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Will in Seattle 1
The best solution for America is for the former Confederate states to move to proportional delegate selection first.

After all, it's only fair.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 9, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
2
I am sorry, but it is a legitimate suggestion which inevitably comes up after a presidential election by the losing side. It is up to the state, and some few states do that.
Posted by dbgill56 on November 9, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
3
@2 I assume by "some," you mean two.

Well, this is as good a case as we're going to get for doing away with the Electoral College altogether, and just going with the popular vote. That would massively simplify campaigning, especially for the Democrats. All you have to do is win the major metropolitan areas by a two to one margin, and you can fucking ignore the rural "red states" altogether.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on November 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
4
@2: Yeah, a few states do do this, and it's not a bad idea. I don't know the details of Ohio's plan, but if all states apportioned electoral votes according to the popular vote, it would almost eliminates the possibility of the popular vote loser winning the electoral college. A convenient way to circumvent the problems of the electoral college without going through the effor required to abolish it.

And given how close Ohio usually is, this move is just as likely to negatively affect a Republican as a Democrat.
Posted by MRM on November 9, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
5
Oy, Paul.

1. The electoral college is bullshit, which winds up disenfranchising many, many US voters. In this election, it effectively disenfranchised 2.6 million Romney voters in Ohio, who - because Ohio is winner take all - made no contribution to Romney's electoral total. While desirable, to you, is that just?

We should welcome things that erode the power of the electoral college - even if they may offer a short term advantage to those with whom we disagree. The key word there is "may".

2. The final vote totals were 2,697,308 for O, 2,593,789 for Mitt. About 104000 different. So if this many votes shifted in the next election - not hugely unlikely, given that this is a comparable % of votes to what shifted in NC between 2008 and 2012 - then the Dem would get 6 electoral votes rather than none.

3. Following on 2, had Ohio been proportional in 2000, Gore almost certainly would have won the presidency: he won 47% of the popular vote, and (you will recall) Bush won with 271 electoral votes. If Gore's 47% of the popular vote had won him even 2 electoral votes - then a proportional Ohio would have won the presidency for Gore.

4. As well, under proportional voting, Ohio would be treated differently in the presidential election. This would be good IMO - kingmaker states mean that huge segments of the population (e.g., all of California and NY and Texas) are more or less ignored on the issues.

5. The word "rig" is bullshit. It implies corruption. This is a perfectly legal process which - he believes - will definitely offer an advantage to his candidate (while eroding his state's importance nationally, probably to its detriment and our benefit). There is no corruption here.

In conclusion, Paul: sit down and shut up.
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Posted by Ancient Sumerian on November 9, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
6
You know what - that last bit ("sit down and shut up") was just rude. I apologize. Out of line. Stand by everything else, though.
Posted by Ancient Sumerian on November 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this
7
@5/6, I agree that in principle a proportional division of electoral votes in states according the the split in the popular vote makes sense. However, Husted's plan is not that. Under his plan, even though Obama won the popular vote in Ohio, he would receive only 1/3 of the state's electoral votes. That's not proportional. That is absurd.
Posted by ourkind on November 9, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 8
Can the Secretary of State of Ohio even make that change? I would think that that's a legislative matter, if not a constitutional one.

That said, I agree that that's bad. Congressional districts can be gerrymandered. States can't. It's one thing to award all the Electoral votes proportion to how the state goes, but within congressional districts? With the extra two going winner takes all? That's fucked.

@ 5, I disagree. While I'm no fan of the EC, we shouldn't welcome any old thing that comes along to erode its power. This particular plan stinks to high heaven, and would only serve to scare other states away from making any change.

Not that it matters much. Here in Colorado, when we were still pretty reliably red, they tried institute proportional awarding of EC votes (as I recall, based on statewide returns, not in-district) and it got trounced because people feared political irrelevance. They were right - we're no so key that Nate Silver identified Colorado as the tipping point state. But Ohio got the lion's share of attention, and while voters may be weary of political ads (which are fucking nonstop in battleground states), with power comes benefits and payback. Ohioans won't give that up.

EC reform will only come via US Constitutional amendment, and only if we have a lot more screwed up elections where the winner is the loser of the popular vote.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
9
This is the same method of EV apportionment that is used by Maine and Nebraska, the two states that currently apportion their EVs. It's a pretty natural method when you consider how states obtain EVs in the first place (namely one per congressional district plus two per state). In most cases the system actually gives a more-than-proportional number of EVs to the state's winner, since the congressional districts all have equal populations and the statewide winner gets both of the additional EVs. It can occur, though, if the statewide winner just barely loses most of the congressional districts, but overwhelming wins just a few of them, that the EVs are apportioned the other way.
Posted by David Wright on November 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
10
@MRM not true, the republicans have gerrymandered the heck out of congressional districts making which is why you see 13 of 18 districts represented by republicans in a state that splits much more evenly down the middle in reality. This is step one towards doing this in other states where they have gerrymandered an advantage.
Posted by econoline on November 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
11
@7, thanks. No one is describing the plan clearly, but it looks as if the scheme is to give the 2 Senatorial electoral votes to whomever carries the most Congressional districts (rather than the most popular votes). If so, yeah, that's some bullshit right there: those votes need to go to the winner of the popular vote in the state. I still don't think it rises to the level of "rigging" - but certainly more bullshit than I was giving it credit for above. Thank you.

But that's only 2 of the 18 votes. Put aside those 2 votes: it's still 10/16 votes for Mitt. This may seem absurd, but that's because we're focusing on total vote counts, not residents. If it is true that 50% of the population is represented by 6/16 voices in Congress, that's a serious problem: but it doesn't make the proposed voting scheme corrupt. What it seems to really mean is that Ohio is gerrymandered. That's a serious problem, but it's not a problem with this voting scheme per se, and conflating the two seems unhelpful (not that you were).

But even if you still (not unreasonably) disagree with me, consider this: 6/18 to Obama and 12/18 to Mitt - who got within 2% of each others' actual total votes - is actually a more equitable, more democratic distribution of the vote by any reasonable metric than 18/18 to Obama and 0/18 to Mitt. Math: given popular vote totals, each deserved 9 votes. Error in the SOS's scheme is 3+3=6 (sum squared error 18). Error in current distribution is 9+9=18 (sum squared error 162). The proposed scheme - despite the bullshit - is closer to the will of the voters of the state of Ohio than the current scheme. Calling it "rigging" ignores this math.

As well, had Ohio been non-proportional, the campaigns would have been run differently on all sides, and - further, if Ohio did this - we could expect Mitt-voting states with Dem Sec of states and/or legislatures to do the same, which would gain Dem electoral votes.
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Posted by Ancient Sumerian on November 9, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
12
Wow. Yet another sleazy encouragement to gerrymanders of both parties.
Posted by WrteStufLA on November 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 13
Can someone explain the math of what this would have meant for the 2012 election if EVERY state did this?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on November 9, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
14
@8, you're right that we shouldn't welcome *anything* that erodes electoral college power. But look at my math: do you disagree with me that the proposed scheme actually *better represents the will of the voters* than the current scheme, even though that may disadvantage Dems in the 2012 election? Do you disagree that this is desirable?

Also, "EC reform will only come via US Constitutional amendment, and only if we have a lot more screwed up elections where the winner is the loser of the popular vote." There is at least one alternative - look up "national popular vote" - highly realistic and indeed halfway achieved already.
Posted by Ancient Sumerian on November 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
15
Those citing gerrnmandering should note that getting congressional or electoral votes in this way is at odds with the traditional use of gerrymandering. If you have a state population equally divided among D and R voters, and you gerrmander to make more districts lean slightly R, the price you pay for this is that few D districts are utterly safe while the many R districts are just barely R, i.e. likely to be lost in small vote swings. The incumbents in control of gerrymandering traditionally do exactly the opposite, i.e. makes their seats maximally safe and their opponents' seats more competetive.
Posted by David Wright on November 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
16

I commented today that half of the Republican leadership are like Billy Carter...embarrassing relatives who you wish would stay down on the farm.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on November 9, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 17
@ 14, is it more fair? Mathematically, it's hard to argue against it. I'll go ahead and say, yes, it's more fair.

That said, it's also less fair that taking the statewide vote and awarding the votes proportionally. Obama won Ohio, so he should get more than half of the votes.

The EC was designed because they wanted the states to elect the President, and not directly by the people. I wonder if National Popular Vote is constitutional? (I'm going to look into it more...)
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
18
@11. Sum the squares, don't square the sum.
Posted by null4456 on November 9, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
19
You know how we make fun of Fox News for raising a big stink about things when the Democrats do them but not saying anything when the Republicans do them?
Posted by beef rallard on November 9, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
venomlash 20
@15: You just made that shit up on the spot. Packing and cracking are both common uses of the gerrymander.
Posted by venomlash on November 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
21
Ancient Sumerian: The entire electoral college system is designed to disenfranchise people in large states, while rewarding those in non-populous states.

For example:
California has 23,802,577 registered voters.
Wyoming has 218,056 registered voters (as of the primaries, their election department has no numbers for the general election yet)

California has 55 electoral college votes, Wyoming has 3.
This means it takes 432,775 Californians to count as 1 electoral college vote, and only 72,686 Wyomans.

If you are in Wyoming, your vote is worth 6 times as much as that of someone in California.

This plan for Ohio makes them less relevant at a time when more populous states are already disenfranchised at a massive level, due to the inclusion of EC votes for your Senators. Sure, it's more proportional, but ultimately it's an awful awful idea, for Ohio, and for any other populous state.

Posted by Hanoumatoi on November 9, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
emma's bee 22
This is a laughably transparent attempt to extend to the presidential race the gerrymandering that has led to Republicans dominating Ohio's available congressional seats. Just look at how SW Ohio is apportioned. The city of Cincinnati is "cracked" into two districts, each of which is merged with scarlet suburbs and exurbs and far-off farmland to ensure no Dem Congressional seats emerge in a region that has gone solidly for Obama two elections running. And Republican-led redistricting has resulted in this practice being repeated all over the state.

Ancient Sumerian needs to lay off the bong every now and then.
Posted by emma's bee on November 9, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Report this
23
What's the problem? States can choose how to divvy up their electoral votes. Do it by votes then we'll end up with something much closer to the popular vote. Some states do it. It's not that big of a deal and it's way easier than getting rid of the electoral college.
Posted by idaho on November 9, 2012 at 8:54 PM · Report this
NotSean 24
Gerrymandered districts make a district-based propotional EC approach absolutely ruinous.

For further information, see prior slog thread:

slog.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/mobile/2…

There is a good study on EC-proportioning posted at #51.
Posted by NotSean on November 10, 2012 at 7:23 AM · Report this
25
With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.


Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.
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Posted by toto on November 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this
26
Maine and Nebraska use the congressional district method. Maine and Nebraska voters support a national popular vote.

A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
* 71% favored a national popular vote;
* 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).
***
A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
* 60% favored a national popular vote;
* 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

&&&&

Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. Nationwide, there have been only 55 "battleground" districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88% of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.
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Posted by toto on November 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
27
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

NationalPopularVote
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Posted by toto on November 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this

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