Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Electoral Shake Up

By Paul Abbott II

Last week bills were introduced in several state legislatures to change the allocation of the electoral votes in the election of the president in their respective states.  These bills are being authored by Republicans from states with republican led government that tend to vote democratic in the National election in hope of giving their presidential candidate a better chance to win.

Currently, the way it works in most states is that the winner of the popular vote in that state receives all of the electoral votes of that state. Maine and Nebraska are the only ones to do it differently. In those two states the winner of the popular vote in a congressional district wins that district’s electoral vote. The two “at-large district’s”(senators run for election statewide) electoral votes are both given to the candidate that won the statewide popular vote.

Because of the "winner-take-all" system in place in most of the states this means that candidates who win a majority of congressional districts in some states get no electoral votes because they lost the popular vote.  This makes it very hard for third party or independent candidates for president to gain votes in an election.

Many are saying that this is "unfair" and that the republicans are trying to "rig the system." However, notice what it says in article II section1 of the Constitution:“Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof shall direct, a number of electors..."(emphases added).  So we see that it is completely within their constitutional rights to change the way electors are chosen.  As to it being unfair it  would actually give rural areas more of a voice in the election.  Take Ohio for example.  Although Republicans won 12 of 16 congressional districts Obama took all of the states 18 electoral votes because he won the popular vote.  Cuyahoga county alone (Cleveland) gave him the votes he needed to surpass Romney. Now to make it clear I did not support either Romney or Obama. But if the votes were allocated by congressional district a conservative third-party candidate would not have to contend in large liberal cities that can turn the tide of the state but rather focus on more conservative rural districts.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the opposition is too strong at this time for this legislation to pass, but hopefully in the future this issue will again be raised and the so called "winner-take-all" system ended.

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