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1088 comments

One way to get more registered voters (4, Interesting)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826961)

If the popular vote truly counted, that would be a very compelling reason to register and/or go out and vote.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827203)

Voting requires registering, which is just more new world order crap. Not thanks.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827223)

If the popular vote truly counted, that would be a very compelling reason to register and/or go out and vote.

The popular vote counts on a State by State basis, not on a national one.

The electoral college makes sense when you consider that the States are supposed to be semi-independant.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827371)

The electoral college was put in place so that there would be a check on the power of the uneducated masses...Originally the EC didn't have to vote with the state!

Winner take-all-vote distribution is disgusting. If I live in a state that goes 49% for party X, and 51% for party Y, you can't even argue that giving 100% of our states votes to party Y makes the least bit of sense.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (1, Flamebait)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827393)

And that the states each use different voting machine setups, each with their own error rates.

And the sheer logistics of trying to do a "national" recount - look at the amount of vote fraud pulled by the Franken camp in Minnesota [wsj.com] - 25 counties that now show more votes than voters, selective recounting of Dem-heavy districts, fraud trying to "certify" the election even while significant challenges existed and some counties hadn't even finished their processes yet... now imagine trying to nationally recount the "national popular vote" while dealing with the fact that every state (and in some states, even different counties) have different counting standards, different voting machinery with higher or lower error rates...

Great way to get LESS registered voters (-1, Troll)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827247)

Well, one thing I can assure you is that your vote will NOT count in Iowa, should this bill pass into law. The Iowa tally is disregarded in favor of the wishes of voters elsewhere. How could this possibly be seen as a good idea other than freeing national campaigns to drop all pretenses of concern and thoroughly ignore Iowans next time around and merely focus on the "wants" (welfare/handouts/bailouts/bribes/etc) of the big population centers?

Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul. This bill provides a neat mechanism for getting Peter's support, too.

I am baffled why anyone other than those in the aforementioned population centers would support it.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (1)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827297)

So if you were from Iowa and Iowa's popular vote was different from the national popular vote, your vote counts even less. How would this make someone from Iowa, or any state adopting this, feel like their vote counts more?

If this is where we are heading, we may as well drop the whole State charade as it's just one more layer of bureaucracy when all the real power is being consolidated in the Federal government.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (2, Insightful)

EatHam (597465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827301)

I agree. And as a New Yorker, and therefore a resident of one of the two states which will receive any attention, I am all for this plan.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827317)

It would also be a compelling reason for candidates to NOT visit Iowa any more. Thus turning a battle ground state into foot note after the election. Also potentially disengaging voters from that state and leading to lower interest and turnout.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (4, Insightful)

rho (6063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827325)

You're making the--quite absurd--assumption that people are not voting because of the Electoral College.

You could drop a daisy-cutter on Chicago and probably not kill anybody who knows what the Electoral College is, much less why it's there.

People don't vote because people are generally lazy and apathetic about things outside their immediate sphere of reference. Which is not to say that they don't have opinions about things outside their sphere--they just don't do anything about those opinions.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827343)

The real reason to do this is to fix a flaw in the Constitution. The founders (perhaps for pragmatic reasons--no public education at the time) considered "common" people to be too dumb to vote. They decided only free, land-owning males have enough education or intelligence to make such an important decision.

Furthermore, they considered even these people to be easily fooled, and put in the electoral college so that the few political elites could override the peoples' vote if the people screwed up.

We now have public education and mass media. Anyone who feels so inclined can now be as politically inclined as the electoral college. Let's get rid of this relic of an unjust time.

Re:One way to get more registered voters (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827419)

Whatever. Iowa can pass this law but ultimately when an Elector casts his/her ballot, they can vote however they want. At least that would be the case with me. I would choose the best man, not the one who won the beauty contest. I'd vote my conscience.

Also, having a popular vote for U.S. President makes no more sense than having a popular vote for the EU President. In both cases the purpose of the presiding leader is to represent the States and execute the laws in a balanced fashion, so that the low-population states (like Wyoming or Greece) do not get ignored. This is one of the flaws with the Canadian Confederation where the Ottawa leader favors the east coast, and ignores the midwest citizens.

Before we tag this as a bad idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826965)

Isn't this kind of what the framers had in mind? When issues like these come up, let the states decide how they want to run things.

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827017)

Not for Federal matters.

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827021)

Actually I think this is a fantastic idea.

The Electoral College was created because communication was so poor. There was no practical way for farmers out in the middle of no where to know all the details of the candidates. So since we are a Representative democracy, they created representatives.

Now people have access to all the information they just decide to ignore it...

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827227)

The Electoral College was created because communication was so poor.

No, the electoral college exists because the Founding Fathers(tm) understood that most people count as complete and total idiots, and that idiots of a given bias will tend to group together.

Take the Fundies as a good example - They vote, and they all vote the same way. If you counted the popular vote, they would have considerably more influence than they do now; Instead, by lumping together in a handful of states, you end up with the winner of those states getting a good 70-90% of the vote, but that does their actual candidate no better than winning a mere 51% of the vote.

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (3, Interesting)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827309)

Read the federalist papers.

The founding fathers questioned the education level NOT the intelligence of the people.

Education for elections is 100% based on communication. When it takes 6 months for a message to get from one side of the country to another you can't expect people to really know what is going on.

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827315)

direct democracry eventually leads to a tyranny of the majority. We see that today in the class warfare (according to the "stimulus" bill, a $70k salary is now rich), EIC (receiving a tax refund despite paying no taxes), earmarks, pork, and the intergenerational theft that is deficit spending. Prior to the 17th amendment, Senators were not elected directly (which involves its own set of problems, cf Blagojagowhatever). Not being beholden to voters should, in theory, let them make difficult choices and say "NO", duties since abrogated.

Re:Before we tag this as a bad idea... (2, Informative)

Jhon (241832) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827295)

Sort of. It's not what they had in mind for the election of an executive. The executive was to be elected by the individual states (with electoral votes weighted by state population). This would prevent the larger, more populus states effectivly removing any executive representation from the smaller states.

Similarly, Senators were to be appointed by states, not by popular vote -- so they represented the whole states intererst, with 6 years in office without worry that a single vote or three could effectivly remove them from office next "election", and essentially avoid populist influence on a Senator. Until the passage of the 17th ammendment, there were some states that elected senators similar to how we do it today (the constitution allowed for that)...

Personally, I think democracy (as it's being practiced in the US) is going to cause our country to flounder. We need to remember that the US is a republic (founded on democratic principles) for a reason. It's a shame that so few people actually have read not only the constitution, but the Federalist papers -- or Madison's account of the constitutional convention. If they had, we'd see a lot less of those "that's what our founders had in mind" statements (not that yours is totally off base).

A good laymans book on the Constitution is Constitutional Journal by Jeff St. John. Basically, it's an account of Constitutional Convention in 1787, as written by a daily newspaper journalist of the period. Entertaining and enlightening.

Finally! (4, Funny)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826975)

Finally us white aristocratic land owners won't be the only ones electing the president!

That sucks. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827115)

Finally us white aristocratic land owners won't be the only ones electing the president!

Um, can you explain how that's a good thing if you are white?

Re:That sucks. (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827171)

That one certainly went over your head now didn't it...

Re:That sucks. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827331)

I was kinda making a joke back.

Re:That sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827197)

Because other cultures/races have a valid and useful part to play in our society. Racist.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

cshotton (46965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827277)

Finally us white aristocratic land owners won't be the only ones electing the president!

Nope, what it means now is that California, New York, Florida, and Texas will pick our president. I am sorry, but if my state votes overwhelmingly for the losing candidate and its electoral votes get cast for the other candidate because they won the popular vote, explain to me how democracy was served?

People who think the Electoral College is bad have to be ignorant of the consequences of doing away with it. What it means is that candidates for national office will only campaign in a handful of states that will guarantee a popular majority. No one will ever again campaign in New England, the Midwest, or much of the South. So by doing away with electoral votes and tying them to the popular vote, you are potentially disenfranchising a huge number of states and their citizens from any meaningful participation in national elections.

Is that what you want?

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827367)

That is the current system. Look at the Swing states. They get many times the attention of other states.

The new system means that California takes YOUR vote into account when it delegates its electoral college votes.

Right now California only looks at it's citizens for the electoral college.

Under the new system California looks at California Citizens AND Wyoming citizens AND Texas citizens.

The new system means that one person is no more important than anyone else.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827369)

Because if candidate A gets 15 votes and candidate B gets 12 then who should be president? I know in recent elections with this scenario candidate B won, so you tell me exactly how democracy was served.

Wow... (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826981)

I didn't think they would ever get rid of the electoral college during my lifetime, I'd be very impressed if it actually happens.

Re:Wow... (1)

teh g00se (1467307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827063)

I didn't think they would ever get rid of the electoral college during my lifetime, I'd be very impressed if it actually happens.

So will I. But I don't think it will. This is just a way to bind the electors, not to abolish the college. It's a good idea, but I see the Supreme Court stepping in at some point.

Re:Wow... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827083)

It's a good idea, but I see the Supreme Court stepping in at some point.

On what grounds?

Re:Wow... (3, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827161)

On what grounds?

Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution. Any interstate compact needs congressional approval.

Re:Wow... (1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827163)

Iowa's basically getting set to disenfranchise an entire state of voters.

They might as well go back to letting the state senate elect the federal senators.

Of course sending electors to the college based on popular vote within the state would make far too much sense.

Re:Wow... (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827093)

Don't hold your breath. On the one hand, I think that this is an excellent solution to the broken electoral college system, which hasn't really made sense since the revolution of the telegraph.

Getting enough states, however, to "adopt similar resolutions" will take forever. Each state government will have it's own spin, and then they'll stop playing nice...Sigh, politics.

Re:Wow... (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827225)

22 states have already signed on. Check out http://nationalpopularvote.com/ [nationalpopularvote.com]

Re:Wow... (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827249)

Whoops, I read that wrong. 22 state legislative chambers... not at all the same as 22 states.

Headline wrong (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827013)

Uh, sending all their votes for a single candidate is the OPPOSITE of removing the electoral college. It makes much more sense to award them proportionally if your goal is to mitigate the problem of its existence. The fact that you can win some states and avoid others is what makes it a problem in the first place - the electoral college is basically a system for ignoring the needs of most of the nation based on geographical boundaries, and as far as I can tell was designed to make it easy to game the system. Only FOUR times in history (IIRC) has the EC actually ever overridden the popular vote. One of those times was GWB (well, the counted popular vote, which is known to have been intentionally gamed, but let's put that aside for now.) If the other times the electoral college actually had an effect were like this time, then it is pure evil and must actually be destroyed.

It's long past time for a constitutional amendment abolishing the electoral college. Let's decide to be a democracy.

Re:Headline wrong (4, Informative)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827073)

Read the article....

The votes go to the winner of the NATIONAL popular election.

Once 270 votes worth of state agree then a vote in Florida of Ohio will be worth just as much as a vote in Texas or California.

By doing this, the winner of the national popular vote will always win. By distributing the electoral votes along the popular vote of the individual states you still have the potential of a 2000 result. PLUS you still have thoes purple swing states.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

ForrestFire439 (1458475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827127)

Okay. Makes sense now... I misread the summary. Thanks.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827259)

Read the article....

I have to read the article? That's it, I'm finding another fucking forum.

Anyway, egg on face: I am the bigger idiot, although the sentence was convoluted. I am going to go make coffee.

Re:Headline wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827397)

Of course, until anyone else actually does this, all they're doing is disenfranchising their own voters. Way to go.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

ForrestFire439 (1458475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827101)

I agree. This is stupid. This means if someone gets 51% of the votes in Iowa they get 100% of the electoral votes. How is that any more fair than the system as it stands? All it does is give Iowa more swing in the election (until the other states implement this, then we're back to square 1).

Re:Headline wrong (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827239)

No.

It means if someone gets 51% of the votes in the country, regardless of what the votes in Iowa are, and only if every other state adopts this change, they get 100% of the electoral votes.

If every other state adopts this change, then the electoral college is effectively completely worked around - all votes will be for the candidate that wins the popular vote.

If any states don't adopt this change, then Iowa won't adopt it either.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827287)

It's actually worse then that, if a candidate gets 81% of the votes in Iowa but the other candidate wins the popular election with 51% of the vote, Iowa disregards what the people of their state thinks and votes for the other guy.

If they were to do anything, they should award electoral votes based around the percentage of votes within the states. The electoral system was designed to make sure smaller states still had some say and so candidates couldn't just concentrate on largely populated areas. The System Iowa is purposing suggests that not only are they fine with ignoring the will of their citizens but they are willing to be neglected by candidates who concentrate on more populated areas. Most higher populated areas have more electoral votes but each vote carries a larger percentage of their population. California, the east coast cities, and probably florida can be enough to get the popular vote and those other states will not only be ignored but be happy to give their only chance at forcing a candidate to pay attention to them away in the process.

Re:Headline wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827113)

No, it was designed to prevent the most populous states from having most of the election power. Keep in mind when it was created the legislatures chose the electors without a popular vote.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827125)

The headline is correct.

The point is that the electoral college would vote according to the national popular vote, as opposed to the individual state votes, thereby making itself irrelevant and finally making 1 person 1 vote a reality. (Presidential elections are by their nature "first past the post", so proportional representation wouldn't make any difference)

Re:Headline wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827135)

Do the math.
If 270 electoral votes are awarded based on the NATIONAL popular vote, then the president would be the one with the most national votes. All 270 votes would be going to same person, as opposed to the current situation where states typically use their state's popular vote as the criteria. In other words, it would be as if the electoral college didn't exist. This IS the same result as removing the electoral college.

Re:Headline wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827145)

Hell no. As my old poli sci prof put it "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner".

We are not, and should not be, a democracy. We are a constitutional republic. The founders did that very deliberately to make sure that the minority (however defined) could not be trampled by the majority.

Tne founders had a great (and valid) distrust of pure democracy, as well as a great distrust of an overpowerful government.

Sadly, their goal of small sane government has been swept away. But for now we have a constitution that protects the minority.

And no matter what they taught you in school, we are not a democracy. Never have been. I vaguely recall something about "...and to the Republic for which it stands..."

Re:Headline wrong (1)

Newander (255463) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827201)

No, this measure would have the result of removing the electoral college for two important reasons. It uses the national popular vote totals to allocate the state's electoral votes, and it includes a trigger clause that would only activate once there are enough other states implementing the same method to give a win in the electoral college.

Re:Headline wrong (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827357)

How???

If the assign all their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote and only do so when enough other states are doing the same thing to hold a enough electoral college votes between them to determine the winner (if they all vote the same way), then how is that not *exactly* the same as the winner of the popular vote being the winner?

Seems to me they have just about the best possible solution, if you think the electoral college is a bad thing. It means they aren't sacrificing some of their voting power until they get the thing they want in return. Assigning their electoral college votes according to the national popular vote would just remove Iowa from the election completely - since they would then have 1 electoral vote and hence not matter at all.

Of course for Iowa this is giving a little under 2 of their electoral college votes away anyway, but that's their choice...

The Right Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827023)

damn they're doing it the right way by using the national vote too, well done Iowa

Re:The Right Way (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827107)

Ah ... to be a voter in Iowa ... to trudge through the snows of November ... fighting the wolves and traffic ... to cast that dear vote ... to have your voice not heard because of what someone in some other state did.

Re:The Right Way (1)

ForrestFire439 (1458475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827219)

Well the Iowa resident would still have there voice heard, because it affects the national popular vote. It just wont be fair for Iowans because there vote will be worth less than that of the rest of the nation while the other states keep the electoral system.

Re:The Right Way (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827381)

Wrong. The law would only go into effect when states totaling 270 electoral votes signed on. Once that happens, the winner of the national popular vote wins the election, period.

Great idea. Go Iowa!

Awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827027)

The PROBLEM with the electoral college is the states all-or-nothing states; those that give all their electoral votes to some winner rather than properly distributing them amongst the candidates as they were voted for.

This pact is old news (5, Informative)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827031)

If Iowa adopts this measure, it would be noteworthy, but the summary seems to imply that this is a new idea or something unique that Iowa is considering. It is not. See the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact [wikipedia.org] :

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among U.S. states that would effectively replace the current electoral college system of presidential elections with a direct, nationwide vote of the people. As of September 2008, this interstate compact has been joined by Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey; their 50 electoral votes total amount to almost 19% of the 270 needed for the compact to take effect. Bills to join the compact are currently pending in ten additional states.

The compact is based on Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state legislature the right to decide how to appoint its own electors. ... States joining the compact will continue to award their electoral votes in their current manner until the compact has been joined by enough states to represent a controlling majority of the Electoral College (currently 270 electoral votes). After that point, all of the electoral votes of the member states would be cast for the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the national popular vote winner sure to have a decisive majority in the Electoral College, he or she would automatically win the Electoral College and therefore the presidency.

Re:This pact is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827157)

If Iowa adopts this measure, it would be noteworthy, but the summary seems to imply that this is a new idea or something unique that Iowa is considering. It is not.

The article also makes it seem like this -- because it's from a local TV station in Iowa. The headline, summary, and article itself all fail to emphasize that Iowa seeks to join other states that have already decided to do thi.

Re:This pact is old news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827271)

I hope everyone in Iowa who votes for this realizes that Iowa's issues will be completely ignored after it passes.

Al Gore lost his election, I believe, largely because he did so little campaigning in the midwest. Seemed like all his stops were in LA, NY, and San Francisco.

All politicians will make sure to just cater to the big cities and will completely ignore Iowa, the Dakotas, and places like Arkansas just based on the numbers.

There's a reason the Senate has 2 members from each state, and why each state gets at least 2 reps in the House of Congress. It's to make sure no matter how low the population count is, there's still a voice. The electoral college, for its faults, gives the same assurance of importance to the lower-populated states.

Re:This pact is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827327)

Brits need to remember that historically, the US is actually a republic of independent, sovereign states thus a system was set up so that each state felt its population was begin represented in the elections, not just the most populated states making the choice for the whole nation-- after all, what's good for a larger urban state may not be in the best interests of a more rural state.

Whether that's still a relevant distinction to make is still subject to debate.

Re:This pact is old news (1)

shma (863063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827377)

It's also passed both houses in California, Rhode Island and Vermont, but was vetoed by the Republican governor in each state. Do Republicans think that they could never lose the election while winning the popular vote? I see no reason why this should be a partisan issue.

Say it with me... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827035)

This is IOWA!

"good idea" (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827039)

That is THE BEST use of that tag I've seen all year.

I live in Iowa, and I think I have a few phonecalls to make today. And so do you.

Very selfless of Iowa. (2, Insightful)

Forge (2456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827043)

Frankly, if I ran a state, I would NOT do that. Why? Because it removes any incentive for the Executive to pay special attention to your state.

Of course, as it's worded in a way that it only comes into effect when enough states adopt the position for it to become constitutional law, they are covered. The President can safely pay no attention at all to sparsely populated states.

Re:Very selfless of Iowa. (3, Interesting)

Rageon (522706) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827241)

I'm originally from one of those smaller states that supposedly has a disproportionate amount of power compared to it's size. And I hate the electoral college.

First, as to the whole "people pay attention to it" argument, I certainly haven't seen that. Did anyone pay attention the last couple elections -- were, what, 35 states clearly going one way or another anyways, so they only paid attention to the so-called "swing states." Now, that may give some states extra pull when they are close, but when a state like ND, Wyoming, and Montana aren't -- they are essentially ignored.

Second, and this is the most important reason in my mind, it discourages people from voting. On many occasions, I have heard people mention how it was pointless for a liberal to vote in ND, or alternatively, for a conservative to vote in Minnesota.

Yawn. (4, Insightful)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827051)

Backers of this idiotic scheme have been pushing it for years.

The problem is, the "national popular vote" is anything but uniform. Liars like to claim Al Gore "won" the popular vote, but that is a false claim; he had less than 1% difference, and the average error rate of voting machines across the US is somewhere between 2-3%. If you go by the actual vote and work with the number of counties where there were voting irregularities and counting irregularities, there's a major question of how many votes anyone had.

In other words: voting equipment is not perfect. This is why we have recounts.

Now, can you imagine the scale of someone having to do a national recount based on the fact that Gore's supposed "win of the popular vote" in 2000 was under the threshold to trip an automatic recount in every single state that has such a law?

We apportion the votes by state for two reasons:
#1 - The US is supposed to be a union of self-sovereign states. The Federal government is supposed to have only a limited set of powers, with each state independently deciding the rest of the issues for itself. Yes, this has been eroded badly away in recent decades, but it's still true.

#2 - The logistics of holding a "national recount" are simply not possible. Recounting a state alone is bad enough (look at the Dem vote fraud efforts for Franken and the "targeted recounting" of counties, which magically has more votes than voters in several Dem-heavy districts trying to steal the Senate election).

Re:Yawn. (1, Informative)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827105)

And before some moron screams that I'm "lying" about the Franken thing: Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] article on it.

I smell a rat. Its name is Franken.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827395)

Yes, because the Wall Street Journal is a completely unbiased reporter on Democratic Affairs with no ulterior motives whatsoever. /sarcasm
But seriously; the best argument you have is "LOL IT WUR IN NEWSPAPER" for the unbiased nature of the story? This is why I don't like the modern method of campaigning; they have to appeal to those who are uninformed while not alienating the informed.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827159)

Obviously written by a sore looser Republican.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827389)

Obviously written by a sore looser Republican.

Obviously written by a partially illiterate American.

--or did you think he was sore because he had loosed himself too much? Maybe he should be tighter?

Re:Yawn. (5, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827251)

#1 is true only on paper, and we both know that (you even admit it yourself)

#2 a national recount is trivial, actually, since it's not really a national recount, but simply tens of thousands of individual precinct recounts. In other words, it's a parallel process. Sure, it would be expensive due to the manpower, but it's a trivial process.

Finally, the US doesn't apportion federal votes by population, but by slightly weighted version which gives additional weight to the least populous states (reps + senators). It would shift the balance slightly to change the voting. It's not a perfect system, but unless we start giving out fractional electors even a proportional representation electoral college could anoint a winner due to round-off error (which is already the case when the electoral and popular votes don't match). With the unbalanced weighting, even a split to 6 significant digits could result in a popular-electoral mismatch.

I would prefer a representative electoral system, but I'd be even more happy if there were a way to undo the gamemanship of the whole process.

Re:Yawn. (1)

Grapes4Buddha (32825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827339)

Ya know, you had a point in there but I can't take you seriously when you can't resist inserting your own anti-democrat bias into your argument.

But other states could block... (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827055)

Small states like Wyoming might want to protect the electoral college. Couldn't they withhold their actual vote counts to ruin this scheme?

Re:But other states could block... (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827119)

But California, Texas, NY, Iowa etc would all go with it.

Once you get 270 electoral votes it really doesn't matter what Wyoming does since the other states will give the winner enough votes based on the national results.

Re:But other states could block... (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827183)

Only if you have national results. Wyoming could just withhold their vote counts and tell everyone who simply won their state or who won districts.

Re:But other states could block... (2, Insightful)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827275)

That only works if the population of Wyoming is greater than the difference between the conidates.

Plus remember that Wyoming and the other tiny states will get more influence not less under this idea. What it really does is eliminate the swing states.

The states that may be against it is Florida, Ohio, PA etc. This is because these states get extra attention since the votes are close. Under this idea the votes in Wyoming would be worth just as much as the votes in Florida.

Least votes wins (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827065)

As a Brit I was shocked to read this from TFA:

"Support for such a move has been building since 2000, when President Bush became president despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore."

So Bush won despite more actual people voting for Gore? I'm sure there's some great technical reason for the system to work this way, but to a layman it just seems ridiculous.

Wait, what's that you say? Britain works the same way? WHAT!?

Re:Least votes wins (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827229)

That's why we need proportional representation like they have in Israel. They never have these too-close-to-call elections... oh, wait...

Iowans missing the point (3, Insightful)

Glothar (53068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827079)

Okay, I understand that only 2% of Slashdot readership has a clue why the electoral college even exists. And I realize that most people won't even rub two brain cells together before responding and saying that this is a great idea ("This is a great idea! Now there's a reason to vote!").

However, part of me honestly hoped that a state like Iowa, which is filled with people who are convinced they really are the most important people in the country, would be able to do the math to realize that following a straight popular vote gives Iowans less power and that if the country would depend solely on the popular vote, Iowa (and most other small midwest states) would be completely marginalized.

Well. At least that increases the chances of gay rights bills getting passed.

Re:Iowans missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827213)

That's what happens now. Electoral votes follow how many representatives and senators the state has. Since the number of representatives is a function of population, candidates still go for the more populous areas for their campaigning.

Why not at least have it set up in such a way that voters can feel like their vote matters? Some might claim that every vote matters, but a republican vote in a democratic state does nothing for the republican candidate.

Re:Iowans missing the point (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827353)

However, part of me honestly hoped that a state like Iowa, which is filled with people who are convinced they really are the most important people in the country, would be able to do the math to realize that following a straight popular vote gives Iowans less power and that if the country would depend solely on the popular vote, Iowa (and most other small midwest states) would be completely marginalized.

Isn't that the right, fair, and democratic result though? What justice is there in allowing part of iowa to wield more power than they should rightly have proportionally?

The electoral college only seems to give iowa more power anyway. Suppose 55% of Iowans vote republican, and 45% vote democratic. If you give Republicans 100% of the electoral vote, you increase their power. But you do so only by disenfranchising 45% of Iowans. This is not in any sense making Iowa more powerful. It is making one faction of Iowans more powerful, and it's anti-democratic.

Not good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827081)

Everyone likes to talk about who won the popular vote but the truth is not all votes are counted. Many states will simply not count some votes. Usually this happens when a state shows a candidate with more of a lead than there are uncounted votes. However, if you institute a popular vote you would have to count all votes because other states may have tighter races. The truth is we only ever know the popular vote winner of counted votes and this could differ than cast votes.

WTF? (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827095)

This is one of the absolutely dumbest Ideas I have ever heard. It would makes Iowa completely irrelevent in the national elections. The idea of the Electoral college is to stop the largely populated areas from dominating the smaller and rural areas with policy that simple doesn't translate effectivly. That is why each state got two senators instead of the same amount as the representatives. It's to equalize the effects of the larger populations.

If this happens, then expect Iowa and every other state stupid enough to follow suit to end up like California which couldn't even pay out tax refunds because they spent too much on stupid shit. California alone has more of a population they their electoral representation compared to say Iowa or Ohio or KY or WV. The east coast states typically will too. It could be possible for a candidate to get the popular vote simply by concentrating on the population centers and ignoring more then two thirds of the other states and plans like this one only makes it possible.

What is good in one state doesn't mean it is good in another, the electoral college signifies that by making the candidates visit and court each state. The founding fathers knew about this and feared large groups of concentrated population centers making it impossible for smaller areas to be effectivly represented. It's the reason why it is there, the state has the election, not the nation.

Re:WTF? (0, Flamebait)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827333)

It would makes Iowa completely irrelevent in the national elections.

And irrelevant it should be... Seriously.

Pros and cons (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827099)

There are pros and cons to the electoral college. If it is eliminated, the voting would swing more heavily towards the more densely populated areas of the country.

I like the idea as a concept, but other things would have to change. The states would need to become stronger to balance out the federal government, which might not carrying out the will of the people in a given region.

Proud to be from Maryland (2, Informative)

omnipotus (214689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827109)

In 2007 Governor Martin O'Malley made Maryland the first state to adopt this legislation. You can see where legislation on this topic is stuck in your home state in this wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] . Contrary to the unusually sensational headline posted here that makes it sound as though Iowan's don't care about the constitution, I see this as a great progressive step towards avoiding any future national elections determined by "the 9".

Re:Proud to be from Maryland (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827387)

Change the consititution if you really want this change, or have the states at one time adopt this legislation - otherwise, your Governor O'Malley simply doesn't care about his consitutants. You need to realize that unless you make either one of these changes - your vote doesn't count.

the electoral college is a useful tool. (5, Insightful)

stgray98 (515111) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827121)

As a former history major and a election junky I think the move to kill the electoral college is a stupid move for several reasons. I personally like the Nebraska solution (house districts go to the candidate winning the district, senate votes go to overall winner in the state).

With California, NY, and a few other states becoming huge, with even more illegals etc why would we want to make sure that candidates only have to promise goodies to city dwellers on the coasts?

We are talking about stripping something that harkens back to the "representative republic" nature of the starting of our country in favor of pure democracy.. Pure democracy gave us TARP 1, the Porkulus bill, Tarp2 etc..

Federal Republic (5, Insightful)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827131)

I'm getting the idea that just because GW wasn't a very good Republican, we're now willing to give up our federal system? We're not a tiny, little homogeneous European country; we're a huge friggin' landmass with diverse wants and needs. Keep power as close to home as possible.

Not Sure If This Is Good Or Bad (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827139)

As for this movement, I'm not sure it is such a hot idea. The electoral college forces candidates to visit contested states. If a majority of states adopt measures like this, candidates then can focus on a fewer, higher populated places instead.

I'm not sure democracy is done any favors by making it cheaper and easier to campaign but then again I'm not sure democracy is done any favors by keeping it this convoluted either. The balance should be sought between representing a majority and making sure everyone had a chance to give their input where even dissenting votes are important. Measures like this always have me wondering if that defeats half of the equation.

Just remove the electoral college (1, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827177)

The original idea was good for its time but just as the Constitution has been amended to reflect changes in society, the electoral college should be abolished completely and the popular vote be used to decide who the winner is.

The presidential election is the ONLY election in the entire country in which the person with the most votes may not be the winner. Even in elementary school when voting is done by classes, the one with the most votes win.

If it's good enough for elementary school elections, it's good enough for the presidential elections.

And before anyone whines about this giving more power to states like California, explain how it is any different than people fixating on Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida for a person to win the presidency.

interesting (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827185)

If popular vote were to be implemented, Iowa would be one of the states marginalized by this.

affect/effect (3, Informative)

bidule (173941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827235)

Stop verbing nouns. Or nouning verbs in this case.

Call me antiquated (5, Insightful)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827243)

I side with the Founding Fathers on this issue. The common man, even 200+ years later, is not educated enough, or even intelligent enough, to make an informed decision about who should lead the US.

All you have to do is watch the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and catch his, I believe its called Jay Walking now but I recall it as "The Great American Pop Quiz", quiz of the common man on the streets of NYC to see that the vast majority of Americans have NO business selecting who should lead the US.

Unclear on the concept. (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827257)

Yeah, it doesn't work like that. In fact, that suggestion is probably a violation both the Constitution and election law. Electoral college votes are supposed to represent the people of the individual states and strengthen the votes of smaller states. By using the national election results, Iowa would be effectively disenfranchising it's own citizens and diluting their votes to nothing. The Iowa electoral college votes would not reflect Iowans concerns and values, but rather those of the citizens of New York, California, Florida, etc.

This is a very bad idea and will hurt Iowans.

STUPID (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827269)

This is exactly what the electoral college was meant to protect against, larger areas chosing the President based on population. I'm not saying it's a great system, but this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. If every state in the union did this, then it would be a great idea because it would effectivly null the electoral vote we have now in favor of a popular system without altering the Consitution. But as it stands, Iowa citizens would be largely unrepresented in the presidential vote due to living in a sparsely populated state.

Effect not Affect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827283)

Please fix the post.

Not safe from deadlock! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827313)

If every state says, "Our law goes into effect after a near-majority of other electors are bound by similar rules", then they're in deadlock.

When, oh when, will the Iowa legislature finally pass the laws requiring that all newly elected legislators have a master's in CS? That's it - I'm moving to Canada, next week for sure.

Seems kinda silly (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827321)

I think a better way to ensure that presidential elections line up with popular votes, short of an amendment, is to allow split electors. Maine does this. Basically you take the popular vote in the state and use that to decide what percentage of electors vote for who. So say your state had 10 electors. Candidate A gets 52% of the vote, candidate B gets 21% of the vote candidate C gets 17% of the vote. Well then you send 5 electors for candidate A, 2 for candidate B and 2 for candidate C.

It is obviously not perfect, you are effectively "rounding" votes, but it still gives a much more accurate mapping of the popular vote. This also has the advantage that if states start doing it, political parties can't just ignore states that are strongholds of the other party. For example Republicans pretty much always write off California. Good reason too, they nearly always go Democrat. However, if you look at the popular vote it isn't so one sided. It isn't 98% democrat or anything. It's more like a 60/40 split, or less. Well, if the electors split, there'd be reason to care how California voted. Maybe you aren't going to win it, but you can get more electors. Same deal in reverse with the Democrats and the red states. They aren't going to win them, but they'd often be able to pick up a third of the state's electors.

This also helps third parties. Right now one of the big problem a third party faces is the all or nothing system. If you have strong national support, but not enough to win majority votes in big states, you are screwed. With this, there'd be a much better chance.

All this is something states can do on their own. The Constitution says we elect the president via the electoral college. It doesn't say states can't split electors. I'd really like to see more states start to go this route, but there seems little interest in it.

What? Why would they want this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26827349)

Wow, why would Iowa want to do this? Right now they're the host of one of the earliest primaries (actually a caucus) and host most serious contenders. Doing this would marginalize Iowa quite a bit, unless there's some side effect I'm not thinking of. Iowa has seven electoral votes, so why would candidates even bother going there anymore?

I think this is a good idea on the whole though, but I'm pretending I'm a selfish Iowan here, it doesn't seem to make sense.

Uhhh (1)

Enry (630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827351)

This doesn't get rid of the electoral college. It changes how the electoral college works, but there will still be 7 people from Iowa going to the electoral college to vote for president.

Alterante plan (1)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827391)

Since the point of the Electoral College was to keep the populace states from having too much of a voice, and give the small states more of a voice, maybe we should redistribute the count of electors to be more fair. Going with just the popular vote would make it even more likely that someone could carry just the big 3 or 4 states, ignore the rest of the country, and still win. Even more skewed than today...
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