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Electoral votes vs Popular votes...

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Edward429451, Jul 14, 2004.

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  1. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

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    Sorry if this sounds dumb, but can someone explain electoral votes to me? I'm probably wrong but from what I understand, the popular vote (peoples) does not (?) affect the electoral vote (which is the deciding factor in who gets elected.)

    If that's so then the peoples vote means nothing?

    Somebody set me straight on this puleeze!!:confused:
     
  2. Dbl0Kevin

    Dbl0Kevin Member

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    The presidential election is done on a state to state basis. The popular vote is taken into account to see which candidate wins each state. The winner then gets all of that state's "electoral" votes. If I'm not mistaken it's the number of representatives the state has in the House. The candidate who gets to 271 electoral votes wins the election. Thus it's possible if there are major landslides in certain states and really tight ones in others that a candidate can win the presidency without winning the popular vote of the whole country as GW did in 2000.
     
  3. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Each state has a certain number of electoral votes based on population.

    The electoral votes are cast by "electors" who cast their vote, more or less, based on what the popular vote is.

    I do not know who the "electors" are or how they are chosen.

    The electoral votes are all that matter when it comes to deciding who will be president.

    Bush actually had less people vote for him than Gore, but he still had the most electoral votes because he won a few key states (one being Florida).
     
  4. jdkelly

    jdkelly Member

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    I think it goes like this but.....

    Each state has a certain number of "electoral" votes based on that states population. I don't know how they figure it.

    Now one might think that those "electoral" votes are awarded by the same percentage as the popular vote. 51% party A, 49% party B. But many states are winner take all. So 100% goes to party A and those who voted for party B are not counted at all.

    This is the case in my state Massachusetts, where I think that the Republicans have received "electoral" votes twice in some 55 years.

    The problem with this is that up to 49% of the people really don't have a say in who becomes president and the people care less about the process.

    This reason that "winner takes all" is used, is that it gives the congressmen for that state more power if they "can handover*" a larger (all) the electoral votes.

    While in most states (I think) the first round of votes must go to the party that the state has awarded. If there is a tie then all bets are off. On the other hand, in some states (I think) the votes don't have to go to the party that the state awarded it's vote to.

    * Yes I know that the congressmen don't hand over the "electoral votes" but they help gather the votes "buy" campaigning.

    If any one knows this better, and I'm sure you do, correct me please.


    Respectfully,

    jdkelly
     
  5. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

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    OK, popular vote is taken into account. How? What's the nexus?

    Again, Nexus?



    So how does the peoples (MINE!) vote count?

    Pardon my ignorance, but I don't get it. That don't even sound democratic, which is what they say they are! How can majority rule when the majority didn't decide the election?

    Again, pardon my ignorance!:D
     
  6. NukemJim

    NukemJim Member

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    The number of electorial votes that each state hase equals the number of representives in the House of Represenatives and the number of senators ( 2 per state, regardless of size of state )

    Actually the Electorial College was to get away from the popular vote. The way it was intended was for the people of a state to pick the members of the Electorial College and then they would vote for the presidency. Whoever got the largest number of votes would become president, the runner up would become vice-president.

    This led to legislative logjams and presidents were not able to accomplish much so they modified the system so that the electors voted for both president and vicepresident on the same ticket.

    NukemJim

    PS all the canidates know this an plan their campaigns accordingly, otherwise they would only campaign in the most populous states and ignore the rest of the country.
     
  7. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Thats right. The US is not, nor has it ever been, a democracy. If you think back hard to jr high civics you will remember them telling you this is a constitutional republic. The media commonly portray the US as a democracy, but it is not.

    Your vote counts only to the degree that it affects how the electors cast their votes.

    The purpose of the electoral college is to keep large horrible terrible states , like California and New York, from dominating US politics.


    At the time GWB was elected, I thought the electoral college was a great thing, because it kept Gore out of the White House. In retrospect, considering how disappointing the Bush presidency has been, I don't think it really mattered that much.
     
  8. jfh

    jfh Member

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    an EXCELLENT precis, Lone Gunman.

    a word.
     
  9. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

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    So where's the ballot for electoral nominees? All I've ever seen was presidential candidates & senators & such.



    Right right right. Guess I was a lil unclear there...(Which is what the say they are...)

    <a word.>

    What's the word?:D
     
  10. jfh

    jfh Member

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    'a word' is my filler when I say it all in this subject line

    a word.
     
  11. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    The electoral college is in place for a few reasons. FIrst though here is the nitty gritty. Each state is guaranteed 3 electoral votes no matter what the population. After this for so many thousands of people they get another. The reason they are guaranteed 3 is so that smaller states do not lose representation in the presidential elections. Something that you can have with large cities occurring in only a few states.

    The 2000 elections are a prime example. Yes Bush lost the popular vote by a very small margin. However if you look at the number of counties and states won by Bush it is no comparison.
    As you can see HERE Bush won far more counties and states than Gore. 2436 to 676 to be exact. In some states he actually took every county. SOmething that Gore can not claim.

    This is one of the main reasons behind the Electoral College and the reason I feel it should never be done away with. In a purely popular vote you have only the population centers fully represented. New York and California would basically control who won the presidency. Your "heartland" states would be left without adequate representation in national elections.

    I hope this helps.
     
  12. manwithoutahome

    manwithoutahome member

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    Maybe we should go with the Red/Blue issue.

    Oregon was won by gore, yet there was more Red than Blue (Red=Bush, Blue=Gore).

    Yet, the population in the areas that were Red was highly different than the Blue. So, Oregon should have voted Bush and not Gore. More countries voted Red than Blue.

    And if you look at the map, Red (Bush) had more countries that voted for him, than Blue (gore).

    So, if we change the way of voting, it should be based on the majority of counties and not the infested cities (all Blue) that determines the election.

    But, as I understand it, being an Electoriate is like jury duty. You are summoned to be on the panel. It's not the rich, the lawmakers, etc.. that have an appointed position but normal people, like you and I, are chosen for the task.

    When you are on the panel, you watch the votes of the people and you watch how each section is voting.

    Then you cast your vote. That is why you see that one state may have 6 electorial votes but the state won for so and so with a vote of 4 to 2. Each vote is given to the wannabe so in that state, so and so picked up 4 votes (and is said on the news as "won" that state) and 2 is given to the other so and so. The first one to 217 "wins" unless there are more votes out there. If it is going to be close, then they continue, if it's not close (a blow out) then the media shows the winner because no matter how the other states vote, there is no way that the loser will catch up.

    Why do the People vote, in order to get their electoriates to vote for whom they voted for. We just influence the election, we don't decide it.

    This is the only time that this system is used. When you vote at local levels and at congress/senate levels, it's mob rule.

    The people chosen for the electorial pool are secret, no one knows who they are and they cannot ever say who they were.

    We are not and never have been a democratacy. We are a Replubic. Mob rule doens't work, we can see that with how people vote in California and New York. The people in upper NY and northern Cali. vote for those who will preserve freedom but the cities make the rules. That is why we have the people we have in office.

    Wayne
     
  13. Michigander

    Michigander Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, I believe the electors are decided by state law. Furthermore, whether a state's electoral votes are "winner take all" I believe are up to each state's laws. Also, some states have legislation that mandates the electors vote according to the popular vote of the state while other states do not mandate this. Historically though, I believe electors have only voted contrary to their respective popular vote a couple of times.

    Here's some information: NARA Federal Register

    editted to add:

    In Michigan, the State Board of Canvassers elects the Electors and they are certified by the Governor.

    More info: Michigan Leglislature & An Executive Order related to the State Board of Canvassers
     
  14. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Members of the Electoral college are chosen. Almost always they vote according the to vote tally in their areas.

    Over the last 212 years there have been a few instances of "faithless electors," those who cast their ballots contrary to the number of votes cast in their particular jurisdictions.

    As has been mentioned, the Electoral college system was devised so that the most populous states would not have an unfair advantage over less populated states.

    It should be of concern to anyone who doubts the merits of the Electoral college that one of Hillary's first proposals as a US senator was to abolish the system.

    Why?

    Let's assume that Hillary is running for President (an assumption you can take to the bank in 2008). Absent the Electoral college system, she could concentrate on simply winning every vote she could get in NY and CA. She wouldn't have to campaign in another states at all. The votes from those two states would guarantee her the office.

    The Founding Fathers recognized the perils that could arise from a republican form of government, and inserted safeguards.

    It should come as no surprise that Hillary et al want to demolish those safeguards.
     
  15. Jay Kominek

    Jay Kominek Member

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  16. El Rojo

    El Rojo Member

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    The actual electors are now chosen by the parties. Basically the parties select electors that they know are trustworthy and people who want to the niftiness of saying they were an elector. Think of it like running the olympic torch, but all you have to do is donate some money or be a long time supporter.

    So based off of your popular vote, the state goes to one party. That party then sends its electors to the state capital and they throw their ballots in the envelope and it is sent to the Capital in DC where they open up the envelopes and count up the electoral votes. 271 takes it.

    There are a few plans that have been suggested to overhaul the electoral system. The most popular is the direct popular vote. The little states will never go for it. As is now the little states get one electoral vote for every 300,000 people, California gets one vote for every 800,000 people (the little state gets 3 votes[1 congressperson, 2 senators], California gets whatever we have plus 2 for our senators). The little states have too much to lose and it takes 75% of the states to amend the Constitution.

    Another plan is to make the vote proportional. Eliminate the winner take all system and whatever percent of the state a candidate takes, they get that many electoral votes. So if it were 51% Kerry, 49% Bush in California, then Kerry would get 28 votes and bush would get say 27. As it stands now, Kerry would get 55 votes (don't quote me on the PRKs numbers). The problem with this system is you have to get a majority to win. With this reform you would probably have a good chance of forcing a tie with even the slightest third party involvement because if you don't get a majority 271 votes, the contest gets decided in the House of Representatives. You also have a problem in deciding this thing in the House. If a state's representatives do not make a unanamous decision (maybe it is only a majority) about who they want to vote for, their votes do not count. The voting occurs by state. So the California congresspeoples would get one vote and they have to all agree or their vote just doesn't get counted.

    I forget what a the other plans are, but the most likely one to go through is the direct popular vote, but its odds are still way slim.

    The link in Jay Kominek's post above mine has a good history of the origins of the Electoral College. Note that originally the states chose the electors and they actually got to vote for whoever they wanted. They had two votes and who ever got second was vice president. This was a problem because in 1796 Adams won, but his main opponent Jefferson was his vice president. That is why they changed it to the ticket system and the vice president now runs with the president.
     
  17. 4570Rick

    4570Rick Member

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    Thank God for the Electoral College, otherwise New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco would control our lives.:what:
     
  18. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Collected Points

    Electoral College Howto

    1: Number of Electoral College reps are Representatives + Senators (Always 2)
    2: Electors are chosen by state law. Technically they could selected by lottery if the senate passed a law stating they'd be chosen that way. All are popular vote and except for Nebraska and Maine are winner takes all.


    Edward429451, you have to remember that during the founding father's time the USA was a lot like the European Union is now. Just a few years before a number of the states had their own curriencies, standing armies, diplomats, etc. They were effectivly countries in their own right. The constitution bound them together into a larger state to present a united front to the outside world. This is why many of us americans like to yell at the EU, because we know what's going to happen, as the EU doesn't have as many controls on their power as we did, and look what happened to us? When did the POTUS overshadow your state's governer? When did selecting your US Senators (originally selected by state congress) and US Representatives become more important than selecting your own states?

    They also had a mistrust of the 'common man'. Think about the witch-burning in Salem, all the things done to people who were 'unpopular'. Many of them came over to avoid the persecution by the majority back home. They wanted to prevent the 'tyranny of the majority' as much as possible while still preventing a tyranny of the minority.

    I guess the idea was that the idiots would elect morons to the state congress, who would select somebody who was only dumb to be an elector, who would hopefully select a president with a brain!
     
  19. Virtus

    Virtus Member

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    Yet another interesting historical tidbit is that there has been at least one proposal to abandon the electoral college introduced in every single Congress. All 108 of them. In aggregate, there have been around 700 attempts in Congress to either abolish or reform the Electoral College. Thomas Jefferson actually called the Electoral College, "the most dangerous blot in our Constitution."

    If you think Bush/Gore was bad, look into the Tilden/Hays election. That battle lasted into January and required the appointment of a special commission.

    Also, if you look at the electoral total from the 2000 election you will find the latest instance of a "faithless elector." Gore ended up with one less electoral vote than he won. One of the electors from DC abstained as a protest against DC's lack of a vote in Congress.
     
  20. twoblink

    twoblink Member

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    Remember, the electors can pick whomever they want, and so it could be that you assume someone is going to win, but they don't... because the electors are known as "faithless"..

    Thank God for electoral colleges..

    otherwise, the only campaigning would be done in only 5 states:

    California
    New York
    Mass.
    Ill.
    Texas
    and maybe Florida

    The rest of the country would get zero representation..
     
  21. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    Some states do not use the winner take all system. They use congressional districts or counties to decide who takes what. So the winner of the district gets its electoral vote, etc...
     
  22. fix

    fix Member

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    What twoblink said. California and New York would be running the Executive Office within 10 years, regardless of what the rest of the country thinks.
     
  23. OF

    OF Member

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    Also, the states created the federal gov't and it serves not really at the whim of the people as individuals, but of the their states as individual sovereign entities. The states choose the feds. As was said, there are many safeguards in our republic preventing the people from controlling anything too important through direct elections. And a good thing too.

    A good time to announce my new 'voter registration program', along the lines of the 'rock the vote' theme: "Stay Home You Ignorant Moron"

    - Gabe :)
     
  24. Werewolf

    Werewolf Member

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    [opens a can of gasoline and tosses it onto the fire]

    Lots of right answers here which is indeed gratifying to an old fart like myself.

    BUT the number of duh/BS answers is disheartening indeed and makes me wonder if Civics/Government is still a required course in high schools these days.

    If this thread and the thread starter are any indication - probably not!

    And people wonder why this county is being over run by SHEEP!
     
  25. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I'm afraid CIVICS has gone the way of the vinyl record and eight track tape. So much for public ediccation - makes for good little socialist workers, Werewolf.:(
     
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