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A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Making the Electoral College Better

A couple of articles explain the ballot initiative in Colorado to split electoral votes between candidates.

The articles aren't great, so let me summarize: 49 states currently give all electoral votes in that state to the winner. So if you win Colorado you'd get all 9 electoral votes, no matter if you win by 1 vote or 1 million. Splitting would allow the votes to be split between candidates based on their percentage of the popular vote.

This a good step for correcting the problems with the electoral college. I hope, as do the proponents of the measure, that it will spread talk of altering or abolishing the electoral college on the national level.


At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, for as many problems as the Electoral College does have, it is seldom recognized for its remarkable usefulness. By creating lump votes, which is the method the Electoral College system effectively employs, smaller states make their vote more powerful through the aggregate. This means that those states become more advantageous in terms of political campaigning. Particularly in a state like Colorado with a small-mid number of votes (9), the state may get relatively overlooked by political leaders who realize that they will get 4-5 votes either way. Basically, this means that politicians would not bother campaigning in Colorado because the expense of action there would not compute to a noticeable gain in electoral votes. Therefore, it may very well be advantageous for Colorado to maintain a lump-sum electoral system. Naturally, as you have said, such a method does discount the vote of the individual in favor of the aggregate; however, without such a measure, the state would likely lose all attention from potential future presidents. It would simply not be worth the money for either party to campaign in a state where the slight potential gain realized through expenditures would only result in a single or perhaps two electoral votes. In contrast, in Colorado’s currently divided environment, a politician may spend a great deal of time and money there so as to shift its balance to their favor, thus securing nine votes. Ultimately, Colorado remains more enticing and therefore powerful in the political environment if it maintains the present electoral system.


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