Popular vote vs electoral vote (1 Viewer)

Popular vote vs electoral college

  • Keep the electoral college

    Votes: 43 51.8%
  • Change to popular vote

    Votes: 40 48.2%

  • Total voters
    83

st dude

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If you are voting for Trump and live in California, its probably a wasted vote. I suspect many Trump supporters in California will not waste their time. If you are voting for Clinton and live in Louisiana, its probably a wasted vote. Trump will win Louisiana, your vote will not count.

This forum poll inquires as to whether we want a popular vote or electoral vote. My expectation is the poll will favor the popular vote by a considerable margin and that most voters feel that way. I think most people would like to know their vote counts, no matter which way the state goes. This goes for democrats and republicans, maybe one of the few things they might agree on.

My question is if most Americans prefer a popular vote, how has the electoral college survived so long?

I am including a link to one site that purports to list the advantages and disadvantages of both systems, and another to some site advocating the popular vote. I personally am not persuaded by the advantages of the electoral college. Part of the support for the electoral college seems to be that its the way its always been done, why change it.

What I do not understand is that if most people want the popular vote (maybe this poll shows me wrong on that), then why don't we have it?

The Electoral College - Pros and Cons

National Popular Vote
 
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CountWhoDat

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Good (and timely) thread.

From your link:

Indeed, it is principally because of the Electoral College that presidential nominees are inclined to select vice presidential running mates from a region other than their own. For as things stand now, no one region contains the absolute majority (270) of electoral votes required to elect a president. Thus, there is an incentive for presidential candidates to pull together coalitions of States and regions rather than to exacerbate regional differences.
So it incentivizes filling the seat one step from the presidency with not the most qualified or even popular candidate, but the one who can curry some favor with a region of the country where a candidate is unsure of their footing? I don't think this is a positive.

Direct election of senators, in this country's history, is a relatively recent development. What the electoral college does in the modern U.S. is diminish the influence of large urban areas in favor of rural ones. It raises the unnecessary specter of an election being decided by the House of Representatives or even SCOTUS (not that this would ever happen!)

It shouldn't be that difficult to remember that we have had an actual election in this century in which the popular vote winner did not win the election. The reasons why are still in dispute, but without the electoral college, all of the post-election ******* would not have been a consideration. We've already paid a hell of a price for this system.
 

superchuck500

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I hate the idea of popular vote. The republic is too big with too many varying interests. I think the electoral vote was well conceived to prevent the dominance of a concentrated majority and it would be foolish to go to a popular vote. We are indeed a republic - not a singular state. The electoral college reflects the balance of interests better than any other method that I know of.
 
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st dude

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I hate the idea of popular vote. The republic is too big with too many varying interests. I think the electoral vote was well conceived to prevent the dominance of a concentrated majority and it would be foolish to go to a popular vote. We are indeed a republic - not a singular state. The electoral college reflects the balance of interests better than any other method that I know of.
That's an interesting take. I am not sure what you mean by "concentrated majority". What prompted this thread for me is I know my vote in La will not count and think it should.

Let me counter your argument with this. It almost never happens that the person without the popular vote wins, twice in history I think. So your concerns that the popular vote will not reflect the balance of interests has not been much of a factor at all.

To the extent it has been, that could be balanced against the frustration so many Americans feel in solid blue or solid red states where they know going to the polls their votes will not count unless they are with the majority in that state.

For me, I think the importance in knowing each and every person's vote counts outweighs the concerns you express. The electoral college system rarely changes the outcome from the popular vote, but often confuses voters and frustrates those whose votes will not count.
 

superchuck500

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That's an interesting take. I am not sure what you mean by "concentrated majority". What prompted this thread for me is I know my vote in La will not count and think it should.

Let me counter your argument with this. It almost never happens that the person without the popular vote wins, twice in history I think. So your concerns that the popular vote will not reflect the balance of interests has not been much of a factor at all.

To the extent it has been, that could be balanced against the frustration so many Americans feel in solid blue or solid red states where they know going to the polls their votes will not count unless they are with the majority in that state.

For me, I think the importance in knowing each and every person's vote counts outweighs the concerns you express. The electoral college system rarely changes the outcome from the popular vote, but often confuses voters and frustrates those whose votes will not count.
It may not often change the result of elections, but I don't think that's the correct context if you consider the purpose of the electoral college system. The founders believed that the electoral college system required candidates to campaign to full range of national interests - and to campaign locally means to understand the issues that are important to that region and the interests that they have in resolving them.

A popular-vote system would mean that a candidate could take an urban strategy or some other strategy based on numbers that effectively neglects those interests that aren't included in the calculus. I think this is particularly important now as we are in a transition from a rural and semi-rural society to an urban one. Only recently did more Americans live in cities than not.

And demographically, it cannot be denied that urban centers are different than the rest of the country. They are more diverse, typically more progressive, and not interested in rural issues such as agriculture, lines of interstate transportation, etc. I think the electoral system better situates the election and how candidates have to treat full range of issues.

I don't think the proof is in the result as much as it is in the approach.
 

Galbreath34

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If you ditch the electoral vote we should also ditch local state based races for Senate and House. It should just be top 535 result getters nationwide. No reason to confuse things with state interests, just get the top legislators as chosen by the nation as a whole in one big election.
 

Jeff

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I would like to see the electoral system tweaked to allow the "votes" to be split in some for or fashion in the case of a tight vote. A couple of states already practice this so I'm fairly certain that change could be made at the state level. I think it should be applied across the board. It makes little sense that larger states, such as California, Texas, or New York, are pretty much all or nothing. This change would allow for a closer representation to the popular vote while keeping the larger states and urban centers from completely swallowing the little state and rural areas whole.
 

coldseat

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It may not often change the result of elections, but I don't think that's the correct context if you consider the purpose of the electoral college system. The founders believed that the electoral college system required candidates to campaign to full range of national interests - and to campaign locally means to understand the issues that are important to that region and the interests that they have in resolving them.

A popular-vote system would mean that a candidate could take an urban strategy or some other strategy based on numbers that effectively neglects those interests that aren't included in the calculus. I think this is particularly important now as we are in a transition from a rural and semi-rural society to an urban one. Only recently did more Americans live in cities than not.

And demographically, it cannot be denied that urban centers are different than the rest of the country. They are more diverse, typically more progressive, and not interested in rural issues such as agriculture, lines of interstate transportation, etc. I think the electoral system better situates the election and how candidates have to treat full range of issues.

I don't think the proof is in the result as much as it is in the approach.
I don't agree so much. The candidates are already ignoring huge parts of the county. In fact, they ignore the majority of the country. They only care about the swing states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina. That's it!

I don't see how the electoral college is helping with what you're saying it does. All I see is doing is disenfranchising voters such as myself who live in a state that's as red as Superman's lasers coming out of his eyes (or blue). It makes no difference what or how I vote. This state is going for Trump.

I think it might help in freeing candidates up to borden their approach and not be so focused on just 3 states.
 

coldseat

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If you ditch the electoral vote we should also ditch local state based races for Senate and House. It should just be top 535 result getters nationwide. No reason to confuse things with state interests, just get the top legislators as chosen by the nation as a whole in one big election.
That's a bad idea. Senators and Representatives need to have some relation/tether to the areas they represent. The citizenry need to have access to their representatives in Congress.
 

Consiglieri

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In 1787 there was a good reason for an electoral college. Not now. The only reason we have it is that there are too many "deciders" with a vested interest in their ability to game the current system. And the deciders will remain in power as long as they can manipulate folks talking about "black helicopters," "no blood for oil," and "dominance of concentrated majority" (whatever that means).
 
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If you ditch the electoral vote we should also ditch local state based races for Senate and House. It should just be top 535 result getters nationwide. No reason to confuse things with state interests, just get the top legislators as chosen by the nation as a whole in one big election.
Okay, that's not really the same thing at all. You know that, right? Senators and representatives are elected to represent the interest of their state in Congress. I have no standing to vote on legislators from other states.

Presidents are elected in a national election. Everyone should have a vote on that. I know there are arguments for the electoral college, some with merit. This doesn't seem to be one.
 

Galbreath34

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That's a bad idea. Senators and Representatives need to have some relation/tether to the areas they represent. The citizenry need to have access to their representatives in Congress.
That's the same reason for the EC. The national election should be responsive to different regions it represents, not just a glossy winner take all from the entire basket.

Okay, that's not really the same thing at all. You know that, right? Senators and representatives are elected to represent the interest of their state in Congress. I have no standing to vote on legislators from other states.

Presidents are elected in a national election. Everyone should have a vote on that. I know there are arguments for the electoral college, some with merit. This doesn't seem to be one.
It really is EXACTLY 100% the same thing. It takes away the importance of each state getting their own interests to have some kind of proportional voice in the presidential election that isn't just swallowed up by national majority and raw numbers.

If you believe states deserve local representation and proportional control over how much, not purely population in the legislature, then you should understand that the EC is the way that that is applied to determining the executive without broad national coalitions from a handful of populous states just running Kansas or New Hampshire out of relevance. It's what makes it a Federal system.
 

Alan

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Here is the thing. When the majority vote is actually educated in regards to the fork in the road then they will choose the correct path. When the majority vote is "convinced" by a slanted viewpoint then I will lay every bit of my "cred" out there to say open your eyes. Why? Convince starts with a con.

I started with ranting against left vs right and holding that viewpoint as gospel. I pointed out that the central viewpoint is more important than either side. I used esoteric references, I used hidden lessons of life, and i used history as a guide.

I angered people so they would have enough energy to get off their central point of acceptance to the point that some folks actually went looking for themselves to prove me wrong. Love me or hate me, I am always going to say what I see from someone who has way more time on their hands to reach into every rabbit hole to find the truth.
 

Saint_Ward

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The purpose of the electoral college is to make sure heavily populated areas/states don't dominate the election.

The electoral college allows the overall result of a smaller state to matter more. i.e. Wyoming is 0.18% of the US population (they have just under 600k people in the whole state). They have 3 electoral votes, out of the total 538, which is 0.56%. So, they have approx triple the voting power as a whole, compared to their population. California, by contrast has 12.1% of the population, but only 10.2% of the electoral votes.. so their votes count a little less.

Our country is weighs state's rights heavily, so they try to keep the sparsely populated states with proportionally with more power than their population would suggest. Same for the number of Senators, so they get an equal voice in the Senate.
 

Saint_Ward

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Now, Maine and Nebraska don't use a winner take all stance on the electoral votes. They go by Congressional district, and then statewide for the two votes that apply to the senators. So, if Louisiana decided to do that, anyone in New Orleans who tends to vote "blue" might actually count more, because those congressional districts would likely vote that way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)

Although it is possible for an Elector to cast his or her vote for someone other than for the popular vote winner in their state, this is quite rare in modern times. As a result, Electoral Votes for a state tend to be "all or nothing".

Maine and Nebraska have taken a slightly different approach in recent years. These states allocate two Electoral Votes to the popular vote winner, and then one each to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district (2 in Maine, 3 in Nebraska) in their state. This creates multiple popular vote contests in these states, which could lead to a split Electoral Vote.

The popular vote winner of a state must win* at least one of the districts. That is why (in our website and App maps) you cannot assign all the district Electoral Votes to the losing party in the state. Note that since these rules were adapted, Maine has never split its Electoral Votes. However, in 2008, Nebraska did for the first time, as Barack Obama won the 2nd Congressional District (Omaha and its suburbs), gaining a Democratic Electoral Vote in Nebraska for the first time since 1964.
Split Electoral Votes in Maine and Nebraska

State legislatures decide.

However, the amount of gerrymandering would absolutely need to be fixed across the country if that were to happen. Right now the tilt would be heavily towards Republicans too. So, a blue vote in a red state may count more, but overall red would take over. Not because of population though, but because how the lines are drawn.
 

Alan

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The purpose of the electoral college is to make sure heavily populated areas/states don't dominate the election.

The electoral college allows the overall result of a smaller state to matter more. i.e. Wyoming is 0.18% of the US population (they have just under 600k people in the whole state). They have 3 electoral votes, out of the total 538, which is 0.56%. So, they have approx triple the voting power as a whole, compared to their population. California, by contrast has 12.1% of the population, but only 10.2% of the electoral votes.. so their votes count a little less.

Our country is weighs state's rights heavily, so they try to keep the sparsely populated states with proportionally with more power than their population would suggest. Same for the number of Senators, so they get an equal voice in the Senate.
I do not disagree with your viewpoint.
I disagree with the ability of the system to "leverage" those seemingly innocuous "votes" to turn an election due to ....math says so...
 

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