Friday, November 7, 2008

Fixing the Electoral Process

Every four years, talk of dismantling the Electoral College drags itself, if only temporarily, into the public mind. Critics argue it undermines the concept of pure democracy by placing greater importance on some states over others. They also point out how a candidate can win the popular vote, the Vox Populi, yet lose the election. Both observations I agree with. Yet, to make a national election hinge solely on the popular vote fails to avoid both the aforementioned thorns. Take for example the battle ground state of Ohio. The US Census Bureau’s 2006 figures list its population as 11,478,006. That is for the entire state. New York City, for the same year, had a population of 8,214,426. That is one city. Include the entire state and New York will trump Ohio every time in every election. Therefore, candidates will focus on higher, densely populated areas over smaller, less populated ones.

A simple solution I’ve been mulling over is having two layers of pure democracy. The first layer consists of leaving the popular vote on the state level just as it is. The change I’d make is this: whoever wins the state’s popular vote wins the state, and the candidate who wins the most states wins the election. In this system, no state is more important than then any other. Candidates would have to win a broad appeal across the country to win the election.

Have at it. 


2020 Update. 12 years later. Nothing has changed. The Electoral College is still both hero and villain. It all depends on who you ask. Maybe that means it has just the right amount of flaws and strengths? Hmmm....

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