[U.S.] The Electoral College - Keep it or scrap it?

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  1. #1
    Rogu3 Wreckless is offline
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    May 2012 Join Date
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    talk [U.S.] The Electoral College - Keep it or scrap it?

    I haven't posted here in ages, and this section seems type dead. So, I think it's time we liven it up a bit.

    Debate Question: What do you think of the Electoral College? Is it fair? Do you think it should be abolished?

    What is the Electoral College?

    For those of you who don't know, the Electoral College is the democratic system set up for the Presidential Election in the United States of America. The way it works is, each state is assigned a certain number of "electoral votes" based on population. For example, California has the largest population compared to every other state, and it has 55 electoral votes which is the most out of all the states. The way this is calculated is, each state has 2 Senators plus a certain number of representatives based on a population census. Therefore, California has 2 Senators and 53 Representatives and 53 + 2 = 55 electors or electoral votes.

    Now, in total there are 538 electors or electoral votes (435 Representatives + 100 Senators + 3 Representatives for Washington D.C. [<--not a state]). In order for a Presidential Candidate to win the election, they must win at least 270 electoral votes (538 / 2 = 269).

    Here's where things may seem a little bit sketchy. Now, just for hypothetical purposes, let's say State "A" has a population of 1500 people (unrealistic, but hypothetical), and they have 15 electoral votes. If 800 people vote for Candidate #1, and 700 people vote for Candidate #2, then ALL 15 electoral votes will go to Candidate #1. Now, to some people, it would make more sense if it was proportional. For example, in that same situation where Candidate #1 has 800 votes and Candidate #2 has 700 votes, then Candidate #1 should get 8 electoral votes and Candidate #2 should get 7 electoral votes. This doesn't make sense though because you might as well just base it off of "popular vote" which is the exact number of votes by people.

    Now, the "problem" is that like the recent Presidential Election, a Candidate might win the majority of the electoral votes, but they did not win the majority of the popular vote. In other words, more people voted for the candidate who lost. Wait? What? How did they lose, if they won? And how did they win, if they lost?

    You have to take a second to understand the original intent of the Electoral College. It is your own best judgment whether you think it is fair or not. Now, some states like Texas, New York, California, and many more have an insane amount of electoral votes compared to other states. These states have such an enormous population of people that if you add their population's together it is more than half the total population of the United States (I'm not even kidding).

    Total Population of the U.S.: About 318 Million

    Population of:
    1. California - 38 Million
    2. Texas - 26 Million
    3. New York - 19 Million
    4. Florida - 19 Million
    5. Illinois - 12 Million
    6. Pennsylvania - 12 Million
    7. Ohio - 11 Million
    8. Georgia - 9 Million
    9. Michigan - 9 Million
    10. North Carolina - 9 Million

    38 + 26 + 19 + 19 + 12 + 12 + 11 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 164 Million
    1/2 of Total Pop. of U.S. = 318 Million / 2 = 159 Million
    164 Million > 159 Million

    In only the 10 states with the highest populations, it already makes up more than half of the population. There's still 40 states left, and it already made up HALF. Now, you still might be asking what the hell this has to do with it?

    Here's another hypothetical situation. Let's say that there was no electoral college. It is a known fact that people in certain areas tend to vote for the same candidates. For example, New York and California always tend to vote for the Democratic Candidate and Texas tends to vote for the Republican Candidate. Now, if we relied on the popular vote based on population, this means that those 10 states could just decide the election without any of the other 40 states' votes truly taken into account. It's just not right. Now, obviously population doesn't mean that the entire population is registered to vote, but that doesn't really fault this idea either. The potential is still there for that entire population to vote, with an exception of children under 18 years old.

    So, that leaves a great question that just isn't easy to answer. Should it matter if those 40 states' votes aren't taken into account as a whole? At the end of the day, without an electoral college, your individual vote will account for just a little bit more, but your one measly vote probably still won't have a big impact on the election results.

    One of the big problems with designing a system for an election on this scale is that there is a big opportunity for misrepresentation. Other countries tend to opt for the proportional representation, but you can't really say "Well, he's President of this half, and she's President of this half." Who decides who gets which half? If it's half and half, won't they always disagree? If it's not half and half, won't the one with more representation get more of a say and abuse that? Deciding based solely on popularity is not a bad idea, but it's not exactly a good one either. But at the same time, if "basically" half of a state votes for 1 candidate, and just a few more people vote for the other candidate, then why do all of the states votes go to one candidate?

    Tell me what you think?
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  2. #2
    "I'm old, not obsolete" SKNeoDio is offline
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    Feb 2007 Join Date

    Re: [U.S.] The Electoral College - Keep it or scrap it?

    This is quite an interesting post, made me wonder...

    In a way the Electoral College does bring some proportional equitability regarding the demographics you've referred; but on the opposite field, I don't really like the fact that a few elected ones are the ones who actually cast the, per say, final vote - mostly because they can be bribed, corrupted, or simply change their minds when the time comes to vote.
    "Making mistakes is human, the ability to acknowledge them, the humility and maturity to apologize and try to correct them is GODLY"