The U.S. Electoral College - What Should Be Done?

Do you think it malfunctioned in 2000 and 2016? Should we do something about? If so, what?

We should amend the Constitution to replace the electoral college with majority voting (and perhaps ranked-choice voting as well). That’s extremely unlikely to happen, but it’s what we should do, IMO. A more likely (but still unlikely) possibility is the interstate majority vote compact.

If I have to choose between tyranny by the majority and tyranny by the minority, I’ll take tyranny by the majority every time.

I wouldn’t do the majority portion but I am in favor of ranked choice voting.

If we change anything about the EC, the very first step has to be eliminating faithless electors. I’m okay with state-by-state contests and having a kind of ‘point’ system for each contest, but the faithless elector is dangerous in this day and age.

Totally abolish it - it made sense when the states were genuinely sovereign entities seeking to deal with other sovereign entities as equals. Since the original thirteen, and, I suppose, Texas, none of the other states were ever sovereign (OK, Hawaii was, but it was annexed as territory well before becoming a state)…they were chunks of territory already controlled by the Federal Government granted statehood as an administrative unit.

In order to eliminate the Electoral Collage you must first invent another way to combine the vote totals of all the states. The federal government was never given the power to hold nation elections. States rights still exist. Individual states decide how their Presidential vote totals will be divvied up. You’ll need provide the federal government with the power to hold national elections, and provide a way for the federal government to fund, and count, those elections.

So in order to do something different, another system must be set up. Fascinating.

I agree with asahi that eliminating faithless voters is the easiest and best way to fix the system you got.

I also disagree with the common wisdom around here that a popular vote is obviously better. I think there’s value in weighting smaller population states a bit heavier power to give a more “cross country” opinion. But if you are going to get rid of that, I can’t imagine why a first past the post popular vote is morally best. You need ranking or a runoff at minimum.

The easy fix for the electoral college would be to repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. Let the house actually represent the populous and we don’t need to go back to one rep per 30,000 but the least populous state getting one and then everyone else gets a multiple rounded down. That will help congress work better and will change the votes per state in the electoral college without eliminating a finger on the scale to help low population states.

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Perhaps you prefer to dismantle the existing system before you find a wildly popular replacement system. Your choice.

Either way, the people demanding that the Electoral College be changed/altered/abandoned do not have the votes to change the states, or the federal government.

The bottom line is that the Electoral College is here to stay. But that shouldn’t prevent people from fantasizing.

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If you had not shortened my post, you might have noticed I didn’t advocate losing the Electoral College.

I’m fine with it staying.

Also, given that the interior states will never ratify it’s abolishment, rather pointless to talk about. Not in my lifetime or anyone I know.

Dems need to run like the EC counts above all, because it does. Not what you’d like it to be. Hillary didn’t and paid the price.

Abolish it. Its whole purpose is obsolete. It was a workaround for the uneven suffrage of the 18th century. You couldn’t have a national election (or, rather, you could but a bunch of states wouldn’t have signed on) when you had some states where a lot of white men could vote and other states where only the very rich white men could vote. Voting rights are still not perfect, but even in the worst states for voting rights it’s still very close to universal suffrage.

This wouldn’t affect the electoral college much at all, at least not in the current partisan divide. Even if you had a million seats in the House (i.e., imagine if it was exactly proportional), I don’t know that any recent electoral college outcomes would have been changed much at all.

People focus on Wyoming getting more votes per capita than California, but the most distorting aspect is actually that a few thousand marginal voters in large and closely-divided states like Pennsylvania can throw around huge numbers of votes.

Yes, doorhinge, of course it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College (and put a new system in place at the same time), and of course there’s no chance at all of such an amendment passing in the current climate. We all know that. This thread is about what should be done, not what can be done.

If you want a “cross country” opinion, the absolute best you can do is to weigh all votes equally. Giving some states disproportionate power just because they’re small can only decrease the cross-countriness, not increase it.

basic problem is in 1700s they did not anticipate that now we have one state (CA) with 40 million people while a few other states have only 500k people. So it needs to be modified to make it more balanced out . The odds of that happening any time soon are basically zero.

This made me wonder which states threw their weight around the most efficiently. So, it turns out, the most powerful state in 2016 was Michigan (where 10,000 marginal votes were worth 16 electoral votes), closely followed by New Hampshire (where 2,700 marginal votes were worth 4 electoral votes).

The big losers were the people of Nebraska’s third district, who voted by a margin of 146,367 votes to give one whole vote to Donald Trump.)

Any system you choose with a huge population that is closely divided will have big swings my proposal can he done with out changing the constitution so its actually a real solution and for instance would give California an additional 13 votes. This makes the popular vote more important so we have less elections where someone loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. Its already very rare and this would make it more so.

Suggestions that must convince people large swaths of people to give up their power to you may feel good but they accomplish nothing since they can never be used. On the other hand a veto proof majority in both houses are all that’s needed especially when the vote can be framed as being more true to the constitution is actually possible in the next decade and would accomplish most of the goal.

Do you have calculations to back this up? I know it would not have changed 2016.

The way to make the electoral college work, if you really want to keep it, is to require states to allocate their electoral votes proportionally (not gerrymandered, but actually proportionally). The malapportionment aspect is very minor compared to the whopping huge problem of Michigan and Pennsylvania and Florida and their ilk giving out huge tranches of votes based on tiny margins.

Actually, that is exactly the scenario the FF’s envisioned. Since they were creating the Unites States of America, and not the Single Entity of America (SEA - pretty cool name, actually) they instituted the Electoral College to give smaller states a voice in the federal government. Smaller states did not then and do not now want a handful of large states making all the decisions for the country as a whole.

What those who wish for majority rule envision is an all powerful Federal government with weak states, the FF’s envisioned the exact opposite. FWIW, I tend to side with the FF vision.