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Mass. Legislature approves plan to bypass Electoral College


#1 thrustbucket   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   7942 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

thrustbucket

Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:18 PM

Source.

Mass. Legislature approves plan to bypass Electoral College

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Legislature has approved a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote.

"What we are submitting is the idea that the president should be selected by the majority of people in the United States of America," Senator James B. Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, said as he introduced the bill on the Senate floor.

Under the new bill, he said, "Every vote will be of the same weight across the country."

But Senate minority leader Richard Tisei said the state was meddling with a system that was "tried and true" since the founding of the country.

"We've had a lot of bad ideas come through this chamber over the years, but this is going to be one of the worst ideas that has surfaced and actually garnered some support," said Tisei, who is also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

The bill, which passed the Senate on a 28-9 vote, now heads to Democratic Governor Deval Patrick's desk. The governor has said in the past that he supports the bill, said governor's spokeswoman Kim Haberlin.

Under the law, which was enacted by the House last week, all 12 of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.

Supporters are campaigning, state by state, to get such bills enacted. Once states accounting for a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted the laws, the candidate winning the most votes nationally would be assured a majority of Electoral College votes. That would hold true no matter how the other states vote and how their electoral votes are distributed.

Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington have already approved the legislation, according to the National Popular Vote campaign's website.

The current Electoral College system is confusing and causes presidential candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states, supporters say. They also say that the popular vote winner has lost in four of the nation's 56 elections.

Presidential candidates now "ignore wide swaths of the country" they consider strong blue or red states and focus their campaigning on contested states, Eldridge said. If the president were picked by national popular vote, he argued, candidates would spread their attention out more evenly.

"That's really what we're talking about is making sure that every voter, no matter where they live, that they're being reached out to," he said.

Opponents say the current system works. They also point to the disturbing scenario that Candidate X wins nationally, but Candidate Y has won in Massachusetts. In that case, all of the state's 12 electoral votes would go to Candidate X, the candidate who was not supported by Massachusetts voters.

Tisei also criticized the proponents for not following the normal procedures to seek a constitutional amendment.

"The thing about this that bothers me the most is it's so sneaky. This is the way that liberals do things a lot of times, very sneaky," he said. "This is sort of an end run around the Constitution."

The measure passed both branches of the Legislature in 2008 but did not make it all the way through the process.


I have very mixed feelings on this but I am leaning towards liking it.

#2 Dead of Knight  

Dead of Knight

Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:40 PM

If this had happened earlier we wouldn't have had a certain idiot in office who ran the country into the ground.

#3 Friend of Sonic   Toneman.org coming soon.. CAGiversary!   10163 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Friend of Sonic

Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:43 PM

If this had happened earlier we wouldn't have had a certain idiot in office who ran the country into the ground.

Obama? Harharhar

#4 RAMSTORIA   fate is inexorable CAGiversary!   11980 Posts   Joined 14.9 Years Ago  

Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:46 PM

The current Electoral College system is confusing and causes presidential candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states, supporters say. They also say that the popular vote winner has lost in four of the nation's 56 elections.


its really not confusing. and if they think presidents only focus on a handful of states now, it certainly wouldnt change if only popular vote mattered now. they might campaign less heavily in some states, but theyd start neglecting others as well.

id rather the electoral college get even more micro and have each vote go with its district rather than the state. and while were at it, lets start voting for the vice president again.

#5 UncleBob  

Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:39 PM

and while were at it, lets start voting for the vice president again.


yes.

#6 IRHari   COME ON! CAGiversary!   3816 Posts   Joined 11.1 Years Ago  

Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:55 PM

Eh, I doubt other states will go along with it.

#7 KingBroly   CAG Club Nintendo CAGiversary!   15248 Posts   Joined 12.3 Years Ago  

KingBroly

Posted 27 July 2010 - 11:16 PM

So they're effectively saying 'the votes of our state citizens don't matter'.

Great idea

#8 dopa345   All around nice guy CAGiversary!   2247 Posts   Joined 15.2 Years Ago  

Posted 27 July 2010 - 11:50 PM

Completely asinine. They just deprived MA citizens the right to vote in the Presidential election. On the bright side, my vote never mattered anyway, living in a sea of Democrats and this law could ironically lead MA to vote Republican at the next election.

#9 Magehart   It's on like Donkey Kong! CAGiversary!   2684 Posts   Joined 13.5 Years Ago  

Magehart

Posted 28 July 2010 - 01:21 AM

Current politicians have a better vision than the founding fathers. Didn't you get the memo?

I'd rather we vote every year for a recall of every politician that represents you from mayor to PotUS.

#10 WeaponX2099   You walk on the subway CAGiversary!   5423 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

WeaponX2099

Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:21 AM

This is so not a good idea.

#11 Vhehs2   Trading Ban Trading Ban   333 Posts   Joined 10.3 Years Ago  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:26 AM

There's nothing wrong with this movement. I believe the reason we even have an electoral college is because when the country was new, the federal government was afraid that an underrepresented state would seek independence. That is hardly feasible today.

Another problem is that the electoral college allows the electoral voters - the people who actually have the right to assign an electoral vote - don't even have to vote for the candidate their state elects (I don't know if this is the law in every state, but I know it is in some states). A few corrupt congressmen (AKA a few congressmen) could easily swing the results in a close race.

#12 Clak   Made of star stuff. CAGiversary!   8079 Posts   Joined 10.2 Years Ago  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:50 AM

I lost faith in the electoral college system in 2000, I say scrap it.

#13 fatherofcaitlyn   Der Uber Hoarder CAGiversary!   7155 Posts   Joined 14.1 Years Ago  

fatherofcaitlyn

Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:13 AM

I'm surprised UncleBob or Knoell didn't start this idea.

#14 Msut77   Occam's Shank CAGiversary!   6251 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:34 AM

Next stop neuter the filibuster and holds in the Senate.

#15 Magus8472   The Sudden Stop CAGiversary!   1408 Posts   Joined 12.7 Years Ago  

Magus8472

Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:34 AM

The current Electoral College system is confusing and causes presidential candidates to focus unduly on a handful of battleground states, supporters say. They also say that the popular vote winner has lost in four of the nation's 56 elections.


Who's to say an election by popular vote would be any different? And to be entirely fair, at least three of those four elections were so riddled with what we'd refer to today as electoral fraud that the "inaccuracy" can hardly be blamed on the electoral college. Here they are:

1824: Elections were different then. Nobody cared about the popular vote. There were four candidates, all from the same party. Most states didn't even have all of them on the ballot. Moreover, the winner of a plurality of the popular vote, Jackson, also won a plurality in the electoral college. The fact that he didn't win the White House was a result of political maneuvering in the House.

1876: The election was riddled with "irregularities," some of which can be blamed on fraud perpetrated by both parties. The starkest example: Colorado, which had been admitted to the union barely three months prior, could not afford to hold a popular election. So they didn't. The state legislature named its three electors for Hayes of its own accord. Hayes won by one vote.

1888: Cleveland ran largely on a single issue (tariffs) which he used to run up voter totals in a single regional bloc (the South). Probably the best argument against the Electoral College, but it is designed (with varying degrees of effectiveness) to force candidates into running a national campaign rather than pandering to regional issues to this degree.

2000: The less said the better, really. In brief, dubious electoral procedures led to the winning candidate prevailing by a razor-thin margin in a critical state in which his brother was then serving as governor. The result can therefore be blamed as least as much on fraud and antiquated equipment as any problem with the electoral college itself. The election was absurdly close otherwise, with neither candidate winning a majority. And, again, the discrepancy in popular vote is mostly attributable to the losing candidate winning by a large margins in a limited bloc of states (read: California, New York). This is the exactly what the electoral college exists to prevent.

So, the electoral college has actually failed at worst twice in 56 attempts. 96% ain't bad.

Edited by Magus8472, 28 July 2010 - 03:55 AM.


#16 KingBroly   CAG Club Nintendo CAGiversary!   15248 Posts   Joined 12.3 Years Ago  

KingBroly

Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:37 AM

If there was no electoral college, Candidates would just push all their efforts into getting votes from the most populated areas of the country and not all the states.

/Textbook

Let's also keep in mind that in 2000, A LOT of the media (CNN, MSNBC, Fox) called Florida for Gore when the poles for the western part of the state were still open (HINT: They had been trending Republican at the time). Would it have made up the difference for the overall popular vote?

Maybe not, but it would've been a lot closer, plus Florida wouldn't have been in that mess to begin with since more people would've voted for Bush instead of just going home (Yes, Gore would've gotten more votes too, but Bush would've gotten more than him). Hypothetical yes, but very probable given the circumstances. I don't know what the impact in other states was after that.

#17 VipFREAK   Fun Knee! CAGiversary!   9412 Posts   Joined 12.4 Years Ago  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:07 AM

I keep saying this but... Can we just not have a Pres or Vice pres? While were at it can kalifornya just not have a Governor... ?

#18 KingBroly   CAG Club Nintendo CAGiversary!   15248 Posts   Joined 12.3 Years Ago  

KingBroly

Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:09 AM

I keep saying this but... Can we just not have a Pres or Vice pres? While were at it can kalifornya just not have a Governor... ?


Not having a Governor wouldn't really solve California's problems.

#19 VipFREAK   Fun Knee! CAGiversary!   9412 Posts   Joined 12.4 Years Ago  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:21 AM

It would prevent "new" idiots from coming in and making it worse... :cough:Witman:cough:

#20 dmaul1114   Banned Banned   24688 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  

dmaul1114

Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:35 PM

It's an interesting question of how much campaigning would change with a switch to popular vote.

Politicians don't spend much time in states with single digit electoral votes currently (i.e. IIRC Obama gave only 1 speech in WV. Did he even hit the Dakotas?).

And many states are already dominated by the urban areas. Like Maryland, most of the state is rural and white, but the DC suburbs and Baltimore area completely drive the election. Same with California--most of the state is rural but the big cities drive the presidential elections.

You could do as suggested above and go to the district level counting of electoral votes rather than aggregating up to the state level. But that would still lead to only campaigning in districts with a lot of votes.

So I lean towards just going with popular vote. I'm not big on the federal system in general, nor all these state issues. I'd rather every person's vote have the same weight, where as currently votes in very few states truly matter in determining the outcome (swing states with a lot of electoral votes).

Campaigns already do, and always will, focus on the populated areas with more people, whether it's for more votes in popular vote elections or more votes in populated areas to help get the states electoral college votes.

#21 UncleBob  

Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:49 PM

Basically, what dmaul said. Either way, candidates will focus on some areas and virtually ignore others. It might be based on population density, electoral votes, voting history (a candidate for one party isn't going to waste a lot of time in an area that has a strong history of voting for one party or another), etc., etc.

This idea of "popular vote" vs "electoral vote" isn't going to have a major impact on how campaigns are ran.

Anywhoo, to answer the Dakotas question, I assume Obama did. He went to every corner of the US, visiting 57 states with one left to go (not counting Alaska and Hawaii). I assume North and South Dakota are a part of those 58 states, although I can't really be sure...

#22 usickenme   I'm the a-hole CAGiversary!   2559 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

usickenme

Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:18 PM

If there was no electoral college, Candidates would just push all their efforts into getting votes from the most populated areas of the country and not all the states.

/Textbook

Let's also keep in mind that in 2000, A LOT of the media (CNN, MSNBC, Fox) called Florida for Gore when the poles for the western part of the state were still open (HINT: They had been trending Republican at the time). Would it have made up the difference for the overall popular vote?
.


No this is largely a myth. The nets called Florida for Gore 10-12 minutes before polls closed in the panhandle.

Bush only had approx. 240,000 for the entire affected area. If the 10 minutes "cost" Bush 10% more votes (fucking generous assumption) it would still but him well behind Gore in the popular which had Gore 540,000 ahead.

and if you leave the polling place with 10 minutes left because TV says your guy lost, you deserve the consequences which, thanks to the Supreme Court, were none.

Edited by usickenme, 28 July 2010 - 05:32 PM.


#23 UncleBob  

Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:38 PM

With the results of this year's election, this idea is getting a lot more traction. Thought it might be worth revisiting this thread.

#24 berzirk   I'm not so serious CAGiversary!   2506 Posts   Joined 11.2 Years Ago  

Posted 09 December 2016 - 05:50 PM

It's like they're having a race to see which small state can be viewed as irrelevant by the Federal government first. 

 

I used to not like the Electoral College because at it's surface, the vote of the majority nationally, may not reflect the vote of the electorate, but then I looked at a map, and realized that would make each election dependent on about 4 states. That's not exactly equitable in my opinion.  I wonder how the "fair share" gang looks at that electoral inequality...No I don't. They only care when their candidate loses as a result of it. 



#25 Msut77   Occam's Shank CAGiversary!   6251 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

Posted 10 December 2016 - 01:27 AM

Zirk,

Why should some people's votes be more equal than others? Small states already have disproportionate represenation in the Senate.

Also, I've hated the electoral college since I was 6 so don't try that BS on me about how I only hate it now or since 2000

#26 dopa345   All around nice guy CAGiversary!   2247 Posts   Joined 15.2 Years Ago  

Posted 10 December 2016 - 03:38 AM

I think for practical reasons, the electoral college is a necessity.  Imagine a close race and having to do a recount on a national level.



#27 Msut77   Occam's Shank CAGiversary!   6251 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

Posted 10 December 2016 - 04:05 AM

It's hard so don't bother? Good thing you aren't in chargw of anything important dopa.

#28 UncleBob  

Posted 10 December 2016 - 04:56 PM

It's like they're having a race to see which small state can be viewed as irrelevant by the Federal government first. 
 
I used to not like the Electoral College because at it's surface, the vote of the majority nationally, may not reflect the vote of the electorate, but then I looked at a map, and realized that would make each election dependent on about 4 states. That's not exactly equitable in my opinion.  I wonder how the "fair share" gang looks at that electoral inequality...No I don't. They only care when their candidate loses as a result of it.


The thing is tough, candidates already focus on a handful of states and ignore the rest. A switch from electoral to popular would just change which states they focus on.

This is why I support a switch to popular combined with ranked choice voting. A candidate who is popular in urban rich areas, but hated everywhere else would lose to a candidate that is lukewarm in urban areas and really popular in the rest of the country.

#29 TheN8torious   Shhh...I'm Invisible CAGiversary!   16941 Posts   Joined 12.7 Years Ago  

TheN8torious

Posted 10 December 2016 - 08:04 PM

I think it's also important to recognize how large of a percentage of votes end up not meaning a damn thing. Look at how many states are firmly entrenched in one camp or the other. There's really only a handful of "swing states". But if you live in a red state and want to vote Democrat...what is the point? And obviously, the inverse is also true. The percentage of our population that is affected by that has to be huge.

 

We get told constantly that every vote counts and that it's your civic duty...but why engage in a battle that you know is already lost? I would MUCH rather see my vote contribute to a national total in some form rather than some arbitrary point system that so many people have zero way of influencing.

 

Not saying that popular vote is the answer...but how can you favor a system where literally millions of votes are meaningless?



#30 berzirk   I'm not so serious CAGiversary!   2506 Posts   Joined 11.2 Years Ago  

Posted 13 December 2016 - 06:51 PM

The thing is tough, candidates already focus on a handful of states and ignore the rest. A switch from electoral to popular would just change which states they focus on.

This is why I support a switch to popular combined with ranked choice voting. A candidate who is popular in urban rich areas, but hated everywhere else would lose to a candidate that is lukewarm in urban areas and really popular in the rest of the country.

BIIIIG fan of ranked choice voting!