Solutions R us, avoiding sticky future election nonsense : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Ditch the Electoral College. Let the people's vote count for what it is.

Open the polls in all 50 states at the exact same time. Keep the polls open for 30 hours, from noon on Friday til midnight Saturday, adjusted for time zones so that they all open and close at the exact same time.

Ban the media from projecting winners until the polls close. Yeah, I know, the First Amendment. Still, what happened with Florida last night shows why this is important enough to consider, despite the First.

Any other thoughts on this?

-- Uncle Deedah (, November 08, 2000


The whole show is a circus so why ban the ringmasters (media). Deedah, you find any ballot boxes layinB around today? South Florida resembles a third world country so now they will conduct this recount like one.

-- I (h@ve.spoken), November 08, 2000.

"despite the First". Are you sure you want to set the precedent of making exceptions to the First Amendment? The networks made asses of themselves. In the future, they might be more circumspect in making early predictions.

-- Lars (, November 08, 2000.

FYI, Jews would be prohibited by religious dictates from voting sundown Friday thru sundown Saturday.

-- Bingo1 (, November 08, 2000.


The Founding Fathers had a reason for the E.C. - to keep larger, more powerful states from running rough-shod over the smaller, weaker ones. Mob rule isn't necessarily the best for the LONG-TERM continuance of our nation AND our freedoms.

The E.C. ain't perfect, but it could be far, far worse.

-- Deb M. (, November 08, 2000.


Close elections are close elections. You can't somehow turn them into a clear mandate for one side by jiggering around with time zones, or ditching the electoral college. When more than half the voters disapprove of *everyone* who is running, this is what happens. Ultimately, no matter what you do, the choice can come down to a margin of victory well within the unavoidable margin of errors (of all varieties -- counting, printing ballots, fraud, etc.)

At that point, under ANY system, you either accept your first call, or your second, or your third... The "real" winner may never be knowable, but when it's that close you might as well flip a coin.

-- Flint (, November 08, 2000.

Ban the media from projecting winners until the polls close. Yeah, I know, the First Amendment. Still, what happened with Florida last night shows why this is important enough to consider, despite the First.

What was wrong with what happened with Florida? The only people hurt by the erroneous projections are the candidates, not the voters. Studies from the 1976(?) election apparently indicated that projecting winners on the east coast had very little impact on voting on the west coast. In this current case, the only effect projections would likely have is that Nader voters on the west coast might change their minds and vote for Gore based on results already projected. As we saw, though, it didn't make much of a difference.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), November 08, 2000.

There are pro's and con's either way for keeping/getting rid of the electoral college (Fed influence on each state, on individual voters, etc.).

I have no strong opinion either way (as Florida votes are being recounted), but lean toward doing away with it. I can understand those who support Gore feeling this way. But this isn't the time to change the system, the system we have is what we have, the candidates used tactics especially FOR this electoral college system (win the critical states). We just need to find out the results! And why in the world is Oregon taking so long to count their mail in ballots? Will they now always be the last state to finish the vote tally???

-- David (, November 08, 2000.

I thought the Electoral College was devised out of the Founding Fathers' distrust of the common person, as a buffer between the citizen and the ultimate vote. Regardless of its reason for being, I would find it more fair if a state's electors were allocated in proportion to the popular vote rather than as winner-take-all. The number of electors could be increased to facilitate this.

If the polls of the various states were synchronized as Unk proposes, then it's not clear how the reporting of a projected result in one region could have a disproportionate adverse affect on another region. More fundamental, if someone refrains from voting due to the projected result in another state, whose fault is that?

-- David L (, November 08, 2000.

First,THE networks are not Gods immaculate information centers,quite contrary,they are businesses vying for the maximum amount of viewers. The better the ratings the more that can be charged for advertising airtime($$$).The one with the best(most accurate) news 1st gets the most viewers,hence their use of outside sources like VNS(Viewer News Source Agency) an exit polling firm,whose job is to scientificly GUESS at who are the winners,there are many of them bidding for the Networks biz.To trust them is foolish,wheather it's us trusting them or a network trusting them it is still foolish.Let the votes be counted,period,then everyone can begin their political bantering.The less we crave instant results the less we will be fed what it is they think we want.

As far as the EC goes this too is a slippery slope,we can debate it's positives,negatives,virtues and vices until we are satisfied with a reasonable course of action,that in itself is not what troubles me.It is opening the door to more Constitutional meandering,once it is opened more than just the EC can be tinkered with,it is in many ways a pandora's box of potential trouble.

Personally I tend to agree with the idealism of the popular vote,it is truly democratic,but at the same time I feel a slow preponderance of the facts are prudent.

-- capnfun (, November 08, 2000.

There's a way to "adjust" the EC tally so it more closely represents the popular vote -- without tinkering with the Constitution (which, I agree, could open up a whole bag of worms). Considering that it's the "winner-take-all" aspect that ticks off most people:

Do it the way New Hampshire does.

New Hampshire has four electoral votes -- two for the two senators, and two for the two congressional districts in the state. The winner within each congressional district receives the electoral vote for that district. The winner of the entire state also receives the two "senatorial" votes as a bonus. So if I, as a candidate, won a majority in only one congressional district, but also got more votes statewide than my opponent(s), I'd get three electorial votes out of the four. Not perfect, but closer to the popular vote than now.

Advantage: No fritzing with the Constitution.

Disadvantage: Would requires a change to each individual state's voting laws.

Just a thought.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), November 08, 2000.

Sorry, said it long before yesterday and the last 24 hours have done nothing but completely confirm my opinion the Electoral College has to go.

Unlike MOST Gore supporters, I held this opinion BEFORE the election. Most Gore supporters felt the ONLY way their boy would/could win would be by the Electoral College. The Bush supporters felt similar that the EC may do them in, but hoped what they thought was a commanding lead in the Popular vote would carry the day anyhow. Predictably now each side has flipped to show their boy should win by the now opposite reasons.

I repeat, Gore has won the POPULAR VOTE by a now 190,000+/-votes. But due to the use of the Electoral College system may end-up losing this election by what appears to be +/- no more than 2,000 votes. This is simply WRONG. And yes I understand each side has their vested reasons and will manipulate reality to fit whatever they want. It would however be refreshing if some here would give all that a rest for once and address the issue. Again, if Bush was on the short end here does anybody doubt bloody hell would reign? Think this is a circus? Minor IMHO to what it would be if Bush was in the position Gore is tonight.

There is also quite a bit of evidence a number of votes in Palm Beach were apparently compromised by a confusing ballot(illegal even some claim). The PB ballot mistakes alone, may have cost Al Gore Florida, and thus the Presidency. Again, this is all freaking wrong and should NOT even be an issue in the face of a Gore Popular Vote Victory which he has already earned.

As a result of the Electoral College we have no standardized ballot. We do not have any STANDARDS whatsoever. Any student of the EC understands the EC since virtually inception, has never followed any standards and was never even part of the Amendment. States, Counties and Cities can follow any damn procedures they dam well please, and do.

I am also frankly sickened by many here who show absolutely no compassion for older Americans needs(here voting). Many of whom NEED help, not only to vote, but to get down the street. Who the hell are YOU to say TOO BAD THEY ARE STUPID? Who the hell are you? What lives in you to say many who may have had invalidated votes or voted for the wrong cnadidate, that it is just TOO BADD? What kind of thoughtless crap is this people? And NO to doing it again here, it is over, but surely we can do better next time, no?

This is America and WE MUST DO BETTER. The Palm Beach ballot was confusing and even the most basic of understanding will show how someone, even not an old fart, could have had problems. The excuses here sound very much like "Y2k Pollies will freeze to death" Those here without the base humanity have your rewards, you just choose to ignore them till you have to, TOO BADD for you. Call me anything you want, it is called respect for Maturity and an understanding they many/do need help and do not want a hand-out or to be a burden. It is a gift from God that the young are given the opportunity to help those far wiser than thee. Who the hell are you to tell a WWII veteran with bad eyesight and a cane he is stupid if he blew it? Who the hell are YOU? If it was up to me the damn ballots would be HAND Delivered to many of these Patriots, with a person to give-em a hand.

The EC must go, it is THAT SIMPLE. We must also have LEGITIMATE and COMPREHENSIVE Campaign Finance Reform. Thus my support for Al Gore, as he has said this would be his first priority if elected, and is backed-up by his record for 2 decades(not perfect by any means but a big start). Bush has given lip-service to as much and outspent a sitting incumbent adminstration by almost 60 million dollars more(130 to 190). Bush BOUGHT his way into the WhiteHouse it appears, and is clear to me.

Yesterday was not about Al Gore or even GW Bush, it was about a BROKE SYSTEM. Once again HALF the country choose not to even participate in a system which values a Florida vote many magnitudes higher than anyone making up the 190,000 other saps who voted elsewhere for Al Gore or ANYBODY else.

This system supports special interests and one agenda voters like the Gun Folks, the SSS folks, the Abortion folks, the Tax Protesters, and even the folks like me and our Anti-EC and anti-soft money stances.

Who do you think WON last night? Who do you think has THE issue in the viewfinder, in the crosshairs? in the target, the center?

Everyone has legitimate gripes. Gun folks SHOULD be outraged. Supporters of school vouchers DO have a right to have a legitimate say. Homosexuals DO deserve to be heard. Union members deserve to be heard. Taxes ARE too damn high. Social Security SHOULD be opened in certain cases to maybe outside investment. Everyone has beefs. The current system has little respect for most of these as it is BROKE, unbalanced and ruled by whoever-whatever has the most coin. To say it is unresponsive is to barely even begin to describe what government at ALL levels is.

Doing away with the EC may seem trivial to some, paramount to others. I see it as the most important step coupled with Campaign Finance Reform to returning our country to US.

We have corrupt, pathetic, extremist candidates because this is what a broke system presents. Al Gore is no Angel and neither is GW or even Harry Browne, they ALL SUCK, is this some secret?

Voting SOULD BE but a FORMALITY every 2-4-6 years, not a TURNING POINT. The debate goes on every minute, every day so why is this system not listening? It is BROKE and yesterday is your proof positive.

-- Doc Paulie (, November 09, 2000.


I think we definetly need to respect our elders and help them whenever we can,I was raised that way as I'm sure most were.Statisticaly though the problems had in the election were miniscule,in Florida's case if there is a problem it should be straightened out so that in the future there is absolutely NO doubt whatsoever.

I do agree that yes we do have problems in this country,are they insurrnountable? no,and we should work endlessly towards the goal of rectifying any injustices and wrongs for all,no exceptions.

I have an optimistic view,hope and vision for America,even though politically my Party is hardly detectable in the large scheme of things.I am not represented by the two major parties and have lost all hope that they can be transformed into viable insturments of the people,but still I have belief in America and this mish-mash of people that are it's citizens.

So don't get too discouraged Doc,hell,ya want to hear discouraging? The Libertarian Party votes were only about 380,000+,instead of looking at it as a dried up crop I like to view it as seeds for a new planting,that's why God made tomorrow.Keep the faith brother for it is no ones to take away and can only be lost if it is abandoned.

-- capnfun (, November 09, 2000.

Look, this is only the fourth time that the Electoral has not matched the popular vote. So for most elections the Electoral is moot, yet every once in a while we will end up where we are now, with one state deciding the winner. And what a mess it creates, the whining and lawsuits and charges of fraud do not help the winner, whoever he is. It is a total mess that would have been completely avoided by adhering to the popular vote.

The Electoral College is a dinosaur and should be done away with.

-- Uncle Deedah (, November 09, 2000.

I'm Here, I wasn't familiar with the method of elector allocation you describe (used in NH), but it does makes a lot of sense. One thing was a little ambiguous, do the two "bonus" electors go to the winner of the state's popular vote. If yes, so much the better.

-- David L (, November 09, 2000.

Oops, I just noticed your example which answers my question.

-- David L (, November 09, 2000.


Not only is the Electoral College a dinosaur but so is the entire voting "system". If they can stick a lottery machine or an ATM anywhere they want, why not a voting machine? It's ridiculous that votes are still being manually counted these days. The recount here in Duval County had Gore picking up an additional 175 votes (or so) and Bush picked up a few more also. St Johns County was the same way. How many counties are there in the US? Seems like a lot of missed votes the 1st time around.

Voting machines could be set up in several areas of town (just like lotto and ATMs now), maybe use your SSN and a password to logon and vote. Hell, it would be tallied as it happened. Maybe even let it last for a few days instead of 12 hours......

We just have to get rid of this dinosaur we've been using...

My .02 Deano

-- Deano (, November 09, 2000.

Um, I am no *rocket scientist* but the only thing wrong with this election was the closeness. Period.

Now, for us young folks, we have never seen an election such as this, usually its landslide action.

So all this pissing and moaning aint gonna change a thing.

Now, IF there are some oldsters here who *DO* remember a race this close, please by all means....SPEAK UP.

We do have to admit, this is the weirdest damn thing we've seen in along time, or am I too presumptious by using *we*?

-- consumer (, November 09, 2000.

sumer, there are actually people on this here forum who were alive in 1960, when Nixon beat JFK. Some of 'em even remember it, by golly.

I bet Lars actually voted in that election. What am I thinking, he voted Roosevelt - Theodore.

-- Bingo1 (, November 09, 2000.

Previous close elections.

Popular vote..

Electoral College..

-- Peg (em@i.l), November 09, 2000.


Popular vote...

-- Peg (, November 09, 2000.


sumer, try this.


Scroll down about halfway and there's a link to previous close elections. Sorry 'bout the mess :)

-- Peg (em@i.l), November 09, 2000.

Taps foot lightly,

Come on Peg, I'm waiting :-0

-- consumer (, November 09, 2000.

1976: Carter 50.1%, Ford 48.0% (2.1% margin)

hmmm, thanks for the link Peg hee hee.

Only thing is I cant figure for the life of me how you got my post before I got the link, but yet, you came out on top ?????????

Massive Confusion, if it werent 9:44 am I'd consider a beer. :-)

-- (, November 09, 2000.

I didn't see your post 'bout tapping your foot. Just didn't wanna leaving ya hanging...and everyone else for that matter...heh!

1960: Kennedy 49.7%, Nixon 49.5% (0.2% margin)...even closer.

-- Peg (em@i.l), November 09, 2000.

When you say that it's a dinosaur, you're saying our Constitution is a dinosaur. I gotta go with Deano on this, make the system itself more techno, decreasing the reliance on manual means to count votes.

This is a republic not a democracy. We still need an Electoral College because the STATES vote for the prez not the people. After all we are the *United States*, a union of independent sovereign regions. Our founding fathers prepared the Constitution because of the mess that was going on between the states; trading between the regions was becoming entangled in tariffs and other battles. The people vote for representatives; those representatives make the decisions on their behalf. We don't vote for any Federal positions outside of Congress (which represents the people). Specifically, we don't vote for the president, Supreme Court, the cabinet, or any other federal position. That's the foundation of our country, a republic versus a democracy. Start messing with it and you start messing with the Constitution. Tread lightly here.

I'm here, I like that idea in changing the EC. Each state would need to put it to a vote for the people to decide.

-- Maria (, November 09, 2000.

The notion that someone's vote will have zero effect -- in essence thrown in the trash -- because a majority of others in that state happened to vote in the opposite direction stands democracy and justice on their heads and makes no sense in today's world. In the early days, the EC was a practical expedient which, IMO, has completely lost its reason for being.

In fact, as much as I can't stand Gore (much preferring Bush of the two), and believe he'd be very bad for the country, I'd prefer to see him as the winner purely because he's garnered the most votes, overall. Let the people decide, and let them live with what they get.

-- eve (, November 09, 2000.

That's the whole point of my post, eve. We don't vote for anything outside our local districts. We vote for representatives who in turn vote for us. Those representatives propose and vote legislation into law; we don't have a say about any of it. If a democrat represents my district, then that person isn't even representing my views. Obviously, my vote didn't count. But supposedly that person represents the majority (well really most) of the people in my district. We, the people, don't have a say on the way the federal government is run; that's the way our founding fathers designed it. (Of course, Jefferson thought that the federal gov shouldn't be discussing social security. That would never have come up 200 hundred years ago!)

-- Maria (, November 09, 2000.

Maria, with all due respect, I don't follow you here.

Could you tell me WHY it's necessary for me to vote for president through an intermediary who has absolutely no function other than to pull a second lever for me? And why should -- and how can -- a "state" -- an artificial construct that serves some purposes but has no collective mind -- "vote" for a president?

You've made some decent points in your post, Maria, but don't forget, just because something happens to be Constitutional, or has precedent, or might be somewhat analogous to other things we must do, or that someone of high repute designed it, doesn't necessarily mean it makes sense.

We should always check our premises, and be ready to question anything and everything.

-- eve (, November 09, 2000.

"just because something happens to be Constitutional, or has precedent, or might be somewhat analogous to other things we must do, or that someone of high repute designed it, doesn't necessarily mean it makes sense" is exactly the point. Knowing the basis for the EC *is* "ready to question anything and everything." Our constitution is the basis, we should know all the premises of that before we make changes. We all know how to amend it. It must be considered seriously.

We have never voted for any federal positions, outside Congress. IF we should start now, then we'll need to find all the ramifications. Just look before you leap.

-- Maria (, November 09, 2000.


I'm in agreeance with ya,just to leap into doing away with the EC could be disasterous.My first consideration is that the sparsely populated states would tend to get the shaft in federal monies,as there would be pandering to the heavily populated areas of the country for their votes.

Of course my true position on this is that it is ludicrous for us to be paying the lion share our tax money to Washington in the 1st place,just to beg for it back under the coercion of the feds in complying with their mandates.

Same with education,why do we send millions or billions to Washington for *our* schools when we know how to better spend that money than they do and without the heavy layer of bureauracracy.But I digress.

One thing you can bet on though,the fed will never give up the EC if it endangers the elite of losing their power or gives the little guy a chance to take it away.

-- capnfun (, November 09, 2000.


Come on. The EC comes into play only when the popular vote is so close that the phase of the moon probably has more to do with which candidate wins than the EC ever does. And from what we've seen, probably so close that N national recounts would have each candidate winning N/2 times anyway. So the EC is a great irrelevancy. We may as well admit that this election is close enough to be within counting error, flip a coin and be done with it. Constitutionally, of course.

-- Flint (, November 09, 2000.


For all practical purposes in this instance we could flip the proverbial constitutional coin for the little difference there is between the two.

-- capnfun (, November 09, 2000.

For the best argument I've ever seen in favor of keeping the Electoral College, see the article "Math Against Tyranny" at

-- No Spam Please (, November 09, 2000.

I just finished watching the Letterman Intellectual Hour. The main guest tonight was Cokey Roberts. I was surprised, pleasantly so, when she she made a short, common-sense defense of the EC in terms of contemporary politics.

In her view, the EC forces national candidates to court the votes of regional and minority groups. If it were not necessary to win individual states, then national campaigning would concentrate on the major pop centers and the major population groups. Campaigning would likely become entirely a TV event out of LA, NY, DC, etc.

-- Lars (, November 10, 2000.


There are more good reasons for the Electoral College explained in the article I cited.

-- No Spam Please (, November 10, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ