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October 31, 2004

Comments

People claim small states would be neglected without the Electoral College, but most of them are not getting much attention right now anyway

Don't forget that small states are already receiving outsized representation in both houses of Congress. AND while they may not be "swing" states, they have outsized power in the electoral college because their electoral votes must equal three at the minimum.

Californians and New Yorkers must feel that their votes have little value indeed. But the electoral college isn't going away, because the power to block an amendment to the constitution is in the hands of those small states. Some days, I think California ought to split into two states just to get more representation at the federal level!

Agree with almost all of your proposed reforms except for abolition of the electoral college. As the previous commentator points out, that ain't gonna happen anyway. Most sensible reform would be to persuade states to both fairly redistrict and to allocate EVs by CD (with the statewide winner taking 2)as ME and NE do. Rational redistricting (and I would favor multi-member districts and preferential voting, including the allocation of EVs, for large states)would give campaigns more of a stake in every region of the country. Congress could establish fair Congressional districting by statute under Section 4 of Article 1, or the House, on its own, could disqualify candidates elected from gerrymandered districts.

Since, as of now, there seems to be no way to edit voter registration across counties, let alone states, deciding the election by national popular vote would encourage practically undetectable cheating by a few votes in each of thousands of precincts. With EVs allocated by state or CD, cheating in presidential elections only pays in close areas, and is more readily prevented or detected.

Also, in a national popular vote the winner elected by a plurality, but not a majority, especially if the plurality is concentrated in a few areas, would lack legitimacy. With a run-off we could end up with an absurdity like the recent French election where a right winger competed with a fascist.

Just because you are a political "scientist" does not mean you have all the answers.

I certainly agree about the Electoral College and have felt for some time that redistricting needs to be done impartially, both for Congress and for State Legislatures - being a New Yorker that's a particular concern.

While I do find McCain-Feingold flawed, simply opening the floodgates isn't the answer. We should still impose strict limits on individual contributions and ban all corporate money from campaigns, including "soft-money". I would prefer publicly financed campaigns at least for Senate and President, but I'm not optimistic. The media would throw a fit if their biannual gravy train was interrupted.

I also strongly support Instant Runoff Voting, so voters can express their true opinions without fear of "wasting" their vote or causing a particularly undesirable candidate to win.

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