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Electoral College Change?

I continue to think it's stupid that California gets 54 or 55 electoral college votes, despite margins that are nowhere near 100% victory for any one candidate.

What would be so bad about this:
- Keep the electoral college count the same way it is now.
- Round to the nearest whole number the electoral college votes along the lines of the popular vote count.
- In case of a tie, popular count across the whole country decides the winner.

In other words, if California voted 57% for candidate A and 42% for candidate B (and 1% for C), then you'd split the votes (assuming 55):
- 55 * 0.57 = 31
- 55 * 0.42 = 23
- 55 * 0.01 = 1

The way the current system works Texas tends to get 38 Republican votes and New York and California award 29 and 55. Win two states - even by a 50/49/1 margin - and you've got 84 of the 270 votes needed to win (31%!).

Silly.

The problem is, the people who are able to change the electoral college are the ones who were just voted into office via that system, removing the incentive to change the system.

The electoral college dates back quite a ways to when individuals were not able to be terribly well informed. They didn't have radio let alone TV, the Internet, etc. So the "people in the know" were chosen to vote on behalf of the residents of their regions.

We're way past that these days.

5 Responses to "Electoral College Change?"

  1. States can choose how to award electoral votes however they wish. Most are winner-take-all, but Nebraska and Maine aren't. I don't see how "the ones who were just voted into office via that system" are involved at all.

    California has agreed to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which would cause the state to change the way it awards electors once the conditions of the compact are met. (Basically once enough states have entered the compact that their electoral votes would make up a majority of the Electoral College.)

    1. Tim Buchheim said on November 7, 2012:

      States can choose how to award electoral votes however they wish.

      I know.

      Tim Buchheim said on November 7, 2012:

      I don't see how "the ones who were just voted into office via that system" are involved at all.

      The Democratic Party is in charge of the White House and the Senate. A bill changing the idea of the electoral college is a federal issue, is it not? Yes, how each state awards their votes is a state issue, but if a change was to be made to the electoral college as a whole, it would be a federal issue, wouldn't it?

      Tim Buchheim said on November 7, 2012:

      California has agreed to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which would cause the state to change the way it awards electors once the conditions of the compact are met. (Basically once enough states have entered the compact that their electoral votes would make up a majority of the Electoral College.)

      Thanks. I didn't know about that. I see that PA has pending litigation to join as well. I imagine it will pick up steam. Probably won't matter in 2016, but perhaps by 2020? Thanks.

  2. > The electoral college dates back quite a ways to when individuals were not able to be terribly well informed. ... So the "people in the know" were chosen to vote on behalf of the residents of their regions.

    Not even close to correct. Since the federal government is the creation of the states, the electoral college is the method by which the states, not the people, elect the president.

    1. mysterian said on November 8, 2012:

      Not even close to correct.

      We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I feel I said as much.

  3. [...] wrote quickly about this before, but Mark Jaquith has another take on how to fix the electoral [...]


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