Friday, October 29, 2004


The Electoral College came up on the Jefferson Exchange this morning. Specifically how many votes each state has and where those numbers originated. The electoral votes represent the sum of the number of representatives and senators each state has.


The Electoral College was a compromise. The thirteen original colonies regarded themselves as independent states. They handled their own legal systems, customs dues, everything that an independent country would do. Getting these prickly cactuses to compromise and give up some of these powers was very difficult.


In fact the whole system of elections was a compromise: direct election for the House of Representatives, election of senators by the state legislatures, and very indirect election of the president by the Electoral College. In fact, we aren’t really voting for the candidates when we cast our votes. We are choosing a slate of electors who promise to vote for the candidate. I don’t think there is any statute that requires that they keep their promises. Theoretically, when the electors meet, they could decide the hell with the whole slate and choose Mother Theresa (if she was still alive) for president.


The Electoral College favors the smaller states. It was a definite compromise to encourage the small states like New Hampshire and Connecticut to ratify the constitution. They were afraid that the larger states like New York and Pennsylvania would swamp them.


mlraminiak said...

Y'know, I knew all that.  But I'm still of the opinion that the Electoral College is not relevent to 21st century presidentioal elections.  Lisa  :-]

chasingmoksha said...

I am not sure if we can say that the Electoral College “completely” (I added that into the context) favors the smaller states, and what would be a viable solution.  Because, voting by the popular vote favors heavily condensed areas and disregards the person out in nowhere land.  However, if we were to view it with a  utilitarian slant, then perhaps the majority should have the say because it would affect the most.  The pitfalls to that though are, a minority voice may be the right voice and just because it is a majority does not mean it is right.  On the other hand, the minority voice out in rural bumfig nowhere may put an idiot back in office.

krobbie67 said...

The electoral college is not mandated to vote for who they are suppose to. I believe, but I could be wrong, that there have been instances where they didn't. However, the people who make up the electoral pool are placed there because of party affiliation. In other words, if Bush gets the vote in CA a slate of Republican selected electoral college citizens vote, if Kerry gets it then it's a slate selected by the Dems. Unless they want to commit political suicide with the party that they are associated with, it behooves them to vote in accordance with the popular vote for their respective state. :-) ---Robbie