Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Electoral College reform? Well, no.

If you saw my earlier post about how far from the will of the popular vote the Electoral College can get, you might be thinking this institution has got to go. Many agree with you, but I'm here to tell you it's not to be.

The Electoral College was established for the very purpose of creating the kind of result that my armchair analysis demonstrated. The founding fathers did not want the election controlled directly by the people, and the Electoral College was the indirect method they came up with instead. I've heard also that if elections were a direct vote, candidates could focus their campaigns only on big cities and forget about sparse rural areas, leaving small town folks without a voice.

As a result, the Electoral College gives smaller states not a lot of power compared to the large states, but disproportionate power. Wyoming's 3 electoral votes don't compare to California's 55, but that 3:55 ratio (0.054) is a lot better than the 0.014 ratio of their voting populations.

The only way to remove or change the Electoral College is with a Constitutional Amendment, which must be ratified by a 3/4 majority of the states. See the problem? Taking the extra voting power away from smaller states requires their consent.

It could happen, but only with strong support from people in practically every state, people willing to make their own vote less valuable as a result.
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