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View Diary: If it is not stopped, the Republican war on democracy will tear this nation apart (264 comments)

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  •  Time for a Constitutional amendment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, a2nite, ranton

    Abolish the Electoral College and elect the President by direct popular vote.  The GOP wants to use gerrymandering to elect minority Presidents who will then be so weak that they will be a rubber stamp for the Koch brothers.

    A new birth of freedom..

    by docterry on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:19:32 PM PST

    •  I agree in principle (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton

      But the idea that we are going to get 2/3s of both Houses and 3/4s of the states to change to a system that is fair is I fear impossible.

      There are practical problems with PV.

      1) Is the winner the person with the most votes, or a majority?

      2) If it is the most votes, what is to stop the Koch Bros et al from financing a black candidate, a Latino candidate, a Green candidate, a gay candidate, all in the intent to keep down the vote for the Dem? Don't think for a second that it wouldn't be game on the moment the system switched to plurality, but not majority, required.

      3) We don't have uniform voting standards in this country. Think voter suppression was bad last year? Wait until PV becomes the rule - at that point, Repub controlled states will do all in their power to limit Dem voters, and absent national standards, they'd be more likely to get away with it.

      I personally favor PV, with a runoff if no one gets 50%, but only with national standards for federal elections with enforcement power. I'd obviously prefer PV in any form to this hijacking of the EC plan, but people should understand the law of unintended consequences that would come with PV.

      •  Candidate with Most Votes Wins (0+ / 0-)

        Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.  The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

        With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's electoral votes.

        Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation's 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.

        If an Electoral College type of arrangement were essential for avoiding a proliferation of candidates and people being elected with low percentages of the vote, we should see evidence of these conjectured outcomes in elections that do not employ such an arrangement.  In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

        Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.--  including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912 and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).

        Americans do not view the absence of run-offs in the current system as a major problem. If, at some time in the future, the public demands run-offs, that change can be implemented at that time.

        And, FYI, with the current system, it could only take winning a plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 23% of the nation's votes.

      •  Now 537 Votes in 1 State Can Determine (0+ / 0-)

        The U.S. Constitution specifically permits diversity of election laws among the states because it explicitly gives the states control over the conduct of presidential elections (article II) as well as congressional elections (article I).  The fact is that the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution permit states to conduct elections in varied ways.  The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and preserves state control of elections and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

        There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President.

        Under the current system, the electoral votes from all 50 states are comingled and simply added together, irrespective of the fact that the electoral-vote outcome from each state was affected by differences in state policies, including voter registration, ex-felon voting, hours of voting, amount and nature of advance voting, and voter identification requirements.

        Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." They list the electors and the number of votes cast for each.  The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes reported in the Certificates of Ascertainment. You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site.

        Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote compact, all of the people of the United States are impacted by the different election policies of the states. Everyone in the United States is affected by the division of electoral votes generated by each state.  The procedures governing presidential elections in a closely divided battleground state (e.g., Florida and Ohio) can affect, and indeed have affected, the ultimate outcome of national elections.

        For example, the 2000 Certificate of Ascertainment (required by federal law) from the state of Florida reported  2,912,790 popular votes for George W. Bush and 2,912,253 popular vote for Al Gore, and also reported 25 electoral votes for George W. Bush and 0 electoral votes for Al Gore. That 25–0 division of the electoral votes from Florida determined the outcome of the national election just as a particular division of the popular vote from a particular state might decisively affect the national outcome in some future election under the National Popular Vote compact.

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