April 5th, 2007

Land Shark

Abolishing the Electorial College

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I've thought for years the EC should be abolished. It made sense 200 years ago when vote counting took forever, travel was difficult, and communications were poor. Those are no longer issues today. (Well, vote counting can still take a while in close races.)

People complain because Americans don't vote. But when you think about it, it's not hard to see why we don't. I half-joked that the votes I cast last November for governor and Congress were the first votes I had ever cast that actually meant anything. I've always lived in states that were either strongly Republican or Democrat. What difference did it made if Bush won my home state by 200,000 votes or 199,999?

Interesting fact I found while researching the EC...
"In fact, it is possible for a candidate to not get a single person's vote -- not one -- in 39 states or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by wining the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states:

California
New York
Texas
Florida
Pennsylvania
Illinois
Ohio
Michigan
New Jersey
North Carolina
Georgia
Virginia

There are 538 total votes in the Electoral College and a presidential candidate must win a majority -- 270 -- electoral votes to be elected. Since 11 of the 12 states in the chart above account for exactly 270 votes, a candidate could win these states, lose the other 39, and still be elected. Of course, a candidate popular enough to win California or New York will almost certainly win some smaller states, as well. But, when you play with popularity and numbers, anything can happen."

2000 wasn't the first time that someone won the EC without winning the popular vote. It happened in 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes) and 1888 (Benjamin Harrison).
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