Monday, November 01, 2004

The Electoral College

Last night I gave my endorsement, it can be found here, and in the comment section Allan wrote this,

But this is the price we pay for an electoral college as opposed to a true democracy. The electoral college emboldens the two party system thereby making a third party at best non-viable. At worst, irrelevent.

First, I have to remind Allan that, we are not a democracy, we are a republic, a republic is
A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.

a democracy is
The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
Majority rule

Two different concepts.

Secondly, while there are some down sides to the Electoral College, mostly it was a good idea, let's look at exactly what the Electoral College does
Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State's population as determined in the Census).

The political parties (or independent candidates) in each State submit to the State's chief election official a list of individuals pledged to their candidate for president and equal in number to the State's electoral vote. Usually, the major political parties select these individuals either in their State party conventions or through appointment by their State party leaders while third parties and independent candidates merely designate theirs.

Members of Congress and employees of the federal government are prohibited from serving as an Elector in order to maintain the balance between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

After their caucuses and primaries, the major parties nominate their candidates for president and vice president in their national conventions traditionally held in the summer preceding the election. (Third parties and independent candidates follow different procedures according to the individual State laws). The names of the duly nominated candidates are then officially submitted to each State's chief election official so that they might appear on the general election ballot.

On the Tuesday following the first Monday of November in years divisible by four, the people in each State cast their ballots for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president and vice president (although as a matter of practice, general election ballots normally say "Electors for" each set of candidates rather than list the individual Electors on each slate).

Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State's Electors-so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. [The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district].

On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December (as established in federal law) each State's Electors meet in their respective State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president.

In order to prevent Electors from voting only for "favorite sons" of their home State, at least one of their votes must be for a person from outside their State (though this is seldom a problem since the parties have consistently nominated presidential and vice presidential candidates from different States).
The electoral votes are then sealed and transmitted from each State to the President of the Senate who, on the following January 6, opens and reads them before both houses of the Congress.

The candidate for president with the most electoral votes, provided that it is an absolute majority (one over half of the total), is declared president. Similarly, the vice presidential candidate with the absolute majority of electoral votes is declared vice president.

In the event no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes for president, the U.S. House of Representatives (as the chamber closest to the people) selects the president from among the top three contenders with each State casting only one vote and an absolute majority of the States being required to elect. Similarly, if no one obtains an absolute majority for vice president, then the U.S. Senate makes the selection from among the top two contenders for that office.
At noon on January 20, the duly elected president and vice president are sworn into office.

So, contrary to popular belief, the electoral college votes for the popular vote in their respective state.

But, we hear, that the overall popular vote should be what counts. I'd like to ask the people who say that, why should two or three states make the choice for the rest of the country? New York and California do not represent the whole country. For our elections to be fair, the will of ALL of the people should be counted, not just the states with the most people in it. Without the EC, we would really have no choice in who our President is. Without it, we would get the choice of New York.

I consider the system we have to be far better than any other countries out there. Sure, we have problems but, as a whole, the system works and the will of ALL of he people is counted.