years that would have gone to a recount.*  

      Moreover, if you HAVE to have a recount, there's no reason you couldn't. If you have national ballot standards, and clear guidelines for how to conduct a recount, there's no reason it couldn't work.

    •  Disagree completely with the devil's advocate. (3+ / 0-)

      500,000 is a respectable, statistically-significant margin.
      The idea that we would have had riots in all states is really stretching.  But speaking of small margins, Bush's margin in Florida was  only 537 votes for the entire state.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:06:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gore beat Bush by 0.5% (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandy on Signal

      Have you ever seen a recount overturn a half-percent lead?

    •  This is one of the best justifications for the (0+ / 0-)

      electoral college.

      The other justifications are as follows:

      (1) The current system is too entrenched to be changed. Therefore, talking about establishing a national popular vote will never result in any real change.

      (2) The electoral college helps to prevent the type of regionalism seen in countries like Brazil and Mexico which have a national popular vote.

      (3) The electoral college creates an incentive for voters to stay away from idealogical extremes. (Hear that, Utah and Massachusetts? The further to the extremes you go, the less attention you get from the federal government.)

      •  All of them are terrible. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask

        The one posted shows a basic misunderstanding of statistics.

        1) is the counsel of despair. It's just meaningless -- a self-perpetuating prophecy.

        2) If a country is regionally distinct -- then democracy demands that it's politics be regional. Number 2 is simply an argument against democracy per se, simply cloaked.

        3) Once again, is simply an argument against democracy. If the "voters" have a spectrum of votes, by eliminating that spectrum you put government in the hand of the tiny minority that sits in the so-called middle. Given a multidimensional spectrum, the few folks who can corral a center are absolutely minute. The system then works simply to filter out democracy while claiming democracy.

        Just terrible and completely anti-intellectual. But firmly in the tradition of provincial oligarchs who had libraries of seven books -- eh?

      •  49% of the way towards enacting NPV (0+ / 0-)

        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).  Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO - 68%, FL - 78%, IA 75%, MI - 73%, MO - 70%, NH - 69%, NV - 72%, NM-- 76%, NC - 74%, OH - 70%, PA - 78%, VA - 74%, and WI - 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK - 70%, DC - 76%, DE - 75%, ID - 77%, ME - 77%, MT - 72%, NE 74%, NH - 69%, NV - 72%, NM - 76%, OK - 81%, RI - 74%, SD - 71%, UT - 70%, VT - 75%, WV - 81%, and WY - 69%; in Southern and border states: AR - 80%,, KY- 80%, MS - 77%, MO - 70%, NC - 74%, OK - 81%, SC - 71%, TN - 83%, VA - 74%, and WV - 81%; and in other states polled: CA - 70%, CT - 74%, MA - 73%, MN - 75%, NY - 79%, OR - 76%, and WA - 77%.  Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should get elected.  

        The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes -- 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

        http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

      •  Current System Encourages Regional Candidates (0+ / 0-)

        The current state-by-state winner-take-all system encourages regional candidates.  A third-party candidate has 51 separate opportunities to shop around for states that he or she can win or affect the results. Minor-party candidates have significantly affected the outcome in six (40%) of the 15 presidential elections in the past 60 years (namely the 1948, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections).   Candidates such as John Anderson (1980), Ross Perot (1992 and 1996), and Ralph Nader (2000) did not win a plurality of the popular vote in any state, but managed to affect the outcome by switching electoral votes in numerous particular states. Extremist candidacies as Strom Thurmond and George Wallace won a substantial number of electoral votes in numerous states.

    •  Recounts More Likely Under Current System (0+ / 0-)

      One person, one vote.  The candidate with the most votes wins.  A bare plurality is all that is needed in virtually every election in the U.S.

      The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes), no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

      Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

      The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

      The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

      A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and recount. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

      Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years under the National Popular Vote approach. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

      The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

      No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

      The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

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