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The Trouble with the Electoral College

Related:  Election Reform

About - Free & Equal The Free & Equal movement will shift power away from the controlling few and back to freedom, liberty, and prosperity for all, in the true spirit of the United States Constitution. Through positive, peaceful action by activists and third parties, America can fulfill its promise of free and equal elections. New Initiatives to Accomplish Our Goals Our first project is to build an elections database including candidate information on federal, state and local levels. This data will be easily accessible through Free & Equal’s website and will act as a one-stop-shop for candidate information. How the Electoral College Works" Do you remember voting for the president in a mock election in elementary school or junior high? Maybe you selected your candidate at random because you didn't really know the difference between the two (or care). Well, now you're older and wiser and know that who you vote for does make a difference. Or does it? Take the Electoral College, for instance. Every four years, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, millions of U.S. citizens go to local voting booths to cast a vote for the next president and vice president of their country. Truth is, the results of the popular vote are not guaranteed to stand because the presidential election is really decided by the votes of the Electoral College. For some of us, the Electoral College process (and its outcome) may seem a bit shocking. By now you're probably wondering how -- and why -- the Electoral College began.

Featured Lesson Idea: Road to the White House Overview Using C-SPAN’s Campaign 2012 website, students will explore the Election Process in the United States. They will examine the role of early campaigning, caucuses and primaries, the conventions, the debates, Election Day, continuing through to Inauguration Day. Then, students will evaluate the United States’ election process to determine whether they believe our system is appropriate in choosing the president or whether they think it should be altered. Objective Students will understand the process of electing the President of the United States Students will examine the role of each aspect of the election process Students will evaluate the effectiveness of the election process Materials Computer(s) with internet connection Projector of SmartBoard to stream video C-SPAN Campaign 2012 Interactive Website Election Process Handout (Either can be used depending on teacher preference) a) General Note Taking Handout (.PDF) b) Specific Questions Handout (.PDF) Vocabulary Procedure

Rig the Vote That seems to be the plan of Republican lawmakers in several battleground states that stubbornly keep going for Democrats during presidential elections. Thanks in part to gerrymandering, many states already have — and will continue to have in the near future — Republican-controlled legislatures. Republican lawmakers in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are considering whether to abandon the winner-take-all approach to awarding Electoral College votes and replace it with a proportional allocation. That change would heavily favor Republican presidential candidates — tilting the voting power away from cities and toward rural areas — and make it more likely that the candidate with the fewest votes over all would win a larger share of electoral votes. One day I will have to visit the evil lair where they come up with these schemes. They pump them out like a factory. The paper continued, “The remaining two would go to the candidate winning the statewide majority.”

The Electoral College - Origin and History by William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC National Clearinghouse on Election Administration In order to appreciate the reasons for the Electoral College, it is essential to understand its historical context and the problem that the Founding Fathers were trying to solve. They faced the difficult question of how to elect a president in a nation that: was composed of thirteen large and small States jealous of their own rights and powers and suspicious of any central national government contained only 4,000,000 people spread up and down a thousand miles of Atlantic seaboard barely connected by transportation or communication (so that national campaigns were impractical even if they had been thought desirable) believed, under the influence of such British political thinkers as Henry St. Origins of the Electoral College The Constitutional Convention considered several possible methods of selecting a president. One idea was to have the Congress choose the president. The First Design

Reform does work, New York As New York policymakers, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, consider a comprehensive package of campaign finance reform, they should look at Connecticut to see just how much a strong small-donor public financing program can improve the legislative process and relieve lawmakers of the burdens of high-donor, special-interest fundraising. As former and present Connecticut secretaries of state, we are very proud of our Citizens' Election Fund, which began providing voluntary public financing for our legislative and statewide campaigns in 2008. As former legislators, we understand intimately the fundraising aspects of standing for election, and how frustrating special interest influences can be to the legislative process. Just as a comprehensive campaign finance program in New York could do, the Connecticut model requires participating candidates to raise funds from a minimum number of small donors in their districts, making everyday constituents the focus of a candidate's time and energy.

The Uses of Polarization A primary goal of a presidential campaign is to incrementally increase margins of support among volatile and persuadable demographic groups like single women angered by attempts to restrict access to contraception or voters with long commutes worried about gas prices. A second goal is increase turnout among supportive voting blocs — conservative whites in the case of Republicans, African-Americans in the case of Democrats. This goal is accomplished most often with polarizing tactics like the exploitation of wedge issues. The target constituencies can be huge — white men, Hispanics, seniors – or, with the emergence of sophisticated micro-technology, smaller slices of the electorate, ranging from laid-off manufacturing workers to women golfers. This is not news, but how does such a strategy actually work? White Independents. In the 2004 election, the Bush-Cheney campaign explicitly sought to polarize voters to increase turnout among potential supporters. — Alan Abramowitz Thomas B.

Rocky Anderson, Presidential Candidate of the Justice Party, interviewed by Cynthia McKinney Posted on March 11, 2012 by dandelionsalad by Cindy Sheehan Featured WriterDandelion SaladCindy Sheehan’s Soapbox BlogCindy Sheehan’s Soapbox March 11, 2012 Image by wickenden via Flickr (SOAPBOX #124) – Cindy is in Ireland, invited there by the Irish Committee to Free the (Cuban) 5. Please share with others: Filed under: Anti-war, Dandelion Salad Featured Writers, Dandelion Salad Posts News Politics and-or Videos 2, Dandelion Salad Videos, Independents or Third Party, Politics Tagged: | 2012 Election, Cindy Sheehan, McKinney-Cynthia, Rocky Anderson, Sheehan-Cindy L. Presidents Day - Why Can't We Nominate Our Own President? We Can, We Are Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds Presidents Day: Why Can't We Nominate Our Own President? We Can, We Are Why can't the American public nominate their own candidate for president? If the last 12 years have revealed anything, they have shown beyond reasonable doubt that both Status Quo political parties in the U.S. are hopelessly, ruinously corrupt and thus beyond any reform or redemption. It doesn't matter how you arrange the taxonomy of the financial aristocracy that rules the nation or how you subdivide it--old money, new money, family money, corporate money, etc.-- the bottom line is these campaign contributions are viewed by the aristocratic donors as investments that yield gargantuan returns in tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts, sweetheart contracts, "get out of jail free" cards for the shadow banking system, and so on. In Social Fractals and the Corruption of America (February 8, 2012) I wrote: Here is the Wikipedia entry: Americans Elect: As Cris V. observed:

Indiana Republican Secretary Of State Found Guilty Of Voter Fraud Let’s admit it, we all saw this one coming. After passing restrictive voter ID laws to combat non-existent voter fraud, it turns out that so far, the only people really committing voter fraud are Republicans. During the New Hampshire primary last month, conservative journalist wannabe James O’Keefe committed voter fraud on camera. And now, the Republican Secretary of State in Indiana has been found guilty of committing voter fraud. According to the Indianapolis Star, Charlie White was convicted of 6 felony charges, three of which involve voter fraud. White now faces up to three years in prison for each count but could serve the minimum six months per count. This is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that Republicans have been committing for years now.

OP-ED | Fix a Flawed System – Use the National Popular Vote by Andrew Fleischmann | Jan 25, 2012 10:00pm (10) Comments | Commenting has expired Posted to: Opinion The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative has gained ground across the U.S. because it does something overwhelming majorities of Americans in every state support: It ensures that the person who gets the most votes for President wins. Rep. John Hetherington’s recent criticisms of the initiative published on this site are so flawed that it’s hard to know where to start. Along with so many others, I hope 2012 is the year that Connecticut will join the growing number of states that have passed the National Popular Vote initiative. Rep. Further, under the current system, an absolute majority of the statewide popular vote is not needed to win any state’s electoral votes. Rep. Rep. The Presidential candidate who gets the most votes in the United States should win the Presidential election. Rep. Tags: National Popular Vote, Andrew Fleischmann, Rep. Share this story with others. (10) Comments

Internet-Based Political Movement Aims To Put Presidential Ticket On Ballots For The 2012 Election Americans Elect is looking to shake up the politcal process for the 2012 election. The response to the recent debt ceiling fiasco underscores how Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. government. Though many feel we are stuck with a two-party system after numerous attempts to elect a viable alternative candidate have failed, a new Internet-based political movement is emerging. The goal? So how does one vote for an Americans Elect candidate? Because the group has filed as a nonprofit, social welfare organization, it is unclear exactly who is behind the movement, though a few hundred donors have helped them raise $20 million. In a nutshell, Americans Elect has plotted an alternative to the primary system, known for weeding out the candidates in the early part of an election year. With Americans Elect, a vote for your favorite candidate will be just a mouse click away. But third-party candidates are nothing new, especially in recent times. [Images: Americans Elect, sxc]

This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see Gerrymandering -- drawing political boundaries to give your party a numeric advantage over an opposing party -- is a difficult process to explain. If you find the notion confusing, check out the chart above -- adapted from one posted to Reddit this weekend -- and wonder no more. Suppose we have a very tiny state of fifty people. Thirty of them belong to the Blue Party, and 20 belong to the Red Party. And just our luck, they all live in a nice even grid with the Blues on one side of the state and the Reds on the other. Now, let's say we need to divide this state into five districts. Fortunately, because our citizens live in a neatly ordered grid, it's easy to draw five lengthy districts -- two for the Reds , and three for the Blues. Now, let's say instead that the Blue Party controls the state government, and they get to decide how the lines are drawn. With a comfortable Blue majority in this state, each district elects a blue candidate to the House.