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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Monday, October 25, 2004


Electoral College

I have never liked the EC. I think it's a holdover from a time when communication was slow enough that it made sense to vote in blocks by state and then send Electors to Washington to cast a vote. Today, however, this seems unnecessary.

The problem I have with the EC is not that it counts any given vote from California or New York less heavily than one from Wyoming. The difference is pretty minor and outweighed by the sheer number of votes from populous states. My issue is that the EC effectively disregards my vote entirely. Since I am Conservative and have lived in two traditionally liberal states, my vote for President has never counted.

I bring this up now because I just ran across an interesting article at NRO by Gary Gregg arguing that the EC saved us in 2000. As you might not imagine, Mr. Gregg is not thanking his lucky stars that the EC got Bush elected while losing the national popular vote. Rather, he argues that:

The electoral-college system serves to focus our political battles into state-by-state contests for the most votes. In 2000, the post-election battle centered on Florida and stayed there because the electoral college worked to give the winner of the Sunshine State the presidency. If a national plurality were allowed to choose the president, and the election were as close as it was in 2000, Gore and Bush being separated by less than one half of one percent, how would the post-election contest have been different?
I think this is an interesting point. However, this supposed purpose for the EC is only made necessary by the combination of bad vote counting and extremely close elections. While the latter is not 'correctable' the former certainly is.

Although it is true that any large measurement (voting included) will involve error, it should be possible to get the magnitude of the error to a level that would allow us to determine the winner by simple popular vote. To do otherwise is to accept that the system is at least partly broken (i.e., we can't count the votes accurately...or even precisely) and, in doing so, relegate our method of electing a president to state-by-state litigation in favor of nation-wide litigation.

Unfortunately, I doubt that we'll be able to take the necessary steps to improve our vote counting apparatus and so, I suppose, the EC may very well continue to provide us with at least a measure of comfort in a country where politics seems to be ever more contentious and downright nasty.


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