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That’s the premise of a bill to be introduced in Congress by Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

Abolish the Electoral College… the candidate who wins a majority of the votes should win the presidency.

Establish rotating interregional primaries

Provide for nationwide early voting

Allow absentee ballots on demand

Improve vote verification

Fund pilot vote-by-mail and Internet voting

Establish standards for voter registration lists

The article has the details. Shouldn’t be much of a wait for the smokescreen from politicians who want “electoral reform” – as long as it doesn’t challenge the status quo.

No, I have no idea if this will ever get past the do-nothings in Congress – at least part of this proposal will require a Constitutional amendment.

Democracy. Too radical for America?




  1. bobbo says:

    #61–Sea Lawyer==very earnest. Points for that alone.

    Unfortunately, having no analysis of the issue and simply relying on the authority of our Founding Fathers is NOT A GOOD ARGUMENT–at all. Not when other similar “compromises” are completely flawed when viewed from present circumstances.

    Do you support SLAVERY because that was the “States Rights” compromise of the time? I know you don’t.

    Point being–states rights and federalism is no argument/analysis at all, it is just words acting as semaphore to identify your unthinking position.

    Fourth Chance==please give reasons why direct election of president is bad, or why the electorial college provision still makes sense TODAY, or why SLAVERY should be re-instituted.

  2. Sea Lawyer says:

    #62, Wow, I’m actually surprised it took you four posts to come around to the usual superior “logic” of using the historical circumstance of slavery to refute the validity of other unrelated implementations of those people who happened to also own slaves. You truly are the master of Internet forum debate.

    It’s also time to take a torch to that strawman of yours, since nowhere have I stated that I feel that direct election of the President is “bad,” just that I don’t agree that the states should be taken out of the equation by eliminating the Electoral College.

    This actually goes to the heart of your original claim that the states don’t have any legitimate interest in the matter. The House of Representatives is a body of people who were meant from the very start to be the direct representatives of the people. The state governments, being beholden to the federal government for the most part, also need their own representation in the government; hence the Senate was created with equal representation by state appointed members. The Senate is not supposed to be a second body of representation for the people, it serves a completely different purpose (which again is why I support state appointments). Hmm, maybe if you were to break out some of these renowned critical analysis techniques of yours, you might find some sort of a hint why it’s the Senate, and not the House of Representatives, who is given the power to approve presidential appointments and treaties; look at the roles of each house in the impeachment process for another clue (BTW, the Senate’s weight far exceeds the House’s). Perhaps the states do have an interest in whatever shenanigans the President may be up to, and how he got there in the first place.

    The President is not a representative, he is the executive. With that in mind, there is no compelling reason why he must or must not be elected by direct popular vote. All I have to do is say I have a preference for one method, and that one being the current system where states are the determining factor. No “logic” required.

  3. MikeN says:

    Like the current Democrat race, under a popular vote scenario, each candidate gets proportional votes from each state. Now if we get a narrow finish, you get a big mess, just like the Democrat race. Suppose the popular vote ended up with a 10,000 vote difference. You would have recounts lasting months, with just 75 days til Inauguration Day. Instead they should apply the electoral college within the state. Then the recounts will be so much easier, limited to smaller regions.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Pat, you only get in trouble in Germany for advocating that the holocaust didn’t happen, or maintain any Nazi ties insomuch as attempting to force those ideals on others. This was a position the rest of the world forced them into, to attempt to repent for Hitler’s negative impact. To me, that is perfectly reasonable. After all, do you think the USA has no problem with the NeoNazis crawling through all our major cities?

    I believe you may just be ill informed, which is certainly not a crime. I just wish people would actually concede to others that perhaps are better aware of other cultures than they are. And also, about your Bill of Rights comment earlier, German laws are almost neck in neck comparable to the BoR. It has been studied exhaustively by experts throughout the US, and legal experts here have found very few differences between the two.

    Also, Hitler and his crew had nothing to do with democracy, so I’m not quite sure what your point is on that. When the wall came down in the 90s, Germany fought to create a unified system between the East and West, and I envy the progress they have made in that short time.

    Back on topic – I agree that simply killing the electoral college would create more problems. It seems ashame though, that these past two elections have even placed Americans in doubt of our system to start with. I’m not saying it was ever perfect, but certainly we have not had quite the circus that seems to go on now.

  5. bobbo says:

    #63–Sea Lawyer==curious you seem to be aware of the defect in your own position, yet you don’t incorporate your own recognition into your argument.

    Pearls before swine.

  6. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #55 – Okay… That was funny 🙂

    #56 – 1. Do you want to donate $3 to the Presidental election fund?

    Okay… Can someone explain or point a link to a good explanation of what that fund actually does?

  7. Sea Lawyer says:

    #67, that is the fund where federally matching campaign funds for presidential elections comes from. All you are doing when you check that box is telling the IRS that three dollars of the taxes you paid that year should go towards that fund.

  8. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #68 – So what happens if nobody checks the box?

  9. pat says:

    #65 Nice gloss over. I really like the mandatory tithing right out of your paycheck and into the church coffers that Germany practices. I’m VERY educated in German law. Doing business there and having offices there makes that a necessity.

    Nice try though.

  10. Sea Lawyer says:

    #69, Well, there wouldn’t be any new money going into the fund. This is the only example I can think of where the government is giving you the ability to not have your tax dollars spent in a manner you don’t support.

    More info: http://www.fec.gov/info/checkoff.htm

  11. Mark T. says:

    Darn that pesky Constitution. If it weren’t for that stupid piece of paper, we could turn the United States from its current classification of a Republic to the a mob rule a Democracy. And we could abolish free speech and gun ownership at the same time!

    Gee! Isn’t make believe FUN!

    Dream on, folks. This will never happen. You might get some States to reform their primary systems or voting methods but you won’t get 2/3 to ratify removing the electoral college. If they did, any future president would basically only need to win a few eastern states, Florida, Texas, and California. Everyone else could just go suck eggs.

    The less populous states would be ratifying a constitutional amendment to make their own political voices insignificant. They won’t do it, no matter what the overpopulated coastal state dwellers want.

  12. bobbo says:

    #72–Mark==you make it sound like “State are people too” as if they had some kind of “rights” that ought to be recognized?

    What are those rights?

    Why is a person in a populous area less vote worthy than a person is a less populous area?

  13. Sea Lawyer says:

    #73, Nobody is talking about rights here. We are discussing by which procedure the executive position of the government is best filled.

    This has nothing to do with anybody’s “rights.”

  14. bobbo says:

    #74–Sea Lawyer. I’m glad I said “sounds like.”

    Avoided a mistake there, but only by a hair.

  15. These conversations always amaze me. So many people have had the Kool-Aid and continue to breathe. I don’t understand it.

    People will argue and argue that a life in Wyoming is more valuable than a life in California.

    There is no sense to this. Should prison terms for murder be 3.8 times as long in Wyoming as in California because a Wyoming resident is worth 3.8 times as much? Or, is it because we give land the right to vote? If land is going to vote, then I suspect it will not vote for being bulldozed by the repugnicans.

    So, my point is that since life is equal in California and Wyoming, votes should be equal between the two.

    Our current system is stark raving mad!

    One person, one vote. That is the very definition of democracy. Let’s enter the free world.

    Humorous movie dialog:

    Man: You’d believe that?
    Woman: I will if you will.
    Man: But, it’s absurd!
    Woman: So is our electoral process but we still vote.

  16. Les says:

    #76,
    you said:
    So, my point is that since life is equal in California and Wyoming, votes should be equal between the two.

    I agree, it’s insane for California to get 55 votes, and Wyoming to get only 3. Both states should have the same number of votes.

    Why should Californians elect the cantidate who wants to dump all of California’s waste in Wyoming?

    Like I said before, it becomes two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner.

  17. Greg Allen says:

    MikeN,

    Sorry. Not buying it. Welfare isn’t the problem.

    You think Oklahoma has more “welfare queens” per capita than the urban states? (I haven’t Googled it but I seriously doubt it.)

    I happen to spend a fair amount of time in Oklahoma, hanging with Republicans, mostly. Man, those guys are totally addicted to government subsidies for all their businesses… and most are quite wealthy. Those same guys whine and carp about a couple hundred bucks sent to a single mother in California or New York.

  18. Mark T. says:

    Les, well said!

    bobbo, I never said anything about rights of the states. However, eliminating the electoral college is a giant step towards a “direct” or “true” democracy, aka mob rule, and away from a pragmatic representative government, i.e. our current republic.

    Anyway, I thought of arguing the benefits and drawbacks of true democracies vs. republics but that is too big a subject to debate tonight. Suffice to say that republics work reasonably well while democracies tend to devolve over time into despotism and tyranny.

    I find it strange that all the libs talk a big story about diversity and require unquestioned respect for individuals and minorities. However, they are adamantly opposed to and derisive of the diversity of the states and their myriad of inhomogeneous laws.

    Face it, Montana is not New York and they like it that way. They do not want to be made irrelevant by 1/20 of New York’s voting power. At the heart of this debate is federalism. If the states are not represented by the electoral college, then the mob has won. At that point, do the states have any real reason to exist? To a federalist, probably not. Why not just let the nincompoops in D.C. determine all laws for everyone at that point and simply dissolve the states?

    In short, learn to live with it. Short of a revolution and tearing up the Constitution, this is never going to happen. We live in a republic and 2/3 of the states will never ratify a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college. Why should they? Only 1/3 of the states stand to gain anything by it.

  19. jccalhoun hates the stupid spam filter says:

    Every four years or so one of the science mags like Discover or Pop Science has an article about voting. One of the more interesting voting methods that I’ve read about is ranking. Your first choice gets the equivalent of say 5 votes while your second gets 4 and so on.

    Ideally that would encourage more variety in the candidates (even if it was just 3 democrats and 3 republicans) and more people would be happy even if their second or third choice was the one that got elected and not their first choice.

    I live in a state that has gone Republican ever election since Johnson so it doesn’t matter who I vote for be it Dem or Rep because the state will go Republican. That being said it is really funny to see the state getting attention from Hillary and Barak since our primary isn’t until May.

  20. #77 – Les,

    Sorry Les. People make democracy, not states. A state does not get a vote. What is a state? If land gets to vote, it should certainly vote green.

    One person, one vote. You just want a tyranny of the less populous states. That’s what gave us W. I think it’s time to treat people equally.

    As for California voting to dump on Wyoming, I think you have it ass-backwards. It’s the less populous states voting to dump CO2 and mercury on the world.

    It’s not California or New York voting to increase coal use. And, the states that are, are the ones voting to trample West Virginia.

    So, perhaps if the less populous states stopped voting to trash themselves and the rest of us, this might not be an issue.

    Get a clue.

  21. Chris Mac says:

    #80 We get to vote on adopting a system like that here in BC Canada.

    We voted it down once so they went back to fine tune it..

    It will get another vote next provincial election

  22. Joshua says:

    Sorry Ed….that list isn’t a list of what Democracy needs, it’s a list of what felons need.

    There is no way on God’s earth I would trust internet or mail in voting. Absentee ballots are already a felony in progress in many areas of the country.

    The electoral college may be an impediment to democracy but it does at least provide a way for people in smaller states to at least get a hearing for their problems by candidates. Once they only need the popular vote to win only the large states will get any attention.

    Has to be something better than a list from a Florida Democrat on how to have an election. I remember 2000 and the DNC rules from 2008.

  23. Joshua says:

    #35…actually corporations are no longer allowed to contribute directly to a candate since McCain /Feingold. But they can contribute to parties.

    McCain and Feingold originally wanted all union and business contributions outlawed. Including get out the vote money, everything. Only direct contributions by individuals was to be allowed. But they backed off to get the bill we have now passed.

    I wish there was a way to end the 2 party system. But it may be too firmly entrenched. Maybe a group of parties by ideology as some European countries do it.

  24. Joshua says:

    #65….Elizebeth….you might want to rethink that. You can also go to jail in Geremnay and have your children taken away for home schooling. You cannot discuss both sides(like a debate) of anything to do with the Hitler era(my comments here could get me cited in Berlin) without possibly being accousted by the police and jailed or fined.

  25. Joshua says:

    I kind of like the system that I believe Nebraska has. The winner of each congressional district gets 1 electoral vote for that district, then the state wide winner gets a bonus. It dosen’t violate the constitution because the electoral votes are not changed, just alloted by the internal vote in that state.
    I’ve been reading a couple of articles about the possibility of Obama taking 1 or maybe 2 of Nebraska’s congressional districts, while losing the state and however many other districts Nebraska has. I think Maine has something similur to this but I’m not sure off hand.
    In California, the Republican primary is set up this way. You win congressional districts then the state wide winner gets the 2 extra for the Senator’s and a bonus if the state went Republican in the last Federal election.

    The Governator wanted to change the state constitution to do the same thing with California’s electoral votes. 1 vote for each congressional district and the over all winner gets the 2 Senate bonus votes. Of course the Democrats screamed bloody murder because that would allow a Republican Presidential candidate to split the electoral vote of the largest state and dilute the Democrats ability to get to 270 nationally. I see their point. As the districts are now the Republican candidate would most likely get 23 votes and lose the state. But the Democrat would only get 29, thus making that 270 harder to get.
    If this was done on a national basis, I could support it. It’s not 1 man 1 vote, but it’s more represenative than the present system.

  26. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #79 – Anyway, I thought of arguing the benefits and drawbacks of true democracies vs. republics but that is too big a subject to debate tonight.

    And irrelevant. We are talking about abolishing the Electoral College. This is a legal construct that has one idiosyncratic job to do once every four years. It tabulates votes from the states and selects a president.

    It doesn’t change tax policy or prevent New York from bullying Wyoming or transform a democracy into a republic or visa versa. So all this talk in this thread about mob rule and wolves and sheep is a collection of red herrings.

    It’s been said that only four times in our history as the College vote not matched the popular vote. All we are talking about here is fixing that glitch.

    Suffice to say that republics work reasonably well while democracies tend to devolve over time into despotism and tyranny.

    You mean like what has been happening before our eyes in this country since September 11, 2001 under the leadership of President Select Bush who was not elected by the citizens of this nation?

    The Electoral College does not protect the interests of states. It disenfranchises citizens. It invalidates the wills of hundreds of thousands of rural voters who did not vote for the status quo. It takes a 49 – 51 decision and magically transforms it into a mandate… and in 2000, it transformed it into a mandate for the guy who lost the election.

    It wasn’t a bad idea for a fledgling country made of 13 states in an era when communication moved no faster than the gallop of a horse and there was a distinct minority of citizens who could read. But its time is over. It’s time to hand over the responsibility of choosing a leader to those who will be lead.

  27. Mr. Catshit says:

    #79, Mark,

    Suffice to say that republics work reasonably well while democracies tend to devolve over time into despotism and tyranny.

    Can you name another Republic that has survived as a Democracy besides the USA? Yup. There isn’t one. Every one has devolved into dictatorships. The US is leaning in that direction.

    On the other hand, every other thriving democracy today uses the Parliamentary system or a hybrid Parliamentary / Republican system.

    I find it strange that all the libs talk a big story about diversity and require unquestioned respect for individuals and minorities. However, they are adamantly opposed to and derisive of the diversity of the states and their myriad of inhomogeneous laws.

    As opposed to, oh say, conservatives require unquestioned disrespect for individuals and minorities. Yup, I’ll take the liberal approach.

    I sure don’t understand what the diversity of the states and their myriad of inhomogeneous laws has to do with electing the President. In case you don’t understand it, the President is the President of all Americans. Not just some hick Montanan.

    Face it, Montana is not New York and they like it that way. They do not want to be made irrelevant by 1/20 of New York’s voting power.

    Yup. Most New Yorkers do not want to have to watch they aren’t stepping in fresh buffalo pats. On the other hand, the citizens of New York, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Arizona are individually, equally American. Their votes should count the same as anyone else’s.

  28. Mr. Catshit says:

    #85, joshua,

    You harp on some laws Germany has. In case you missed it, WW II was the blackest day in Europe’s history. Common sense (to most) says don’t provoke the memories with your worship of Hitler and denial. Most Europeans also believe hate speech should not receive immunity.

    Did you realize in the US it is illegal for a Federal Civil Servant to be a communist?

    There are still various laws on the book that prohibit criticizing elected representatives, American foreign policy, or refusing to register for the Selective Service.

    It is also illegal for an American to receive a peerage or knighthood from a foreign crown.

    None of this has anything to do with electing the President other than so many people are so poorly informed.

  29. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #79 – Face it, Montana is not New York and they like it that way. They do not want to be made irrelevant by 1/20 of New York’s voting power.

    So instead, you make New York irrelevant?

    #88 – Yup. Most New Yorkers do not want to have to watch they aren’t stepping in fresh buffalo pats. On the other hand, the citizens of New York, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Arizona are individually, equally American. Their votes should count the same as anyone else’s.

    YES!

    If 49.9% of those living in Indiana vote for the Democratic candidate, 100% of the state’s votes will still go to the Republican.

    How does disenfranchising 1/2 or a rural state protect the rural state from the “mob” in the urban centers?

  30. Stars & Bars says:

    Here is the difference between a republic and a democracy. In a democracy citizens have one vote. In a republic citizens have three votes; the one to elect public officials, one on a grand jury to protect us from over zealous prosecutors, one on a regular jury to judge both the law and the defendant. Jury nullification is the difference between a republic and a democracy.


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