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Massachusetts legislature may pass a bill that throws its electoral college votes to the popular vote winner

The Massachusetts legislature is working on a bill that will alter how its electoral votes are cast in presidential elections. This bill says Massachusetts electoral votes will go to the candidate who wins the popular vote. So what happens if in 2012 the popular vote winner is a Republican and the vast majority of Massachusetts voters voted for Obama?

I can't imagine that majority of Massachusetts voters would be very happy.

While not perfect, the electoral college is the most effective way to make sure the majority of the American people who live in densely populated cities and states don't run roughshod over the interests of those who live in sparsely populated rural areas, which is what would certainly happen in a straight popular vote.

There's a reason why we are a Representative Republic and not a direct democracy. Marvin Simkin from San Diego was absolutely right when he wrote this in the LA Times back in January, 1992:

Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote. Those rights are spelled out in the Bill of Rights and in our California Constitution. Voters and politicians alike would do well to take a look at the rights we each hold, which must never be chipped away by the whim of the majority.

Hat tip: Daily Caller

Update: I fixed the link.


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Comments (34)

What I find amusing here is... (Below threshold)
jim m:

What I find amusing here is that the ultimate result of this would be to create a far greater likelihood that the electoral votes would go to a republican. MA has been the most reliable of all the blue states. So they are willing to cast away any influence they might have in order to make some ideological point.

It is highly unlikely that a small state would give away its votes in that manner. Furthermore with MA being so reliably liberal that only result would be to cast its votes in direct opposition to the majority of its citizens.

If a lib wins the election MA would have voted for him. If a conservative wins the election, MA will almost certainly have been carried against him, but will cast its votes for him?

Totally nuts.

1. Your link doesn't work</... (Below threshold)

1. Your link doesn't work

2. I assume that you mean MA voters would be very unhappy.

3. The law only goes into effect in enough states pass it so that the winner of the national popular vote gets at least 270 electoral votes, in which case the electoral college system as we know it is irrelevant.

Well, I'm sure this won't b... (Below threshold)
SpideyTerry:

Well, I'm sure this won't be a problem for the Massachusetts legislature. They're such intelligent people, after all. Remember, they had the foresight to change the law so that Governor Romney couldn't appoint someone of his choosing to fill Kerry's Senate seat had he won the presidency in 2004. It's not like that came back to bite on them on the butts about six years later. Right, Senator Brown?

;)

Massachusetts legislature m... (Below threshold)

Massachusetts legislature may pass a bill that throws its ...‎ - 3 hours ago

This bill says Massachusetts electoral votes will go to the candidate who wins the popular vote. So what happens if in 2012 the popular vote winner is a ...

Well, except . . . Electors... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Well, except . . . Electors are powerful people. If states can't require them to vote for the candidate they were elected to represent, how can they force them to vote for someone who did NOT win their vote in the election?

Electors are almost never u... (Below threshold)

Electors are almost never unfaithful when it comes to voting for the other party. There was talk of Gore trying to shame the electors in some states that went for Bush but were from districts that went for Gore to vote for Gore, but nothing ever came of it.

They're chosen by the party of whoever wins that state. In the event that they go with the national popular vote and the GOP wins the national popular vote, I don't think the GOP has anything to worry about.

The Mass legislature is onl... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

The Mass legislature is only doing this in reaction to Scott Brown's win. They're betting the overwhelming Dem population in the state can counter any changes in voter sentiment. Actually, this is a sure fire way to make Mass even more irrelevant than it already is.

This is a horrible idea, th... (Below threshold)
Eric:

This is a horrible idea, that is inviting catastrophe. The purpose of the Electoral College is to prevent any one group from having a dominent influence over electing the President.

The Electoral College prevents larger more populated areas from dominating the vote. Urban areas are by definition more populated than rural areas. The Electoral College means that candidates can't ignore smaller less populated states in favor of large cities.

The 2000 election is also a case study in the importance of the Electoral College. Most people believe that Al Gore won the popular vote. That's not true. The popular vote was a statistical tie in which Al Gore after the first count led by less than 1/2 of 1% of the vote.

Normally, that would automatically generate a recount. So if the election had been based on the popular vote then imagine the Florida Recount x 50.

Election by popula... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Election by popular vote is true democracy. It also is a sure way to have the country devolve into anarchy. Since this ISNT a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, elections that delete the Electoral College cannot stand.

The system as structured has served well since inception and should NOT be altered.

The fact that the President... (Below threshold)
Alex:

The fact that the President is elected by direct vote has no bearing on whether we are a democracy or a republic. Senators, Reps, and Governors are elected by direct vote to represent us- we are still a republic and will always be one. The President is being elected leader of the entire nation. Who cares if your state was against him or her but NPV means they won the country? It means you are in the minority that election cycle, and we all believe that the majority should choose the President and thus the direction of the nation. NPV makes sure that every voter has an equal vote, just like they do in voting for every other elected office in the country.

imagine the Florida Recount... (Below threshold)
mpw280:

imagine the Florida Recount x
Posted by Eric

Don't go that far back, look at Minnesota and weird Al Franken. How many dead, felons, multi votes, and Chicago style voting (early and often) would show up in the major urban areas? More than enough to put a Dem over the top and thereby disenfranchise everyone living anywhere else. mpw

The reason for this move is... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

The reason for this move is obvious enough, as the largest states in population are dem voting machines. But, being a leftist state as it is, it would seem that the criminals in charge of this corrupt decision are giving republicans a better chance than they would normally have in the state.

Alex, go and learn about t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Alex, go and learn about the constitution and why it says what it does before you go make more of a fool of yourself.

The US constitution provides checks and balances to ensure that smaller states have a voice in the governing of the nation. While we are one nation we are also 50 states and each and every state is guaranteed a say in how the government is run.

If we were to elect the President by popular vote alone it would eliminate many states from having anything like a significant say in the election. Nobody is going to pay any attention to Wyoming and North Dakota because their populations are so small that it would be more effective to campaign elsewhere. However, candidates do campaign there and do pay at least a little attention to the concerns of those states because the electoral system makes them more important.

We have had 3 cases where a president has been elected having lost the popular vote. We have had many many presidents who have failed to win a majority vote. Clinton never won a majority, Truman didn't win a majority. The purpose of the electoral college is both to protect the smaller states and to magnify a victory allowing a candidate to claim some sort of mandate. Clinton claimed a mandate despite winning only 43% of the vote in 1992.

France has had direct elections and they have had 5 separate republics since their revolution. We have had one. I think that the stability that the constitution has provided this country has been given remarkably short shrift from libs whose only concern is winning and holding power and using that power to force the minority to reshape society in the lib/progressive model.

If you really believed that a President should be the President of the whole nation then you would support a system that did not disenfranchise residents of smaller states and rural areas and not be supporting a system which would throw all the power to large urban centers. Libs are quick to point out that obama won a majority but the majority of counties were not carried by him. You don't want to have to worry about those people who live in fly over country. If you don't have to worry about their votes you can just confiscate their earnings through taxation and spend it on yourselves.

Alex,Gore narrowly... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Alex,

Gore narrowly won the popular vote but still ailed to win a majority of the vote. Bush carried 29 of the 50 states.

By advocating for a direct election you are advocating that 29 states should be ruled over by the other 21 due to the fact of their slightly higher overall population. You are advocating that those 29 states should relinquish their rights to determine the course of this nation on a more or less permanent basis since they lack the ability to attract the population (in most cases due to geography and climate) to make their concerns worth the attention of a candidate for national government.

When Massachusetts is the s... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

When Massachusetts is the subject of a non-sequitur blog entry on national presidential politics then you know it's even a slower news day on the Internet than normal.

The current system of elect... (Below threshold)
toto:

The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but now used by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). 12 of the 13 smallest states were NOT included. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.


Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

The National Popular Vote b... (Below threshold)
toto:

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. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

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. The National Popular Vote bill does not try to abolish the Electoral College. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President (for example, ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote), including current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action, without federal constitutional amendments.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

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). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Maine -- 77%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 74% , Massachusetts -- 73%, Minnesota -- 75%, New York -- 79%, Washington -- 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 30 state legislative chambers, in 20 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes -- 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

The Founding Fathers only s... (Below threshold)
toto:

The Founding Fathers only said in the U.S. Constitution about presidential elections (only after debating among 60 ballots for choosing a method): "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all rule) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, Only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote.

In 1789 only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all rule to award electoral votes.

There is no valid argument that the winner-take-all rule is entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all rule.

The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all rule is used by 48 of the 50 states.

The small states are the mo... (Below threshold)
toto:

The small states are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system of electing the President. Political clout comes from being a closely divided battleground state, not the two-vote bonus.

12 of the 13 smallest states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota),, and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections. So despite the fact that these 12 states together possess 40 electoral votes, because they are not closely divided battleground states, none of these 12 states get visits, advertising or polling or policy considerations by presidential candidates.

These 12 states together contain 11 million people. Because of the two electoral-vote bonus that each state receives, the 12 non-competitive small states have 40 electoral votes. However, the two-vote bonus is an entirely illusory advantage to the small states. Ohio has 11 million people and has "only" 20 electoral votes. As we all know, the 11 million people in Ohio are the center of attention in presidential campaigns, while the 11 million people in the 12 non-competitive small states are utterly irrelevant. Nationwide election of the President would make each of the voters in the 12 smallest states as important as an Ohio voter.

The small states recognize they are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system.

In the 13 smallest states, the National Popular Vote bill already has been approved by eight state legislative chambers, including one house in Delaware and Maine and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by Hawaii.

Most of the medium-small st... (Below threshold)
toto:

Most of the medium-small states (with five or six electoral votes) are similarly non-competitive in presidential elections (and therefore similarly disadvantaged). In fact, of the 22 medium-smallest states (those with three, four, five, or six electoral votes), only New Hampshire (with four electoral votes), New Mexico (five electoral votes), and Nevada (five electoral votes) have been battleground states in recent elections.

Because so few of the 22 small and medium-small states are closely divided battleground states in presidential elections, the current system actually shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in a handful of big states. The New York Times reported early in 2008 (May 11, 2008) that both major political parties were already in agreement that there would be at most 14 battleground states in 2008 (involving only 166 of the 538 electoral votes). In other words, three-quarters of the states were ignored under the current system in the 2008 election. Michigan (17 electoral votes), Ohio (20), Pennsylvania (21), and Florida (27) contain over half of the electoral votes that mattered in 2008 (85 of the 166 electoral votes). There were only three battleground states among the 22 small and medium-small states (i.e., New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada). These three states contain only 14 of the 166 electoral votes. Anyone concerned about the relative power of big states and small states should realize that the current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in a handful of big states.

The 11 most populous states... (Below threshold)
toto:

The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States and a candidate would win the Presidency if 100% of the voters in these 11 states voted for one candidate. However, if anyone is concerned about the this theoretical possibility, it should be pointed out that, under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in these same 11 states -- that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

The political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states, the highest levels of popular support , hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
* Texas (62% Republican),
* New York (59% Democratic),
* Georgia (58% Republican),
* North Carolina (56% Republican),
* Illinois (55% Democratic),
* California (55% Democratic), and
* New Jersey (53% Democratic).

In addition, the margins generated by the nation's largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
* Texas -- 1,691,267 Republican
* New York -- 1,192,436 Democratic
* Georgia -- 544,634 Republican
* North Carolina -- 426,778 Republican
* Illinois -- 513,342 Democratic
* California -- 1,023,560 Democratic
* New Jersey -- 211,826 Democratic

To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 -- larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004.

The population of the top f... (Below threshold)
toto:

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 obscurely far down in name recognition as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States.
When presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as in Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all rules, the big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami certainly did not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida in 2000 and 2004.

Likewise, under 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.

If the National Popular Vote bill were to become law, it would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 21% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a "big city" approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would still 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 voters in Ohio.

The current state-by-state ... (Below threshold)
toto:

The current state-by-state winner-take-all system encourages regional candidates. A third-party candidate has 51 separate opportunities to shop around for states that he or she can win or affect the results. Minor-party candidates have significantly affected the outcome in six (40%) of the 15 presidential elections in the past 60 years (namely the 1948, 1968, 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections). Candidates such as John Anderson (1980), Ross Perot (1992 and 1996), and Ralph Nader (2000) did not win a plurality of the popular vote in any state, but managed to affect the outcome by switching electoral votes in numerous particular states. Extremist candidacies as Strom Thurmond and George Wallace won a substantial number of electoral votes in numerous states.

The potential for political... (Below threshold)
toto:

The potential for political fraud and mischief is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.

Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party's precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore's margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 statewide recounts was a mere 274 votes.

Senator Birch Bayh (D-Indiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a nationwide popular election for President in a Senate speech by saying in 1979, "one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes."

It is important to note tha... (Below threshold)
toto:

It is important to note that the question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires. The larger the number of voters in an election, the smaller the chance of close election results.

Recounts in presidential elections would be far less likely to occur under a national popular vote system than under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each separate state).

In fact, if the President were elected from a single nationwide pool of votes, one would expect a recount once in 332 elections, or once in 1,328 years.

Based on a recent study of 7,645 statewide elections in the 26-year period from 1980 through 2006 by FairVote, the probability of a recount is 1 in 332 elections (23 recounts in 7,645 elections). Thus, with 420 statewide races on the ballot in 2006, there was one statewide recount (the Vermont State Auditor's race). Similarly, there was one recount in 2004 (the Washington state governor) and one in 2008 (the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota).
Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, there are 51 separate opportunities for recounts in every presidential election. Thus, our nation's 56 presidential elections have really been 2,084 separate state-level elections. In this group of 2,084 separate elections, there have been five seriously disputed counts. The current system has repeatedly created artificial crises in which the vote has been extremely close in particular states, while not close on a nationwide basis. Note that five seriously disputed counts out of the 2,084 separate state-level elections is closely in line with the historically observed probability of 1 in 332.

A national popular vote would reduce the probability of a recount from five instances in 56 presidential elections to one instance in 332 elections (that is, once in 1,328 years).

A good way to visualize this is to think of the chance of a recount as loading one bullet into a 332-chamber gun. Under a national popular vote, the gun is fired once every 4 years. We can therefore expect a recount once in 332 elections, or once in 1,328 years. In contrast, under the current system, the gun is fired 51 times every 4 years. Therefore, we should not be surprised to have had five seriously disputed counts out of the 2,084 separate state-level elections.

The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes), no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

The reduction of the chance of a presidential recount would be even greater than stated above because a close result is less likely to occur as the size of the jurisdiction increases. Indeed, only two of the 23 recounts among the 7,645 statewide elections in the 26-year period from 1980 through 2006 were in big states.

The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 274 votes. The original outcome remained unchanged in over 90% of the recounts.

The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

A single national pool of votes is the way to drastically reduce the likelihood of recounts and eliminate the artificial crises produced by the current system.

A survey of 800 Massachuset... (Below threshold)
toto:

A survey of 800 Massachusetts voters conducted on May 2324, 2010 showed 72% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

Voters were asked

'How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current electoral college system?'

By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 86% among Democrats, 54% among Republicans, and 68% among others. By gender, support was 85% among women and 60% among men. By age, support was 85% among 18-29 year olds, 75% among 30-45 year olds, 69% among 46-65 year olds, and 72% for those older than 65.

Massachusetts voters were also asked a 3-way question:

"Do you prefer a system where the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states on a nationwide basis is elected President, or one like the one used in Nebraska and Maine where electoral voters are dispensed by Congressional district, or one in which all of the state's electoral votes would be given to the statewide winner?"

The results of this three-way question were that 68% favored a national popular vote, 16% favored awarding its electoral votes by congressional district, and 16% favored the existing statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

http://nationalpopularvote.com/

First of all, this is not a... (Below threshold)
Alex:

First of all, this is not a liberal agenda issue. It does not help one party over the other, it simply levels the playing field for the average voter. Saul Anuzis fully supports National Popular Vote as an important and fair reform and a way to help Republican candidates up and down the ticket. He was head of the Republican Party in Michigan for 4 years and was a candidate to head the Republican National Election committee, so he isn't exactly new to this whole election process.

http://www.thatssaulfolks.com/2010/04/01/national-popular-vote-why-i-support-it/

And no, why does it matter who won more states? Governors exist to act for the will of and lead each state. The President exists to lead the nation. Under our current system, many voters have literally no impact on the election of their President (like the 45% of people in Massachusetts who vote Republican, or the 40% in Texas who vote Democrat). Even beyond that, in the 2008 election, both presidential candidates spent 98% of their time and money in just 15 states. If you lived in another one, you were a foregone conclusion, and, again, your vote did not matter. This system of heavily inflated importance for swing states skews our national elections towards a few issues that play well in those 15 states and disenfranchises t35 other states worth of people.

National Popular Vote makes every vote count. One person, one vote, a real impact on who will be the President who shapes the country you live in. That is not a radical idea.

Toto spams the thread with ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Toto spams the thread with 1000's of words just to tell us he/she/it is in favor of tyranny rather than protecting the rights of minorities. He/she/it could have done that with one sentence. He/she/it probably works for Obama.

Alex, that all sounds good ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Alex, that all sounds good if you don't think about it, but if you do think about it if we switched to the national popular vote the problems you attribute to the electoral system (i.e. candidates only consentrating on certain areas) will only be magnified. And you make it legal and easy for the wealthy to buy elections.

A national popular vote will lead to tyranny quicker than even the biased, state-run media we currently have.

Candidates have... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

Voters of those states have already made up their minds. No one will campaign there under any regime.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

Proof positive that it's a bad idea.

One person, one vote, a real impact on who will be the President who shapes the country you live in.

One man, one vote.

One corpse, a couple of votes.

One trunk, a whole shitload of votes.

The point: popular vote makes it more worthwhile to organize wholesale voter fraud, a bedrock of the Democrat Party since the days of Tammany Hall. Every election would now be Gregoired (or should that be "Frankened?") The net effect would be to disenfranchise voters. Unless you think that the dead voter demographic hasn't been adequately represented thus far, or that car trunks should have the vote.

I'd bet that toto wrote an ... (Below threshold)
Grace:

I'd bet that toto wrote an A+ paper for a freshman college course in a liberal university and just HAD to share his/her brilliant thoughts with the rest of us.

To return us to a republic,... (Below threshold)

To return us to a republic, repeal the 17th amendment!

Jay G, the candidates have ... (Below threshold)
Alex:

Jay G, the candidates have no incentive to campaign there under the current system, you're right. Enough people have made up their minds that under the winner take all approach to the Electoral College votes (used in 48 states) it is a waste of either candidate's time to be there. The fact that this means 35 out of 50 states are a waste of a candidate's time should show that there is something seriously wrong with the current system.

The difference is, under National Popular Vote, it would matter exactly how much a candidate won or lost by, in every state. Take Massachusetts as an example. Democratic candidate needs to bolster his vote totals by showing voters he does respect their issues and they should make the effort to get to the polls. Republican candidate will probably never get a majority in Mass but he can easily chip away at the Democratic lead by doing the same, paying attention to Massachusetts issues, especially if the Democrat isn't. It no longer would matter who won a state, you need to actually win over the majority of the people in America. No more focusing only on Ohio and Florida.

As far as fraud, all the cu... (Below threshold)
Alex:

As far as fraud, all the current measures to prevent vote fraud would remain in place under the National Popular Vote Plan. If you have an issue with those measures, that is a separate problem and means that you think they need reform and strengthening no matter what system we are using to allot the Electoral College votes. This may or may not be the case, but it is totally unchanged by National Popular Vote.




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