Elections and stuff

#31
Another Finn here, who has sung panegyrics about proportional representation vs. FPTP system before, too...

In my mind, there would be an easy 'patch' to the Electoral College that would not require getting rid of the Electoral College altogether:

Simply require that ALL states select the Electors based on proportional representation, rather than winner-takes-all.

Sure, small states would still have more weight per person, but this is a very minor effect compared to millions of people whose votes don't currently matter. This change would make ALL votes count, since it is not enough to just get 50.1% of the vote to get 100% of the Electors. You want to get as many as possible. It no longer becomes a matter of life-or-death if you are 49% or 51%. The magical 50% threshold would be removed. All the conservative Californians and liberal Texans would finally get their voices heard.

Any reason why the above would be a bad thing?
 
Jun 2014
5,243
US
#32
Another Finn here, who has sung panegyrics about proportional representation vs. FPTP system before, too...

In my mind, there would be an easy 'patch' to the Electoral College that would not require getting rid of the Electoral College altogether:

Simply require that ALL states select the Electors based on proportional representation, rather than winner-takes-all.

Sure, small states would still have more weight per person, but this is a very minor effect compared to millions of people whose votes don't currently matter. This change would make ALL votes count, since it is not enough to just get 50.1% of the vote to get 100% of the Electors. You want to get as many as possible. It no longer becomes a matter of life-or-death if you are 49% or 51%. The magical 50% threshold would be removed. All the conservative Californians and liberal Texans would finally get their voices heard.

Any reason why the above would be a bad thing?
If I am not mistaken, some states do it that way. And, if I am not mistaken, there have been electors who have voted "their conscience" and voted in some fashion that did not represent the popular vote of his/her state. I think those who oppose the electoral college would argue that this change will not bring the results they desire. Take California and Texas, each traditionally at odds for their choice of presidential candidates. CA has 55 and TX 34. If memory serves me, each state has given its electoral votes in its entirety to the candidate who has won the popular vote. Even a proportional vote would probably not change things much because this still negates the situation in which a state votes overwhelmingly for one candidate because, at some point, the electoral college will not be as proportional or correlate exactly to a popular vote. Or at least my calculations tell me so. Perhaps it would.
 
#33
Another Finn here, who has sung panegyrics about proportional representation vs. FPTP system before, too...

In my mind, there would be an easy 'patch' to the Electoral College that would not require getting rid of the Electoral College altogether:

Simply require that ALL states select the Electors based on proportional representation, rather than winner-takes-all.

Sure, small states would still have more weight per person, but this is a very minor effect compared to millions of people whose votes don't currently matter. This change would make ALL votes count, since it is not enough to just get 50.1% of the vote to get 100% of the Electors. You want to get as many as possible. It no longer becomes a matter of life-or-death if you are 49% or 51%. The magical 50% threshold would be removed. All the conservative Californians and liberal Texans would finally get their voices heard.

Any reason why the above would be a bad thing?
Maine and Nebraska already do that.

However, there is no constitutional way to "require...all" states to do this outside of the amendment process.

We can talk about what kind of effect it would have, IOW, breaking up the impact of large states with large electoral vote numbers, but, it would only be an exercise in speculation.
 
#34
Maine and Nebraska already do that.
Yes, so why not the rest?

However, there is no constitutional way to "require...all" states to do this outside of the amendment process.
I'll concede that the 'easy' should have been in quotes, too. :) However, each state can vote to make this change without needing a constitutional amendment. Then again, if you can get each state to vote this, you probably could get a constitutional amendment through even easier...

Anyway, the point is that this would keep EC and its geographical weighting by less-populous states that has been brought up as a good thing by people defending the EC. But surely their neighbors in the same state who might have a different political leaning deserve to have their voices heard in the EC, too?

To make an analog, let's say that we are a group of 5 friends preparing to order takeaway, each with out money out. We vote, and three of us want pizza and two want Chinese. Now, since the three are in a majority, ALL the money (including the money of the two who wanted Chinese) goes into the pizza that these three will eat. Would that be fair?
 
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#35
Take California and Texas, each traditionally at odds for their choice of presidential candidates. CA has 55 and TX 34. If memory serves me, each state has given its electoral votes in its entirety to the candidate who has won the popular vote. Even a proportional vote would probably not change things much because this still negates the situation in which a state votes overwhelmingly for one candidate because, at some point, the electoral college will not be as proportional or correlate exactly to a popular vote. Or at least my calculations tell me so. Perhaps it would.
I don't care whether the end result changes or not. That should be up to the voters, not to the system.

The point is giving roughly 40% Californians and 40% Texans the representation in EC that they deserve, as well as the 49% of the voters who currently don't matter regardless which side they voted for in their state. As soon as you get over that 50% magic number, nothing else matters currently. If it is proportional representation, you want to get that extra 10%, since in California, that is additional 5-6 Electors for you. Now suddenly, every vote counts.

Isn't that a desirable outcome? Isn't that what we want?

Not to mention, since each vote now counts, it would encourage people to vote. Currently, there is not much point in national elections, if you are not in a swing state and your political views do not line up with the majority party, like Chlodio has already mentioned.
 
Aug 2016
3,227
Dispargum
#36
Another Finn here, who has sung panegyrics about proportional representation vs. FPTP system before, too...
In my mind, there would be an easy 'patch' to the Electoral College that would not require getting rid of the Electoral College altogether:
Simply require that ALL states select the Electors based on proportional representation, rather than winner-takes-all.
Sure, small states would still have more weight per person, but this is a very minor effect compared to millions of people whose votes don't currently matter. This change would make ALL votes count, since it is not enough to just get 50.1% of the vote to get 100% of the Electors. You want to get as many as possible. It no longer becomes a matter of life-or-death if you are 49% or 51%. The magical 50% threshold would be removed. All the conservative Californians and liberal Texans would finally get their voices heard.
Any reason why the above would be a bad thing?
Your plan would probably be an improvement, but there would still be problems. It's still winner take all, so votes for the losing candidate in the district would still be negated from the national totals. Also, there would be issues with gerrymandering. Just like house districts, Electoral College districts could be drawn so that one party will always win the district, regardless of the state-wide popular vote. If a state had 20 electoral votes and if the popular vote went 55% to one candidate, then there should be 11 electoral votes for the winner of the state and nine electoral votes for the loser of the state, but it might be possible to gerrymander the districts so that both candidates got 10 or even for the loser state-wide to end up with 11. Currently, the problem is that sometimes the national popular vote loser is the electoral vote winner. Your plan would not elminate this problem, only transfer it from the national level down to the state level.
 
#37
Your plan would probably be an improvement, but there would still be problems. It's still winner take all, so votes for the losing candidate in the district would still be negated from the national totals. Also, there would be issues with gerrymandering. Just like house districts, Electoral College districts could be drawn so that one party will always win the district, regardless of the state-wide popular vote. If a state had 20 electoral votes and if the popular vote went 55% to one candidate, then there should be 11 electoral votes for the winner of the state and nine electoral votes for the loser of the state, but it might be possible to gerrymander the districts so that both candidates got 10 or even for the loser state-wide to end up with 11. Currently, the problem is that sometimes the national popular vote loser is the electoral vote winner. Your plan would not elminate this problem, only transfer it from the national level down to the state level.
I am sorry, I was unclear. I meant that the Electors would be selected by a popular vote proportionally statewide, not by congressional districts one by one, first past the post.

I totally agree that gerrymandering is a huge problem in itself, and in some past posts I have been asking why not simply go to a popular statewide vote with proportional representation, using similar methods as in Finland? You already select Senators based on statewide vote, so why not Representatives? But that is a separate issue from the Electoral College itself.
 
Aug 2016
3,227
Dispargum
#38
I am sorry, I was unclear. I meant that the Electors would be selected by a popular vote proportionally statewide, not by congressional districts one by one, first past the post.
I totally agree that gerrymandering is a huge problem in itself, and in some past posts I have been asking why not simply go to a popular statewide vote with proportional representation, using similar methods as in Finland? You already select Senators based on statewide vote, so why not Representatives? But that is a separate issue from the Electoral College itself.
I would like to learn more about proportional representation. What little I know sounds interesting. I don't know enough about it to fully embrace it. The US as a whole has never expressed any interest in proportional representation.
 
#39
I would like to learn more about proportional representation. What little I know sounds interesting. I don't know enough about it to fully embrace it. The US as a whole has never expressed any interest in proportional representation.
As the OP said, Finland uses D'Hondt method ( D'Hondt method - Wikipedia ) in parliamentary elections, as do many other countries as well.

But without going into details, the essence of proportionality is that the seats are portioned out based on the number of votes each party gets. So for instance, let's say that we have 55 electors from California, and Democrats get 60% of the vote, Republicans 35% and some third party gets 5% since why not? Under strict proportionality:
Democratic seats: 55 *0.6 = 33 seats
Republican seats: 55*0.35 = 19.25 seats rounds down to 19 seats
Third party seats: 55*0.05 = 2.75 seats rounds up to 3 seats

So instead of 60% of the vote getting 55 seats, they get 33.
The 35% Republicans get 19.
And even the third party gets 3 electors to have their voices recognized, even though it is pretty clear in this instance that they don't amount to much. But at least they are not 'hijacked' by the winning party.

This obviously works even better (IMHO) in a parlamentary election, where those 3 representatives might actually help to tip the balance in some proposed laws.
 
Sep 2012
3,629
#40
I would like to learn more about proportional representation. What little I know sounds interesting. I don't know enough about it to fully embrace it. The US as a whole has never expressed any interest in proportional representation.
How such a system works depends directly on how the proportionality is taken into account. How the proportionally is determined is what the discussion about d'Hondt, Sainte-Laguë etc. concerned. In my opinion the main problem in the idea of changing to a PR system with regards to the USA is that in it no matter what the biggest losers would be the both main parties since any kind of proportional system allows the smaller parties to actually have a voice. Not a loud voice but one that might count. But given what i have seen of the US politics i doubt neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would see any kind of reduction of their own power as a fair price for allowing more people to have their voice heard.
 
Likes: Chlodio

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