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270 votes to win: The quirky U.S. White House race

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Supporters argue that changing the system to a direct vote for the president would concentrate too much power in the hands of urban populations to the detriment of rural, more sparsely populated states.

And the above is a ridiculous statement. One person one vote would be excellent.

What would happen though is that sparsely populated areas would never ever really get the chance to see a live president wanna b. That is it, but with the internet and TV who cares.

I would love to see it changed. My Florida vote went to waste the last two times. That stinks.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So now we know why they all go to Iowa!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Although the Electoral College system did save us from an Al Gore presidency, I'd like to see it thrown out and replaced with a direct popular vote like they have in Korea.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

JapanGal - Good thing your 2004 vote was "wasted" - why, if John Kerry had won Florida and its Electoral College votes, we would have had President John Kerry, who served in Vietnam and then trashed his fellow soldiers, lol.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I thought the British system was convoluted, but seems plain sailing in comparison with this. Very Interesting article Thank you JT

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Serrano, complaining about Senator John Kerry--your Swiftboat still has gas in the tank, eh?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"trashed his fellow soldiers"

Really? I thought he accused his superiors of war crimes in the "free fire zones".

Here's a description of the scene at the U.S. Capitol. It sounds like his fellow soldiers were getting in on the action:

"For more than two hours, almost 1000 angry veterans tossed their medals, ribbons, hats, jackets, and military papers over the fence. Each veteran gave his or her name, hometown, branch of service and a statement. Kerry threw some of his decorations as well as some given to him by other veterans to throw. As Kerry threw his decorations over the fence, his statement was: "I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all."[51] The documentary film Sir! No Sir! includes archival footage of Kerry at the demonstration: he is one of several young men seen throwing things over the fence."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Supporters argue that changing the system to a direct vote for the president would concentrate too much power in the hands of urban populations to the detriment of rural, more sparsely populated states.

The argument given by those that want to keep the Electoral System in place doesn't hold water. As it currently stands, candidates only visit the states with the most electoral votes (i.e. the largest populations) so states with smaller populations never SEE the candidates. When was the last time you heard of a presidential candidate campaigning in the largest state in the union? Alaska may be the largest land-wise, but population-wise it's not worth the trip to campaign in. Because of their paucity of electoral votes, Alaskans can count on their state NEVER having a say on who is elected president unless the electoral vote was EXTREMELY close. At least with the "one person, one vote counted" system, each individual's vote has as much weight as another's, no matter WHERE they live.

It was touched upon in the article, but here's the real injustice: No state unanimously votes for a candidate, there's always a mix of votes. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, the candidate winning at least 51% of the popular vote gets ALL the electoral votes for that state. That effectively disenfranchises up to 49% of the state's population - rendering their vote as completely meaningless. The result is THE STATES are voting for the next president, not THE PEOPLE.

Once you realize that, then you realize that the following states (and district) have virtually no say in who is elected president, as they have the minimum number of electors (3) allowed: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Delaware, District of Columbia. If they pooled all their electoral votes together and formed a voting block of 24 electoral votes, they STILL could be beaten by single states such as: California (55), Texas (38), Florida (29), and New York (29). This is why THOSE four states are the ones that get the candidate's attention.

So someone needs to better explain to me how the current system benefits the "rural, more sparsely populated" states.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is really ridiculous for a candidate who won 51% of a state's popular votes to receive all of that state's Electoral College votes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Speaking of ridiculous politics, what about the periodic redistricting experiments in many U.S. states.

Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona, just ordered the removal of the chairwoman of the state's independent redistricting commission. This despite competitive redistricting every decade being mandated by the state's voters. The Governor made her announcement while on a book tour in New York promoting her autobiography, Scorpions For Breakfast, in which she actually claims to follow the diet named in the title. She said the removal of the redistricting chairwoman was for gross misconduct, but has yet to provide any hard evidence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sure - it's confusing, arguably unrepresentative and kind of an undemocratic voting system. As an outsider of the US and student of politics, however, there is no country in the world and nothing more interesting than a US Presidential Election! Bring it on!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So someone needs to better explain to me how the current system benefits the "rural, more sparsely populated" states.

Everything about the American system is about checks and balances. Thats what you fail to understand. The framers of the constitution were extremely skeptical of direct democracy. They sought to insulate the elections from direct voting. Thus the electoral college, and elections for the Senate. The Senatorial election was changed in the early part of last century, and this change, is thought by many conservatives to be a huge mistake, with the result being a much stronger federal government, and much weaker, less independent state governments.

Getting back to the issue at hand, the house is directly elected, with each state receiving votes based on population. The larger states had an advantage in this, and so to balance this, each state was given 2 Senate seats, putting each on level ground. With the bi-cameral legislature, that means, that even if the majority rules, it cannot force their agenda upon unwilling states. Sadly though, this is no longer really true, with the expansion of federalism.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't waste my time voting. I do get off that day but I'll stay home chilling. My state is Blue. I figure if I want the Blue to win, I don't have to vote. It'll be Blue anyways. If I want the Red to win, there's no point in voting. It'll be Blue anyways. Besides, voting probably makes me feel like I take part in voting but I don't know if it actually counts for anything. The choice of presidency is in the hand of the big boys.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unfortunately because American christians can't get over the fact that Mitt Romney is a mormon, Obama will probably win another four years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everything about the American system is about checks and balances. Thats what you fail to understand. The framers of the constitution were extremely skeptical of direct democracy. They sought to insulate the elections from direct voting. Thus the electoral college,

Actually I understand better than you know. The reason the framers of the Constitution were "skeptical of direct democracy" was that over half of the country was functionally illiterate. Our founding fathers had a particularly dim view of the political acumen held by the general public. Thus they framed the rules with the idea that only the "landed gentry" would be allowed to vote for the country's leadership. The situation that existed in the 1780's no longer applies, and high school kids now graduate with more education than some of those "landed gentry" of yore. So the founding father's Electoral College is an anachronism designed to avoid a problem that hasn't existed for generations. It should go the way of the buggy whip.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't waste my time voting. I do get off that day but I'll stay home chilling. My state is Blue. I figure if I want the Blue to win, I don't have to vote. It'll be Blue anyways. If I want the Red to win, there's no point in voting. It'll be Blue anyways. Besides, voting probably makes me feel like I take part in voting but I don't know if it actually counts for anything. The choice of presidency is in the hand of the big boys.

It's certainly your right to decide not to participate in elections, but if you do then you also forfeit your right to complain about what the politicians are doing (or not doing). I vote in every election even though I live in one of those states I described above where my vote isn't counted unless I'm voting on the side of the majority. Why? Because then I've EARNED the right to complain when they sit in D.C. and waste time by "reaffirming that the U.S. motto is 'In God We Trust'" instead of working on REAL issues. (True story. They were doing that tomfoolery just the other day.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's certainly your right to decide not to participate in elections, but if you do then you also forfeit your right to complain about what the politicians are doing (or not doing). I vote in every election even though I live in one of those states I described above where my vote isn't counted unless I'm voting on the side of the majority. Why? Because then I've EARNED the right to complain when they sit in D.C. and waste time by "reaffirming that the U.S. motto is 'In God We Trust'" instead of working on REAL issues. (True story. They were doing that tomfoolery just the other day.)

The choices are kind of poor. I find it complicated to figure out who will do less damage to the country. But anyways, I'm not an American by birth but after years living here, I realized that whining about anything and everything is what makes an American. I'm just following the flow.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By not voting you have the right to blame everyone else for their choice. I'd never give up that right.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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