Warren calls for end to the Electoral College

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/19/warren-calls-for-end-to-the-el.html


Bipartisan consensus! Let’s make this happen!


How exactly would this occur? What would be the steps - in a perfect world?

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I am not so sure the electoral college is bad or good at this stage.


End the Senate also.


In a perfect world the states which have disproportionately too much power relative to their populations would recognize the inequities and sign on to a constitutional amendment. In the real world nobody voluntarily gives up power without being forced to, so we’d have to go with the work-around that effectively accomplishes the same thing:


Just another college with a rigged admission process.


“Concieved in Sin”

"Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said Tuesday the Electoral College was “conceived in sin” and originally designed to effectively perpetuate slavery. "

“The country is different than it was when the Constitution was drafted," Cohen said on CNN while support for the push to move to a national popular voted for presidential elections."

"Cohen criticized the Electoral College’s origins, saying that a lot of the original Constitution “had to do with slavery.”

“The slave states wanted equal representation in the Senate because they wanted to keep slavery,” he continued. “The slave states wanted to have an Electoral College to where the members that they had in Congress counted towards the vote of president, where the slaves counted as two-thirds and in the popular vote they would count as zero. So the slaves states didn’t want a popular election because their slaves wouldn’t count towards voting and the slaves states would have less votes.”

“This is all conceived in sin and perpetuating slavery on the American people and on the African-American people, directly,” he added, before invoking Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) argument for bypassing the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote." The Hill

Something tells me that white nationalist MAGAites are going to whine about their inevitable fate.


I agree. It seems like as unreliable and vulnerable our current voting system is, any attempt to make it a direct popular vote is going to be too easily manipulated or falsified for my comfort. At the same time, I’m not sure the electoral college is actually acting in accordance with the will of the people.

I would rather see changes to how electors are distributed. Something besides “winner take all” at the state level.

Add in some ranked voting and eliminating gerrymandering (maybe nice square or geographic feature based districts), and some better representation could show up.

I’m open to other arguments, but just “the candidates never visit X” isn’t a good one on it’s own. That would still be true, just for new values of X.


If the electoral college made any sense then we’d see people advocating to run statewide elections that way. But as far as I can tell nobody thinks a voter in a sparsely populated rural county should have more say in who becomes their state’s next governor than a voter in a densely populated urban county.


Please explain. Why would it be easier to manipulate the entire population of the country than to manipulate a few key populations in swing states where you can concentrate your efforts?


Oho! I can just imagine what the electors are saying about all this. Perhaps it’s something like “catch me if you can.”

done is haste sans photoshop, fwiw

What a wonderful thing, if we were to finally get rid of that dang thing and go to a direct democracy.

Particularly annoying is the “winner-take-all” mechanism by which the electoral college operates:


What is the difference between the winner-takes-all rule and proportional voting, and which states follow which rule?

The District of Columbia and 48 states have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. In these States, whichever candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, or a plurality of the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate), takes all of the state’s Electoral votes.

Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In those states, there could be a split of Electoral votes among candidates through the state’s system for proportional allocation of votes. For example, Maine has four Electoral votes and two Congressional districts. It awards one Electoral vote per Congressional district and two by the state-wide, “at-large” vote. It is possible for Candidate A to win the first district and receive one Electoral vote, Candidate B to win the second district and receive one Electoral vote, and Candidate C, who finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large Electoral votes. Although this is a possible scenario, it has not actually happened.


If a Republican had won the popular vote but lost the election, this already would have happened.


This was always my argument on voting - I would always tell people their votes really didn’t count, it was the electoral college that decides. I voted for the first time in my life (I’m 47) this past election and what did we see? Trump getting picked by the electoral college.

I honestly don’t know. Just call it paranoia. But if we’re eliminating the a long-established element of our election process I’d like to see a thorough and competent security study done to ensure that the new process is more secure than the current one.

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I’ve never quite understood the Elector College and would love to see it go away, however that would make voter suppression an even more effective and direct way of controlling who becomes president.

There’s also the dumpster fire that is electronic voting.

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As long as it’s not by congressional district, because that has the side effect of subjecting it to the same corrupting influence of political gerrymandering that impacts the House. (I’m aware that both Maine and Nebraska do it this way already. I’m not convinced it’s a good idea.)

Is now a good or bad time to mention that Spokane (and really, most of eastern Washington) regularly gets angry that Seattle’s larger population essentially means it gets more of a say in who the state’s senators are? There were billboards exhorting Spokanites to vote so that Seattle wouldn’t “steal” another Senate seat when Patty Murray was up for re-election in 2010.


But just based on the numbers involved, I really don’t understand under what scenario you think the current system is more secure. The margin of victory in any given swing state is usually much, much tighter than the margin of victory for the total national vote count. So a few thousand fraudulent votes in a swing state gets you a lot more bang for you buck than a few thousand votes on the national level. It’s not like we’re discussing making the whole country start using new equipment that’s any less secure than the current equipment. No new voting technology would be necessary.