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Juan Donado

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Should Americans eliminate the Electoral College and elect their presidents through simple majority vote?

Given that some presidents have won without persuading the majority of Americans, and the huge deal of money spent only on swing states I ask myself that question

I have always thought that it is unfair that republicans in California or Democrats in Texas are not taken into account just because people around them think differently.

Time for change?

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  • Nov 9 2012: Hi Evan,

    Thank you for your reply. One point of clarification: I still vote, I just abstain from voting for President because of the EC and I believe your logic is somewhat flawed. I am sincerely sorry if I'm being dense here and welcome a better explanation, but I don't understand how my vote would count less with national popular vote. I live in Oregon (whose electors voted for Obama therefore Oregon as a state voted for Obama) but let's say that I chose to vote for Romney. My vote is wasted as far as the Presidential election is concerned. If it was popular vote, my vote counts toward Romney. I am talking about a nationwide popular vote, and you are comparing the sizes of states - without an EC, the population of individual states doesn't matter anymore. When you say that in the EC, Oregon=about 1/4 of New York, you are talking within the context of an EC voting system, but look at it with me with some actual numbers from this election:

    Oregon has 7 EC votes, and voted 54.3 to 42.8% for Obama - 905,831 to 714,194
    New York has 29 EC votes, and voted 62.6 to 35.5% for Obama - 3,873,650 to 2,224,963

    Adding these two together, 4,779,481 voted for Obama but 2,939,157 votes did not count. This is a 100% victory for Obama because he got all 36 electoral votes, even though it was a 61.9 to 38.1% actual victory.

    The final national electoral vote was 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney which is a 61.7 to 38.3 victory for Obama percentage-wise, however 61,170,405 for Obama 58,163,977 for Romney is a 50.5 to 48% victory for Obama.

    Effectively, 42.8% of Oregon's presidential votes were wasted because of the EC. Same goes for 35.5% of New York.

    No candidate cares about states they know they will win anyway, they setup camp in batteground states only. Look at Hawaii - no one votes. My point is *voter turnout* - millions feels the same way I do and don't vote because it doesn't matter. It does matter if the margin is 2.5% popular instead of 23.4% EC. :)
    • Nov 9 2012: Yes, because of the electoral college an American presidential candidate can theoretically win an election with only 25% of the popular vote!
    • Nov 15 2012: I see what you are saying as well, Age Funk, but I do not think that a popular vote would really solve the problem. It can go either one of two ways.

      Lets take the example about Oregon's presidential vote being "wasted." I see how you could argue that about half the state didnt have a vote in the election, but if a popular vote system was used, a similar result would occur. The only difference would be that the "wasting of votes" would be on the national level instead of the state level. Oregon's votes for Romney would be added to the population vote, but since Obama got the majority, the Romney votes still get "thrown out." Because only one person can be the president, about half of the nation will not vote for him. This is just do to the nature of the election; it isnt based on the Electoral College.

      The other part of the system is that it encourages only two candidates. Since a candidate has to win a majority of a state to get any electoral votes, a candidate has to have a lot of backing. It discourages less popular candidates from running. This helps prevent the population from splitting the vote greatly. (if three equally popular candidates ran in an popular-vote election, one could win with about 35% of the vote which is significantly less than what normally happens in the Electoral College system.) This is the trade off. I personally find this a worthy trade off.

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