Electoral College Reform

Feb 27, 2019

To the Editor:

Two of the last five presidential elections have been decided by the Electoral College (EC) in spite of the designated winner receiving less popular votes than the candidate that was denied. The problems with the current system have been described in detail so I won’t go over them except to note that I voted for George W. Bush in 2000, but he shouldn’t have been awarded the win by the EC along with the help of the Supreme Court.

It’s also interesting to note that in 2004 George W. won the popular vote, but came very close to losing to John Kerry. The final EC tally came down to a contested election in Ohio. If Kerry had won that state, he would have won the election in spite of losing the popular vote. Any fair-minded person should agree that allowing the person with fewer popular votes to win is contrary to the democratic principle of one man one vote.

One other point to illustrate the inequity concerns Wyoming, a beautiful state that has three EC votes with an estimate population of 600,000. That means that each vote represents 200,000 citizens. On the other end of the spectrum, California has 55 EC votes with an estimated population of 39.5 million. That means that each EC vote is backed by approximately 718,000 citizens. California is under-represented in the EC, while Wyoming is over-represented. That is clear.

Also worth noting is that 38 states have voted for the same party in each of the last five presidential elections. The other 12 are often referred to a “swing” or “battleground” states. For those in the 38 states, I would contend that voting in the presidential election is less meaningful and therefore likely to lead to a depressed voter turnout.

I have two solutions. First, I propose adoption of the “National Popular Vote” initiative, which would require states to cast their EC votes for whichever candidate receives the higher number of votes nationally. There are too many details to go into here, so please look it up to see how it would work.

Secondly, I propose adoption of the “Ranked Choice Voting” system. There is a potential viable third party candidate (Howard Schultz) in the 2020 voting. It would be nice to vote for him as first choice (if that’s your preference) but also designate a second choice who would be awarded your vote if Schultz fails to get at least a predesignated percentage such as 20 percent. A vote for Schultz would not be wasted if he proves to be not viable.

Let’s not repeat the potential impact that resulted as the unintended consequence of Ralph Nader, Ross Perot and other fringe third party presidential candidates. It would be great to get these thing done before 2020.

Mike Kistner

Wayne, N.J., and Ship Bottom


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