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Boot the college?
YEAH 58%  58%  [ 14 ]
NO 38%  38%  [ 9 ]
WHO CARES 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
NEEDS MORE EXPLANATION 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 24
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 Post subject: Electoral College - Should we get rid of it?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:13 am 
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I don't often venture into R&P, but nobody cannot purge themselves completely of intelligent discussion. Not to say all the discussion here is intelligent, but this seems like the only place I know of that I can bring it up.

So, the electoral college. I'm pretty sure it's not needed anymore - sure, it was useful around the time of the birth of the country, but I'm pretty sure enough of the people can make an informed decision without someone else deciding for them. If this is a country of the people, then maybe the people should be able to choose their leader.

I was surprised that I did not find a topic about this. But yeah - discuss.

Edit by Kef: I changed the title slightly so that it matched the question in the poll. Now there should be less confusion.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:17 am 
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I misread the question as "Do we still need an electoral college?" rather than "Boot the college" so I accidentally voted yes.

We still do need it. It's a representative democracy.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:40 am 
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mah bad

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:49 am 
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HipHoppityFrogOfValue wrote:
We still do need it. It's a representative democracy.


What does representative democracy have to do with it? Usually what a representative democracy means is that the representatives do the work on the behalf of the state so that the citizens don't have to. That way, instead of trying to cram the entire population of the country into the congressional building, we get Congress in there instead. But in an election, the citizens are doing the work: they're the ones voting, and the electors make their votes based on their votes. The electors don't even do anything, because there are rigid rules for how they vote based on the results. Who is representing what here? And why is it necessary?

By the way, I changed the topic title to match the poll question to prevent more people from accidentally voting the opposite of what they wanted. Hope you don't mind, Rusty.

- Kef

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:29 am 
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I disagree about informed decisions. People are rarely actually informed anymore--so many of us pass judgment of politicians and political issues on soundbytes and media hype, as well as the input of our own trusted friends. In this Age of Information, it feels like we're less and less informed about things that really matter and make a difference. We cast up Hollywood celebrities and porn stars and gaming gurus and major league athletes as if they were the quintessential movers and shakers, as if they were the ones who struggle day in and day out to change our country, our species, and our planet for the better.

Consider this: the Pulitzer Prize winner of each year gets $3,000 and a medal; the Playboy Bunny of the Year gets $100,000 and a sports car. Simon Cowell gets paid $150,000,000 a year just for his TV appearances alone--this doesn't include all the money he makes from his various recording studios and everything else; the average public school teacher's annual salary is only roughly $46,000.

We obviously place a higher importance on being entertained than on being knowledgeably informed, despite the fact that we have, over all, a MUCH better and easier opportunity to learn as much as we can in this day and age than the Average Joe had back in the mid-1700s. I think until we as a society can grow up enough to start showing the proper respect for knowledge in both theory and practice, then the electoral college needs to stay in place.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:39 am 
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But the electoral college doesn't do anything about that at all. Not in the slightest. The electors have no discretion whatsoever. In most states, the system basically works like this: if the majority of the districts vote for a particular candidate, then all the electoral votes go to that candidate. That's it. There's no decision-making at all. All they do is skew the votes, and they don't even skew them towards the smarter and more well-informed people. They just skew them towards the states with a higher population -- and those states pull more than enough weight without needing help from the electoral college.

Let's also not forget that politicians can manipulate district lines in order to influence future elections, which only skews things further. Such nonsense would be pointless if we simply elected the President based on the popular vote.

I sympathize with your cause, PianoMan, but I don't see what the electoral college -- at least, the way it is now -- has to do with it.

- Kef

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:23 pm 
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Yeah, they need to go, or at least be changed. Considering Al Gore actually won the people's vote for president, but we got Bush because of the electoral colleges.(I'm not just saying because it was Bush, I just think it's dumb that somebody won with the people, but didn't end up actually getting elected)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:54 pm 
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The Electoral College is an outdated piece of crap. It just keeps people from actually electing their leaders directly.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:02 am 
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I think it should be removed, if and only if, there was a more strict policy for voting. I really dont think idiots have any place voting. I think each voter should be given a written test. I dont think it should be hard, it should just be hard enough to weed out the idiots and the misinformed.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:50 am 
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They used to have those... but they were purposely rigged against blacks. No possibility those would ever come back, since it would undermine minorities' confidence in the voting process.

furrykef wrote:
All they do is skew the votes, and they don't even skew them towards the smarter and more well-informed people. They just skew them towards the states with a higher population -- and those states pull more than enough weight without needing help from the electoral college.

It skews the votes toward the states with a lower population. The 3 Wyoming electors, for instance, make up a bigger percentage (0.6%) of the total electoral college than the percentage of Americans that are Wyoming...ians (0.1%). But that's still just as arbitrary and does nothing to correct for lack of education. Also, electors do have discretion, but they never use it and those that do ruin their political careers (they're usually local party politicians). There are laws in some states that punish electors for straying, but if they did decide to vote for someone else, their "faithless" vote would still count as far as electing the president is concerned. kipedia

The electrical college just adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to the whole thing. It probably grew out of the way the colonies got together to do stuff, which doesn't at all reflect today's realities. Straight up popular vote wouldn't give any better results, since we're still dealing with the two candidates that happen to get spit out of the equally strange primary process, but that's a different problem.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:15 am 
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Inverse Tiger wrote:
They used to have those... but they were purposely rigged against blacks. No possibility those would ever come back, since it would undermine minorities' confidence in the voting process.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

But I seriously dont think it is fair that the vote should be rocked so hard by people who might not even know who the vice president is.

But the old tests were ridiculous. I think I remember hearing accounts of some of them being "Guess how many jellybeans are in the jar" contests.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:23 am 
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Inverse Tiger wrote:
They used to have those... but they were purposely rigged against blacks. No possibility those would ever come back, since it would undermine minorities' confidence in the voting process.

You could bring them back.
You could make them about basic things an eligible voter should know. Basic intelligence is not a racial quality.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:28 am 
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Inverse Tiger wrote:
It skews the votes toward the states with a lower population. The 3 Wyoming electors, for instance, make up a bigger percentage (0.6%) of the total electoral college than the percentage of Americans that are Wyoming...ians (0.1%).


Mm, I don't think so. You may be right about that, but uou can easily end up with a situation where 49% of the people in California vote for a candidate, but all of California's electoral votes will go to that candidate if that candidate still won more districts due to the way the district lines were drawn. Instead of a candidate winning less than half of the state of California, he'll win the entire state, and all those extra electoral votes that result can easily dwarf the extra representation that states like Wyoming get.

- Kef

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:39 am 
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I wonder how the College would change if candidates won in different districts instead of states. That would shrink the number of electors by a hundred (since the current number is Representatives + Senators), and unless one state was overwhelmingly for one candidate, no one could really carry a whole state.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:42 am 
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Kef wrote:
[why it favors large states]

Ah ok.

StrongRad wrote:
You could bring them back.
You could make them about basic things an eligible voter should know. Basic intelligence is not a racial quality.

Not saying they couldn't be about legitimate things. But the enormous emotional baggage of a voter tests would never allow it no matter how fair they actually were.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:54 am 
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bwave wrote:
But the old tests were ridiculous. I think I remember hearing accounts of some of them being "Guess how many jellybeans are in the jar" contests.


Worse than that, even. More like "How many bubbles will 1 bar of soap produce?" and literacy tests written in Chinese.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:49 am 
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bwave wrote:
I think it should be removed, if and only if, there was a more strict policy for voting. I really dont think idiots have any place voting. I think each voter should be given a written test. I dont think it should be hard, it should just be hard enough to weed out the idiots and the misinformed.


+1

Best thing I've heard in a while.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:18 pm 
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If they're gonna do it, they need to do it all at once, and not piecemeal like the individual states are doing it right now. Some states split their electoral votes based on the percentage of votes. California is voting on such a proposition now. I think it's a terrible idea because it emasculates those states. No candidate will even care about campaigning there in the future, because even in the most biased states, you'll be splitting the votes 12-15 or something. Who cares about 3 votes?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:08 pm 
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Dewy wrote:
+1

Best thing I've heard in a while.
Rule 3d, Dewy. If you don't have something to contribute positively to the thread other than what's basically an "I agree", don't post.

I think what should also be fixed is the actual casting system. A bunch of computer voting systems had problems in the last couple elections, and we know how bad the chad system in Florida worked. We need more easily readable ballots, and in English, too. If you're going to be a citizen of this country, which includes voting, learn the language.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:16 pm 
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racerx_is_alive wrote:
If they're gonna do it, they need to do it all at once, and not piecemeal like the individual states are doing it right now. Some states split their electoral votes based on the percentage of votes. California is voting on such a proposition now.


This post by D.C. Simpson has something interesting to say on that proposal. And I think he's absolutely right: this smacks of political maneuvering. There's no way that, should the proposal succeed, the result will do anything but give a bunch of electoral votes to the Republicans. What's sad is that the people voting on this proposal might not do the right thing. If the voter is a Democrat, they might not realize how much it screws them; if the voter is a Republican, they might vote "yes" because they want a Republican president, never mind that doing it that way is unethical and that they would cry foul if the Democrats did the same to them.

This is another example of how the current Electoral College system is fundamentally broken. This sort of maneuvering shouldn't even be possible.

Quote:
I think it's a terrible idea because it emasculates those states. No candidate will even care about campaigning there in the future, because even in the most biased states, you'll be splitting the votes 12-15 or something. Who cares about 3 votes?


By that logic, why campaign anywhere?

- Kef

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:22 pm 
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kef, I read that article you linked to, and I think that it said exactly what I said. It either needs to be changed everywhere, or nowhere. If they change it in just California, California loses political power. If they change it everywhere, every state is on even ground in political power. It needs to be either a winner takes all everywhere, or split up by votes everywhere. Maybe I'm not phrasing it as accurately as the article you linked to, but our arguments are identical.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:16 am 
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Nap. If people like someone more than someone else, then he/she should become president. Simple.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:26 pm 
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I honestly don't see the purpose of it.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:06 pm 
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StrongRad wrote:
Inverse Tiger wrote:
They used to have those... but they were purposely rigged against blacks. No possibility those would ever come back, since it would undermine minorities' confidence in the voting process.

You could bring them back.
You could make them about basic things an eligible voter should know. Basic intelligence is not a racial quality.


Yes. Very yes.

I think the electoral college shouldn't go, but be altered for today's society. Like, every million votes towards a candidate counts as one In the college. If the results are too close to call, then make it half a million or even 100,000. As so long as the people know who they are voting for, then things should go smoothly.

Then again, this country is basically Murphy's Law when it comes to politics. :p

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:39 am 
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On one hand, the electoral college is there to insure that states have some say in the running of the federal government. But let's face it: states these days do not function as separate individual sovereignties, but as regions or subsidiaries of the federal government. As such, the electoral college doesn't really represent the needs of the individual states nearly as much as they did, say, prior to the Civil War.

I do think that the electoral college needs to be reformed. As it is, district realignment (aka Gerrymandering) and other manipulation practices make the electoral system too subject to corruption. At the same time, a lack of standards regarding the distribution of electoral votes across the states also complicate things. (Some states grant all electoral votes to the victors, whereas some distribute them according to percentages of votes).

My own opinion is that states should begin distributing their electoral votes according to percentages. But I also feel that this practice is only going to be effective is all states do it exactly the same way. Any state that grants all votes to a single victor would skew the process unfairly, while those that distribute them would lose a great deal of their power. In short, all states need to do things the same way, rather than some one way and some the other.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:50 am 
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Didymus wrote:
My own opinion is that states should begin distributing their electoral votes according to percentages. But I also feel that this practice is only going to be effective is all states do it exactly the same way. Any state that grants all votes to a single victor would skew the process unfairly, while those that distribute them would lose a great deal of their power. In short, all states need to do things the same way, rather than some one way and some the other.


I especially agree with this part.

I think that our country should be moving away from treating states as separate entities and more as just regions. Obviously, it will always be necessary to have state-level government, since the needs of people in Kentucky won't be the same as those in New York. But as it stands currently, state government doesn't do much aside from complicate matters.


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