The Electoral College And Proposed Reform Policies — страница 2

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system the winner from a direct vote election held in each state receives all of that states electoral votes. Maine and Nebraska use the district system; it consents that every district winner receives one vote, and the candidate with the most votes gets the remaining two votes not allocated to a district (Abramson et al). The stakes were too high for the electors to play the role of statesmen. Rather, he/she was a faceless voting component (Longley and Pierce, 22) of the electoral college. Electors pledge to vote for the party and candidate that their state has selected but are not always legally required to vote accordingly. Twenty-four states have laws requiring voters to cast ballots as pledged; those rare electors who still choose to cast faithless electoral college votes

have never significantly changed the outcome of an election (Longley, R.). As stated in the introduction, this is obviously not a system without faults. In extremely close elections and elections where there are prominent candidates from more than the two major parties, the electoral college complicates results in a manner that can lead to non-popular vote winners taking the Presidency. This has happened four times in presidential elections in the United States; elections in 1801, 1825, 1876, and 1888 were all affected. 1801 and 1825 s appointments were decided by the House of Representatives because no majority was reached; 1876 and 1888 s elections selected a President who had lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. Albeit, none of these close decisions have been from

an overwhelming disproportional swing forced by the bureaucracy of the electoral college. However, it would be possible for a candidate not to receive a single person s vote from 39 states yet still be elected President (Longley, R.). One would only have to win all electoral votes from the top eleven populated states (California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Georgia or Virginia – U.S. Census, 1990) to secure a nomination. Worse, a president could be elected in a typical two-party election with only 22% of the national popular vote or only 15% popular vote in a three-candidate election (Wilkman). While the first scenario is incredibly unlikely and the second situation has not yet happened, probability for the

latter is steadily increasing with the emergence of a strong independent third party. As Roger MacBride stated, the electoral college permits splinter parties to play a decisive role in the ultimate allocation of large blocks of electoral votes (32). Electoral college reform dates back to January 6th, 1797. This first resolution by Republican William L. Smith of South Carolina met the same ultimate rejection that many other proposed plans of reform faced. There are currently four distinct proposals of electoral college reform that have materialized over time. The automatic plan, known for it s voter equity (Best, 67), is the most modest of the four proposals and keeps a majority of the electoral college as it originally was. Receiving Jefferson s support in 1801, it primarily

remedies the possibility of a faithless elector and modifies the House of Representatives dependent elections. A negative effect of this plan is that the electoral vote totals would reflect the national popular votes in a distorted fashion (VCCG, 67). The proportional plan is concerned with the winner-take-all, unit rule aspect of the college. It would allow states to divide their electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote up to the nearest 1/1000th, thus trimming the margin of victory for every election after 1864 to the present (Wilkman). A strong point against this plan is that it allows for less than 40% of the popular vote to elect the president. The district plan was used by some states during early electoral college history. It proposes a change to the joint session

Congress attends in the event of a contingent procedure and divides the states electoral votes to plurality winners. A candidate could still win by one vote in every district under this plan and receive all of the state s electoral votes. Also, it magnifies the disproportionality of giving each state two electoral college votes for their senators by only marginally disenfranchising the districts (Longley and Braun, 53). The direct vote plan is often called the only true democratic way of holding elections and totally abolishes the electoral college. It reverts the voting process to the same one used for electing state governors, senators, and members of the House. Whoever receives 40% of the popular vote in the first round wins under this reform strategy. Voters rank order the