Comments about ‘Letters: Electoral college’

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Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The United States is a federation of States. In our nation, the State is the controlling power in our lives. Open your wallet and look at your driver's license. Look at your birth certificate. As first written, the Constitution allowed the people to be represented as equally as possible by the House of Representatives. The State legislatures chose two Senators to represent their State and then the States, through the electoral college, voted for the President who most closely represented the views of each State.

If we had the vision of the two primary purposes of the Federal Government, which is to defend the States against enemies, foreign and domestic, and to assist the States to work with each other without undue confusion, then we would not ask the question that the letter writer asked.

The President represents the Federal Government to the States and to the world. He ensures that the laws passed by Congress for the seventeen duties authorized to the Federal Government are properly enacted. All other duties are to be handled by the States where the Governor, who is directly elected by the people, is in charge.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Jake Sorenson

I agree with what you said. I voted for Bush, but Gore should have been President. The reason for the electoral college in the old days was that it was not possible a candidate could get around the country to campaign. Now with media they can. A person running for President can get the message out in all 50 states. Plus, the very reason for the college, namely, stopping a candidate from just focasing on a few states to win, has not changed. Every election we have the "battleground" states where this whole thing gets decided. All the rest are ignored by candidates. Obama and Romney would not waste time campaining in Utah, because all electoral votes go to one or the other. Same for Romney in California. So all votes by the loser in a state get dis-enfranchised, because they become meaningless with the electoral vote. I want one election in America where I know my vote equals the vote of someone in New York. The electoral college is not good. Bush v Gore is all anyone needs to see that.

Salt Lake City, UT

"We don’t need others to vote for us because Americans are able to think for themselves and have the right for their vote to count and matter."

Good point. The electoral college is an anachronism in today's world where votes can be cast and counted in milliseconds.

Also, substitute "Utahns" for "Americans" and this is a good reason to eliminate the caucus system of selecting candidates in Utah. The electoral college and the caucus system are birds of a feather.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Careful. The Electoral College gives rural (read conservative) states out-sized voting weight.

Are you SURE you want a pure popular vote?

Provo, UT

Eliminate the electoral college then candidates will only have to campaign in the most populous states. It's better to hold them accountable to the majority of the states and not to the majority of the people.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The reason is... We don't live in a Pure Democracy. The founding fathers were VERY against Pure Democracy which they believed leads to "Tyranny of the Majority". I suggest you google "Tyranny of the Majority" and read about it.

These are SOME of the countermeasures our founding fathers put in place just to prohibit just what you suggest...

"Supermajority rules, constitutional limits on the powers of a legislative body, and the introduction of a Bill of Rights have been used to counter the perceived problem. A separation of powers has also been implemented to limit the force of the majority in a single legislative chamber"...

I would add... the electoral collage, and the Senate (which is absolutely and INTENTIONALLY not based on population).


It's Jake's mentality that's constantly trying to change our form of government. The electoral collage is outlined in the Constitution. We are a Constitutional Republic. That's why we do it this way.

I don't think our founding fathers chose this form of government just because they didn't have electronic voting machines. It wasn't accidental. It was a wise separation from "Pure Democracy" intended to prevent tyranny.


Well, we have an electoral college becuase the Constitution of the United States says that we will have one.

People complain about it all the time, but no one has ever attempted to amend the Constitution to eliminate it. If you want that to happen, contact your representative and/or senator to begin the process. If the Equal Rights Amendment is any indication, it will then take about 10 years.

Salt Lake City, UT

On a different-but-related note, I'd like to point out that anyone who supports the caucus system here in Utah but opposes the Electoral College, or opposes the Utah caucus system but supports the Electoral College, is a hypocrite. The Electoral College is really nothing more than our caucus/delegate system on the national stage.

Sandy, UT

I Believe that the Electoral College is still a good idea as 2 bits outline, I would think that they could tweak it a bit to be more reflective of the popular vote by changing how the Electoral votes are distributed.

Instead of the winner of the state getting "All" the votes, he should get the percentage of votes that he won the state.

As an example, GOP candidate won 60 percent of the vote and the democrat won 40 and the state had 10 Electoral votes, then the GOP would receive 6 of the 10 votes.

It would still allow smaller states a voice while it does not negate votes of bigger population states as well.

And yes I know I used a simplistic example.


With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founders meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power.

The Electoral College is now dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all states.

The current method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), ensured that the candidates, after the conventions, did not reach out to about 80% of voters. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the 40 states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

Since WWII, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections


The Founders left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,991 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. Since 1796, the Electoral College has not been the deliberative body envisioned by the Founders.

The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With National Popular Vote, we would continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

If we were a pure Democracy,

America would already have:

Higher taxes on the Wealthy,
Cap and Trade on Coal,
Universal Healthcare [Single Payer],
have our military out of the Middle East,
have our military out of ALL Foreign Countries,
Gay marriage,
Legalized marijuana,
and Term Limits for Politicians.

My guess is we'd probably also have public lynching and mob rules as well.

American Fork, UT

Eliminating the college is a good idea. It will give an edge to the reality of America, which is to say a decidedly urban view which is, well, less conservative. That's who we are.

Pleasant Grove, UT

The winner of the World Series may not always be the team which scored the most runs in a season -- it is the team that won the most games.

What is the game? Addressing the concerns of each state as a discrete block of individuals. Since interests vary from state to state, the person who finds the best balance between them is elected president.

As others have said, we're not a pure democracy -- we're a democratic republic. If we were a pure democracy, the interests of a few large cities would overrule the rest of us. We don't want that. The Founders were wise to avoid it.


In 2012, 24 of the nation's 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions -- including 10 of the most rural and 12 of the 13 lowest population states -- 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC).

In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was 9.9 million versus 9.8 million, and electoral vote 57 versus 58.

Kerry won 21 electoral votes, Bush 19 in the 12 least-populous non-battleground states, even though Bush won 650,421 popular votes compared to Kerry’s 444,115 votes. Red states are redder than blue states are blue.

Utah generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than 1/3 of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

Now, it could only take winning the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the country, for a candidate to win with a mere 23% of the nation's votes!


A survey of Utah voters showed 70% overall support for the idea that the President should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

Support by political affiliation, was 82% among Democrats, 66% among Republicans, and 75% among others.
By gender, support was 78% among women and 60% among men.
By age, support was 70% among 18-29 year olds, 70% among 30-45 year olds, 70% among 46-65 year olds, and 68% for those older than 65.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every election.

When states with a combined total of at least 270 electoral votes enact the bill, the candidate with the most popular votes in the country would get the needed majority of 270+ Electoral College votes from the enacting states.

The bill has passed 32 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes, and been enacted by 10 jurisdictions with 136 electoral votes – 50.4% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

E Sam
Provo, UT

To get rid of the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendments are, by design, difficult. This is a good thing.
The Electoral College gives disproportionate power to small, low population states. Those states, therefore, are unlikely to support such an amendment.
You need 38 states to ratify an amendment.
So the question is, are there more than 12 low-population states? And since the answer to that question is 'yes,' I think we can confidently predict that no such amendment will ever be passed.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Twin Lights and Hutterite

You two need to get on the same political page.

As for the electoral college, why would anyone think it fair that a candidate for President in the state of California who got say 15 million votes lost to the guy who got 15 million and 1 vote. That 15 million becomes essentially non existant. No power at all. Some states, Nebraska I think have a porportional representation, which would give the losing candidate at least some electoral votes. But this "winner take all" electoral vote is in itself a pure democracy, which was supposedly not meant to be in the first place. And, lets face it, one of the very reasons for the electoral college existance has long gone since a campaign can easily reach every corner of the country without the candidate even leaving home. No one wins by only going to the largest population states, they win by going to the "swing states", which are not the biggest in population. How has that made anything better? I want my vote to count if I'm living in a blue state, and yours if you live in a red state.

2 bit
Cottonwood Heights, UT

m.g. scott,
You have some convoluted ways of pretending you don't have a vote (when you do) or your vote doesn't count (when it does).

Just because you don't win doesn't mean your vote didn't count. If you are in the minority in your state (and the majority gets all the electoral votes)... that does not mean you vote didn't count. You just didn't win.


Similar logic can be applied when there's a pure majority wins approach. Then people can say every person who votes differently than i did cancels out their vote... so in affect their vote didn't count. It's all illogical.

You get a vote... it counts. It may not win, but it counts.

Salt Lake City, UT

If we were to go with abolishing the electoral college we'd need a federal standard of elections so that every state is on even footing with things like early voting days etc.

And background checks on all gun purchases.

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