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Can someone please explain electoral (sp)

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Can someone please explain electoral (sp)
By Annie2 on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:04 pm:

vs popular votes. TIA

By Ginny~moderator on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:28 pm:

Explain the electoral college? You've got to be kidding. I don't know that anyone can provide a sound rationale for continuing it, but it is set in the Constitution.

Here's the link to the Wikipedia article, not too long, and as clear as anything about the electral college can be: Electoral College

Here's another article I came across, which may be easier to understand than the Wikipedia article: More

There have been a number of proposals over the years to change or get rid of the electoral college, but, bottom line, in order to change or get rid of the electoral college system, there would have to be a constitutional amendment. Don't hold your breath. Is it "fair" - good question, and I don't know the answer. It appears to have been a political compromise at the time the Constitution was written - as was the Bill of Rights. Like all political compromises, it has its flaws.

By Happynerdmom on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:38 pm:

Short answer, LOL:
Each state has as many electoral votes as they have representatives in congress.(So the more populous the state, the more electoral votes.)The candidate that gets the most votes in that state (popular vote) gets all of that state's electoral votes. To win, the candidate has to get the majority of the electoral votes. (I forget how many that is.) So, it's possible to get the majority of the popular vote in the whole country, but not get the majority of the electoral votes, and not win the election. That's why there is so much importance put on "winning Ohio," or "winning Pennsylvania." There is a lot of disagreement with the electoral system, but it's just the way our government was set up!

By Annie2 on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:40 pm:

Thanks Ginny. Your links were very informative.

By Happynerdmom on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:42 pm:

Those are good links, Ginny. Personally, I think I'd rather see a straight popular vote, but, like you said, I won't hold my breath! It just *feels* like your vote doesn't count if you vote contrary to most of your fellow states-people. (If states-people was an actual word, LOL!)

By Annie2 on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 08:43 pm:

Ok, now I still don't grasp it. And then I have to explain it to my kids :)

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 10:03 pm:

Annie, do you have a specific question about it? Michelle's answer was pretty much my explanation, but as someone who voted absentee in Palm Beach County in 2000, I've learned more about the difference than I care to know!! (You're also in FL, right? You probably know what I mean) LOL, I still don't quite get WHY we do the electoral thing, but I'm sure between all of the moms here we can come up with a decent explanation of the system.

By Karen~admin on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 07:57 am:

Ditto Ginny-another hot button with me - often I say to myself, *why bother*???

By Pandamamaoo4 on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 09:10 am:

Yeah WHY bother..... BUT don't we all go to the polls... It seems to me that the PRES is ONLY a figure head REMEMBER it is CONGRESS who does most of the stuff YES PRES does have VETO power.
Thats just life....Popular vote should be the way to go BUT.....

By Breann on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 10:38 am:

I don't like it at all.

I live in a "red state" that always goes red by a huge margin. If I'm voting blue, I figure it does no good to vote. In a way I feel that my vote doesn't count at all. But I vote anyway, just because I can.

By Annie2 on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 11:04 am:

I understood the concept of it but was missing the reason behind it. Especially being in Fl. I, too, agree that popular vote should be the deciding factor.

By Kaye on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 11:10 am:

Athough there are states now that really don't matter, more matter with the electoral vote. If we elected by popular vote only, then elections would be decided in california, texas and new york. They would only campaign in those states. So the electoral college kind of spreads the vote a bit. There are still some states that don't count much, but there are now 10 or so battleground states, instead of 3.

By Annie2 on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 11:24 am:

That makes sense, Kaye.

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 11:29 am:

Sounds like the original compromise to give smaller states some voice in the decision was a fairly good idea.

And, Breann, there are some states that had previously been "red" but in this past election turned "blue" (at least for this election). I think one's vote always counts. Even if it doesn't make a difference in a particular national election, it can make a difference in Congressional races and certainly in state and local races.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 12:40 pm:

Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada and Florida traditionally take the Republican stance and this year they did not.

When the system was set up it served a very needed purpose. They didn't have the modern conveniences we have in this day and age, air planes and tv's for example. The candidates couldn't cover all the states to give their speeches by horse and buggy. People wouldn't receive word of the speech until it was over or were unable to travel the distances to hear the speeches. The candidate couldn't fly into the state capital of each state and visit ten towns in that state in one day. There were no news channels broadcasting 24 hours a day about what type of underwear the candidates wore. Mail took months to deliver and they didn't have the inconvenience of dinner time phone calls explaining the stance of the candidate. Most people in those days could not read or write and basically relied on word of mouth as to what was going on in their towns forget outside of them, implying they wouldn't be making an educated decision. When the system was set up it was believed that the best people to make the final decision where the people they selected to do so, the Electoral College. Those people would be educated on the situations in America and the abilities of each candidate to handle the current state of the Union. Then they, the educated ones, would decide who should be the next president.

I also have heard questions about the delay between when we vote and when the President takes office. They gave the President elect time to settle his affairs in his home state and travel time to relocate his family to Washington DC. They also needed time to get the word out to the country who the new President would be. Where as today, we knew with in seconds of Florida casting their vote that the election was over.

In our modern society, it would seem that we could make a sound decision as to who would be the best person to become President.

However, I question this. I have heard and read to much false information about both parties, believed to be facts by the people (citizens not news reporters) stating the things, that leave me in a state of wonder if even in this society if the majority even research before they decided who they would vote for, let alone before they open their mouths. Sadly we have the world at our finger tips, yet many still don't go beyond hearsay when making such an important decision.

That said, your vote most surely is important in all other aspects of the voting process. Local offices are filled, levy's are passed or failed, proposition are decided, because you exercise your right to vote... So your voice may or may not be heard when it comes to the president, but it is heard in all other aspects of the voting process.

Besides, only three times in history has a President been elected against the popular vote, Harrison, Hayes, and Bush's last run in office. In all three cases the popular vote was extremely close and the Electoral College went against the majority when making their decision. Harrison being president in 1841 and Hayes being President in 1876, this would imply that the American citizens where heard in the majority of the elections conducted in the United States since the process began.

Obama clearly swept the popular vote and in turn swept the Electoral College votes in this election, so the majority did rule this time around. From the news reports on the voting statistics, it would appear that more people then typical registered and voted in this election, so the mess of 2004 didn't detour new people from registering to vote.

By Annie2 on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 12:48 pm:

Bobbie, thanks for the information and insight. :)

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