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I have long believed the President and Vice President should be chosen by the same method every other elective office in this country is filled--by citizen voters of the United States in a system which counts each vote equally. That is why I am proud to be part of a new coalition known as National Popular Vote pursuing a popular vote for the president through action in the states. During my tenure in the US Senate we held several hearings on this topic but were unable to pass the amendment.

Unfortunately, Congress has continued to block this basic reform that has long-standing, overwhelming public support. Gallup polls have shown strong public support for nationwide popular election of the President for over five decades. Numerous other polls have confirmed a high level of public support for this reform. Polls consistently show 60-80% of Americans believe they should be able to cast votes in the direct election of the President: Gallup Poll.

That is why I unequivocally support this new strategy to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President. This new approach is consistent with the Constitution and lets states push this reform without waiting for Congress to act.

Today more than ever, the system we use is a disservice to the voters. With the number of battleground states steadily shrinking, we see candidates and their campaigns focused on fewer and fewer states. While running for the nation's highest office, candidates in 2004 completely ignored three-quarters of the states, including California, Texas and New York, our three most populous states. Why should our national leaders be elected by only reaching out to 1/4 of our states? It seems inherently illogical, and it is.

In recent history, we all remember the 2000 election which awarded the Presidency to the candidate who came in second in the popular vote. That's water under the bridge.  But there are few who realize in 2004 President Bush's 3.5 million vote lead over Senator Kerry could have been trumped with a change of less than 60,000 votes in Ohio.  With Ohio in the Kerry column the current system and would have elected him President. But our proposal isn't about elections. It's about the future of our democracy.

In the final analysis, to me the most compelling reason for directly electing our president and vice president is one of principle. In the United States every vote must count equally. One person, one vote is more than a clever phrase, it's the cornerstone of justice and equality. We can and must see that our electoral system awards victory to the candidates chosen by the most voters.

It is heartening to see the Every Vote Equal strategy described in a new book Every Vote Equal will correct the flawed system we maintain for electing our top two leaders. States must band together to solve this long-standing, vexatious problem - I hope every state will take up legislation and move to join the agreement. Since Congress has repeatedly refused to act, it's refreshing to know states have the ability under the Constitution to step up and create the solution Americans have long supported. I hope you will join me in supporting this important effort.

Former Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Indiana)

Originally posted to Birch Bayh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:29 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  An Important issue for our Support (4.00)
    Unfortunately Senator Bayh is not available to take questions today, but I'm working with National Popular Vote, Fmr. Senator Bayh, Fmr. Presidential Candidate John Anderson, and others, to promote this state-based plan.

    Some of you know this plan as "The Amar Plan."  It is a state-based (no Constitutional Amendment needed) plan to elect our President through a Popular Vote.  I strongly believe this is an important election reform proposal that Kossacks should get behind.

    I encourage you to all read up on the proposal, and I'm happy to stick around and answer any questions, or address any concerns you may have about this issue.

    •  Whats the "anti" side? n/t (none)

      Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:40:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anti side? (none)
        It would, uh, result in the election of fewer candidates whose support comes disproportionately from small states, i.e. republicans.

        Come see TV from the reality-based community at RealityBasedTV.com

        by MarkInSanFran on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:44:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, it is NOT that (3.55)
          it's to keep the president from being the president of CA, NY and TX.

          Or the president of the the urbanites. Or the president of the coasts.

          It's to ensure that the president carries a majority of the STATES, not just the major population centers.

          Think about it - what if the president was elected because he got the popular vote only, and because he campaigned in LA, NY, Chicago, and a few other big cities only. Or if he didn't win a majority anywhere but CA, TX, NY, and maybe a couple midwestern states. If he/she won there overwhelmingly, he/she would win, but could only outright win a few states.

          Right now, the only way a president can win the electoral vote and lose the popular vote is if it's really, really close. Reverse that, and we really could wind up with the president of the coasts (not that that would be a horrible thing...)

          There was a reason the founding fathers came up with this convoluted system.

          •  You have laid out my biggest concern (none)
            and far better than I could ever hope to articulate it.

            Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

            by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:56:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  1 person - 1 vote (4.00)
            why the hell not?

            i'm sick of trying to explain this to non-americans. they think it's fucking loony.

            i agree.

            "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

            now rocking the UK. check out An Angry Yank in Kent, yo.

            by lipris on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:04:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Another reason to switch to popular vote (4.00)
              I live in Alabama. Under the current system there is absolutely no reason for Bush or Kerry or anyone else to campaign here, to try to get out the vote or to spend a nickel here.

              The same goes for more than 30 other states -- written off each and every four years.

              If we elected by popular vote, Kerry would have had an incentive to campaign in places like Selma and Atlanta and New Orleans and Memphis and Jackson to try to get out the Democratic vote.

              Likewise, Republican candidates would have to start spending time in places they rarely visit -- like California and New York.

              And while we're at it, why don't we also give a vote to all U.S. citizens -- including those who live in Puerto Rico, Guam and other territories.

              •  Agreed! (none)
                Here in Atlanta, we get what I'd estimate is 2 visits per campaigner, usually two high-dollar fundraisers where ordinary citizens have no chance in hell of actually seeing the candidate.

                Ultimately, it really depends on whether you believe it should be the "states" electing the President or the "people" electing the President. I believe it should be the people, so I support this proposal.
          •  This works within the Founders intent (4.00)
            There is a reason why our Founders came up with this convuluted system, to protect the rights of states.  But that is also why the Founders left it up to the states to determine how they award their electoral votes.

            Under this plan, it is the state legislatures that are empowered to enact this plan on behalf of the people.  This plan will only go into effect if states decide at the local level that this plan would be best for both their own state, but also the voting public at large.

            I believe our Founders gave states control over awarding electors so that they could be flexible and change how electors are awarded when needed.

            Also, the plan addresses your concern about Cities possibily benefitting at the expense of smaller states:
            Why Small States Benefit

            •  If you're simply splitting electors (4.00)
              that's fine. I've never been fond of the winner take all system for electors.

              As long as the winner has to carry a majority of the STATES, I'll go along with it. I suspect most people will.

              •  The winner... (4.00)
                doesn't have to carry the majority of states! They need only the dozen or so largest.

                We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

                by Jawis on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:21:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Right now, the winner only needs to carry (4.00)
                  the ballot boxes and memory cards off to an undisclosed location.

                  We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

                  by occams hatchet on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:38:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Actually right now.. the winner needs. (4.00)
                  to only win some wacky combination of:

                  FL
                  AZ
                  NM
                  IA
                  OH
                  PA
                  MI

                  and MAYYYBE, NV, WI, MN... and sometimes MO or WV depending on the math of the larger "swing" states...

                  so that's not even 12 states that matter.... As for being able to dominate an election with the 12 largest states - it NOT going to happen.  The 12 largest states represent only 58% of the total population, but they are split 4 Red (TX, VA, GA, NC), 4 Blue (CA, NY, NJ, IL) and 4 Swing (PA, OH, FL, MI) - so odds that you could run a "Big State" campaing would be extremely low...

                  "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                  by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:19:36 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The point... (4.00)
                    was need. It's an inherently unfair system. On principle it is unfair in one way and in practice it is unfair in another. Either way a majority of states and the US population are ignored. The popular vote would at least require a president to have the support of a majority of Americans.

                    We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

                    by Jawis on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:42:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am not certain what your argument is.. (none)
                      How is it "unfair on principal in one case and unfare in practice in the other"  What is unfair in practice about a popular vote?  How does a "majority" of the population get ignored in a popular vote?  Particularly considering that the popular vote of the 12 largest states is going to be split pretty evenly...  50.18 v. 49.82 in 2004...  I don't see an argument that large swaths of population would be ignored through a popular vote - large swaths of states perhaps, but rightfully so given their populations and certainly no worse than they are ignored today...

                      Why should a state that has .17% of the population (Wyoming) have 1% of the electoral power?  How is that fair in practice - and more importantly why would it be unfair for Wyoming to be ignored in by the electoral process?  Or for that matter why shoud Wyoming have the same elctoral power as Montana (which is about 2 times the size of Montana by population)?  Of course CA got about as much attention as both of those states despite having far more of the population...

                      You make your argument sound like its a lessor of two evils.. but its not, there is a real difference...

                      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                      by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:35:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  When did I argue against the popular vote? nt (none)

                        We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

                        by Jawis on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:02:43 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Then I am confused... (none)
                          Which is unfair in practice and which is unfair in principal?  I assumed you were for popular vote which meant logically from your statement that you were arguing it was unfair in practice (I assumed you would not argue against a position that disagreed with your principals)...

                          My point is that a popular vote is unfair in neither case practice or principal...

                          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                          by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:02:13 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I Believe Jawis Was Arguing... (none)
                            ...that the electoral college is unfair in principle and practice.

                            In principle, it unfairly favors small states.

                            In practice, a narrow plurality of the votes in a small number of large states can win a candidate the presidency (due to the winner-take system), and (again due to winner-take-all) it results in only swing states, especially large swing states, choosing the president.  That is a truly irrational result that bears at best a loose to the founder's rather undemocratic vision (which didn't necessarily entail popular votes for the electors...and certainly didn't see parties as playing the central role that they do in our politics).

                            First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

                            by GreenSooner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 05:25:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Whoops... (none)
                            I meant the electoral college is unfair in principle and in practice. In principle in favors just a few largest states, and in practice it favors just a few swing states. I guess that was a convoluted statement in my previous post.

                            We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

                            by Jawis on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 05:26:01 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Why is the presidency special? (4.00)
                        Right now we have a House of Representatives, where states get representation (approximately) proportional to their population, and a Senate, where each state gets equal representation regardless of population.  We can ask: should the Presidency work more like the House (popular vote), or more like the Senate (equal electoral votes for each state)?  Right now we have something between the two.  It has problems.  If you're saying using anything but a direct popular vote is anti-democratic, I can't say you're necessarily wrong.  But if we use that argument we should also want to abolish the Senate.  Since I don't see anyone asking for that, calling for popular election of the President on pure philosophical terms requires some additional arguments.
                        •  Because the Presidency (and Veep) (none)
                          are the only elected officials that represent the nation... that simple.. You don't vote for Governor or Senator by County, or Representative by Town, so why President by State?  Electoral college had a purpose about 200 years ago.. that purpose has now long since passed...

                          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                          by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:58:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  That doesn't... (none)
                make any sense at all the smallest 26 states (including the District of Columbia) have a population that makes up 16% the total for the U.S.  How is winning the majority of State have anything to do with the will of the people?  

                All you are doing is giving excess power to the voters of the small states...  

                "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:06:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Wasn't Colorado toying with this before the (none)
              2004 elections....They were talking about splitting their electors in proportion to the way the congressional districts voted and giving the 2 senate electors to the candidate with the state's majority vote. Something like that?
              •  No, this is completely different. (none)
                This plan calls on states to pledge all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.  For example, all of Illinois votes would go to the the winner of the national popular vote, not the winner of Illinois.

                Its ratification is sort of like the Kyoto protocol:  It only takes effect when states representing 51% of the electoral votes pass the new law.

                I'm 100% behind this.  The key is going to be getting Texas or North Carolina or Georgia to go along with it.  It will need some big red states to sign up.

                "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

                by tmendoza on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:38:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Curious... (none)
                  What happens in 20 years when some under-the-radar states gain in population and suddenly one of the original 11 states from this plan no longer cover that 51%?

                  Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

                  by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:09:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  good question: (none)
                    the deal would have to be renewed every census.  unless so many states joined in that dropping below 51% was not in question.

                    "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

                    by tmendoza on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 09:46:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It Can Be Simpler Than That (none)
                      The deal need only specify that states representing a majority of the electoral votes at the time of the election in question be signed on.  Changing population need only trigger and untrigger the plan; it needn't force the plan to be revisited by the states.

                      If, say, eleven states that do this are signed on in 2008, the election will take place with a popular vote deciding the presidency.  If reapportionment following the 2010 census makes these states amount to fewer than a majority of the electoral votes, the deal is still on, but it just won't be operative for 2012 unless some other states sign on. If no other state signs on, then the 11 states will still be signed up, but just won't cast their electoral votes according to the plan in 2012.  It's actually an elegant and simple plan.

                      In fact, I think such an untriggering is unlikely.  People will like this if it goes into effect and other states would sign on if the scenario played out above takes place (which, unfortunately, I think is unlikely....the uphill climb here is getting states to begin to sign on to this in the first place).

                      First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

                      by GreenSooner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 05:32:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's right... (none)
                        ... The agreement doesn't go into effect or stay in effect based on particular states participating in it, but only if those states represent a majority of the Electoral College in the year of the presidential election. I agree that after one national popular vote, more states will sign on and we'll either just keep the agreement intact or we'll finally get a Constitutional amendment.
            •  Thank you (none)
              This would mean that not every state would need to get on board, right? Each state would make it's own decisions.

              I'm still curious, though. What reasons might someone oppose this idea? (Other than, we've always done it this way)

              Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

              by Catte Nappe on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:17:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We'll if not every state gets on board (4.00)
                Then, when left leaning states give some amount of their electors to the the Republican candidate and The right leaning states don't give their share, we lose.

                Ex. MD goes Blue  Dems get 5 Reps get 4
                    VA goes Red   Dems get 0 Reps get 9
                   ____________
                   total          Dems     5 Reps     13

                 

                •  Wouldn't Happen (4.00)
                  The plan would only go into affect once states representing 270 Electoral Votes had joined the agreement.

                  More details here:

                  How the Plan Would Go into Effect

                  •  I read about the plan on the nat....pop...vote.com (none)
                    I was responding to what somebody said about not all states having to get onboard.

                    Question/Analysis....Can't individual states do this now, but don't because from a state level, to enact this is to give electoral votes to the opposition. A Dem. controlled legislature enacting this, is giving away electoral votes at election time. A Rep. controlled legislature enacting this is giving away electoral votes at election time. And does the interstate compact require continued participation by all parties?

                    Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support the idea of splitting electoral votes between candidates. I just think that what is proposed is a tough one.

                    •  When it's active, it's decisive (none)
                      The agreement only becomes active when it decisively elects the national popular vote winner. It doesn't matter what the political leanings of the states in the agreement are -- the people of those states and their legislators just need to want to have a national popular vote to determine the election.
            •  Actuallly, the founders (4.00)
              intent was less about protecting the rights of individual states, and more a compromise to small states (which at the time were far more independent AND more populous (as a percentage of the U.S. pop.) than today)...

              The reason was plain in 1790 the largest state VA represented 21% of the population of the U.S. and the smallest state Delaware represeented 2% of the population... In their world the largest state was much larger (too much concentration) and the smallest states were also much larger (meaning that they had more of a say per state and therefore more "right" to protect) - so protecting those rights in that fashion made more sense in 1787 than today...  Their decisions had little to do with "states" rights and a lot to do with a balance of equity...

              Delaware representing 2% of the population had 3 electoral votes and VA with 21% of the population had 12 - VA had an advantage of only 4 times the electoral votes despite 10 times the population.  So while DE had 10% the population of VA it had 25% the electoral power - a ratio of 2.5 to 1

              Today, the largest state CA represents 12% of the population and the smallest Wyoming represents 0.17% of the population. In fact, today, 34 of the 51 states (inc. DC) represent less of the population than the smallest colonial state - Tennesse the 16th largest has 2% of the U.S. population...  So the populace is far more diversified across the states - meaning the need for protection from a large dominant state (or even block of dominant states) is far less than in 1790.. despite this the electoral power has shifted ever more to the smaller states - Wyoming which has .17% the population has 3 electoral votes, and California with 12% of the population has 55 - so while Wyoming has 1.4% the population of California, it has 5% of the electoral power of CA - a ratio electoral power to population of 3.8 to 1 - fully 50% more power than the small states had back in 1790.

              Furthermore - small states made up a smaller portion of the U.S. in 1790 meaning that this imbalance as a group had less impact on the overall will of the people when considered by population - if a small state is 25% of the largest state then 5 of the 13 originals were "small" - or 38%.. today under that definition GA would be a "small" state and 42 out of 51 or 82%..  so the will of the people in the large states which pay an equal amount of tax per person as the small states has even a lessor impact on presidential voting than they did today...

              Now if they want to tie my tax bill to the percentage of impact my vote has on the electoral process I may be willing to reconsider.

              "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

              by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:12:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  speaking of DC (4.00)
                this would automatically enfranchise the half-millon DC voters who have absolutely no representation now.

                huh. The republicans will resist this tooth and nail.

                then puerto rico also be included then they are us citizens after all, right? becuase the legal reasoning  given for denying them the right to vote was that they do not have electors.

                I wonder if this thing has a chance of passing.

                -6.13,-6.33 America's Security is not for sale

                by biscobosco on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 05:57:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  But what's the problem? (4.00)
            If the president can be elected and lose the popular vote badly isn't that even worse?  A theoretical candidate could carry a few big states by 1 vote, lose badly everywhere else and end up a 30% - 70% loser in the popular but a victor in the Electoral College.

            And shouldn't we have a president who is more responsive to the concerns of New York City than he is to the concerns of Utah?  NYC is more important to the country as a whole, I'd argue.

            I understand the arguments against the popular vote system, but I think the arguments against the electoral college are more convincing in this day and age.

            We have only directly elected Senators since 1913.  I think this is the next logical change to our system.

            RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

            by nightsweat on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:09:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  farming is still the biggest (none)
              industry in this country, so I am not sure tha NYC is more important than Utah.  Well maybe Utah...

              But all the important people in NY trading all that important stock and stuff would starve to death unless they can live off of corn, apples and milk (all big products in NYS). NYS can't feed NYC.  So the midwestern farm states are very important and so are their issues.  

              •  Well farming most certainly... (none)
                is not the most important industry by population - e.g. employment.  Not even close.  Farm workers make up about 7% of the work force - 1/10th the number of service providers, 1/2 the number of professionals or Gov't workers...  

                Sure these non-farm workers have an interest in access to food, but then again they have an interest in acess to oil as well - should we give Oil Workers and Oil States an outsized say in gov't.?  Or to better bring it back to NYC, a large percent of those associated with finance and capital work in NYC, those people and their issues are very important as well as our entire economy would grind to a halt without them putting capital to work to support economic growth and trade...  should their issues be more important and midwesterners?  

                "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 11:18:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Not what I'm saying (none)
                I'm not saying the Midwest isn't important. I grew up in and live in Illinois where our two chief economic products are argriculture/agricultural machinery, and political corruption.

                I'm saying that small population states have a disproprtionate influence on the election of the president, and that I'm a true believer in "one person, one vote".

                California gets 1.5 Electoral votes per million population (55 EV, 35.484 million population)
                Wyoming gets 5.92 electoral votes per million population (3 EV, .506 million population)

                If I vote for president in California, my vote is worth 25% as much as a voter in Wyoming.

                I call that unfair.

                RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                by nightsweat on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 12:33:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Who cares!? (4.00)
            First off, you can still win fewer states and win the election. You only need to win like 12 largest states or so and it's yours.

            Also, is it more democratic to win overwhelmingly in California and lose by a single vote in the other 49 states, and thus lose the election? Both systems are flawed, but at least the popular vote requires the candidates to reach out to as many voters as possible. Right now the small states are ignored anyways, what has changed?

            We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

            by Jawis on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:17:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  big lies about electoral college re:small states (4.00)
            because he campaigned in LA, NY, Chicago, and a few other big cities only

            Ok, so...let's check out a slightly modified version:

            because he campaigned in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and a few other swing states only

            This is how the electoral college actually works today. Think about it. Tiny states don't get any love in this system! Only SWING states get love in this system. Utah and Idaho are tiny states. When was the last time any presidential candidate campaigned in Utah or Idaho? Never. Because they are completely safe red states. The dividing line with electoral college is not NOT NOT big/small. The dividing line in the electoral college is swing/safe. Can we please not repeat the misconception?

            Look at Florida--they got their offshore oil drilling ban, but not California. They are both big states, but one is swing, one is safe.

            Repeat after me: The dividing line in the electoral college is swing/safe not big/small.

            Francine Busby for Congress! (CA-50)

            by reid fan on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:18:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So what you are saying is (none)
              size doesn't matter.  Now where have I heard that before???

              You are absolutely right.

            •  EXACTLY! (none)
              Repeat after me: The dividing line in the electoral college is swing/safe not big/small.

              Yeah.  I'm from Minnesota, a middling-size state that's been reliably blue Presidentially for ages; the only reason we became a "battleground" state in 2000 and 2004 was the rise of Nader, who did better in my state in 2000 than most anywhere else in the nation.

              Guess what?  New Mexico, which is more red than we are Presidentially, is more "important" right now, because it's much more in play.

              •  I'm just picking you at random... (none)
                ...because you see to know something about the topic.

                I'm all for electing the prez by popular vote, also, but...isn't the real problem "winner-take-all"?  I ask because it seems to me it might be easier to address this problem, and get us pretty close to what we want.

                But I don't know.  The electoral college makes my head hurt.

                •  Winner Take All (none)
                  This plan is specifically dedicated to the state-by-state winner take all system.  The power to change the winner-take-all system is in the hand of the state legislatures.

                  This plan replaces the winner-take-all system with a system where electoral votes are awarde to the Popular Vote winner.

                  •  Thank you for replying (none)
                    I can only keep up with so many issues at a time.  Right now, mine is paper trails.
                    •  speaking of which...paper trails are useless (none)
                      so I have a paper that tells me I voted for Al Gore.  That means nothing because in the process of getting that piece of paper I voted on a machine that printed Gore and recorded Bush.  That's how the machine was programed, but we can't prove that, because the private company which owns the election equiptment on which our democracy depends, has secret sorce code I can't see.
                      All the company that owns my vote has to do to avoid a recount is to program the machine to make sure the percentage the vote is stollen by is outside of the range which demands a recount.  

                      I am in favor of a Paper BALLOT and we must call it that. We must call it that so that the american people can not be lulled in to thinking that a paper trail, which could mean a print out that you take home with you, can protect their vote.  A legal paper ballot would at least reguire that it is the ballot you saw with Harry Brown for President is what is counted in a recount, not some made up vote out there in a data chip.

                      •  Hot dang! We agree on something! (none)
                        Although it depends somewhat on what kind of paper and where the trail leads.

                        The problem with talking about a paper ballot is that there are those who want to go back to the old-fashioned way (they think "...of voting," I think "...of rigging elections") and just use paper ballots, while others are adamantly opposed to this.  So often it kicks off a pointless argument.  Personally, I don't care if we go back to the old-fashioned way of rigging elections or not, but I'm pretty sure we aren't going to.

                        Then you must consider where the trail starts, where it travels, and where it ends.  A paper ballot alone (in the original or printed out by the computer) is not a trail.  It is at once both alpha and omega.  A trail starts at alpha and ends at omega.

                        The paper trail we need starts with the ballot in your hand.  Although I have a superstition of ballots printed by machines, it is just that...a superstition.  If the trail leads to the right end, a printed paper ballot is just as good as a paper ballot that I complete myself.  The paper ballot is the alpha.  The trail must lead to the omega...the vote that is recorded and counted in the electronic database.

                        I think two things have to happen before we can achieve this goal with confidence.  One is for voters to be able to take away a copy of their ballot and then be able to confirm their vote in the database.  I dream of a day when every voter picks a PIN that allows them to log in and access their voting record after the election, so they can see that their vote was properly recorded.  But until that day gets here, a copy of the ballot would also allow motivated voting activists to recount the paper ballots themselves, if they...and the voters...should be sufficiently motivated to do so.  There would be a lot of screaming and yelling over forgeries and the like, though.  Unfortunately, my state has a law prohibiting voters from taking away a copy of their ballot.

                        But even then, you cannot tell if your vote was properly counted.  The second requirement is for us to be able to confirm that the software counted the votes correctly.  I'm not enough of a geek to lay out the details, but it requires reviewable source code (not the same thing as "open" source code, which is also a good idear, just a different one) and validated software (which is just a fancy way of saying software that has been conclusively shown to work the way it's supposed to).

                        You are right that there is no quick fix for the mess we are in.  We have a long way to go.  Baby steps.

            •  Absolutely. (4.00)
              I live in Massachusetts which has got a dozen electoral votes. That's not exactly small, but because we are a reliably Democratic state, neither side did anything here. During the entire 2004 election, the only presidential ads I saw were actually targeted at New Hampshire.

              Texas, New York and California are the biggest states in the union, but neither presidential candidate was really trying to get any votes in them. Florida meanwhile...

              Firm supporters are ignored, while the wishy-washy are lavished with attention.

            •  bullshit (4.00)
              The electoral college - as now constituted - favors smallest states by a huge margin.

              I live in Illinois. Congression reapportionment following the 2000 census granted 19 seats in the House. Thus, Illinois voters' concensus is represented in the electoral college by 21 votes (full congressional delegation, including senators).

              A citizen of Wyoming - one of the most sparsely populated states - has 1 seat in the House, and, thus, that state's concensus is represented by 3 electoral votes.

              The point? The representation in Congress is 19:1 (which, btw, does disservice to the actual population ratio, which is slightly greater than 25:1, but is limited by the 435 seat limit in the House). The electoral vote ratio - at a mere 7:1 - means that the person voting in Wyoming has well over three times the value for his/her vote.

              The solution? Remove the senators' representation in the electoral college make-up. (It would have been enough to give Gore the WH in 2000, rendering the Florida fiasco moot. Kerry still would have lost, tho.)

              BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

              by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:05:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  addendum (none)
                it's been a well-kept secret that the GOP has been highly aware of this ratio, and the powerful edge that organizing and, thus, winning small states can have ... governor dean seems to understand this simple, but oft overlooked, pre-algebra problem ...

                (hint: math doesn't suck)

                BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:09:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thats an interesting (none)
                compromise between today's system and a full popular vote - it doens't get to the winner take all problem though - and the resultant ignorance of "safe" states for "swing" states - it just changes the electoral calculus toward the Democrats who have more reliable "medium" sized states and away from the Republicans and their mass of "reliable" small states ...

                "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:52:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  yep ... (none)
                  but the sad truth is that it's a constitutional amendment that cannot pass, since it'd have to make it's way thru enough small states ...

                  beyond the solution proposed by former Sen. Bayh here - which, btw, i'm not sure i like - the best option is to organize to begin to win some of these high-value small states ... Dems are faring well in Montana now, and are beginning the big work in others as part of Dean's 50-state DNC strategy ...

                  the notion that campaigns are won during the election year is really kind of off the mark anyway, if you pay close enough attention ...

                  BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                  by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:02:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  it can't happen. (none)
                it would take a constitutional amendment to make this change.  why on earth would the small state senators give up their added power?  answer: they never will.  so your plans is basically a waste of breath.

                the good thing about this plan is that it by-passes congress, and thus has some prayer of getting enacted.  some.

                "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

                by tmendoza on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 09:52:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  well, it can happen (none)
                  because it doesn't take an amendment, and the reality is that small states are the most ignored group of states in modern politics. In the past four decades, at least one Member of Congress from EVERY state has sponsored legislation for direct election.]

                  Really, this can be won in all kinds of states once we all realize how fundamentally screwed up the Eletoral College is.

          •  Their main reason for the monstrosity (4.00)

            Of the electoral college is that they expressly did NOT trust the common voter.  Hell, some of the Founders (Cough! Jefferson Cough!) thought the vote should only be for the wealthy (landowners).

            There's only one way I could see the electoral college system being made almost acceptable:  dump the electors and make it a simple math equation.  Pass along electoral votes based on percentage of state vote going to each candidate...and allow an electoral split like some states have already.

            Thus, since we are in the computer age, let's use a simple, opensource computer program (truly simple).  Say state X has 10 electoral votes.  60% of the in-state vote goes to candidate y, and 38% to candidate z (and 2% goes to "other").  The computer program would award 6 votes to candidate y, 4 votes to z (round up).  The votes of the overall state population are more accurately reflected in the split electoral votes AND it is not winner take all AND the candidates need to fight for every vote.

            Dump the electors, people who can decide to go their own way in too many states.

            The system as it now stands NEEDS fixing.

            Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush

            by praedor on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:26:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes but (4.00)
            is it inherently better that the president should be the president of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri?

            Modern polling technology has reduced the presidential election to a battle for a few swing states.  Everyone else becomes irrelevant.  That hardly seems preferable.

            Under a one man, one vote system, it's true that candidates would spend much more of their time in large urban areas, but I'm not sure that's horrible as compared to making 47 trips to Ohio and only visiting New York City when it's time for a fundraiser.

            And it's true that under a one man, one vote system, presidential candidates would spend more time pandering to some voters than to others, but at least every voter would know that they have an equal impact on determining the next president.  Instead of spending all their time pandering on Yucca Mountain because Nevada is a swing state, maybe candidates would spend their time pandering to millions of urban dwellers on their urban issues.  Again, I ask: Is this clearly worse than the present system?

          •  I'm all for having coastal presidents. (none)
            At least you'd know that coastal presidents would be coming from the extremely diverse parts of the country with the diverse viewpoints to match.

            so you think I'm a troll? Well kiss my hairy troll nalgas then

            by MetaProphet on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:42:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Coastal Presidents (none)
              That would be Reagan, Nixon (CA), Wilson (VA), Coolidge, Kennedy (MA), FDR (NY), Bush I, Bush II (CT), Carter (GA)

              Not a very impressive track record overall.

              Non-Coastal: HST (MO), Clinton (AR), LBJ (TX) (although TX does have a coastline on the Gulf, but I don't think that counts).

              We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

              by badger on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:53:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Let me play devil's advocate... (none)
            Is it better the way it is now, where a presidential candidate is responsive to roughly a dozen "battleground states" and spends no energy convincing people anywhere else in the country that he deserves a vote?

            Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire

            by kingcritical on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:44:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  because I live in KY... (4.00)
            which is one of the states that went overwhelmingly for Bush, my vote for president was irrelevant. I'm civic-minded enough to vote anyway, because of the races down ticket, but it galls me to no end that the fact that my state's EVs were going to that bastard galled me to no end.

            If this proposal is adopted, then every single vote counts. The pockets of Democrats in Utah, or pockets of Republicans in NYC, are no longer irrelevant.

            You actually like the fact that a presidential candidate could win handily, or overwhelmingly, in enough states to get maybe 260 EVs, but lose to a guy who could eke out a win in enough states to get 270? (Or whatever the number to win is, I think it's 270.)

            Think about it - no one would win handily in all the major population centers while losing in the rural and small town areas. There's no way a candidate is going to win big in LA, NYC, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and all the other big cities across the board - those cities aren't that uniform in custom or political thought. Nor would he/she win every single rural area - there are too many issues that are specific to a region.

            One person, one vote. Make a candidate campaign everywhere in America.

            -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

            by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:57:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I find this to be one of the most common (none)
            and most specious of the arguments in favor of the current system.
            Under the current system, candidates still target their campaigns to population centers!  It's called "getting the most bang for your buck."  The current system has done nothing to prevent that!
            But under the current system, if a particular population center is one that is widely considered to harbor a strong majority for a candidate's opponent, then that candidate will cede the entire state to the opponent.  Hence the sizeable number of Republican leaning voters in the state of New York who didn't get to see any of George W. Bush during the last Presidential campaign.  Hence the sizeable number of Southern blacks who are ignored by the Democratic Presidential candidate.
            I've yet to see a defender of the current system advocate extending it to one other single office.  In my state of Illinois, the folks who live in the sparsely populated downstate counties tend to regard their state government as being dominated by Chicago Dems or DuPage Repubs.  Nonetheless, I've yet to hear anyone suggest that counties should be given the equivalent of an electoral vote, with the lightly populated counties being given a disproportionate number, in the misguided belief that gubernatorial candidates would somehow pay more attention to them, any more than Presidential candidates currently do to sparsely populated states.
            The Constitution of our country, written by the founding fathers you cite, does not require that states award their electoral votes in a "winner takes all" fashion, although all but a small handful do.  It is a fundamentally undemocratic process.  We award every other office in our nation, right down to dog catcher, on the basis of the popular vote.  It is long past time we extend this to the Presidency.

            Nah nah nah nah, Nah nah nah nah, Hey Heeeeey, Dubai!

            by jazzmaniac on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:13:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah that sounds terrible (4.00)
            We don't want people in populous states to have  control over actions that disproportionaly effect them and how their money is spent.

            Certainly, everyone who lives on 100,000 acres in Wyoming by themselves is far more deserving of a disproportionate amount of power because... because... Hmmm exactly why is it that giving most Americans their proprtional elective power is somehow wrong but making sure that a minority keeps their disproportional power in a national election is a good idea?

            Besides the small states are already protected by their disproportional representation in the Senate and in the house to a lesser extent.

            I think the reason the founding fathers came up with this convoluted thing was in case the people elected an idiot by popular vote the electoral colleges could over-ride them.

            Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

            by strengthof10kmen on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:16:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly! (none)
              Folks, you can't be for democracy if everyone's vote isn't counted the same.  

              Just because I happen to live in Chicago (and pay lots in taxes for it), doesn't mean I should be less important to the country.  

              And basically, that's what our current system says; urban people are LESS important.  And, hence, less trustworthy.  

              I'm offended by that.

              He not busy being born is busy dying.

              by jarrrettg on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:25:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Illinois (4.00)
                Your state is actually the first state taking up legislation on this issue.  The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed the plan in an editorial yesterday.

                Chicago Sun-Times Editorial

                The plan is being co-sponsored by a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent.  You should definitely contact your Legislator or State Senator and encourage them to support this bill.

                •  Illinois Senate Bill 2724 (none)
                  I live in Illinois and SB 2724 is the first proposed legislation to form the compact among states to elect the President by popular vote. Look at the 13-least populous states in 2004. Only New Hampshire was visited by either major party candidate. This compact idea is brilliant. As few as 11-states approving the compact could create popular vote selection of the President. Cease worrying about WHICH candidate would win. Democracy should be about "HOW" the President is elected. -EVERY VOTE EQUAL-
              •  Yeah.. (none)
                but we don't live in a democracy...

                We live in a republic - a democratic republic, but a republic nonetheless.... an important distinction.

                "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:59:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  then let's make it a democratic republic (none)
                  ... and elect the president fairly. Being a republic isn't tied to our whacky system of electing the president. It's tied to federalism, an independent judiciary, a bill of rights and other things that aren't changed by having every vote count equal when electing the president.
                  •  I don't disagree... (none)
                    As I said somewhere else in the thread, we don't elect the school board by street or senator by county so why the Pres by State?  

                    "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

                    by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 10:59:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I thought it was so (none)
              states with large slave populations could have a greater say

              Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

              by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:39:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Or so the people who owned (none)
                the large slave populations could have the most say.

                If the rabble get to uppity and votes for someone you don't like you can just make sure the electors don't cast their votes for him and all is well.

                Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

                by strengthof10kmen on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:45:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yes... (none)
              I think the reason the founding fathers came up with this convoluted thing was in case the people elected an idiot by popular vote the electoral colleges could over-ride them.

              And sadly, the system didn't work. So obviously there is no more reason to keep it!

          •  John Kerry didn't (none)
            need to step foot in NYC, SF, or Chicago to campaign -- he'd still get 80% of the vote there.

            Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

            by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:21:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  um (none)
            i hate to break it to you, but this is possible already if you win the biggest several states in the electoral college. any democratic victory will be in a large part due to the turnout of voters in big cities. are you trying to say that a president whose support comes from rural and suburban voters is more valid than one who is supported by urban americans?

            give me a break. all this would do is get rid of the ludicrous situation where 80% of the country is ignored every presidntial campaiogn because they are "safe " states. the current system empowers "swing" state voters, and neglects everyone else. nobody ever campaigns in small states like wyoming or vermont NOW, and the last serious campaign in california, largest state in the union, was 1992, fourteen years ago. am i less important a citizen because the state i live in is big?

            the last several presidential elections have shown a close balance betyween the candidates, despite the urban rural divide (and the divided suburbs). america is not as dominated by coastal urban cores as you might imagine. and at any rate, it is patently undemoicratic for republicans in california or democrats in utah's votes to be ruled irrelevant because of where they live.

            crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

            by wu ming on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:29:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't add up... (4.00)
            ...to me, at least. In 2004 there were 120+ million votes cast, meaning around 60 million to win the popular vote. NY, Chicago, and LA add up to around 15 million people. A candidate who got an absurd 100% of the vote in those three cities would only be a quarter of the way to victory.  Adding the population of all the top 50 cities gets you to maybe 48 million. And at that point, you're down to Oakland, Colorado Springs, Miami, and Tulsa; I submit that anyone who can get overwhelming majorities in all those cities probably deserves to win.

            A 'president of the coasts' scenario similarly assumes an absurdly lopsided margin in those few states. Assuming a 100% split, the 'big state' candidate would need to win CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, PA, OH, and MI to put together 60 million votes. I don't think that's really a danger.

            You have reached the point where you must choose
            Between what you lost and what you stand to lose - Michael Penn

            by GreenCA on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:41:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  your analysis is flawed (none)
            California, New York, and Texas are not monoliths.  People in upstate New York have very differnent politics than folks in NYC; Southern California is different from Northern California.  Switching to direct election gives California, New York, and Texas less say than they have under the current system.   That's because the electoral college produces 51 winner-take-all races.  California alone gives 20% of the electoral votes needed to win.  But under a popular vote system, winning California in a squeaker produces hardly any net votes.

            The states that would lose power under a popular vote systems are the large swing states: Florida and Ohio in particular.  There would no longer be any reason to pay any special attention to these states, since persuading a Florida voter to switch sides would be no better or worse than persuading a voter anywhere else.

            States with tiny population, like Wyoming, would lose power in a mathematical sense, but not much attention is paid to them under the current system.

            Elections would be more expensive, because you have to do get-out-the-vote everywhere.  Low turnout in a safe state is no longer harmless.

          •  Yeah there was a reason (none)
            To protect landed interests and slave owners.  Yeah that would be just too bad if the president was actually elected by, you know, the people.

            George W. Bush makes Reagan look smart, Nixon look honest, and his dad look coherent.

            by Dave the pro on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:35:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  the same reason they came up with (none)
            3/5ths of a person.

            a compromise that nobody much liked and didn't work properly (see the election of 1800 and the Civil War).  

            also see the election of 1916, where Wilson went to bed thinking he'd lost, only to have California unexpectedly go his way.  

            i don't know what your definition of "really, really close" is, but Wilson's popular vote margin was 3%, as was Sam Tilden's in 1876.  and I'm sure someone could come up with a scenario that disproves your claim that the only way someone could win an electoral college majority is in a tight election, however unlikely it might be.

            once we get rid of the Electoral College, the only thing we'll notice is the improvement.

          •  Yes, but today a president can win (none)
            by only campaigning in a few smaller states, such as Florida and Ohio, and not get one vote in Pa., NY, NJ, Calif., and other areas that have the largest population.

            So it is 6 of one, half dozen of another - either campaign in the high population areas, or in the swing states.  Personally, I would prefer a popularly elected President.

            The Democratic party - the party of sanity, reason and kindness.

            by adigal on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:07:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Any person diverse enough to carry... (none)
            NY, TX AND CA, overwhelmingly will appeal to most people across the entire country.  I don't think that a direct vote for president would cause a candidate to focus exclusively on big ticket states to the exclusion of the others any more than what is already happening.
          •  One other problem -- the election contest (none)
            How would a candidate have a valid election contest (in court) if the contest had to be national?

            If fraud were rampant nationwide, how and where would you prove it?

            It is much easier to get a recount of a critical state than it is to recount the entire nation.

            Unfortunately, we do not have a standardized process for recounting the presidential election.  We need a federal process just for that with a rocket docket in federal court and the ability to quickly and accurately recount.

            That means having a separate system for federal elections and with paper ballots that can be recounted by hand if necessary in a few days.  Nothing else really worked.

            If we retain the electoral process, the least populated state should have one vote and all other states have votes based on a multiple of that state based on population.  Maybe we should even make electoral votes be based on the decimal system so that a certain state gets 6.3 electoral votes if its population is 6.3 times as great as the least populated state.

            •  Fraud is MUCH more likely in a single state... (none)
              ... than nationally. Under the current system, concentrating fraudulent votes in a single state could tip the election to a favored candidate. When the difference is less than 10,000 votes in a state, that's easy to do.

              It's much more difficult to effect nationwide fraud.

              As for recounts, well, there would need to be some kind of national standard, with clear guidelines for handcounts, etc. However, keep in mind that the larger the size of a population, the greater the confidence. A 51-49 split in a 1,000,000 person sample has a much greater chance of being the other way around than a 51-49 split in a 200,000,000-size electorate (basic statistics).

              •  Absolutely not. Say you want a a million. (none)
                vote "mandate."  All you have to do is get 20,000 fraudulent votes per state.  That is incredibly easy to hide.  It is much easier than having to get 100,000 fraudulent votes in a single swing state like Ohio or Florida.  

                These states were questionable only because the electoral college put such a spotlight on them.  If we had not had the electoral college, we would have never known about the levels of fraud that took place in these states.  They would never have made it on the radar screen.

          •  The Founding fathers did NOT come up with it... (none)
            It's just not true that the Founding Fathers wanted states to allocate all their electoral votes to the statewide winner. That's developed over time. In fact, most states for several elections just had the legislatures appoint electors without holding elecitons - -hope that's not what you're suggesting we do today.

            And you just aren't looking at elections as they exist in America if you think the current system fosters candidates seeking votes in all states. They don't do ANYTHING in some two-thirds of the states, incluiding most small states and most big states.

            And yes, many of us are mathematically challenged, but still.... Democrats are quite unlikely to win the presidency while carrying a majority of states. But to win a national popualr vote, you would have to win votes everywhere. You could win EVERY single vote cast in the ten biggest states, and you still wouldn't have a majority of the vote.

            Let's make this happen!

          •  I want a President who carries the majority (none)
            of votes and not the majority of STATES.

            If there was a reason for the founding fathers to introduce this system, I don't believe that their reasons are still valid today.

            People in rural areas today are as well  connected to the world as anybody else. You don't get their interests met by giving them a convoluted electoral process which allows them in the end and down the road to manipulate legislations with earmark add-ons that corrupt the whole legislative process. That's the wrong solution to problem. There must be better ways to help them meet their interests than that.

            I exactly think it is only fair that major polulation centers have exactly proportional weight in their votes. Why the heck is it important to give very thinly polupated desert, mountain or rural areas much more weight than thousands of peoples crowded in cities and towns? Are the people who cuddle in cities and towns for any reason less important than the few lonely patriots in the middle of nowhere?

            You give the power to chose and vote to a person, not to their size of land they occupy.  

            And I wonder with such a long time of having this system, why for heaven's sake are your rural areas doing STILL so miserably?

            Apparently "the convoluted electoral system" of the founding fathers haven't helped them much. Where is the proof that this system IS actually helping them in OUR TIMES TODAY?

            Why is it so unbearable for Americans to be critical with their founding father's ideas. Times have changed and the EC is a system that hasn't proven anything worth keeping, it seems to me.

            A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

            by mimi on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 08:18:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It prevents tyranny of the minority (4.00)
        which we now have;)
      •  anti = this isn't enough (none)
        It's not enough. We should have a real constitutional amendment. That's just what I've come up with. What do you think?
        •  It can't happen. (none)
          The swing state senators will always have enough power to block an amendment.

          This plan can actually work, assuming the plan gets aome support from the big red states:  Texas, North Carolina, Georiga, etc.

          Texas will be hugely important to the passage of this bill, so any Kossaks in TX should call their state reps and senators.

          "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

          by tmendoza on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:48:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good luck... (none)
          ... moving your amendment in Congress. Meantime, let's take action in the states so we can win an equal vote for all Americans.
      •  One anti talking point (none)
        Is that this would involve the state of Massachusetts (for example) to agree to have its EC vote go to the national winner, even when the people of Massachusetts decisively rejected him.

        That is outweighed by the good points of the plan. But, forget about all those 'Don't Blame Me -- I'm From Massachusetts' bumper stickers from the Nixon years.

        •  "Don't blame me" stickers still relevant (none)
          If I lived in MA and voted for the Democrat and a Republican won the national popular vote and the presidency, I'd still slap a version of that bumper sticker on the carL: "don't blame me, I voted for XX." It was my vote as an individual American that counted, equal to everyone else.

          The MA electoral votes essentialy become a rubber stamp for the national popular vote winner, which is what I want. Indeed if the current system stayed in place, I as a MA perseon might as well have a sticker, "don't blame me, I didn't matter."

    •  What can I do (4.00)
      To ensure that this proposal is introduced in my home state's legislature?
    •  An amendment (4.00)
      to the constitution will be required to enact real election reform, if I'm not mistaken. Modifying the EC is a good place to start, but it's merely the tip of the iceberg, IMHO.

      We need, among other changes:

      PAPER BALLOTS

      collected in transparent plexiglass boxes

      HAND COUNTED

      by citizen volunteers randomly selected from the jury pool and screened for honesty

      IN PUBLIC

      supervised by honest and non-partisan public officials, not the Rethug candidate's campaign co chair.

      It'll take an amendment to implement this nationwide for presidential elections. It is essential that in nationwide elections, all districts adhere to the same standards, lest a few key swing districts commit acts of error or malfeasence which skew results overall.

      Election day should be a national holiday. We already have such a holiday in November: The 11th, Veterans' Day. What more fitting way to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of democracy than to cast our ballots on a day dedicated to their sacred memory?

      In order to ensure fair elections, it is necessary to eliminate conflict of interest in those who oversee elections. Officials such as Secretaries of State should under NO circumstances be allowed to serve in the campaigns of any candidate for office, let alone that of "campaign co chair". Such blatant conflict of interest should be made illegal, and any individual involved in the electoral process should be required to take an oath attesting to their honesty and non-partisanship.

      It should be a felony to threaten, coerce, harass, intimidate, or otherwise interfere with election officials and or vote counters in the performance of their sworn duty. Should there ever be another incident such as the infamous "Brooks Brothers Riot" of Miami in November, 2000, anyone convicted of such conduct should receive a harsh and lenghty prison term, not an Enron-financed vacation trip.

      On election day, the polls should be open for a minimum of 24 consecutive hours in all districts and should open and close simaltaneously in all time zones of the Untied States.

      All of the above is needed to restore fairness and transparency to the system, and there's probably a few other things I forgot or left out.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:13:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  two different things (4.00)
        yes, everything you bring up is necessary, and should be done. And we should all work toward that end.

        But this proposal is seperate from all of that, and doesn't require a constitutional amendment. What you talk about should be done regardless of changes that may or may not happen to the Electoral College. But adopting direct election of the president can be accomplished rather easily - it could be done almost immediately, really.

        BTW, I don't think any of what you talk about requires a constitutional amendment - I don't think any of the proposals, save one, violate the Constitution in any way, though I'm no legal scholar. I think the holiday voting day may violate the Constitution, but of all your suggestions, that's probably the least important. If everything else can be adopted simply by act of Congress, then we're in good shape.

        Congress could easily make Election Day itself a holiday, instead of making it coincide with Veteran's Day. Not as symbolic, but the important thing is to give everybody a day off. For that matter, Congress could officially designate Veteran's Day to fall on Election Day - much like Columbus Day, MLK Day and all the others fall on the nearest Monday.

        -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

        by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:10:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Veterans' Day (none)
          falls on the 11th of November because that was the final day of the first world war. It used to be called Armistice Day. The gov't. and employers are fairly stingy about handing out paid holidays, so IMHO it makes more sense to propose voting on Veterans' Day than creating another holiday, which could face overwhelming resistance and derail the whole idea.And given the patriotic appeal of voting on Veterans' Day, what kind of communist would someone have to be to oppose it? This is a sure-fire no brainer winner. It's a gimme.

          As to whether or not the rest of what I propose requires an amendment to the constitution, I'm pretty sure it does in that what I'm calling for is uniform national standards for nationwide (presidential) elections. IIRC, the constituition in its present form leaves the conduct of elections to the states.

          I'm not against Senator Bayh's proposal, nor do I am I contending that my ideas should take precedence. We need it all, yesterday, but we should be willing to take what we can get. Perfection is the enemy of the good, always.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:22:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Big shmiel (none)
          Make it a holiday.  One person one vote.  No EC.  And Diebold counts the votes, and there's no paper backup, and we lose, again, and again, and again.

          Any bill regarding voting MUST include stringent rules for digital voting.

          NY is getting sued for not instituting HAVA reforms, while most other states have not yet done so.  Why NY?  Well, "they" already have Florida and Ohio in the bag with the governor/sec-state and Diebold.  They already have Texas, and they've got stupid Arnie here in CA and his sleazy sec-state (normally elected but this time appointed cuz the dem resigned) who've put Diebold into place.  So all that's 'left' is NY.  Sue them and screw them up good for the 2006 elections.

          All of this electoral college "reform" is being greeted with laughter by the repukes, who know they've got in in the bag as long as they have the secretaries of state, voting machines, and vote counter software.

    •  Current Senator Bayh... (none)
      Evan, who wouldn't make a bad president, put in a stellar performance this morning on the Banking Committee.  Would like to see his thoughts on the UAE ports deal.

      The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

      by DC Pol Sci on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:24:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Senator Bayh, (none)
      It's great to 'see' you back on the scene once again and to 'hear' you add your good judgement and principled voice when we most need it.  

      Ironically, I invoked your name in this space more than once during the last two days.  Russ Feingold's principled stand on domestic spying reminded me of you, and your outstanding stands on the 18-year-old vote and other profound issues.  You never tended to the small or superficial.  I can see you haven't really changed, in that way.  

      To me, you are one of the all-time greats and a true statesman.  We can't hear too much from you, as far as I'm concerned.  

      Direct vote, yes!  The Great Sen. Birch Bayh, Hell, Yes!!!   Welcome back, and please stick around.  We can all learn good things from you.

  •  Birch Bayh! (4.00)
    Great to see you posting here.  One of the all-time great Senators, in my humble opinion.

    I read the story about your group's proposal yesterday.  Sounds great.  What are the odds?

    Visit Satiric Mutt -- my contribution to the written cholesterol now clogging the arteries of the Internet.

    by Bob Johnson on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:31:51 AM PST

    •  I Figured You'd Chime in Here (none)
      And you minded your manners too :)

      In all seriousness, this is an interesting proposal and a conversation the country needs to have. I'm not sold on direct popular elctions for President but if it moves the chains on broader enfranchisement and enlarging voting rights I'm all for it.

  •  A question, Senator (none)
    How would the plan address a nationwide recount in the event of a close election? One of the few advantages of the current system is, increasing the victory margin in California will not make up for votes lost in Florida.
    •  Just Recount (none)
      If a nationwide recount is needed then you just do a nationwide recount.

      What price do you put on democracy?

      A recount will probably never be required under a popular vote.

      •  Why would you believe that? (none)
        What would make a close election less likely?
        •  Closest popular vote I'm... (4.00)
          aware of is Kennedy 114k over Nixon.  I don't think that a national recount would've changed that many votes, but I guess Nixon could've tried.

          Gore beating W by over 500k popular votes almost certainly wouldn't have required a recount.  

          It's a hell of a lot easier to steal a critical state by a few thousand (or even a few hundred) votes than it is to swing an entire national election.  That's reason enough to amend the Constitution.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:48:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Error rates (none)
            Even with no fraud involved, recounts change a percentage of the vote total. That error rate doesn't grow smaller as the number of votes increases.

            Many states, such as Washington, require a recount if the margin is within .5%. Both 1960 and 2000 would have needed recounts under that rule.

            •  And? (none)
              Why are you so against recounts?
              •  Why are you putting words in my mouth? (none)
                I asked how the plan would address this. The diarist hasn't answered.

                I am not against recounts. But the logistics of a nationwide recount need some thought and planning. We may not have had time to complete the recount just in part of Florida in 2000 before the Electoral College met.

                •  Sorry for the delayed response (none)
                  Answering questions as fast as I can.  The plan's backers address the issue of recounts on their website.  

                  Check Here

                  •  Thank you. (none)
                    The logic in the book is flawed.

                    1. It claims that presidential recounts will be less likely because separate state contests provide more close races. That's true, but we only have (or pay attention to) recounts in those individual states when the outcome would tip the balance in the Electoral College.

                    2. It asserts that "no one would have considered a recount in 2000 if the popular vote controlled the outcome." That is wishful thinking. If we adopted the same rule nationally as Washington state has, the 2000 race would have launched a mandatory national recount. The margin of victory was under 0.5%, and the book is simply incorrect in describing that as "nothing particularly close."

                    3. The book claims that the "personnel and procedures are already in place" for a nationwide recount. That is clearly not true. Different states have different rules for triggering recounts. If the nationwide margin is 400,000 the apparent loser will want a recount in California regardless of how close that state was.

                    The proposal needs a lot of work in this area.
                     
                    •  Good Point (none)
                      But let's keep the idea of a fair system where each votes counts the same alive.

                      He not busy being born is busy dying.

                      by jarrrettg on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:30:26 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  There are 75-80 days between... (none)
                      election and inauguration.  That should be a sufficient amount of time even for a national recount.  

                      I'm not sure I buy the argument that you'd have to have a national recount any time a presidential race was decided by a certain specified margin.  W's people never tried to argue that he won the popular vote, and that popular vote was one of the closest on record.

                      This amendment would probably require federal enabling legislation were it enacted.  That shouldn't be that big of a deal.

                      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

                      by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:21:34 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh, come on. (none)
                        W's people never tried to argue that he won the popular vote, and that popular vote was one of the closest on record.

                        Of course they didn't, because it wouldn't have affected the outcome.

                        Yes, it is possible to conduct a national recount. The proposal needs to address that. Today it doesn't.

                        •  the proposal doesn't address meteor strikes either (none)
                          I don't mean to be facetious, but this really is a distraction. The Republicans could not have imagined swinging 500,000 votes in 2000 -- it's just not the way things work statistically. Remember how many votes ultimately shifted in FL? Not many.

                          So first, it's highly unlikely -- I mean, really, really unlikely -0- that a national vote would be in a recountable vote number that might swing the vote. But in the meantime, let's make ourselves a modern democracy in voting. Other nations would roll their eyes in amazement if they said they shouldn't have national elections because their voting was too screwed up to be able to recount the vote.

                          •  Ah. (none)
                            So the standard for electoral integrity in many states, including Washington, is to have a recount if the margin is less that 0.5% of the total vote.

                            But we will not hold a recount of the Presidential race in that same situation.

                            And this will make us more confident in our elections.

                            Got it.

                          •  Good (none)
                            Whew... Glad that's cleared up.

                            Don't you think the way to get more confident in our election system is to get a better election system? That's the most important thing -- we need to do that regardless of whether we have a national popuar vote or note.

                            But I repeat: 0.5% of votes are not going to change in a national recount. Check out how many votes swing toward away from one candidate toward another when states like Washington do recounts.

                          •  Sigh. (none)
                            I need to do some research and diary this.

                            0.5% is the threshold, so the lawmakers don't expect changes at that level to be at all common. But they also don't expect them to be out of the question.

                            There should be good historical data.

                          •  Name ONE election where... (none)
                            a recount might've swung the popular vote.  Kennedy-Nixon was, by far, the closest popular vote I'm aware of, and Nixon never tried to argue that he actually won the popular vote.  His bitch was w/ questionable tallies in IL and TX that might've given him an electoral college majority despite the lack of a popular vote plurality.

                            W/ direct voting, the 2000 and 1876 elections aren't stolen from the rightful winners.  You should worry about real, tangible wrongs instead of obsessing on abstractions.

                            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

                            by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:33:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Again... (none)
                            ...Nixon never tried to argue that he won the popular vote because it would not have mattered.
                          •  Math (none)
                            For a candidate to win after finsishing 0.5% behind, you almost certainly would need to have 1.5% of all votes miscounted at first. Assuming some degree of partisan tilt in the miscounting (which actually wouldn't likely be the case, unless Karl Rove minnions really are/keep running elections and get caught in the recount), even a two to one advantage for the trailing candidate in changed ballots. For instance, a candidate trailing by 500,000 ballots in a race with 100 million votes would need to pick up 1,000,000 ballots while losing 500,000 ballots to close the gap. Even in America, that's highly unlikely -- both in that number of miscounted ballots and that degree of tilt toward one party.
                          •  I understand the theory (none)
                            Now I want to find some actual historical data of large election recounts to see what the history of shifts is.

                            There are all sorts of effects that could tend to favor one candidate in a recount: for example, if elderly voters tilt toward candidate A and are more likely to vote absentee, and absentee ballots are more frequently miscounted. (I believe that is a very real example: the absentee ballots are folded and optical scanners have more trouble reading them.) Or, if placement on the ballot makes misreads slightly more common. Some jurisdictions alternate placement from precinct to precinct; others do not.
                            Or, if voters in one party are more likely to vote straight ticket, and the miscounts of straight ticket ballots is lower.

                          •  So we'll recount (none)
                            every state if it comes within 0.5%

                            Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

                            by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:52:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  I agree (none)
                      "no one would have considered a recount in 2000 if the popular vote controlled the outcome."

                      If the popular vote would have controlled the outcome, the repukes wouldn't have had to rig Florida so blatantly (although ignored).  They'd simply have to flip switches in a lot of small venues across the country.  

                      My suspicion is they did just that in 2004.  Remember the long faces, they were losing, then Rove makes a phone call and tells them everything's fine?  And then Kerry's apparent 3% "win" becomes a 3% loss?  

                      They knew this time Bush would have to appear to win the popular vote too or no one would go for it.

                      Can I kick Senator Kerry now for giving up so easily?  Sorry, tough to let it go . . .

        •  Indeed (none)
          The electoral college relieves the incentive for fraud in many places.  Why bother trying to steal presidential votes in NYC if you're going to win the state anyway?
          •  And it might make the 'faithless... (none)
            ...elector' problem more likely. The system relies on red state electors faithfully voting for candidates who won in blue states, and vice versa.
          •  Benefits of Fraud would be limited (none)
            Birch Bayh addresses this concern on the National Popular Vote website, by noting that the "value" or "return" on attempted fraud is substantially reduced under this plan.

            Fraud Can Be Limited

            •  and faithless electors would be a non-factor (none)
              First, the electors voting in a slate would be with the national popular vote winner. Let's say Kansas were in the compact and the Democrats on the national popuplar vote. The electors casting Kansas' vote would be Democrats picked by Democrats.

              Second, the electoral vote total would almost never be remotely close, because the winner would have all the electoral votes from the states in the compact along with some electoral votes from other states too.

        •  recounts (none)
          we would still be able to pinpoint where there were flaws in the elections, and the chances are that even if a few counties or states needed to do a recount, it wouldn't be like the chaos of 2000.  Everyone still knew Gore would walk away with the popular vote.  We wouldn't necessarily need national recounts.
          •  Recounts are not just for eliminating fraud (none)
            In a perfectly legitimate election there are undercounts and overcounts.
            •  a couple of possibilities (none)
              I saw a claim during the Washington recount battle that human error injects an unavoidable margin of error into even a paper ballot. One would expect (and statistics are always uncertain) that over a larger voting population errors cancelled each other out to a certain extent, thus the difference required for a mandatory recount could be tighter (as a percentage) than in Washington. How tight it was set might exclude the 2000 vote.

              Another possibility would be to look at regional elections held concurrently, and the effects of recounts in those, to try to determine where in the country was worth recounting.

              •  I suspect that the only... (none)
                ...approach that could have public legitimacy would be a nationwide recount.

                There are clearly cases where that would be necessary if the election were to have any credibility. If we need to be able to conduct one, we need to figure out how.

                And if we figure out how, the triggers and frequency are not so important.

                •  Correct (none)
                  So let's become a modern democracy in all respects. A national vote for president with every vote equal and well-run, well-funded election administration with national standards with teeth
                  •  Yeah, but. (none)
                    I'm in NH. We use paper ballots and optical scanners. We've dealt with close elections (Wyman-Durkin '74 makes the Gregoire race look like a yawner).

                    I trust my state government more on election law than I trust the feds.

  •  I think voter turnout will greatly improve if (4.00)
    your plan makes it.

    The reason a lot of people don't bother to vote is they live in a diehard red or blue state and figure their vote won't be counted.

    •  Is there any evidence of this? (none)
      Is turnout currently higher in battleground states?
      •  Link (4.00)
        This link shows the relevant data.

        BTW, what's up with WY having 105% of registered voter turnout?

      •  This is particularly true (4.00)
        With voters 18-29 and minority voters.  Their turnout rates are much higher in battleground states than it is in other states.  Proving that when people have a chance for their vote to count, they are far more likely to take the time to vote.
      •  Brookings report for 2004 (4.00)
        Yes in fact there was a statistically significant difference between overall voter turnout and turnout in the 'battleground' states.  Long story short: 59.0% turnout nationally versus 65.3% turnout in the 16 battleground states.

        Here's a link to the summary of the report:
        Brookings Report

        Give me liberty, or give me death!

        by salsa0000 on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:46:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is (none)
          there would only be a few battleground states. CA, TX, NY, whatever other states have the most population.

          That's it. The rest of us might as well not exist. Because the states that make up the bulk of the population WILL swing the election.

          At least under the electoral college, we count. We might not count for much, but we DO count.

          •  Absolutely not. (4.00)
            If you live in a small town, does your vote not count when electing your governor?

            Under this scheme, the vote of anyone, no matter where they live, counts equally.  Currently if you live in RI or WY or another small state which is an easy win for one party or the other, your vote is junk and no amount of local activism will make any difference.

            The old system worked for a federal governement representing sovereign states which didn't fully trust each other, but these days most of us see ourselves politically as primarily Americans rather than citizens of one state or another.  

            On a side note, my only real concern is that if we vote in a non-auditable way then Diebold and friends have the ability to swing the entire election if they can pump up the totals in just a handful of states (or one big state).

            •  But now riggers can do that... (none)
              ...by altering the results just a teeny bit in the closest state races.  A couple thousand here, and a couple thousand there, and you turn a couple blues to reds.  Winner takes all, so red goes to 1600 Penn.  We wouldn't have been so worried about 537 votes here or there in the last two elections, because 537 votes wouldn't have been enough to swing the election.  But they were in 2000.  It sure is easier to fudge 600 votes in one precinct than it is to fudge a couple million.
          •  This is irrational (none)
            Why would your vote count less than Austin T. Cowhide's in Texas, or Starshine Patchouli's in California, or Joey Howyoudoin's in New York?  With no electoral college, artificially dividing the tally up by states wouldn't make any single vote count more or less.

            People in states don't vote as blocs, either; if a candidate visits San Diego, the people in Fresno don't go, "Wow, he visited San Diego.  He must care about Fresno too."  

            Currently candidates visit major population centers in swing states only; under the new plan they'd visit major population centers in ALL states.  They wouldn't be able to craft their message solely to please people in Ohio and Florida.  People in Massachusetts and Alabama could still say, "Hey, I have a vote, too.  What do you have to say to me?"

          •  what state do you live in? (none)
            Because if it isn't the "few battleground states" of Pennsylvania, Florida or Ohio, yes, under the CURRENT system you "might as well not exist."

            Francine Busby for Congress! (CA-50)

            by reid fan on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:24:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  bullshit (none)
            the vote of a farmer in rural Tennessee will count equally with the vote of an NYC stockbroker under this proposal. Do you really think that a candidate is going to appeal uniformly to city dwellers and not to rural dwellers, or vice versa? There may be a cultural divide of sorts in this country, but it's not as extreme, or clearly defined, as you seem to make it.

            Under the current system, my vote - I live in an 80% Democratic precinct in a moderately Democratic urban area (Louisville) in a state that went overwhelmingly for Bush (KY) - doesn't count for shit, not for president anyway. I want my vote to count, dammit.

            -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

            by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:20:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  if you live in a sparsely-populated state ... (none)
            ... your vote already counts for far too much ... see my previous comment ...

            BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:19:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  they already know that... (none)
              ...the whole point is that we are developing talking points for why they would want to give that up. Telling someone who has way too much of something to give it up just because it isn't fair to some other guy will never work.

              But what may work is pointing out to them that their big fears of candidates not campaigning in their states are unfounded because it already isn't happening. You can't lose what you don't have. If they perceive that they are being taken for granted in the current system, and develop an "it can't get any worse" attitude, THEN they become open to change. THEN you can bring up that the new system would be more fair for everyone.

              Francine Busby for Congress! (CA-50)

              by reid fan on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:14:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, let's review states that don't count (none)
            How much campaigning was done in Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Alabama, Mississippi, DC. They aren't all great population centers. They are all safe states though.

            It is a joke now. The only way this system we have works is if there are very few "safe" states. It isn't that way though. In fact the vast majority of states are safe. The vast majority of the population lives in these safe states. So basically, the majority is screwed. Period.


            The 30% of Wyoming that votes Democratic is screwed. The 35% of California that votes for a Republican is screwed.

            Why should swing states be all that matters? Seriously. Ohio and Florida are biggish in size. It's not "small" states that are benefitting here. There is no mad rush to campaign in Utah, Hawaii, and North Dakota. It's screwed up.

            "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

            by trifecta on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:45:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Think the difference (none)
          is due to the amount of money/attention paid by candidates to the battleground states?

          -5.0,-5.54 "Much Madness is divinest sense - to a discerning eye - Much sense, the starkest madness..." Emily Dickinson

          by SherriG on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:00:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That would be the obvious conclusion (none)
            There is the whole 'correlation does not imply causation' thing to deal with, but I think the fact that there are so many causal agents in battleground states (i.e., volunteers like us who went to places like New Hampshire to harangue people into voting :-) ) has got to have some influence on this higher turnout.

            Now this does bring about a really valid criticism of moving to electoral college-less system - presidential campaigns would get much, more more expensive if they had to compete truly nationally.  Our current campaign finances laws are not strong enough to make it so that that is not a valid concern.

            Give me liberty, or give me death!

            by salsa0000 on Sat Mar 04, 2006 at 10:02:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  A huge turnout difference.... (none)
        ... between battlegrounds and non-battlegrounds. It was 9% for everyone and 17% for young adults. And it's getting worse. See www.fairvote.org/presidential
    •  What is the incentive to vote (none)
      in a popular national election if the polls and conventional wisdom say one candidate is up 55%-45%?  Wouldn't that suppress voting nation-wide, much like a state being 55-45?

      Especially since that 10 point spread is millions of votes nation-wide?

      Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

      by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:54:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mathematically... (none)
        ...there isn't any real incentive to vote anyway under the current system.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:02:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What is the incentive... (none)
        ...under the current system to vote in a state where one candidate is up 75-25?  Like Bush in Utah or Kerry in Massachusetts?  Why even bother?
      •  because, as we learned... (none)
        ...  in November `04, polls can be wrong. and they can go up or down, depending on what's happening in the news (Dick Cheney shoots friend in face, George Bush found to be spying on Americans, etc.).

        You can make a case under any system that people, in certain circumstances, won't have incentive to vote. I'd rather it happen in a system where every single vote is equal to every other single vote.

        -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

        by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:26:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My issue (none)
          Is that what you described is not the type of government we have.  You describe a true democracy. We live in a democratic republic of states.  To change the voting system as described in this diary is to change the very type of government we live under.  I don't think that should be done lightly, it could have grave implications.

          Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

          by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:47:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes we do live in a democratic.. (none)
            republic.. but that is much less of a construct than it was in 1790... consider that in 1790 there was a limited federal army, no commerce clause, Alexander Hamilton hadn't formed the Federal Reserve bank...  or for that matter, no social security, medicare, job offshoring, or any other of the myriad of "national" issues that have local implications - instead most of those issues, e.g., what do we do about indigent old people, or jobs, or defense were state's issues...  In 1790 indirect election of the only two nationally elected officials made sense because the Federal govt. wielded far less power than it does today...   Now its outdated...

            "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

            by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:31:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Who is officially opposing this? (4.00)
    It would be good to know who the official opposition is.  Mitch McConnell?

    Great to have you here, Senator.  You're the best Senator that the state of Indiana ever had.

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:34:58 AM PST

  •  Yes! (4.00)
    This is extremely important. We've been experiencing the tyranny of the minority made possible by the electoral college. (But what can we do about each state having 2 senators?)

    And/or we've been experiencing extremely fraudulent elections. So it is also urgent that we have verifiable, transparent voting systems in place.

    •  Don't do anything about the Senate... (none)
      The senate is equal representation for each state.  This because they were supposed to represent the state in the federal government.  The 17th Admentment screwed that up.  You change the number of Senator's and not only to you get 2 House of Reps, things like judgeships and treaties would NEVER get done.

      "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." - Rita Mae Brown (-4.75, -7.13)

      by AUBoy2007 on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:49:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  changing electoral college (none)
      I like the idea of direct elections, but this has always gone through my mind as well:

      Even if the electoral college is retained, the numbers of electors should not be based on the static Congressional representation of the states.

      Wyoming, for example, has a population (2004 est) of around 500k people. With three electors, that's about 166k people per electoral vote.

      California, on the other hand, with a 2004 est of 35.9 million, and 55 electoral votes, is 653k people per electoral vote - almost 4x as many people represented per electoral vote as WY.

      Population estimates found here.

      Go ahead and use WY as your baseline, but make sure every state has the number of electoral votes sufficient to represent people at the same rate. Otherwise, the equal protection clause so infamously used in 2000 applies in every presidential election. (My vote counts for less than someone in WY...)

      FWIW.

  •  Thank you, Senator. (4.00)
    Every vote should count.
  •  question (none)
    Today more than ever, the system we use is a disservice to the voters. With the number of battleground states steadily shrinking, we see candidates and their campaigns focused on fewer and fewer states. While running for the nation's highest office, candidates in 2004 completely ignored three-quarters of the states, including California, Texas and New York, our three most populous states. Why should our national leaders be elected by only reaching out to 1/4 of our states? It seems inherently illogical, and it is.

    True, but how would direct popular vote change this? It seems to me like it would just make the problem worse...candidates would just spend all of their time in NYC, LA, or Chicago and wouldn't waste their time with the scarce votes in the heartland.

    "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

    by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:36:07 AM PST

    •  Yeah, but... (none)
      ...at least they'd be aiming their messages at MORE voters rather than begging some dude in a cornfield in Iowa for mercy.
    •  This is a fear (4.00)
      That a lot of people have, although I think it is somewhat irrational.  With the exception of New Hampshire, no candidate visited, nor spent any money in, any of the 12 smallest states in the 2004 election.  The small states could not POSSIBLY be more neglected than they are under the current system.  

      Since states like Wyoming are considered reliably "Red" and states like Rhode Island are considered reliably "Blue" there is no incentive for either candidate to visit those states.

      Under the National Popular Vote plan, boosting Democratic turnout in Red States or boosting Republican turnout in Blue states would still help the candidate achieve victory...thus it would be far more likely that the candidates would pay far more attention to the small states than they do now.

      •  The report... (none)
        ...deals with this often raised and well anticipated  objection to the plan.

        Think about gubernatorial races.  New York candidates don't confine their campaigning to NYC and Albany; they tour the state.

        Read Presidential Elections Inequality, the research behind the plan to implement a national popular vote.

        •  exactly (4.00)
          the entire country should be viewed as one jurisdiction. it may be interesting to know who got the most votes in Alabama or Alaska. but it wouldn't matter. if a candidate just wants to campaign in big cities then let him exact a political price for ingnoring rural America. under either the electoral college or direct elections, areas of the country will be ignored depending on whatever a campaign's strategy is. popular voting would also end the red state versus blue state feud.
        •  good point (none)
          NY candidates do tour the state, but how often? Do they still spend most of their time in the city? Is it a disproportionate amount of time?

          I'll have to review your link above and learn more.

          "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

          by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:58:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I see what you're saying... (none)
        But like I said in my comment below...

        ****

        A candidate would get more "bang for their buck" with an appearance in a large city. More people would attend an event held in, say, New York City, and it would get more media than an appearance in Wyoming. So even a conservative would be better off playing big cities than trying to play to his geographically-spread-out base in Utah (and convince reporters to follow him there!).

        "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

        by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:56:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Counterpunching could work (none)
          You could argue the local media market in NYC especially will just be flooded with candidates so it may make more hay to visit the second tier or third-tier media markets where you'll draw a much larger share of the smaller pies.

          Hit your opponent where he ain't.

          RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

          by nightsweat on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:14:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  this is true (none)
            This would go a long way to opening things up for lots of third-party candidates, wouldn't it?

            If you pulled this off (which I seriously doubt -- Republicans will oppose this purely out of self-interest), then it would dramatically change a lot of things -- I just haven't decided if it would be for the better yet.

            "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

            by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:20:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fortunately (none)
              There are a lot of good Republicans who are willing to support this plan.  Including:

              John Bucchanan (AL)
              Tom Campbell (CA)
              David Durenberger (MN)
              Jake Garn (UT)

              Republicans in all the small plain states that are considered "safe" Red states will benefit from this plan as well, because their votes are either ignored or taken for granted in Presidential elections.

        •  Not necessarily.. (none)
          Media is very expensive in large pop centers, and much less so outside...  Free media is easier to access in rural areas than the jaded metro centers as well..

          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

          by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:34:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It is NOT fear (none)
        it's disenfranchisement. Us in the small states might as well have our election at another time, and not even bother to vote for pres at all, for all the difference it would make.

        All the small states, every single one, could vote a different way and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.

        The bulk of the population of this country is in what, maybe 20 states? The rest of us might as well not bother.

        There's a reason the founding fathers came up with this convoluted system.

        •  This report... (none)
          ...would seem to lay that fear to rest:

          http://www.fairvote.org/...

          •  Actually, a better link... (none)
            ... is here:   http://www.every-vote-equal.com/

            Note a) the names and b) where they're from:  Minnesota.  Alabama.  Utah.

            Not exactly to be confused with major urbanized big-population states like California, Illinois and New York.

            •  Thanks a lot ! (none)
              This link is very helpful and I am downloading the complete book right now. Can we make this subject stick on the FP somehow for longer?
              And advice of how to support the plan? For the not-so-activist general person? I think this is an issue that WILL generate a lot of interest among many otherwise not to political people.

              And the small states right's issue is the one which needs to get debunked the most, I think, but I have to inform myself better first.

              May be there should be an ad on the FP to encourage people to download the book.

              A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

              by mimi on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:13:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  It is not disenfranchisement, (none)
          the CURRENT system depends on disenfranchisement of the majority of voters.  A nationwide popular vote would treat everyone's vote the same.  YOUR vote would count exactly the same as someone's vote in NYC or LA.  EXACTLY THE SAME.

          Right now individual votes are arranged in various levels of importance.  It's extremely undemocratic.

        •  arrggghhh!! (none)
          this is crazy! You are not thinking this through.

          If there are 120 million voters in this country, a candidate needs at least 60 million plus 1 to win. It doesn't matter WHERE those votes come from - a rural farmer's vote counts as much as an urban latte sipper's vote.

          If this system were in place in `00, my Red State vote for Al Gore would have been one of the 500,000 votes that put him in the White House. But instead, my state's 7 EVs went toward putting that criminal incompetent bastard in the White House.

          (Ignoring the whole Supreme Court issue for the moment...)

          -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

          by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:55:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The bulk of the population is in (none)
          9 states... not 20... Your argument assumes that states are monolithic voting blocks - which they are on an electoral vote process but which they are most certainly not in a popular vote basis - most of largest states all have multiple large metros and within those metros you have radically different voting patterns - urban/suburban/exurban - so even in a state like IL or GA where the Chicago or Atlanta metro is overwhelmingly the largest portion of the population - you still get big differences in voting behavior..   The 12 largest states split the popular vote as a group 48.82 to 50.17 in the last election... a difference of 300K votes or less than the vote difference in Utah alone which was more than $400K...

          Your concern is mislaid - its actually the small states tend to be monolithic in their voting habits not large states - look at the largest vote gap in the last election all (with the exception of TX where Bush had a home state advantage) were "small" states...  

          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

          by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:46:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank The Former Senator (none)
        For coming out front on this issue, and I am in agreement.  
        Also tell him Sam Locke says Hi, and is chairing my campaign committee. http://www.barrywelsh.org

        Barry Welsh Indiana 6th District Democratic Congressional Candidate

        You can send him and a blank check for Bush, or send me to check Bush's Blank!

        by Barry Welsh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:08:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So what? (4.00)
      Who cares if the most populous states get all the attention?

      People vote - not states.  It is the people that are important - not where they live.

      •  Really? (none)
        So DE, VT, NH, RI, WY, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana -- we'll all just secede.

        Might as well, since we don't seem to count for anything.

        Why do you think the founding fathers came up with this system? To avoid EXACTLY that scenario.

        •  When was the last time (none)
          a presidential candidate knocked himself out trying to win RI, VT, AK, or MT? Never, right? Because they are reliably red/blue. The electoral college system guarantees that candidates will avoid any state where there is a significant majority for either party. The killer is that they also avoid states which account for a large part of the population (TX, NY, NJ).
        •  You could argue then, (none)
          That Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, etc... secede.

          Why is that less fair?

          RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

          by nightsweat on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:15:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually... (none)
          ...two of the politcians behind this plan are, in fact, from Utah and Alabama:

          http://www.every-vote-equal.com/

        •  That's like saying... (none)
          ...that redheads should secede, because of course all candidates are going to spend all their time addressing the needs of blondes, brunettes, and baldies.  Why insist on artificial borders that would be irrelevant if there were no electoral college?
        •  thanks to the current system... (none)
          my state, KY, is as small or smaller than most of the ones you list, and the 40% or so of us who voted for Kerry "didn't count for anything."

          Few of the "small states" count for anything under the current system unless they're a swing state. If you were a Kerry voter in WY, your vote was irrelevant. If you were a Bush voter in DE, your vote was irrelevant. In a popular vote system, your vote counts.

          The founding fathers adopted this system way back when because back then, the states were almost like a union of independent countries. the US is more or less homogenized now, and we're divided more by political persuasion than by which colony was founded by which trading company.

          Why do you want to maintain a system where the votes of millions of people are made irrelevant because they happen to be in the minority in their state? My vote for John Kerry should've counted just as much as a vote for John Kerry in NYC.

          -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

          by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:04:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thats a ridiculous statement.. (none)
          not borne out in any fact whatsoever...

          Utah had a bigger difference in votes between the two candidates on an ABSOLUTE BASIS than the 12 largest states combined - so how is Utah less important?

          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

          by mlangner on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:55:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Utah fact problem? (none)
            Utah had a big margin of victory, sure, but in raw numbers, not nearly as big as many other larger population states. Not sure what your point is.

            But one thing that's true about Utah now: it's a decidedly specatator state. It's one of the ten states with the biggest decline in youth turnout since the 1970s -- and all those top ten states are entrenched spectator states where voting doesn't matter in presidential races.

            With the National Popular Vote plan, every vote would be equal, whether it be Utah or California or rural South Dakota or Chicago or Hawaii.

            •  No Fact Problem...You need to read what I wrote... (none)
              The margin of victory by Bush in the 12 Largest States combined (CA, TX, NY, PA, IL, OH, FL, MI, GA, NJ, NC, VA) was in GROSS numbers 244,605 votes...  The margin of victory by Bush in Utah ALONE was 422,523.  

              Only 10 other states had larger GROSS margins of victory than Utah - and only 6 of those were in the top 12 in population (CA, TX, NY, IL, GA, NC) - so your point not nearly as big as MANY(my emphasis) other larger population states. is bogus.

              If you define not nearly as big as a 20% larger margin of victory (which I would argue is fair) - only 6 states (CA, TX, NY, IN, IL, GA) had larger GROSS margins of victory - and considering that the smallest of those 6 is 2.6 times the population - that is a big deal.

              The previous poster was complaining that small states do not matter and that candidates could win elections by focusing only on large states - I was merely pointing out that they do matter - that they can generate a larger margin of victory than a large state and that when every vote counts the same those differences have real meaning...

              You and I are arguing the same side, however, when posters toss out pseudo-fact like - not nearly as big as many other large states it irks me because its sloppy arguing, factually incorrect and a reason for reasonable people to disbelieve the whole argument - becuase if we can't be right on facts (in this case demonstrable facts from the census and state voting records...

              "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

              by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 10:04:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You are wrong (none)
        My second biggest concern is that this system would fundamentally change the type of government we have.  Currently we are a collection of states, united states.  This proposal would move us to one large state.  My fear is that it would be the death knell for states right.

        Currently I am a citizen of the state of iowa, i register to vote with the state and cast my vote to the state, which then takes my vote with everyone elses and casts votes amongst the states for president.

        So you are wrong, the states do vote.  It's in the constitution, which I guess is getting a little quaint, but I still believe in it.

        Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

        by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:05:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But would you belive in it... (none)
          ...if your state didn't have presidential hopefuls crawling around for months baby kissing for caucus votes?
          •  I don't believe in it yet (none)
            ...even though it would virtually lock up elections for Democrats for years to come.

            This is an interesting discussion...let's not ruin it by applying ulterior motives to ourselves.

            "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

            by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:17:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (none)

            Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

            by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:17:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Trouble is... (none)
              ...the smaller states, such as Wyoming and the Dakotas, have in many cases been taken over by large corporate interests that use their money to keep the  rest of the residents ignorant, poor and angry at the wrong things, while the corporations shove pollution and other charming things down their throats.  (See:  South Dakota abortion ban.)

              So residents of many small states like Wyoming, unless they are members of the ruling elite, don't have a voice right now in any event.  Their ballot voice has been taken from them by their states' rulers, who pick and purchase their congresscritters and Senators.  

        •  You're right... (none)
          States vote and that is why this country is not a democracy.

          But I believe in democracy.  I believe in We The People - not We The States.

          The electoral system described in the constitution is not democratic.  It should be revised.  The constitution is a living document that is designed to evolve.  We should push for changes that treat every person's vote equally regardless of where they live. (I live in a small town in a small state).

          Why should people living in big cities/states be punished just because of where they choose to live?

          Why should a person in WY be worth 80 times more than a person in CA (ie: Senate)?  That just goes against every principal of equality in which I believe.

          •  asdf (none)
            ... believe in We The People - not We The States.

            But in the context of the next phrase, it sorts out a whole lot. That "more perfect union" refers to reforming the confederation that existed at the time. The Constitution is clearly an agreement among the States, not of the People.

            BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:32:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You would still have... (none)
          your state voting for your senators, your district voting for your congressperson, your neighborhood voting for mayor and school board and councilman or whatever your local goverment happens to be. You would still be voting for your local representation.

          We all come together to vote for president. Your (I assume) Democratic vote in a swing state and my Democratic vote in a Red State should be counted the same.

          this proposal doesn't change or violate the Constitution. How individual states elect their electors is up to the states. But for president, we should all be doing it the same way, and all of our votes should count equally.

          Just a reminder: "states rights" is a rallying cry for those who would institute Jim Crow laws, outlaw abortion, strip gays of their rights...

          -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

          by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:12:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't want to be enslaved by (none)
          small state's rights, I really don't see why they should have unproportionally more influence.
          Wyoming, a tiny state with huge power, as Cheney is a proof of. Completely uncalled for. Not at all convincing in a democracy.

          A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

          by mimi on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:01:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  People still live where they live... (none)
          ... and have governors, state legislatures and all that. We just would have a fairly elected president who sought votes everywhere, not just 12-18 states.
        •  You are being myopic (none)
          This is the vote for the leader of ONE branch of government, and...Bushco's behavior aside...this government is NOT a monarchy.  To suggest that having the leadership of ONE BRANCH of our country decided based on the popular vote moves the entire country to ONE state is to view us as a monarchy.  And that most definitely isn't in the Constitution.  

          THE STATES ARE REPRESENTED IN CONGRESS.  Remember it?  I know, I know, it's easy to forget them these days, they do so little.  But remember checks and balances?  In the House, the states are represented proportional to their population.  In the Senate, the states are represented equally, regardless of population.

          The Constitution is not getting a little "quaint," because the Founding Fathers designed it be...as we all learned in high school (I hope?!?)...a LIVING document!!!  They included provisions to AMEND it.  They included a THIRD BRANCH of government, one that has the authority to interpret our laws in a way that is consistent with the spirit of the Constitution, but is also applicable to the world we live in today.  If you believe in a Constitution carved in stone, you may as well believe in the tooth fairy.  Or WMDs.

          (Geez...where did anyone ever get the idea that Democrats are progressive?)

    •  There's a theory... (none)
      That candidates would also go to safe states to increase turn out there as well.  Since the total matters, the more people all across the board the better.  Bush could go to, let's say, Wyoming and convince everyone there to actually vote.  This may trump a small Kerry margin in another state like New Hampshire.

      The people who suffer in this type of system are the small swing states, where the candidate cannot expect a large majority (or even a large vote in general).  What would be more importat, ekking out a win in Iowa, or convincing couple of million more people in California to vote.  Not that this is a bad thing mind you, if just needs to be said.

      "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." - Rita Mae Brown (-4.75, -7.13)

      by AUBoy2007 on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:42:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  disagree (none)
        That candidates would also go to safe states to increase turn out there as well.  Since the total matters, the more people all across the board the better.  Bush could go to, let's say, Wyoming and convince everyone there to actually vote.  This may trump a small Kerry margin in another state like New Hampshire.

        However, a candidate would get more "bang for their buck" with an appearance in a large city. More people would attend an event held in, say, New York City, and it would get more media than an appearance in Wyoming. So even a conservative would be better off playing big cities than trying to play to his geographically-spread-out base in Utah (and convince reporters to follow him there!)

        I haven't researched this stuff either way, so maybe I've missed something in this argument. But it seems like it would be better to get rid of the fraud in the system rather than overhaul the system itself.

        "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

        by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:53:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bang for the buck (none)
          I can see a candidate gettin more bang out of an appearance in Wyoming. Sure, their are fewer people in the media market but there are also fewer distractions. In NYC, a presidential candidate visiting the city is not necessarily a headline event. In Cheyenne, it'll lead every newscast and headline every paper.
          •  but the most valuable commodity during ... (none)
            ... a campaign is TIME. Thus, a candidate working to maximize exposure needs to work crowds of hundreds or thousands. The notion that packing a rural town-hall with 187 voters to hear a presidential candidate is beyond believability.

            BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:36:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hee hee! (none)
              I must admit that the idea that candidates get votes by working town meetings never occured to me. I was assuming we were talking about televised appearances, which is I would guess how most people are exposed to candidates. Maybe someone who has actually worked on a campaign can disabuse me of that notion. I know that neither I nor anyone in my social circle has ever met a presidential candidate in person during his campaign. I suspect that the number of people who do is vanishingly small, so I thought the main reason for them must be 1) to win tiny early states (NH/IA) and to generate TV photo ops.
              •  Iowa and New Hampshire (none)
                The sole prime exceptions are the early-contest states. The Iowa caucus and NH's first primary (as required by state law) create a media circus that gets hopefuls into small rooms. Of course, once those contests are over, the notion of a small townhall meeting goes out the window ...

                BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:58:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  But the cost of advertising (none)
          in Wyoming is about 300% less than in NY.

          Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

          by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:47:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  contra (none)
            There are only 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. (not accounting for down-time during naps and such)

            Even in the 1800s, a whistle-stop campaign only ventured where the train did, and only stopped where a large number of would-be voters could be gathered.

            BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:39:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Campaigns aren't just candidates. Volunteers... (none)
              should count for something too, and they would in a national popular vote. Getting out votes everywhere would count. Peoiple now going to house parties to call into swing states could call their neighbors or drop off literatuer. Campaigns woudl need to care about their volunteers and get them the tools to be effective.

              People really care about a lot of our presidential elections -- like in 2004. Many are ready do do more, wherever they live, and the most successful campaigns would help them out.

  •  First election I remember (none)
    Theme song was "Hey look him over"

    Sen. Bayh, you did a lot of good things for Ind.  If you can accomplish the move to a popular vote it will be another service to the country.

    "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

    by NearlyNormal on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:38:23 AM PST

  •  Rigged Voting Machines (4.00)
    My question is, how does this really help anything if the popular vote is then rigged by electronic voting machines? Or don't you believe that is happening in this country? You see, I believe this is what we SHOULD be coming out to change, and calling for paper ballots. Of course, the electoral system needs changes to assure one American one vote (as well as no candidates beholding to the corporate military complex that put the people at a disadvantage frtom the beginning), but unless those votes are counted without fraud, this won't do a damn bit of good in my view. Not that I truly believe the American people actually pick the President anyway, but I'm just curious. Also, Al Gore didn't lose the 2000 election, and it is not water under the bridge for many Americans.
    •  Good point, but (none)
      It doesn't seem to me that there's an either/or here.  I don't see why you can't be in favor of both paper ballots and a popular vote for president.  

      I don't worship Howard Dean.

      by lungfish on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:42:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I completely agree with you (4.00)
      I have no doubt that the electoral college grossly distorts the campaign process and misallocates relative "electoral power" unfairly to underpopulated states, whose "cultural values" then up up over-represented in our national dialog.

      But until there is a complete investigation into what happened in the last few elections, and the public's confidence is restored that their votes will be counted fairly, I'm afraid that this will just be a huge distraction from the simple concept of verifiable voting and non-partisan election administration.

      And, while I too have great respect for Mr. Bayh and am glad to see him here, I could not vehemently disagree more with his statement: "That's water under the bridge"  Subversion of our democracy and all the damage foisted upon our country by this illegitimate regime can not be so cavalierly waved off.  To do so only encourages someone to do it again.  

      These crimes against America need full investigation and a huge public airing, so that those who would like us to believe that "it can't happen here" are forced to shut their lying yaps.  And like any criminal, once convicted, those responsible must be made to pay for their crimes and surrender their ill-gotten gains.

      "It's not selling out if you don't get paid, okay? We're not whores. When you do it for free, that's just slutty." -Wonkette -6.38/ -4.21

      by wonkydonkey on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:52:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The machines in question (none)
      are manufactured and sold by a handful of Rethug-connected companies. The solution: Buy 'em out.

      Liberals should form a financial consortium to purchase a controlling interest in Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and any other company which is profiting from the privatization of the electoral process.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:53:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't want machines (4.00)
        No matter what Party owns them. And if Democrats are going to continue to be silent about this, they are only enabling what those "rethugs" do.
        •  I'm with you there (4.00)
          I hate the machines as much as you do. They're insecure, unreliable, too expensive, and the comapanies that sell and operate them have too many Rethug connections for my taste.

          But, unless or until we retake congress and repeal/replace HAVA, we're stuck with them. So, if the machines are riggable, I say our best bet is to make sure that We are the ones holding the keys to the machines. Get it?

          Then, once we're back in power, we scrap the machines and replace them with

          PAPER BALLOTS

          HAND COUNTED

          IN PUBLIC.

          But it's a classic Catch-22. The only way to get the power back is to win the elections, but we can't win the elections if the elections are rigged against us. So we better find us a way to rig them damn elections! Shhhh! Don't tell!

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:30:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bigger 22 than you could think... (none)
            What if we change the EC system first? What would stop them from stealing more votes than needed for a recount? I can hear it now, "These increased votes are from the voters who were silent, and now that their voices are heard, they are Republican!" "Our Republican strategy was for turn-out, we did our strategy, and we were right!"

            Nothing but problems if we don't fix the voting system first.

  •  i think the electoral college system (none)
    would be ok if we just got rid of the "winner takes all" nonsense.  that is whack and a half.

    weather forecast

    The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

    by Cedwyn on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:40:28 AM PST

    •  This Proposal (4.00)
      Is specifically aimed at correcting the problems the winner-take-all system has caused us.  Under this plan, the Electoral College would remain in place.  However, the Constitution says nothing about winner-take-all, and gives state legislatures the sole power to determine how their electors are awarded.  This plan would replace the winner-take-all system with a plan to ensure that states electors would be awarded to the person with the most votes nationwide.
      •  Splitting states electors is fine (none)
        I have no problem with that. That would make the electoral college vote better reflect the popular vote, which is cool.

        But a direct popular vote would cause all kinds of headaches and hard feelings. We have enough problems, we don't need the population of half the states feeling they didn't even count.

        •  Redistricting reform (4.00)
          I agree, splitting states electors is fine, but only after comprehensive redistricting reform.  We can't let a party gerrymander a presidentional election.

          Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

          by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:09:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, most definitely (none)
            there needs to be a non-partisan way to redistrict. I cannot believe that somebody, somewhere, hasn't developed a computerized system to do this.
            •  splitting up state electoral votes is no answer (none)
              Most congressional districts won't be competitive no  matter how you draw them -- 97% of congressional incumbents have won since they adopted nonpartisan redistrcting. And applying district results to the presidential results is hugely tilted against Democrats -- Bush won 47 more of today's congressional districts while losing the popular vote in 2000. No reform can be done if it has such a partisan tilt.

              Proportional allocation by state has all kinds of problems too. Every Vote Equal (www.everyvoteequal.com) has a terrific analysis of all this.

        •  We already have (4.00)
          the population of half the states feeling they didn't even count - everyone in a reliably red or blue state regardless of size.
        •  Oh for the love of god (4.00)
          My vote for president hasn't counted for years under your logic. See me whining?

          Come see TV from the reality-based community at RealityBasedTV.com

          by MarkInSanFran on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:17:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  More than half (none)
          of states' votes don't count now.  

          What we need is for every person to have the same value in their vote, something this proposal addresses.

          ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE.

          •  Maybe I'm a moron (none)
            but what is this "my vote doesn't count" nonsense?

            half of state's votes don't count now?
            What part of the system don't you understand.  You vote for your states electors, your state votes for president.  It's part of being a republic!  But your vote counts, and it's a complete absense of logic to assert otherwise.

            Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

            by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:35:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But let's say... (none)
              ...you live in Massachusetts and it's 2004.  Everybody damn well knows Kerry is going to win.  

              So when you go to the polls, you know your vote for Kerry (or Bush) has NO MARGINAL VALUE whatsoever.  Your vote LITERALLY does not make an iota of difference.

              Results WITH your vote: Kerry 8, Bush 0
              Results WITHOUT your vote: Kerry 8, Bush 0

              But with a popular vote, NOW your vote DOES have marginal value.

              Results with your vote: Kerry 55,000,000, Bush 57,000,000
              Results without your vote: Kerry 54,999,999, Bush 57,000,000

  •  Having just heard.... (4.00)
    a story on the Thom Hartmann radio program about how Rutherford B. Hayes and the Republican Party manipulated the Electoral College in order to steal the 1876 election from Samuel Tilden (who won the popular vote) -- and ruminating on how history has recently repeated itself -- I support this initiative 100%. I do want to comment, however, that popular elections can be stolen, too *cough*Diebold*cough* -- so just getting rid of the Electoral College won't be enough.
  •  Question on "the Right to Vote" (none)
    Senator--You were very prescient in the 70s, realizing that the Constitution offers inadequate assurance of a right to vote. Given that this has been brought in to sharp focus by the Bush v Gore decision ("The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States" unless granted that right by state legislatures), why not revive your noble efforts for a voting rights amendment to the Constitution? I think it far more likely the ground has shifted on that idea than on the electoral college.

    Thanks for posting!

  •  Don't you need to have... (none)
    every state enacting this plan simultaneously for every vote to count equally?

    Right now your plan seems to say that if the most populous states band together and if their collective electoral college votes is more than 50%, then the plan goes into effect.

    Doesn't that cheapen the votes of these larger states, since small states still retain their electoral power?

    I'd be all for this if your plan called for every state to enact this simultaneously.

    •  Which states are part of the agreement... (none)
      Does not affect how the votes are counted.  It could be the 15 biggest states or the 40 smallest states that make up this group.  It could be all Red, all Blue, or all Purple states that make up this agreement.

      No matter which states enter into this agreement, the net affect is the same: whoever has the most votes nationwide, in EVERY state, will be declared the winner.

      •  I disagree (none)
        If the states that trend towards one party go for this system, the party that used to get those votes is at a disadvantage.

        Say California and New York went for the system and Texas did not. Texas's votes would still be awarded as a block to the Republicans, while the Dems would get 55-65% of California and New York's electors.

        You need it to be universal  or at least balanced red/blue.  Unless I'm missing something?

        RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

        by nightsweat on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:19:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I just ran numbers from the 2004 Presidential Race (none)
        Suppose:
        Your plan had existed in 2004.  Further, let's suppose that the following states had adopted your plan for that election:
        Kansas
        South Carolina
        Iowa
        Oklahoma
        Florida
        Ohio
        Georgia
        North Carolina
        Virginia
        Indiana
        Missouri
        Tennessee
        Arizona
        Alabama
        Colorado
        Louisiana
        California
        Illinois
        Maine
        Massachusetts

        The combined EV for these states is 280.  The combined popular vote for these states was 33.9 million for Bush and 31.5 million for Kerry.  

        Bush wins these 280 electoral votes.  Effectively the minority party Dems lose 92 electoral votes.

        Granted, Bush still would win the election, but his electoral margin would be 92 votes greater under your plan.

        So unless and until every state adopts your plan simultaneously it's a bad plan.

        •  I would read up further on the plan (none)
          I don't think you fully understand it.  The results of the popular vote in the states that are part of the agreement is irrelevant.  Only the popular vote of the entire country as a whole is relevant.  The NATIONAL Popular Vote will determine who is awarded the electors of the states in the agreement.

          This plan renders the actual electoral votes less meaningful than before.  You are correct that the final result in 2004 would have been Bush having more electoral votes, but it doesn't matter, the winner would have been determined by Bush's 3.5 Million popular vote win, not state-by-state wins.  However, in 2000 it would have meant that Al Gore was the winner.

          This system ensures that the person with the most votes nationwide will never again lose the Presidency.

        •  I think you (or I) (none)
          misunderstand the plan.  

          The plan calls for enough states (270 Electoral votes worth) to agree to award ALL of their electoral votes to the winner of the NATIONWIDE popular vote.  In this way, the winner of the nationwide popular vote is assured victory.

          •  got it, thank you (none)
            For a while this seemed dumb.  But if the nationwide popular vote winner wins, then I'll consider this an acceptable alternative to abolishing the electoral college altogether (my first choice).
    •  No, it doesn't. (none)
      If states that account for more than 270 electoral college votes agree to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote, then the candidate they cast their votes for wins - it doesn't matter how the remaining states divide their votes.
  •  Thoughts (none)
    I favor a three-part system

    Part A: If Somebody recieves a majority of all votes cast, that person is elected President

    Part B: If nobody recieves a majority of all votes cast, then we 'distribute' electoral college votes as follows.

    The Congressional votes are split proportionally. The at-large votes are given to the winner of the state.

    If the candidate with a lead in the popular vote is able to win a majority of those votes, then that person is elected.

    Part C:

    I'm not totally sure on that situation. I don't know if the time exists for a 'runoff' election, or what.

    Any thoughts?

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:51:20 AM PST

    •  Is there time?? (none)
      are you kidding?

      is there any republican government in the world with just 2 parties?? (except the UK of course. maybe Isreali. so lovely. you try living there)

      no need to reinvent the wheel ... put up something useful, like timetables that these states and others (hee hee italy, for example) have implemented.

      talk sense. research.

      Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

      by MarketTrustee on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:07:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Time meaning this (none)
        November - Election time
        January - Inaguration time

        Now, the process for verifying elections seems to drag into December.

        Which could cause some unintended problems for a runoff idea.

        Once the logistics problems with replacing our ancient system are removed, then that'll be the kiss of death for the current Electoral College.

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:10:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Use an instant runoff (none)
          to get a majority winner -- the way Ireland elects its president, London its mayor and a growing number of U.S. cities their leaders. That will come in time for president; we can use that system now for most other offices like governor, senator and so on -- see www.fairvote.org/irv
      •  UK has three major parties (none)
        Tories, Liberals, Social Democrats.

        Israel has dozens, with three (Labor, Likus, and the new one Sharon formed) in contention for leadership.

  •  I'm on board (4.00)
    I wholeheartedly support this initative.

    I have been against the electoral college, for nearly 20 years now.

    I also believe, we should ban all voting machines, and go to paper ballots.

    I said it, I meant it, and I stand by it - Paul Hackett

  •  And please explain this: (4.00)
    "In recent history, we all remember the 2000 election which awarded the Presidency to the candidate who came in second in the popular vote. That's water under the bridge.  But there are few who realize in 2004 President Bush's 3.5 million vote lead over Senator Kerry could have been trumped with a change of less than 60,000 votes in Ohio."
    ~~~~~~
    This comment sounds like the Coup of 2000 was not a big deal, but 2004 was. You didn't even mention Al Gore's name. Why so dismissive of Al Gore, and not John Kerry? Am I misinterpreting this? You do realize that not standing up in 2000 for this is what brought us here.
    •  Popular Vote (none)
      A lot has been made of the popular vote going the opposite of the electoral vote, but I think it is meaningless.

      If Bush had wanted to win the popular vote in 2000, he could have spent some time and effort in states like New York and California and boosted his popular total. Wouldn't have gotten him any more electoral votes, but the potential for more popular votes was there.

      Same in 2004, Kerry didn't need a popular vote victory if he had won in Ohio. And he could have gotten more popular votes, but it wasn't his focus, nor should it have been.

      If the popular vote had been the key, elections would have been run differently, so it is not realistic to say "That's how it would be different".

      A President in his own league. The Bush League!

      by Tuba Les on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:44:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Incredibly important point about Kerry and 2004 (none)
        and also why the Senator's diary is based on an incorrect premise.  The Kerry campaign correctly keyed their strategy to winning the electoral vote, hence the ultimate pivot being those 60,000 Ohioans whose change of mind meant ALL the difference.
        Turnout for Kerry in states like NJ and California was abysmal compared to the critical battlegrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania, because that was where the focus of the effort was.  The EV math predetermined that Ohio and Florida were really where the battle would be won or lost, and I studied the maps intently in the weeks leading up to the election and it was easy to see how Kerry really could not win without either Ohio or Florida, and he also had to hold Wisconsin (in which the Rove machine was putting up a huge fight to take away, as it was part of the Swift Boat early exposure states), or without WI- hold Iowa and NM.

        But your main point is well taken:  The campaigns simply fight and organize according to the terms of the battle, and whether it is EV or popular, they will simply adjust.  Frankly the state's rights traditionalists are too fervent in their belief in leaving the staus quo, and this will never change.

        •  So it's fine for most people to be irrelevant? (none)
          That seems to be your conclusion. You also don't seem to worry about the fact that the close states are much whiter than the country as whole -- this is a civil rights issue, along with a basic democracy issue.

          The idea that the national vote doesn't matter now is true for determining winners, but it matters for what democracy is supposed to be about: equality and majority rule.

        •  Well Said (none)
          The other part of this debate is what would happen with a popular vote election when no one gets over 50%? The primary benefit of the Electoral College is it provides a clear winner even when their are 3 candidates splitting the vote.

          3rd party candidates are possible, but they rarely get any electoral votes under the present system. I frankly shudder at giving third parties a chance to hold up the election. A one issue candidate could do major harm.. and you would see a lot more of them.

          The Electoral College is a lot better than the parlimentry systems we see in European countries.

          A President in his own league. The Bush League!

          by Tuba Les on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:44:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Only if there's a paper trail! (4.00)
  •  Right on! (none)
    I wrote about this on Washblog recently.  I absolutely think it is the only way to get a truly fair election for president in a country this big.
  •  thank you (none)
    Add to this badly needed reform the use of Instant Runoff Voting in presidential elections, and it will be a great step forward for democracy in our country.

    I am tired of having my vote (NY State) for president not matter.

    an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

    by mightymouse on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:12:07 AM PST

  •  great to see (none)
    I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would support the current system.  Glad to see there's a realistic change we can switch to a system where everyone's vote counts the same.
  •  If my state doesn't agree... (none)
    What is the point of me voting? If my state isn't one of the states that makes up the 270 votes that agrees to do this, what would the point be of my voting? Where does it leave the states that didn't agree? And again, why isn't anyone addresssing the fact of the populae vote being rigged by electronic voting machines?
    •  Your vote (none)
      would be counted toward the national popular vote, yes?  This plan's member states will ensure that that candidate (if they win the national popular vote) has enough electoral votes to win.
  •  Wow (4.00)
    Birch Bayh! I'm truly humbled. I shared an elevator with you once probably 30 years ago. What an honor to have you here, Senator. Thanks for letting us hear about this important issue.

    "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

    by Kestrel on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:27:53 AM PST

  •  About Goddamn Time (none)
    Our political class realizes the EC is an undemocratic institutional leftover from the founding of the Republic. We don't count blacks as 3/5ths a person anymore, why should we not get the right to directly vote for president.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:31:21 AM PST

  •  horrific idea (4.00)
    If you want to talk to me about voting system reform, please tell me how we're going to get to a system like ranked pairs, or shulze, or any other Condorcet method, all of which are far superior to plurality voting by most standards.  The problem is not the electoral college, which I think adequately protects the rights of the states.  The problem is that plurality voting enforces a single axis decision mechanism and a two party system.  Have an opinion on gun control AND abortion?  Well you better hope they're both the same as one of the two major parties, or you have to choose which is more important to you.  How about economic policy and social issues?  Pick one.  

    This broad division of the country into left and right ends up making policy makers less responive to their constiuents.  A congressman or senator doesn't really have to worry about how the majority of the people he represents feel about environmental issues, because there will always be a more important issue, or at least more emotional issue (abortion, gay marriage) which will motivate the voters to not vote for anyone else.  

    That's what plurality voting does.  It makes it so you don't vote for anyone.  All you have is the chance to vote against the party that ostensibly shares your broad views by going to a third party.    Plurality voting guarantees that major offices in this country are decided by 'swing' voters, the voters who care the least about politics in the off season.  

    Of course congress would never push for reform like that.  That's because most of the encumbants would lose their jobs in the next election to candidates who more accurately reflected and responded to the views of the constituancy.  No, instead each party continues to call for only the kind of reform that has obvious short term benefits for their own party.  Yeah, good luck with that.  

    •  Maybe this flawed proposal could start a discussio (none)
      about voting systems.

      What would truly be cool would then be for the discussion to focus on what our interests are, then move to what system best serves the most common interests.

      Current systems are also flawed because they force the discussion into "my proposal does this" "his proposal does that"  rather than addressing the interests of voters and the interests of our liberal democratic nation.

      W - all boots & hat, no cattle

      by Mosquito Pilot on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:15:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wholeheartedly... (4.00)
      ... voted for John Kerry in `04, and for Al Gore in `00. My vote was made irrelevant by the Electoral College system and winner-take-all, because I live in a state that went for Bush in a big way, and everybody KNEW it would go for Bush in a big way.

      Fuck this "protecting the rights of states" shit. It's not 1800, and we're not in any danger of Pennsylvania and New York seceding from the union and declaring war on each other, or ganging up on Rhode Island or Connecticut.

      I don't know the methods you refer to specifically, but if they're something along the lines of proportional voting or a parliamentarian system, hey - I'm all for it. But that's something that requires a Constitutional amendment. This doesn't, it could be implimented almost immediately, and it would at least be a good start.

      And it would finally make my vote for president count.

      -8.25, -6.26 ...it ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

      by snookybeh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:43:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  YES! n/t (none)

    "...and Robert called the judge." Sen. Edward Kennedy

    by Caldonia on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:33:53 AM PST

  •  I disagree (none)
    We have a federal democratic republic system of government that gives citizens voting rights in federal elections but also provides individual states the same right under the Constitution.

    The Electoral College is designed to give each state a say in the election of the only nation-wide federal officers.

    That is what a federation is supposed to do.

    It is a balance of the power of citizens and of the participating States united under the Constitution.

    Sure, talking about electing the president by popular vote sounds oh so "democratic," but we are not a democracy. Again, we live in a federal democratic republic, where states have constitutional rights too.

    And one of those rights is to have a say in who holds the office of the only nation-wide federal offices.

    •  This plan doesn't get rid of the electoral college (none)
      it leaves it in the hands of the states deciding what their electors do.
      •  Then, it's not directly voting for Pres, is it? (none)
        So, which is it, electing president by popular vote or not?

        Each state now has the right to delegate their electors what to do. That most have decided to have all their electors cast a vote for that person who garners the plurality of the vote enhances the power of that state to decide federal elections for president/vp.

        States have such a right as participants in our federal form of government.

        •  It's the people who live in states who matter (none)
          Not just the entity of "state." As it is, a majority of Americans and a majority of states are COMPLETELY ignored in presidential campaigns. With a national popular vote determining the outcome, voters in all states would matter - -- so their states would matter.

          Note: states have every constitutional right to adopt this plan.

    •  give states a say? (none)
      should land vote or should people vote?

      I think people should vote.

      States are a convenient chunk of governance, but they have no meaning except as part of the United States of America. The President is effectively the one office everyone in the country votes on, and I think we should make it actually and exactly that, instead of just a sloppy approximation of the perceived situation.

      •  Your argument is with the Founders, not me. (none)
        Yes, under our form of government, states have rights too. It is in our Constitution, whether you like it or not.

        The Founders cobbled together the pact that satisfied the concerns of the large and small states (by only one single vote, too). That was the "Great Compromise," which gave states both proportional and individual rights in the federal system.

        The Electoral College is a by-product of that compromise.

        •  the founders also said: No vote for senators (none)
          But we changed the Constitution a century ago to allow popular election of Senators. And the Republic didn't fall.

          This is a constitutional proposal, though -- states have every right to do this.

    •  This is not democracy (none)
      I am all for the states having their individual approaches to state issues, but we are a single country when it comes to basic freedoms, or we should be.

      I have no patience with worrying about what happens to the states.  I think what has happened to cities in this country is unconscionable.  Most of our population lives in urban areas, yet  our political system is built on cowboys and southern faux-plantation owners who love a rural facade, and claim moral supriority to those who live in New York or Chicago.

      The popular vote, and I like this idea, puts the power where it belongs:  with the most people.

      Why is it that farmers in this country get billions and billions of subsidies, while teachers get nothing!

      "Ah, what an age it is when to speak of trees is almost a crime for it is a kind of silence about injustice" (Brecht)

      by tsackton on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:42:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's a fair argument.. (none)
      but times have changed since that system was put in place in 1787 - and since the Constitution was designed to be flexible for growth its fair to reassess whether a system that is 225 years old still has the same balance between state's rights and people's rights.  I would argue it has not.  

      First off the alignment of "states" interest and popular interest (the will of the people) has weakend as the population of the country has been spread across more states without any re-apportionment of political power.  

      Today states have outsized power in the election of all three elected bodies of the federal government - 1. Presidential/VP through the electoral college process, 2. The Senate (obvious) 3. The House of Rep. through a cap on the number of representatives (e.g., some state's representation in the HoR is more than others per capita. - giving those states bigger representation) - the HoR problem has had a carryover effect on the Electoral college as well by giving those smaller states outsized influence by elctoral vote.

      This wasn't true in 1787.  The HoR had no per capita bias, and due to the fact that there were fewer more populated states (as a percentage of total U.S. pop. - e.g., Delaware had 2% of the pop in 1790 - Tennesee 16th largest state today has 2% of the pop. in 2004) the states "rights" were more closely aligned with the will of the population as larger chunks of the overall population were determining the will of each state through the electoral process - after all states are not monarchies they are their own little republics - and the collective will of the state's inhabitants are to be represented by the state at the Federal level through the electoral college and the election of Senators - not some disconnected "state's right".  

      That created balance between the will of the people and the will of individual states - e.g. EVERY Senator had a potential electorate that represented at least 2% of the U.S. population - today 68% of all Senators are elected by an electorate that represents no more than 2% and some as little as 0.17% of the U.S. population - those Senators have the same power as every other Senator.  In 1787 a Senator from VA represented 21% of the population and a Senator for DE represented 2% - so that was a power ratio of 10 to 1 - Today a Senator from WY represents .17% of the population and a Senator from CA represents 12% - that's a power ratio of 71 to 1... A Wyoming Senator from 2004 is 7 times more powerful than a DE Senator from 1787 - and all of that increase in power accrues to the state - even factoring in that there are approximately 4 times the number of Senators you still get a ratio of 17 to 1 or nearly twice as powerful than in 1787.

      Imagine the outcry if the Counties of Sonoma and Marin in CA which are about 704K residents and 2,600 square miles decided to secede from CA and form its own state - physically it would be larger than DE and RI and by population it would be larger Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont.  Why should those states listed above by happenstance of geography or population get as much as 17 times more representative power than me - especially when I pay the same taxes?  

      This of course has real consequences in policy BTW... There is a high correlation of the "welfare" states, e.g., recieve more than 1.00 in Fed spending to 1.00 of fed tax paid, and those that have outsized influence.  Perhaps the most egegrigious is Alaska - a state that pays residents a dividend.. that gets 1.80 for every 1.00 sent... Of course it helps that Ted Stevens - who represents exactly 0.22% of the U.S. population chairs the Senate appropriations committee...

      Furthermore, the number of small states as percentage of total states has increased significantly since 1787 - while popular representation has not - e.g., Senators represent less of the total U.S. population (as a percentage) than in 1787, and each Representative represents far more constituents (as a percentage of the population)- the situation in the HoR has a double impact - on one hand it means less direct representation of individuals and therefore the will of the people because larger districts mean less responsive reps.  On the other hand with a cap on total number of reps some states reps are more equal than others (which takes rights of the will of the people of populated states and transfers them to less populated states - injecting "states" infulence into the body of congress which is ostensibly there to represent the will of the people regardless of state - and then all of this carries over to the electoral college process that is tied to Senators and Reps.

      So I would argue that we have come out of balance over the last 225 years.  This suggestion by Sen. Bayh is one way to consider addressing the imbalance.  Another consideration would be to put the gov't back in balance like it was in 1787 - primarily by reapportioning the HoR to equal representation - that would bring the impact of the growth of the population over 225 years back in line with the growth of the number of states...

      If each congressional district were pegged to 506K people (the population of the smallest state) we would have 579 representatives in the HoR and 680 electoral votes (inc. DC) - It wouldn't solve the problem of 500 votes in FL deciding the election of President (Bush wins both 2000 and 2004 - albeit by smaller electoral margins) - but it would make it much harder for small Red states to dominate the congressional wing - e.g., California would have 18 additional reps - which would tip the overall gov't back toward a balance of state and individual rights - congressional and presidential power - and make winner take all Presidential elections a lot less important.

      BTW - If a number of states each, under their own volition, choose to enact this legisilation, how does that undermine the will of the "states" as they excercise their own state's right to choose how electors are apportioned each individually?

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 01:48:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's your political strategy to make this happen (none)
    Senator Bayh (and surrogate): long-time, no see!

    What is your strategy for making this happen, given that a one-man-one-vote system would reduce by as much as 2/3 the representation of many smaller states (e.g., Wyoming)? And you need 38 states in order to change the constitution?

    Without a credible political strategy to accomplish this, it seems like a non-starter. But I'm eager to hear the strategic thinking you've put into that.

    Please visit me at www.billcamarda.com/weblog.htm

    by bcamarda on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:38:11 AM PST

    •  This plan doesn't amend the U.S. Constitution (none)
      or eliminate the electoral college.
    •  The Plan (none)
      To plan to put this idea into effect, is to work state-by-state to get each state legislature to pass legislation agreeing to this idea.  Once we reach states with 270 Electoral Votes, the idea would go into effect.

      What is your strategy for making this happen, given that a one-man-one-vote system would reduce by as much as 2/3 the representation of many smaller states (e.g., Wyoming)?

      The numeric advantage that smaller states like Wyoming get from the Electoral College is rendered irrelevant by the fact that the state is entirely ignored by every candidate, every year.  Wyoming and other small states would finally have an impact on each election and candidates would need to address their issues if they wanted their votes.

      And you need 38 states in order to change the constitution?

      This plan does not require a change to the Consitution, merely an agreement among states making up 270 Electoral votes.

      •  How does the plan STAY in effect? (none)
        If once you reach a 270 count majority, how do you guarantee it for the next election?  You constantly must have a consensus to hold this rule in place, don't you?  As soon as enought states decide to return to the old system, the system falls apart, right?
  •  referendum (none)
    Wouldn't it be nice if the states allowing petition-sponsored constitutional amendements would see some efforts on behalf of this plan? Unfortunately, places like Ohio are too busy using that process to deny rights to gay people.
  •  Let's have a real Amendment (none)
    Just to be clear, this diary is proposing a voluntary state-by-state patch on our system.

    The problem is in the Constitution. The Constitution can and should be changed.

    This is what I think an amendment shoudl look like. Direct popular vote. Better ballot access. Better ballots (at least Approval method).

    •  A Constitutional Amendment (none)
      Would be great.  However, it is unlikely to happen politically.  However, the Constitution empowers the state legislatures to award electors however they choose, and this plan simply encourages our state legislatures to take hold of, and excercise, their Constitutional right.
  •  I don't like it... (none)
    I'm sorry, but I don't like messing around with the consitution, especially in this back-door way.  It just seems so... Republican...  like Tom Delay redistricting Texas...

    Yes, I know it would help democrats immensely in the presidential elections, but, personally, if we can't   get enough electoral votes the old fashioned way, we don't deserve to be elected!

    Thanks,

    Mike

    •  corrections (none)
      They're not proposing to change the constitution (but I think they should)

      "the old fashioned way" is broken. The electoral college is an anacronism left over from days when the fastest communication was by horse.

      And there's nothing back-door about proposing an amendment to the Constitution. Indeed it will require a great deal of public debate to get the 2/3 of the congress and states legislatures.

      •  asdf (none)
        "the old fashioned way" is broken. The electoral college is an anacronism left over from days when the fastest communication was by horse.

        Isn't that what republicans think of the first ammendment?

        Thanks,

        Mike

    •  This is not messing with the Constitution (none)
      The Constitution would not be changed.  The Constitution says nothing about the winner-take-all system, and the Constitution specifically gives the power to the states to determine how to award their electoral votes.

      If state legislatures enact this legislation, they would simply be flexing the power explicitly given to them by the U.S. Constitution.

  •  Is this really Senator Bayh? (4.00)
    Well if it is, let me xpress my great admiration for you. You're were one of  the finest Senators in the history of the Senate.

    Would that we had more Birch Bayhs, then and now.

    The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

    by Armando on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:53:35 AM PST

  •  Senator Bayh (4.00)
    It's an honor to have you here.

    "I have a philosophy about elections. I believe issues divide and values unite."--Gov. Brian Schweitzer

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:58:14 AM PST

  •  I hear you but (none)
    I'd like to add that in addition to all that you say, I'd like to see a more Parliamentary 'vote of confidence'.

    I know I'm on thin ice here but it seems that almost on a national level there was a collective "Boy did we blow it" a month after the last presidential election.  Now we have to live liar.

    cb

  •  Hmm... (none)
    ...I don't know about this. Not because the sentiment, at least, isn't a good idea - it is - but the fact of things is, the concept of states seems to stick no matter how you elect people.

    You'll have to bear with my logic here, but I think it is a big question! Essentially, what we have at the moment is a system whereby states are split largely along Democrat/Republican lines (California/Texas, for example), and some are much closer and rely on their 'swing' status for electoral significance. Although this plan would remove the whole plurality of votes = all electoral votes setup that currently exists, surely the social attitude of the population at large will render things to be effectively the same as before? I mean, Californians aren't going to start voting Republican all of a sudden if they're not running by the popular vote, just the same as for Texans voting Democrat. I know that this plan is largely about trying to right the disenfranchisement of voters in states with a minimal number of electoral votes, but surely in numerical terms this plan ends up equating to the same kinds of problems?

    I know it's griping, but to advance the cause I think some serious statistical analysis of past election results could be useful, with an in-depth explanation of how (in context) these changes in result (if any) would have made sense, perhaps? Being able to distribute dossiers containing easily digestible facts and figures would make the case far more effectively as an introduction to electoral reform than arbitrary arguments about 'equality', as although powerful motivators they aren't the most tangible of arguments.

    you make me lose my buttons oh yeah, you make me spit; I don't like my clothes anymore...

    by Jaffa on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:06:26 PM PST

  •  It's a start! (none)
    Thanks for your support of this issue.  It is the first reform that should take place.  Put the power of the vote in the peoples hands.  awesome.  I wrote a short diary about this last fall I felt so strongly but I got zero comments.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...
  •  why not (none)
    just press for a popular election of president amendment?  s.

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:14:02 PM PST

    •  38 states versus 11 (none)
      the 38 for an amendment would be hard enough, but add the fact that the 38 would have to include many states which benefit by their over-representation in the EC, it becomes impossible.

      with the state-by-state approach, you could get there with as few as 11 states:
      California - 55
      Texas - 34
      New York - 31
      Florida - 27
      Illinois - 21
      Pennsylvania - 21
      Ohio - 20
      Michigan - 17
      Georgia - 15
      New Jersey - 15
      North Carolina - 15

      sure, a striaght flush like that is unlikely, but it helps that the larger a state is, the more under-represented it is by the current system.

      "He might have been a preacher but he seen things clear" -Tom Joad (RIP MLK)

      by jethropalerobber on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:20:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a good point... (none)
        of the list you have there - this is each state's percentage of underepresentation under the current system:

        California - 33%
        Texas - 35%
        New York - 29%
        Florida - 33%
        Illinois - 29%
        Pennsylvania - 24%
        Ohio - 25%
        Michigan - 29%
        Georgia - 27%
        New Jersey - 27%
        North Carolina - 27%

        More interesting though is that 43 out of 51 (inc. DC) states are underepresented using the current system - the biggest on a percentage basis are UT and NV at 40% underrepresentation -  both of which would have two additional reps (5 instead of 3) using equal proportionment based on a district size of 506K (WY population) - of the 8 that are over represented they split the EVs 12-12 in the last election...

        "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

        by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:19:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Ratification Dilemna (none)
    The difficulty is insurmountable- to amend the Constitution, 3/4ths of the States would need to ratify, and you're here asking a full majority of the states to self-limit their influence. It's irrational for them to do so, and calls for an enlightenment missing today.

    And, I'm personally terrified of a Constitutional Convention, given the right-wing plurality in this country.

    •  This doesn't amend the Constitution (none)
      or do away with the electoral college.  Yeah, yeah, I'm a broken record.

      :-P

    •  Fortuantely (none)
      This plan does not face the hurdles that a Constitutional Amendment does.

      It can approved by the state legistlatures of states representing 270 Electoral Votes.  It is easy to imagine a group of small and large "safe" states that are currently ignored in national elections joining together to implement this legislation without facing the 3/4 of states requirement for an amendment.

    •  This plan is different (none)
      The key to this idea is that it will not require a Constitutional amendment.

      That is why this plan is so practical.

      The country clearly wants every vote to matter when we are electing someone as important as our President. This plan creates that opportunity.

  •  I can't vote - but if I could, I might not want to (none)
    that's how much I dislike your electoral college system.

    So, what does your proposal mean? Will you count the votes and assign them proportionally to the candidates and get rid of electors? Will you get rid of the winners take all rules? Will you fight for equal voting methods and rules within all the US States? Will you fight for equal voting standards and procedures nationwide?

    To keep the electoral college for the love of Federalism, I just think that Federalism can't mean you engage in a pretty undemocratic and obfuscating electoral system. I think your system obfuscates the true choices of the voters. Nothing but a complete change away from the electoral college would get me excited.

    I expect to be zero rated into oblivion once more. Germany has Federalism, but we have proportional vote counting and the system doesn't change from one of our "Laender" to the next, as it does in the US from one State to the next.

    A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

    by mimi on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:18:58 PM PST

    •  You're overstating it (none)
      Why worry if the Electoral College still exists if the results is EXACTLY the same as if it didn't exist? That's like getting all bent out of shape that so many European countries keep their royalty around. Kinda cute and all, but they don't run their countries.

      A national popular vote determines the winner in this plan. Period.

      •  I hear you - and am not against the plan (none)
        I just am not informed enough about the details to be convinced it will bring about the changes. That's clearly my fault. I have too many difficulties to understand the EC and the plan and what its real impact would/could be.

        I guess it's the first step in the right direction.

        A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

        by mimi on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 07:49:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why should people in Wyoming... (none)
    count 4x more as people in the California when electing the President?  If a candidate for Pres campaigns only in the big cities and along the coasts and wins, obviously there are more people in this country in big cities and coastal regions!  Where's the fucking justice in saying some redneck in rural areas deserves more votes than coastal and city folk?

    How about a real progressive? Dennis Kucinich 08

    by greyfox on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:22:59 PM PST

    •  Because it's the government we live under (none)
      Why should people in Wyoming count 4x more as people in the California when electing the President

      Because we live in a democratic republic of states.  You vote to instruct the state you live in as to where that states votes for president should go.  To adopt this change to that is to change the fundamental basis of this country and to say that we can throw all semblence of state's rights out the window.

      Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

      by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:02:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  States will continue to exist! (none)
        Relax. States will exist. Governors will exist. U.S. Senators will exist.

        All that is different is that presidential campaigns will care about what people think in all states, not just 16.

        •  Foolish (none)
          All that is different is that presidential campaigns will care about what people think in all states, not just 16.

          You are beyond foolish if you believe that.  There will be no incentive for a presidential candidate to care what anyone outside the 10 or so biggest states thinks.  

          Maybe it won't be worse that today, but I have yet to see an persuasive argument that it will be better.  On this point most seem to say "it's bad today, it won't be any worse under this plan".

          Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

          by bawbie on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 06:41:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thats a specious argument... (none)
            Where are your supporting facts to your statement that there will be no incentive for a presidential candidate to care what anyone outside the 10 or so biggest states thinks... Why is that fact as you state it?  

            Its not possible given current voting patterns to win an election with just the top 10 states - in fact they split their vote pretty much down the middle...  While the top 10 states do have about 50% of the population they are by no means a monolithic block of interests, even within states there are multiple metro areas (e.g., Sand Diego/OC and SF/Bay Area are both in CA and I defy a presidential candidate to dominate both regions) or even metro areas there are distinctly different interests and needs that drive differnt voting patterns...

            As for whether it will be better or worse - who cares, what it will be is fairer to the will of the people - and if the states decide to give the people that right - then who are you to complain?

            "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

            by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:35:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  "It should be that way because it is" (none)
        That's largely what your defense amounts to.

        What are the objective advantages to the electoral college? Protecting states rights? - The president represents the entire country. His/her legislative and executive agendas do not reflect the states, but the country as a whole. All the electoral college does is to empower local special interests in swing states. Why don't we have relations with Cuba, again?

        And how would it erode the concepts of states? You would still have state governments, with elected governors, senators, and members of congress.

        Nobody thinks of the US President as the representative of the states, but as a NATIONAL figure - that's how Presidents are treated right now and how they're likely to be treated in the future, as well.

      •  Bad Argument - You are Wrong.... (none)
        There is nothing that says in the constitution that you instruct your state you live in as to where your electors votes go and then the state votes for the president.... What it says is that the state electors vote for the president and the state may choose how the electors are chosen... That is a VERY big distinction between what you argue and what is the law...

        In the legislation suggested here, each state will pass a law changing the way that they decide how to apportion their EVs - as it is their Constitutional right ot do so.  You may or may not have an individual right to partake in that decision depending on how your State determines EV apportionment - is it a statute determined by law, is it part of a state constitution, can it be changed by intitiative?  

        Each state has the Constitutional right to apportion their EVs anyway they see fit by due process of the laws of that state - so if the state decides to apportion their EVs based whether the first Tuesday is an even or odd day - that's their right.

        This does nothing to undermine the individual right of the states at all.

        "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

        by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:28:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  WHAT THIS PLAN IS NOT (none)
    This plan doesn't amend the United States Constitution.

    This plan doesn't eliminate the electoral college and electoral voting.

    Trying to fix some of the confusion here.  :-)

    •  ok, then i'm sorry to oppose (none)
      seems to me, if a republican wins, the democrats will act with integrity and deliver their electoral votes, whereas if a democrat wins, the republicans will renegue and vote republican in the electoral college.

      it is a tragic mistake to think republicans have any integrity whatsoever.

      what more evidence could anyone need? seriously?

      •  This Wouldn't Happen (none)
        Under the interstate agreement between the states involved, there wouldn't be reneging by Republican electors because the winning candidate would have their own slate of electors representing them at the electoral college.  Each state has a slate of electors.  I.E. One for the Republicans, one for the Democrats.  If the Democrat wins the popular vote, then it would be Democratic electors from each state in the agreement that would actually attend the Electoral College.
    •  What a pity then, I rather wished this plan did (none)
      do exactly that. Now I am not anymore confused, but rather seriously disappointed.

      A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

      by mimi on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:48:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  disappointed that something concrete being done? (none)
        This plan represents a roadmap for change. Maybe it will lead to a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, maybe it won't. But what it DOES do is allow us to make the Electoral College as irrelevant as the British royalty is to governance in Britain. Let's not lose sight of that, especially when there is nothing, zip, going on in Congress about a constitutional amendment.
        •  I think there is a larger issue.. (none)
          which is whether states have a right in the process or not.  Its clear that the founders wanted states to factor into the process of selecting the federal executive - otherwise we wouldn't have a Electoral College or Senate for that matter...

          I think a more appropriate question is how over time that initial process has been perverted by shifts in the balance of power between the individual (collectively known as the will of the people) and the state (the collecitve will of a sub-set of the people).  Its evident we in need of some change as over 225 years the will of the people collectively has been signfincantly diluted by the state (the will of subsets of the population).  

          Obviously you can make one argument that its irrelevant and should be replaced by direct elections - but I don't know if that is exactly in keeping with the founder's intent - as it cuts the states completely out of the process.  This way is nice as it doesn't undermine the state's right - they are indeed asserting their independent rights by choosing to apportion their votes based on popular - but it also retains the state's right to revoke those rights should it be deemed not in the state's interest any longer.

          There of course is a bigger problem which that the cosntitutional balance set up by the founders has been eroded over time - and power has shifted to Senators of small states, representatives of small states and the small states in the EV process - and that probably needs to be fixed in the HoR by correcting the imbalance of representation...

          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

          by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:47:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Vote Early, Vote Often (none)
    I'm completely in favor of direct national "popular vote" election of President and Vice President. Most Americans would be, too, especially after the criminal conduct of at least the past two elections, and the abuse of the Electoral College to select the less popular candidate.

    Just "nationalizing" the election isn't enough. We need "Instant Runoff Voting", instead of the totally gamed "winner takes all" election which works only to exclude candidates. In fact, I'd favor both IRV and regular runoff elections: "open primaries" in which any registered voter can choose from as wide as possible a field of many national (not just statewide) candidates, followed by a full IRV election six months later. A really valid statistical sample of our hundreds of millions of citizens would better be served by another election 2 months later (second Monday in January), for something like a "best of 3" to be sure the person handed the vast power of the US government for 4 years actually represents America.

  •  No. Please No. (none)
    People, it's the "President of the United STATES of America".  It is not "President of the American People".  That's why it is the vote of the states that determines the election.

    And aside from that, there is the already addressed issue of campaigns only focusing on the high-population centers to the exclusion of the rest of the country.

    It's just a very bad idea that plays off of a shallow understanding of what is fair in this situation.  

    This wastes energy that should be focused on cleaning up election fraud within the system we already have.

    •  Nineteenth Century Limits (none)
      So you favor the president and VP elected by only the 100 Senators, who are the representatives of the 50 states? And those Senators elected by only the state legislature and/or governor, like in the 1800s? Because that's a close approximation of the Electoral College. And the only way for the United STATES to follow your paradigm.

      You're also wrong about "campaigns only focusing on the high-population centers to the exclusion of the rest of the country". In fact, the gamed Electoral College system is the way that campaigns pander to less populated states, like the Red States, because they're overrepresented. You've got that one exactly wrong. You probably live in a Red State, don't you?

      And the idea that we can't focus on cleaning up election fraud with comprehensive reform of the entire rotten edifice reflects your limitations, not anyone else's. The gameable current system is the enabler of the games, the fraud, the rigged elections. Rip it out by the roots.

      •  You do realize (none)
        The gameable current system is the enabler of the games, the fraud, the rigged elections. Rip it out by the roots.

        You do realize that it's the consitution you are talking about ripping up?

        Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

        by bawbie on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:58:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  R(E)volutionary (none)
          I'd like to see a Constitutional amendment that says "each adult citizen is entitled to a single vote for the combined candidacy of president and vice-president to be counted by the simple total of all such votes cast in the election" or more precise words to that effect that allow exceptional exclusion of, say, convicted traitors and the mentally incompetent. It would eliminate a lot of the failed approaches we've suffered through, including incremental inclusion of female and black citizens.

          The Article 2 Section 1 elector system was superseded by the 24th Amendment, and patched by the 14th Amendment. Those amendments were clearly not sufficient to protect our right to vote. Another amendment is appropriate.

          That amendment isn't actually sufficient to accurately represent Americans. The misrepresentation in the House is extreme, even without counting the distortion by the nonproportional Senate. The "rounding error" in the House should be no more than 30,000 constituents, not the 3-500,000 currently. I'd actually like to see one Representative per 30,000 people, for a 10,000-member House, with Representatives offices primarily in their own towns, and only temporarily in Washington, DC.

          But those changes are too much politically to achieve all at once. That's one reason why simple direct election is enough to get started with. The benefits following from that change will both encourage further overdue reform, and open the political process to the people who can do it, without being owned by the current broken process.

        •  Rip what should be ripped. (none)
          This same Constitution once said blacks counted as 2/3 a person for congressional apportionment.  Yes, it is flawed, and we have a duty to fix it when time shows its flaws to be obvious.
        •  This DOESN'T violate the constitution (none)
          And when there are flaws in the constitution, there's no reason why we shouldn't fix them. Your rational could be used to discredit ANY constitutional amendments. Why ever amend the constitution under your reasoning? Yet we have amended it, 27 times.
          •  But this proposal DOESN'T amend the Constitution (none)
            It seems to me everyone here is all for this because of the 2000 election without thinking through any consequences that may come from it.

            I have no problem with amending the constitution, assuming the ramifications are discussed.  

            Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

            by bawbie on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 06:35:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've thought through the consequences plenty (none)
              I strongly dislike the electoral college because not only does it, (a) allow a popular-vote winner to lose the presidency, and (b) because it totally disenfranchises the vast majority of the country from the entire process.

              Unless you live in a swing state, your individual vote does not matter. Campaign activity in a swing state is not even relevant.

              Nor do I believe that this somehow violates the "intent" of the constitution. The Founders' idea of how the College would work was very different from how it ended up being. The Founders saw the Electoral College as a chamber within which various regional candidates could be nominated and discussed, perhaps leading to an election in the House. It was clear within a couple cycles that the College didn't work as intended.

              Why then would a change to the method outlined above be more against the Founders' intentions than the current system? According to the Constitution, states could allocate electoral votes HOWEVER they wish. If enough states to form a majority DO bind together to award votes to the popular-vote winner, how is that a violation of the Founders' intent?

      •  What? (none)
        I don't know what where you got "elected only by the 100 Senators".  That's just weird.  But yes, Senators should be elected by the state legislature, that's one part of the Constitution that got screwed.  Try some history about what the two houses were supposed to represent...one the people, one the states.

        As for being "wrong" on the high-population center focus, I can't fathom how switching the alleged over-reprentation from less populated states to higher population metropolitan areas can even remotely be considered fair or justified. If there's going to be a pandering, I'd much prefer it be based upon a much broader basis than a few major cities.  So no, I don't have that exactly wrong, you do.  The "over-representation" is a factor of the states as considered as distinct entities that are weighted on something more than just population counts.  If you think that's unfair, then maybe you should argue that China should be getting 4 votes to our 1 in the UN security council.

        And your last paragraph is even further off the mark.  I did not say or in any way suggest "that we can't focus on cleaning up election fraud".  The limitation here appears to be in your comprehension of the written word and your assumptiveness in reading in more than I wrote.  It is not an either/or situation.  

        •  One more thing.... (none)
          Lest you get confused that my reference doesn't take account of "reform of the entire rotten edifice" as you put it, consider that the ediface, i.e. the Constitutional process, is not rotten, that's just your opinion, and I refute that opinion. The problem that most needs addressing is in assuring the vote count accuracy.  Diverting attention from that with the broader issue of changing the very foundation of the vote representation is a distraction from that more dire need.  The issue of popular vote/electoral vote discrepancy do not arise with every election, but issues about vote count accuracy do.  Even if we make the vote "popular", the counting of the vote is still an issue, and even if you want to wrap up fixing both of those at the same time, you are dissipating energies from the main vote count issue for the marginal issue of whether or not the President is the President of the United States of America, or the newfangled President of the American people.

          Now I know it's just my opinion, but accurate vote count is way, way more important and needs full attention undistracted by major debates about popular vote vs state electoral vote.

          •  Freedom Now (none)
            You said "That's why it is the vote of the states that determines the election." So I called you on that, by translating your insistence on the "vote of the states" into its Constitutional provision for exactly that: the vote of the Senate. Since you insist on the unamended Constitution, I translated that into the way those senators were specified before the Constitution was amended only a century ago: by the state legislators, including the governor.

            The people of a state voting for representatives (state legislators or party electors), who then vote for some more representatives (senators), who vote for national executives, is only one step longer than the Electoral College system. That system would actually represent the states, as you insist, and is two steps too many. The electoral college is one step too many. Direct election is enough.

            The extra layers of election bureaucracy interfere with accurate vote counting. By introducing other factors, like rounding, error, disproportionate representation, built into the system. And worse, by the complex rule gaming that is the frame in which frauds are perpetrated.

            The electoral system has been patched before, when it was obviously broken: blacks, women, even teenagers got their right to vote protected piecemeal when they finally got enough power outside the electoral system to force their inclusion inside it. Now the end run around those rights protects only those voters who vote for the people rigging the system. It's sent a team of tyrants to White House. Who have looted the Treasury and lied our military into catastrophic war, to name just a couple of crimes our Revolutionary founders specifically designed our democracy to inhibit.

            The system isn't patchable. The past amendments patching it have failed to protect from the fundamental design flaw. We must fix not only the administration of the elector system, but the entire elector system by discarding it in favor of direct elections. Since it's a dicey campaign to fix either, though fixing either or both would be an improvement, we should try both. Neither is a distraction from the other. They're parts of an overall campaign that would be popular among the source of political power, the American people. And working for both means even a failure in one could see success in the other. Which could be the grounds for more progress in the repaired system.

            If you had advised Martin Luther King, you would have been telling him to just go after the right to vote, or the right to own property, or the right to get a regular job, or just one of the many civil liberties the government should have protected. Instead, MLK went after it all, because it was right, and popular once under way, and just in simply protecting our rights first, no matter how that is expressed. We're all now more free after that wave of history. And we're ready for another - more ready than we were in MLK's day.

            •  OK (none)
              You make some valid points here, but you also have some things just plain wrong.  What is broken about the electoral system is not that the states elect their president by their own determination of delegates.  That's as should be.  Again, it is the President of the United States of America, not President of the American people.  To change this is a way more fundamental battle, and one that will face vociferous opposition from those like myself who defend the fundamentals of the Constitution, even if we acknowledge some adjustments may be necessary.  And you make a false claim that I would tell MLK to focus on one right over another, because that is a false conflation.  Rights are rights, and I would support them all.  It is an apples/oranges comparison to equate vote integrity versus vote style.  Every right is equally important to fight for, but the fight to make the vote based on purely popular count is virtually zero in importance compared to the fight to make the vote verifiably accurate.  There is simply no good reason to raise a solution to the occasional discrepency of electoral collage vs popular vote issue when the vote integrity issue is facing us in every election.  If you want a popular vote, fine, make that case after we know that it will be accurate.  But even then, you will have the opposition of those who understand why the President is elected by the states, and not directly by the people.  Again, to follow your model, you would need to explain why China should have 4 votes to our 1 in the UN.  It's because state entities are considered greater than just the sum of their components, meaning their population count is not the only evaluation of their power.  Elements like their existance, their cohesiveness, etc, go into weighting their impact in the forums in which they participate.  That is true of our Union as well.
              •  States Are For People (none)
                The simple fact is that the signers of the Constitution got it wrong when they made the president the "president of the states". Because he's the president of the American people - the states are just one of those governments that are established in the course of human events. When they get in the way of people's rights, the states give way to serve the people - not the other way around.

                They got other stuff wrong, too. There are 27 amendments. 10 were immediate, clarifications that emphasized and made explicit rules in the original document. One amendment prohibits liquor, another rescinds the prohibition. Blacks and other citizens didn't get their voting rights protected until the late 1800s - women not until the early 1900s. Only in 1961 did the Constitution protect the right of residents of Washington, DC to vote for president, while Puerto Ricans (among others) still see that right neglected.

                The misrepresentation of the people by the electoral college is not "occasional", or any other minimization. Wyomingers get 70x the representation of Californians every year. There are dozens of other injustices for tens of millions of Americans, when there shouldn't be even a single one.

                You can call that "occasional". You can call the fight for "one person, one vote" "zero", when the last two presidential elections made millions of Americans want to fight that fundamental problem. You can introduce total irrelevancies like UN representation - without even accounting for the Security Council. You have your agenda, which you can't support. I have a simple one: each American has our own equal say in who governs us all. Without qualification by any supremacy of a "state", without deference to a clearly broken Constitutional convention, or any other bureaucratese that gets in the way of that basic right.

        •  There is nothign "alledged" (none)
          about the overepresentation of small states... 8 states in our country have over-representatoin and 42 are underrepresented - some to a huge degree..

          Wyoming should have 1 rep and 2 Senators and 3 EVs, based on the concept of equal representation - in this case 1 rep for every 506K citizens  (otherwise known as the population of WY) California SHOULD have 71 reps 2 Senators and 73 EVs - but it doesn't it has 55 reps - and if you try to tell me that California losing 18 votes in congress doesn't have some impact on California - then you are living in a fantasy world...

          "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

          by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:54:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In theory... but not reality (none)
      Again, it has become a battleground contest. Not a small state contest. Ohio and Florida get attention. The Dakotas don't. Before modern polling, candidates weren't very sure like now how much in the bag a state was. Now they do. So, 35 states or so get ignored. What exactly is the benefit of this for our society?

      Here is what would happen though. A state like Utah, would balance out a large state like Pennsylvania that is more bluish. Therefore, in a sense, Utah becomes more powerful, not less. The states that would be screwed would be 50/50 small states. But how many of those are there? I think the candidates will actually try really hard in their safe states to rally the base, demoralize the opponents. Winning 70 to 30 in a state with one million voters, cancels out losing 55-45 in a state with 4 million voters. But at least these other states get attention.

      I feel the same way about Iowa and New Hampshire basically picking the candidates. They aren't representative of the democratic party nationwide. Yet, just like in the EC, they get more say in determining President than Texas, California, Illinois.

      "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

      by trifecta on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:18:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, its about time (none)
    I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be completely ignored here in California every presidential election.

    And frankly I think the federal government is still overly skewed toward smaller states, even with a popularly elected President. After all my Senators represent 70 times more people that Wyoming's, but they don't get to vote 70 times more.

    •  Yeah - But that (none)
      is what the Senators are for - they represent the States interest (or the collective will of subsets of the U.S. population as defined by state boundaries).. the problem is that when the founders set up that system Senators represented a lot more of the overall population each - so they were more closely tied to larger will of the total population - smaller populations mean more special interests that are aligned with the state's interest and less in line with the overall interests of the population at large...  

      If we believe that states are actors in the republic - and I think we all do - then they have to have their representation - both in the congress and in the selection of the executive...  The problem is that over time they have become over represented in the Electoral College as the number of states has grown - while the people have become under-represented as the population has grown but the number of representatives has been capped...  

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:00:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Birch Come Lately? (none)
    Did Sen. Bayh publicly support direct national election of the chief executives while he was a Senator? Or just after he was safely out of office?
    •  Sen. Bayh was a tireless advocate... (none)
      ... of direct election of the president. He was the leader of efforts that almost passed a constitutional amendment to establish a national popular vote. Another of his changes was lowering the age to 18.
  •  I would rather see instant runoff voting. (none)
    What is there to protect us from the tyrany of the majority?  I could be outvoted by a provincial New York City resident that thinks they get diseases from squirrls and otherwise doesn't know anything about the world outside cities.  Our system of voting would not be so bad if the corporations were not buying the media and the politicians.  How would that be any different under direct elections?  Would third parties be possible as under instant runoff voting or would they still be shut out of our system?
    •  tyranny of the majority (none)
      What is there to protect us from the tyrany of the majority?

      Um, the Senate? The courts?

      •  My senator is Mitch McConnell (none)
        a major fundraising Senator for the R Party.  My governor thinks the United States was created as a Christian nation.  So my quesiton remains, who is sensible enough to protect us from the majority.  Not the ones you mentioned.  (If this was a snark, my appologies, as I wasn't quick enough to see the humor.)
      •  Opposed to Tyranny of the Minority (none)
        under instant run off...

        We have enough problems in this country with an underrepresented majority to have to put up with third party special interests wielding huge power in coalition governments - all Instant Runoff does is make every political party a "swing state" - You think we got problems now with OH or FL having too much power - what are we going to do when the Republicans have to cut a deal with the Christian Coalition Party to get a majority for control of the house or senate?  The quid pro quo will become a lot more concrete and dangerous because Repubs won't have to own up to the ugliest wings of thier party - they can just say - not us it was the Christian Righties or the NoTaxers...  

        Of course I would be just as pissed to see the Greens wield that kind of power over the Democrats.... Instant Runoff - no thanks...

        "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

        by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:06:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What makes one minority more important? (none)
      Why is a rural minority more important a minority than say blacks?  Should blacks being a minority get weighted extra when voting?  That would help prevent the tyranny of the majority from oppressing blacks.  I merely give blacks as an example.  It could be any minority.  Blacks are a pretty good example though because statistics show that they are in general poorer, have worse healthcare, their average lifespan is a lot less, unemployment is a lot higher, and the list goes on.  How is the system protecting their minority rights?

      Also, do you think that urban people don't give a shit about people living in rural areas?  Do you think if they see an injustice being done to a someone they won't do anything because they're just "a bunch of hicks"?  What's with the diseases from squirrels thing anyway?  I haven't heard that one.  I think city people are more concerned about rats carrying diseases and birds carrying west nile.  I've never heard anything regarding squirrels except they are a possible carrier for rabies, though racoons and skunks would be more likely carriers.  You seem to have a rather ignorant view of what city people are like.

      Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

      by Orangebeard on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:27:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like Republican Logic (none)
    Consistent with the Constitution now apparently means The exact opposite of what the Constitution says.
  •  Why not require states to assign the (none)
    "Representative" portion of electors in the proportion of popular votes won by the candidates in that state, and the 2 "Senatorial" electors can go for whoever won the most popular votes in that state as a bonus? That way 100 electors are up by state alone, giving some play to the smaller states, and the remainder are based on population.

    And there should certainly be instant runoff voting, fully publicly funded campaigns, and voter-verifiable paper trail voting only!

    I think, therefore I am NOT A REPUBLICAN!!!

    by Reality Bites Back on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:51:54 PM PST

  •  With all due respect, Senator ... (none)
    doesn't the nation, and Congress, have a much more pressing issue before it just now? How to get rid of the President we have right now, the one who's running our country down with every day he's in office, is of much more immediate concern than how we might elect our Presidents in the future. The merits of your proposal notwithstanding, I'd be a lot happier if I saw professional politicians like you working on impeachment.
  •  Snowball (none)
    ... meet hell.

    "... Just so long as I'm the dictator." - GWB, 12/18/00

    by Bob Love on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:02:05 PM PST

  •  See also (none)
    Hendrik Hertzberg did a Talk of the Town piece about this in the March 6 New Yorker. Former Senator Bayh is mentioned.

    we are the goon squad and we're coming to town ...

    by arb on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:03:12 PM PST

  •  Abolish the electoral college (none)
    and implement proportional representation in congress, then we're really talking!!  We really have to get our act together on the first past the post system in Canada, too.

    Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.--Thomas Paine

    by peterborocanuck on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:03:17 PM PST

  •  Rather Obvious Advantage (none)
    It's far more expensive to tamper with a nationwide election than a statewide one, and far more difficult not to get caught, as the consequences of tampering are far more transparent to the casual observer.

    At the moment, we are hostage to the most-contested, most-corrupt state election on a given election day.

    At the moment, we are hostage to whatever machines are least secure from tampering, in whatever state is controlled by a government least capable -- or inclined -- to prevent it.

    For motive, sometimes it's cowardice. Fear of controversy or confrontation. Sometimes it's corruption. Fear of the people having their say, when incumbency is least interested in hearing anything of the sort. Sometimes it's just plain laziness. It's hard work, keeping America free. If the people care, they'll take care of it themselves.

    Yeah, and that's kind of a problem, too, for very frustrated and highly exercised people do not always make the most gentle and dispassionate of decisions about regime change.

    Sometimes, it's better to incur a bad day at the ballot box, than putting it off for an even worse day without one. That way, you can hope to have a better outing next time around.

    The one risk

    The Electoral College was set up to overweight the 'little' (less populous) states, and give them relatively more influence so that they did not become de facto colonies of the larger (more populous) states.

    The intention was to keep the union together.

    What it did in its first eight decades of operation was polarie the country to the brink, then right on into, civil war.

    The less populous region of the South, even with the additional subsidy of counting 3/5ths of slaves for apportionment of representation in Congress (and by extension, the Electoral College), was given sufficient strength first to resist, then defy far more widespread views that perhaps slavery was dying institution. In most of America, the talk was that perhaps the land of the free and the home of the brave out to get out in front on this one. In the South, that sort of talk could get a person killed...and did.

    Now, a sudden shift to a popular election in 1860 would have had the exact same consequence: civil war. And having the presidency elected at large might have produced a chain of more conservative options...but they would have been far more often than not persons from larger states with views that aligned with those of the wider national majority, in the fashion intended by the Federalists in their various papers but, sadly, unattainable so long as great and reasonable personages from each of the states were increasingly bound to the prejudices and passions of their home states.

    Alas, what was intended to protect the Presidency from becoming a position of demogoguery helped catapult demogoguery to the forefront of American politics, with national renown being as good if not better a filter than any selectivity of the Electors themselves.

    Moving on to the current era, the current setup of the Electoral College once again subsidizes sectionalism for the less populous regions, and makes the opinions of persons in the more closely-contested states far outweigh the opinions of persons elsewhere. Think Kansas and Missouri, back in the 1850s. Were these places where slaveholders and abolitionists discussed matters pleasantly? Uh...no. The worst excesses of both camps, including widespread political violence, preceded the Civil War by several election cycles.

    Now think Florida and Ohio in the 2000s. They literally decide everything singlehandedly. It would not matter if Kerry had claimed the popular vote. FL and OH trump all other considerations with their own, or rather, (1) the wishes of those most able and willing to tamper with the electoral process, and (2) the cupidity of those less able and willing to take a stand to protect their own freedom, never mind yours.

    I submit that had the Union had a national election for president from the get-go, several things would have happened.

    1. the president would have straightaway been a national figure, rather than a lever for whatever faction happened to hold sway in the minimum number of states with the most EVs.
    2. this would have made the contest for president less threatening to the minority, who would still have sufficient votes to moderate the most noisome (to themselves) candidates for the highest office of the land.
    3. likewise, holdouts on contentious issues like, say, slavery would be compelled to compromise, and recognize the trade-offs, the costs in other public policy goods to keep slavery intact, as getting votes from non-slave regions from their candidate for President would command a dear price.
    4. Being less of a sectionalist divider, the Presidency as a focus of partisan politics would never attain the sharpness that it did by the mid-1800s, and has regained in the early 2000s.
    5. Little or nothing would change in regards to partisanship in Congress, save that the President would tend to be more moderate than his caucus out of electoral necessity, rather than gravitating over time and successive administration to become the chief exponent, the ideological leader of his party first, and the constituted leader of his nation second.

    And where this was untrue, seen as such regardless by threatened partisan rivals.

    Or maybe I've got it all wrong, but this is my take on the matter.

    I think a national election would right a lot of prospective wrongs, and would have mitigated a lot of past wrong had it been chosen as the basis of our society all along.

    I can understand the reasons, practical and ethical, against it, given what the Revolution was against -- a far-off legislature easily dominated by a strong monarch.

    However, that seems to have happened, regardless, which makes mincemeat of the chief justification for the Electoral College.

    It's not that they don't know Jack. It's that they don't know him on a first-name basis. :)

    by cskendrick on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:12:06 PM PST

  •  Wait (none)
    Do you think this work better if its a compact that takes effect immediately with a number of states, and they agree to give all of their electors to the candidate that wins their collective popular vote? Of course you can bet once this got to 270 EV, the remaining states would join pretty damn fast.

    Otherwise, I could see a lot of lean blue states passing this, and end up helping the Republican party.

    •  It only takes effect when it is decisive... (none)
      ... for determining the national popular vote winner. So Democrats wouldn't be hurt if more blue states joined the compact than red states. The final split of the electoral college would be irrelevant -- all that would matter is who won, and the winner ALWAYS would be the national popular vote winner.
      •  OK (none)
        The thing is my idea may or may not have some advantage of actually getting the desired effect. Suppose that a bunch of states had joined, and their pooled electoral votes tended to be very competitive in Presidential elections. There would be enormous incentives for a safe state to join the compact, since they might be able to swing this whole block of states.
        •  Still not quite getting it (none)
          There's not any edge to "swinging a certain bloc of states." Forgetabout the electoral vote margin a winning candidate is going to have. The only thing that matters is getting a majority, which the national popular vote winner will always receive once the compact is in place. Note that t the compact only becomes ative when it's decisive.

          So there's no partisan advantage or disadvantage for certain states to join the compact. The only issue for the people of a certain state is whether they want a national popular vote or not. If they do, they should join the compact and hope enough other states do that it can become active.

          •  The thing is (none)
            My idea might have a better chance of actually getting the desired effect.
            •  One proposal... (none)
              has been for two big states that are both solidly in one party's camp to do a similar agreement together -- like Texas and New York. It almost certainly would mean the national popular vote winner would win the presidency, but... "almost certain" isn't certain. Still, perhaps worthy of debate too.

              For some states to collectively the votes in their states is a creative idea, particularly if it includes a mix of red and blue states and perhaps is regional, but I'll be putting my energy into the National Popular Vote plan.

  •  Bad Idea (none)
    We are a federation of states.
    So every hundred years or so we get some one who lost the popular vote by .003 percent.  Who cares.  

    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do. " Oscar Gamble, circa 1980

    by Spider Stumbled on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:13:55 PM PST

  •  LOL! This is D.O.A. (none)
    If this is the response you get on a progressive blogsite, this idea is D.O.A.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:17:11 PM PST

    •  Do you think (none)
      country club/corporate Republicans care about states rights? I imagine there would be support from an unusual coalition.
      •  People haven't studied what the system... (none)
        .. is doing to our democracy. Because people didn't thing the Electoral College system could be changed, they haven't studied what it does to principles of equality and fairness. But the more you look at it, the more you realize just how derelict it is.

        Presidential Election Inequality is a good start to seeing just how bad it is -- www.fairvote.org/presidential

  •  Instead of a pure popular vote (none)
    we should start by just taking away one or two of the two electoral votes a state gets just for being a state. That would keep some reason for candidates to campaign outside urban areas but still make the results closer to the public will.
    •  That takes constitutional change.. (none)
      .. and still doesn't make every vote equal and guarantee election of a candidate who wins a majority of the vote. If we're going to change the Constitution, let's do it right -- and in the meantime, I hope work for this plan.
  •  Don't stop there ! (none)
    How about referendums on no-confidence in the president ? The Greeks had a word and process called "ostracize". And how about no war unless by NATIONAL REFERENDUM? Now that would shrivel the military-industrial complex.
    •  Unfortunately, federal referendums... (none)
      ...are unconstituional.  W'ed have to ratify an ammendment, 'cos these supremes would definately never allow more popular representation in politics!

      Thanks,

      Mike

    •  it might take to long to call a referendum (none)
      say if there was a really good reason for war we might not have the time to dicker around waiting on a national referendum to declare war.  Now what is war?  I mean what does a declaration of war authorize anyway?  Obviously our military would be able to fight an enemy that attacked us in our territory.  Is it sending troops into combat in another country?  What if we have troops in a base in another country and it gets attacked?  What if someone invades an ally of ours and we can stop the invasion with a few quick airstrikes into enemy territory hitting their command and control and communications and airbases, etc?

      It would seem that the president would need to be able to react quickly to situations and he needs the authority to send our military into combat at a moments notice.  In these situations I think he should be able to act but then afterwards have to go to congress to get approval.  Kinda like the wiretapping thing where if there were some emergency, the feds can go to a judge within 72 hours.  Now if he made a bad judgement call, perhaps there could be some sort of censure or even impeachment.  So basically what I'm saying is what we really need is accountability.  The president and congress are elected by the people, we really need to have trustworthy people in power.  If the president is corrupt and misuses the military, the congress should be a check on him and deal out some sort of punishment.  Unfortunately corruption is rampant through our current administration and congress.  We have to wait for elections to do anything.

      Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

      by Orangebeard on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:58:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  kind of a moot point (none)
    considering that the constitution is nothing but a roll of toiler paper as far as bush is concerned.

    still, the EC needs to join 3/5ths of a person and votes for property owning men only in the junkbin of bad ideas.

  •  Thanks. Senator Bayh! (none)
    This is something that badly needs doing, and it looks like the interstate-compact approach is an ingenious approach that might actually make it happen.  Good work!
  •  Very glad (none)
    to hear about this coalition.  
  •  I support the removal of (none)
    our winner takes all system.  However, I don't really like the idea of a purely national popular vote system, and I suppose that it is because I grew up in a sparsely populated state.  

    I like the idea that a state's electoral college votes should be divided according the state's popular vote breakdown.  This would solve the problem of an individual's vote in a state that is overwlemingly blue/red from being meaningless, but would not unbalance the states in relation to each other.

    As to the complaints that a vote in Wyoming is worth more than a vote in California, they are somewhat legitimate.  Yes a vote in Wyoming has more impact than a vote in California, but only on the state's electoral college.  So, a Wyoming individual's vote has greater impact, but this balanced by the fact that California has a greater influence overall (from more electoral college votes).

    Again, this I support, and mainly I'm sure because I grew up in a small state.  However, I don't see a national vote system solving the problem that our natinal leaders can be elected by reaching out to 25% of the states.  Rather, I see said system has merely rearranging the states that matter, populous states instead of swing states, while making small states matter even less than they do now, and the only reason that a state like WY or DE matters now is that their population is disproportionately represented in the electoral college.

     

    •  Well... (none)
      ...this balanced by the fact that California has a greater influence overall from more electoral college votes...

      We have more people.  So we "earned" that influence.  The additional 2 votes every state gets are "freebies."

      Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

      by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:23:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And they are a small (none)
        portion of our "earned" influence, where Wyoming's are a large portion.  More irritating is that we are short shrifted 18 reps in congress...

        "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

        by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:15:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most small states... (none)
      ... are COMPLETELY ignored now. Not a single ad, a single visit, a single poll, anything. They're just "not" as far as presidential races go.

      Proportional allocation of electoral votes gets pretty messy in practice and takes a constitutional amendment to be tried. Check out everyvoteequal.com for a devastating critique.

  •  Not the biggest concern (none)
    Either way, most people still wont vote so we can never truly have a "popular" election. Statistically speaking, all presidential elections are obviously very unpopular! What we really need to do is give everyone who votes a nice crisp new $20 bill. That will get the people voting. And even better yet, the repugs will absolutely despise this plan! It will only cost $6 billion. That's just a drop in the bucket.
  •  I'd happily have taken those 60,000 Ohioans (none)
    and laughed all the way to Kerry's inaugaration at the "state's rights" Republicons who jeered Gore in 2000.
    Senator, I think the system more or less works now, provided there are dependable voting machines.
  •  The founders' intent. (none)
    Actually, the founder's intent with the Electoral College was a fairly simple one.

    The general population was uneducated, and those creating the rules didn't trust them wholly.

    So they made an Electoral College who would be composed of more educated people, who would speak for them.

    Essentially, the reason for the Electoral College is that the founders thought that an uneducated and uninterested public could be manipulated into voting for someone that wasn't best for the country.

    And unfortunately, they've been proven right.  It was hard to 'break' the Electoral College system, but technology has managed to do it.

    I do not support a 'winner takes all' election.  It just means the winner would be whoever could inspire more of an already uneducated, uncaring population to get to the polls -- and the best way to do that is with unrelated issues like gay marriage.  We saw that in 2004.  I understand Dems are going to try this in 2006 with minimum wage.  I hope it succeeds.  But it still should not be the basis for a Presidency.

    President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale. -AG

    by Stymnus on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:36:34 PM PST

    •  Hmm, how could the smart and educated (none)
      members of the Electoral College vote for such a .... you know what ... kind of President? Just asking, 'cause I don't see how they have proven us right.

      A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

      by mimi on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:42:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No.. (none)
        I'm speaking of the ignorant, uneducated, uninterested masses.  They voted for someone just like they are.

        They still managed to get Bush elected and re-elected, with a little help from his corporate/media friends.

        President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale. -AG

        by Stymnus on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 05:32:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes.. but that was only half of the issue.. (none)
      you have explained the Electoral College, but not why the Electoral College is calculated including votes for the number of Senators - if it were merely to avoid the unwashed masses they could have done the Electoral College and apportioned votes based on population only.  Obviously the right of the "states" was factored in as well.

      Of course when they capped the number of Reps. they screwed that up by shifting the power away from the population and to the States - and particularly to those states where the Senators' were a bigger portion of a state's electoral votes...

      I don't think the founders intended direct elections on both counts - and I think that the states rights argument is still valid today - but then again this plan doesn't infringe on thost state's rights...

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:22:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm more concerned about the primaries (none)
    I think the real problem is that Iowa and New Hampshire are picking our presidential candidates.

    I want a national primary.  

    As far as this electoral issue goes: if we have another election close enough to the point where this actually matters in the end, the republicans win again. They have rigged the system to tip their way as long as the two candidates are within 5% or so. So it's a moot point for the election.

    RE-elections are another matter entirely. Just imagine if all the president's pork actually went to New York!!!

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:47:31 PM PST

    •  asdf (none)
      Bull.

      Iowa and New Hampshire are not 'picking candidates'.

      The media helped to fuel that falsehood, as well as having a MAJOR role in picking candidates (object to that, not IA and NH!) and the candidates themselves mostly hung in until the next couple of primaries had gone past.  New Hampshire, I should remind you, 'picked' McCain, who went on to cancel his bid for the Presidency in 2000.

      If we have a national primary, then you will have a much smaller field of candidates, as it costs a lot of money to travel through the whole nation, and fundraisers will be far more scattered.  The people who will do best are people who have a lot of money to start with (the rich) or have big Corporate backers (who wants that?)

      Given that a national primary is not likely to happen, any more than a truly national and unified election process, realize that any grouping of states that has their primary first will, as you're putting it, 'picking candidates'.

      How is it any better if Alabama and Kansas 'pick' our candidates?  Do you think Republicans will allow New York and California to 'pick' their candidates?  Small states are cheaper to campaign in until fundraising is in full swing, and big states, though potentially more representative of our country as a whole, are far more expensive propositions.  Any way you slice it, much of America will feel left out.

      The current system allows for people to have primaries whenever they wish to, and it's not a bad thing to have them staggered out.  The so-called 'choosing' that you're complaining about is actually the campaigns themselves deciding to bow out, sometimes with media pressure, deciding that they don't have the backing to continue.  And that has very little to do with specifically how they do in just NH or IA, or whatever states are first in the process.

      President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale. -AG

      by Stymnus on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 05:44:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  maybe... but (none)
        If we have a national primary, then you will have a much smaller field of candidates, as it costs a lot of money to travel through the whole nation, and fundraisers will be far more scattered.  The people who will do best are people who have a lot of money to start with (the rich) or have big Corporate backers (who wants that?)

        That is pretty much the statis quo. If we want to fix that problem, then we need publically funded elections.

        I am not giving up on my conclusion that the primary system, as we currently have it, is screwed up. I don't think it produces the strongest candidates for democrats.

        The media does NOT pick candidates, people vote, or hold caucuses. The media may change people's mind's however, and they may participate in smearing a candidate.

        Republicans are a different story. They already have a national network of chruches and partisan national media outlets to make sure the 'right' candidate (as determined by the experts and lobbyists) gets picked, and the primaries are just fundraising and advertising events.

        You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

        by dnamj on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:39:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I usually want to plug my fingers in my ears (4.00)
    & whisper "go away, go away" whenever the idea of eliminating the electoral college comes up.

    I cant help it. I've become quite expert are giving the rationalization of why the electoral college exists. My retired poli-sci professor of a father made it mantra in my household. Wisdom of the founding fathers, mob rule, did you finish reading that Sinclair Lewis book I gave you, etc, ad nauseum. Dad was a democratic elector here in NC back in Mondale/Ferarro, he was quite proud.

    The current system of elector-pandering has, however, become the antithesis of what was originally envisioned. The "mob", re. easilly influenced, are IN FACT the ones who have elected bush. Those that really think that gay marriage, welfare queens, & Willie Horton were the issue, or at least could be convinced that it was.

    This is not to disparage rural folks. I am the son of rural people. Blue collars that recognized politics & policy that actually served their interest!

    Thanks for the diary. This has been an epiphany.

    •  Interestig thing.. (none)
      is that this proposal doesn't make the electoral college go away - or even take away the right of the states to determine how to apportion EVs.. its merely suggest a different one from the one that we have traditionally used...

      Certainly some will see this as either an attempt or opportunity to end run the Electoral College process.. I think in both cases they are misguided...  Look, who are we to determine how states apportion their votes - its their right Constitutionally...

      I think the larger issue is how much their has been a shift in power from the will of the people - as represented by the HoR and the will of the States - represented by the Senate - over time that has shifted heavily in favor of the Senate (though mostly by stripping away the power of certain groups of individuals on a state by state basis based on non-proportional representation in the HoR) and therefore both legislatively and on an Executive basis (throught the HoR)...

      This is one way to grab some of that power back for the will of the people... and its the states that will give it to them...

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:29:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2 Simple Words: (none)
    President Gore

    I love talking a good idea to death as much as the next liberal.

    And Lord knows there's plenty of things to think about and/or discuss about this plan.

    But all you have to say is: "President Gore", and I'm convinced!

    •  It cuts both ways tho (none)
      Unless I'm very wrong, John Kerry could have carried Ohio and still lost the popular in 2004. Yes I know, it wouldn't have come to Kerry vs. Bush had Gore been elected by the popular. But my point is, I'm not actually sure the electoral college gives a clear structural advantage to the rethugs, as many here seem to assume. Plenty of solidly blue small states up in New England, and all that.

      Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

      by brainwave on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:52:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sen. Bayh made just that point (none)
        The point isn't that the Electoral College system favors one party. It's that it undercuts the very principles of majority rule and equality that are the foundation of a democracy. The party that can embrace those principles and work for them will have a leg up with the American people rather than only saying "hmm.. does this help my party?"
  •  Excellent idea (none)
    While were at it, how about term limits for Congress? We did it for the Presidency. Let's end "Career Congressmen." If a person wants to "serve" her country for decades, there are various ways to do so.
  •  Unintended consequences (none)
    Granted the Electoral College is rather quaint, and has in a few instances led to the election of someone who did not win the popular vote.  Yet, what would happen if we adopted the direct election of the President and Vice President by popular vote? One thing is that the focus of campaigns would be on the population centers.  As matters stand, attention must be paid to smaller, less populated States.  Would it serve our national interest if someone could be elected without considering their issues and needs?  
    •  Have you been to California? (none)
      It has PLENNNNNTY of rural areas -- like the whole central valley.  For people that use your argument, I say "Why does a farmer's vote in Kansas mean more than a farmer's vote in Buttonwillow, California?"

      Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

      by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:55:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is that relevant? (none)
        I'm probably missing something, but as I understand it, the best the election by popular vote would do for the farmers of Buttonwillow is make the vote of the farmers of Kansas equally irrelevant to theirs.  Meaning, I don't think they stand to gain anything. Am I wrong?

        Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

        by brainwave on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:43:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One person-one vote (none)
          The vote of no citizen should count more than another.

          The arguments about an EC being needed to preserve small state balance are largely bunk. Small states DON'T get any attention under the current system because they're almost all heavily one-party dominated. When was the last time any presidential candidate visited Kentucky and when was the last tiem either campaign invested resources in GOTV or campaign activities in a small state?

          Under the current system, the only states that matter are a handful of swing states. In the last election, that was basically:

          1. Florida
          2. Ohio
          3. Pennsylvania
          4. Michigan
          5. Wisconsin
          6. Minnesota
          7. Iowa
          8. New Hampshire
          9. New Mexico
          10. Nevada

          So the entire election came down to a random collection of swing states.

          If anything, a direct popular vote would increase the political participation of a citizen of a small, rural state. A Democratic voter in Utah could canvas fellow Democrats and their votes would count towards the total; under the current system, NEITHER a Republican nor a Democratic voter in Utah would have any role to play whatsoever - they're essentially disenfranchised.

          Also, a national campaign would likely buy national ad campaigns rather than targetting them at swing states. You're right that they probably wouldn't get a campaign visit, but they don't get a campaign stop anyway.

        •  I think I jumped ahead (none)
          a few places in my argument.

          When you first referenced small states, I assumed you meant rural states.  People assume California is chock-full of big cities (which it is) but there are also a large number of rural areas (Bakersfield, Fresno, Shasta, Woodland, Butte, Buttonwillow) -- so when people claim that eliminating the electoral college harms rural states, I say "the vote of the rural folks in California is meaningless, too."

          Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

          by AnthonySF on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:03:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The big unintended consequence.. (none)
      will be that the Western States will have an outsized influence in the election unless we a.) have election hours coordinated across the country, or b.) eliminate exit polling...

      Think about what will happen if one candidate is up big in the AM or early returns in big East Coast states are tight - it will have a real effect on elections in Western states where polls are still open...

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:31:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dear Senator Bayh (none)
    I always liked you in the senate. Please smack some sense into yout fence-sitting offspring for godssake. Now is not a time to be testing hte wind for political advantage. I know he's hos own man, but lean on him, for me.

    Bush is the first President to admit to an impeachable offense. - John Dean

    by easong on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:13:26 PM PST

  •  Unintended consequences (none)
    Anything could happen.  Lets take one simple example.  One candidate wins by 1 vote in 49 states and DC. The other candidate wins by 51 votes in just one state (let's say it was the ever popular Wyoming).  What do you get?

    A president that was elected by ONE state (Wyoming no less)!

    Can't happen???  Anything can happen.

    What if through this whole screwy idea the president is decided by winning only 2, 3, 4, or 5 states???

    What if this keeps on happening???  What "tweaks" will be proposed next???

    All of the horseshit about candidates not coming to states because they are not swing states and the voters being disenfranchised is beyond silly.  Does anyone really think that people decide to vote for a candidate based on whether candidates came to your city or not???  This is crazy thinking.

    If anything this kind of plan would force candidates to spend more time in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, etc. in the later time zones where those votes will make all of the difference in the election because their polls close later and it will be important that they get the maximum number of votes out of each of these states.

    The constitution specifically does not allow for the direct election of President or Vice-president.  And while you can argue that you are not changing the electoral college you are effectively creating a direct election of the president and I am sure that the constitutionality of the legislation in each state that passed it would be challenged on that basis.

    The system has worked for more than 200 years. Just because the last few elections were close and the next few are likely to be close doesn't mean the system needs to be changed at all.

    Sometimes things should be left well enough alone. This is one of them.

    •  Hunh? (none)
      So by your logic, we should never change anything! Forget those constitutional amendments for direct election of Senators, wome's suffrage, African Americans' suffrage, etc, etc.

      But look, it's not just campaign visits and small states. It's not caring AT ALL about what they think. Take this fact: Matthew Dowd, a Bush strategic, said they didn't poll a SINGLE person outside of 18 battlegroudn states. The richest campaign in history didn't waste money on a single national poll. They didn't devote a second to thinking abouat any distinct interests of people in thsoe states, nor nothing on voter mobilization in those states.

      It ain't working, and not just because of close elections today. It just don't work, period.

    •  How is that different than (none)
      one candidate winning the election by 500 votes in FL?

      I disagree that a swing state's role doesn't have both voter and policy implications.. Why do we have a screwy policy on Ethanol - because Iowa will crucify you if you don't and since Iowa is a "swing state" for primaries - its policies get outsized attention...

      Presidential candidates don't make promises to constituents of safe states - they don't have to...  so the interests of those constituents are ignored... Take away the winner take all and the swing states lose power - and farming loses power (which means less subsidies for factory farms) and service workers gain power - which means more likely movement on minimum wage and raitional healthcare...

      Think about it...

      "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

      by mlangner on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:37:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  HOORAY! (none)
    This is LONG overdue and fundamental to having a genuine democracy in the US.

    My jaw always drops when people try to explain how my vote in the "population centers" (i.e. those dirty cities full of darkies and immigrants) shouldn't count as much as the yokels in a cabin in Idaho or West Virginia.  As if the places where people actually WANT to live in America are somehow inferior.  

    Anybody who clings to the "electoral college," or any other anti-democratic vestiges of "states rights," slavery, and racism, ought to look in the mirror and join the Republican Party.  Or at least get out of the party calling itself Democratic.

  •  In addition (none)
    The National Initiative for Democracy will provide Americans with greater power to influence how the government is run.
  •  Hertzberg Got It Right (none)
    In this week's New Yorker Hertzberg wrote an article that pegs the issue perfectly.  It is not only about the discrepancies that occur every other decade between the electoral college and the national popular vote.  More importantly, it is about enagaging the millions of Americans who feel their vote does not count anymore for the most important office in the world.

    Democrats in Texas, Repubs in NYC, and voters everywhere who do not live in swing states should be rejoicing and suppporting this movement.

  •  Speaking of the Illinois Legislation (none)
    The Chicago Sun Times  ran a great editorial in support of the plan being proposed by NPV

    Calls to reform or abolish the Electoral College hit a fever pitch after the 2000 presidential election, when Al Gore won the popular tally but didn't have enough votes in the right states to carry the electoral vote. That call quieted somewhat after the 2004 election, when President Bush won the popular vote but still could have lost the election if John Kerry had won Ohio. Despite interest in reform, nothing has happened, mostly due to the difficulty in amending the Constitution.

    Now a bipartisan commission, whose members include former Rep. John Anderson (R-Ill.) and former Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), has proposed an idea to retain the Electoral College while still ensuring it reflects the will of the majority of voters. The Sun-Times News Group backs the concept and applauds the National Popular Vote group for thinking outside the box.

  •  Voter apathy (none)
    Would be less likely if everyone knew their vote counted.

    I can't tell you how many people I have talked to that said, upon realizing how the Electoral College works, they wouldn't vote for the presidency any more.

    In fact, most of them just gave up on voting entirely in disgust.

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